Yakov Nagen

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Yakov Meir Nagen
Rabbi Yakov Nagen.jpg
Rabbi Yakov Nagen
Born(1967-06-17)June 17, 1967 (9 Sivan 5727)
SpouseMichal Nagen
Children7
Parent(s)Azriel Genack (m)
Ahuva Genack (f)

Rabbi Dr. Yakov Meir Nagen (born June 17, 1967; Hebrew: יעקב מאיר נגן) is an Israeli rabbi and author. Nagen is a leader in interfaith peace initiatives between Judaism and Islam and in encounters between Judaism and Eastern religions. He is the Director of the Blickle Institute for Interfaith Dialogue and the Beit Midrash for Judaism and Humanity. Nagen also teaches at Yeshivat Otniel and has written extensively about Jewish philosophy and Talmud.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Nagen was born in Manhattan, New York to Ahuva and Azriel Genack. After completing high school in the United States, he studied in Israel at Yeshivat Shaalvim. Nagen returned to the US to study at Yeshiva University where he received a bachelor's degree in Judaic studies and a master's degree in Jewish history in addition to rabbinic ordination. In 1993 he moved to Israel and studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion and in 1997 joined the faculty at Yeshivat Otniel.[1]

In 2004 Nagen received a doctoral degree in Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University. His dissertation dealt with the interplay between Halacha and Aggada, Kabbala and philosophy in the context of the holiday of Sukkot.[2] Nagen's interdisciplinary approach towards Talmudic literature is developed his books: "Water, Creation and Revelation – Sukkot in the philosophy of halacha (Geloy, 2008) and "The Soul of the Mishna - a literary reading and search for meaning" (Dvir, 2016)[3][4]

Interfaith activity[edit]

In 2006, Nagen traveled to India in the context of his research about the relationship between Judaism and eastern spirituality. Nagen see Judaism as incorporating elements both of Eastern and Western philosophy, as he presents in his book "Waking up to a new day – a renewed reading of Torah and life" (Maggid, 2013).[5] In 2019 the book appeared in English as "Be, Become, Bless – Jewish Spirituality between East and West" (Maggid). Nagen is a leader in interfaith encounters in Israel and the Palestinian Authority between Jewish and Muslim leaders.[6] In wake of his colleague, Rabbi Menachem Froman, Nagen believes that as religion is at the heart of the problem in the conflicts in the Middle East, religion must also be part of the solution.[7][8]

Through the Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA) he coordinates a group of West Bank rabbis that meet regularly with Muslim sheikhs and imams, mostly from the Hebron and Ramallah areas. He is the co-chairman of the board of the Abrahamic Reunion (AR).[9] The Abrahamic Reunion composes of representatives of four Abrahamic religions - Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze - dedicated to promoting peace in the Middle East.[10] Nagen was a representative of the organization at the World Parliament of Religions in 2015 at Salt Lake City. Nagen is also active in the United Religions Initiative (URI), and was one of Israel's representatives at the annual conference for the Middle East, held in Jordan in November 2017.[11]

A photograph of Nagen hugging Haj Ibrahim Ahmad Abu el-Hawa appeared in Google's "Year in Search 2014" [12]

After the murder of the Dawabsheh family in Duma, Nagen was an organizer of the prayer vigil for the victims and outcry against the violence.[13]

In March 2016 Nagen visited Al-Azhar University in Cairo and Fayyum to promote mutual respect between Islam and Judaism.[14]

In 2016 Nagen was profiled in Tablet Magazine as one of the 10 "Israeli Rabbis You Should Know".[15] Nagen is active in spreading Judaism in China in the context of the "Shofer from Zion" organization. Many of his writings have been translated into Chinese and in 2017 he gave lecture series in Beijing and Shanghai.[16][17]

In 2020 Nagen was appointed as the director of the Ohr Torah Stone network's Blickle Institute for Interfaith Dialogue and the Beit Midrash for Judaism and Humanity.[18][19][20]

In 2022 a compendium of the research in the Beit Midrash for Judaism and Humanity, was published as “His Name is One – Healing the Relationship between Judaism and World Religions". The book creates a new paradigm for Judaism’s halakhic and philosophical approach toward other religions.[21]

Nagen is also a member of the Tzohar and Beit Hillel[22][23] organizations, rabbinical organizations that focus on the relations between the religious and secular communities in Israel.

Personal life[edit]

In 1993 Nagen married Michal, head of the Tzahali pre-army seminary and daughter of Professor Uriel Simon. The couple lives in Jerusalem and have seven children.[24]

Published works[edit]

  • 2007 "The Soul of the Mishna - window to the inner world of the Mishna", Geloy (in Hebrew)
  • 2008 "Water, Creation and Revelation – Sukkot in the philosophy of halacha, Geloy (in Hebrew)
  • 2013 "Waking up to a new day – a renewed reading of Torah and life", Maggid (in Hebrew)
  • 2016 "The Soul of the Mishna - a literary reading and search for meaning", Dvir (in Hebrew)
  • 2019 "Be, Become, Bless – Jewish Spirituality between East and West", Maggid (in English)
  • 2019 "Life as Story - Seeing the World with New Eyes", Geloy (in Hebrew)
  • 2020 "The Soul of Mishna", Maggid (in English)
  • 2021 "Loving the World - Stories of Judaism and Humanity", Geloy (in Hebrew)
  • 2022 "His Name is One – Healing the Relationship between Judaism and World Religions", Maggid (in Hebrew)[25]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rabbi Dr. Yakov Nagen, ABRAHAMIC REUNION website
  2. ^ Rabbi Dr. Yakov Nagen, ABRAHAMIC REUNION website
  3. ^ Yakov Nagen, Scholarship Needs Spirituality, Spirituality Needs Scholarship: Challenges for Emerging Talmudic Methodologies, October 7, 2013
  4. ^ Roy Beatty, "Sukkah, halakha and myth in the yeshiva courtyard", Makor Rishon, 18 Tishrei 5769 (Hebrew)
  5. ^ Tomer Persico, New Eyes: Interview with Rabbi Yaakov Nagan, Makor Rishon, 30 Tishrei 5744 (Hebrew)
  6. ^ We are all God's children, ynet, 09.10.14
  7. ^ religion and reconciliation on the temple mountal aqsa, times of israel, 27.8.17
  8. ^ the abrahamic union a confederate solution to the israeli palestinian conflict, times of israel, 29.5.17
  9. ^ The AR at the URI Middle East & North Africa Annual Assembly, Abrahamic Reunion site, December 19, 2017
  10. ^ Rabbi Dr. Yakov Nagen, abrahamicreunion.org
  11. ^ The AR at the URI Middle East & North Africa Annual Assembly, Abrahamic Reunion site, December 19, 2017
  12. ^ "Google — Year in Search 2014". YouTube.
  13. ^ "Settlers gather for interfaith vigil, but find few Palestinian takers", The Times of Israel, August 2, 2015
  14. ^ "For West Bank rabbi, a rare and risky trip to Cairo's ivory tower of Islam", The Times of Israel, April 15, 2016
  15. ^ Israeli Rabbis You Should Know, Tablet Magazine,
  16. ^ Yediot Achronot, Sivan Rahav Meir, 17 November 2017, page 25, "Torat HaArach" (Hebrew)
  17. ^ Yakov Nagen, "China discovers Talmud and the Kabbalah", The Times of Israel, December 26, 2017
  18. ^ Time for love of world, Makor Rishon, September 18, 2020 [in Hebrew]
  19. ^ Blickle Institute for Interfaith Dialogue, Ohr Torah Stone website
  20. ^ Beit Midrash for Judaism and Humanity, Ohr Torah Stone website
  21. ^ Loving the world, healing the world, The Times of Israel, September 21, 2022
  22. ^ Beit Hillel - Members
  23. ^ Yeshivat Otniel - Staff, (Hebrew)
  24. ^ about Yakov Nagen, Yakov Nagen official website [in Hebrew]
  25. ^ co-authored by Rabbi Sarel Rosenblatt and Dr. Assaf Malach