BODY AND SOUL | The State of the Jewish Nation

Rabbi Jeffrey Woolf, PhD

Rabbi Jeffrey Woolf, PhD

Senior Lecturer, Bar Ilan University

Rabbi Jeffrey R. Woolf is an internationally known scholar, lecturer and public figure. He serves as a Senior Lecturer in the Talmud Department at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, where he specializes in the History of Halakhah, Medieval and Renaissance Jewish History, and the inter-action between Judaism, Islam and Christianity. He is the director of Bar Ilan’s Institute for the Study of Post-Talmudic Halakhah.

Woolf received his BA in History (summa cum laude with distinction) from Boston University in 1976, alongside a BHL (cum laude) in Talmud and Midrash from Boston Hebrew College. He received his PhD (1991) in Medieval Jewish History and Literature at Harvard University, under the guidance of the late Professor Isadore Twersky. While at Harvard, he spent a year at the Hebrew University as a Lady Davis Graduate Fellow (1983-1984). Prior to his Aliyah, he spent two years at Yale University, as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Religion. Woolf has served as a visiting professor at Yale University, Yeshiva University, and New York University. He has delivered guest lectures throughout the world.

Woolf studied for nine and a half years under Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik z"l, first in Boston and then at Yeshiva University, where he received rabbinic ordination in 1982. While at Yeshiva, he learned for four years in the Kollel, directed by Rabbi Herschel Schachter. During the period 2001-2003, he began studies toward Dayyanut at Kollel Eretz Hemdah in Jerusalem. In addition, Rabbi Woolf received rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Gedaliah Felder זצ"ל, the late Av Bet Din of Toronto.

He is the author of forty scholarly monographs. He has edited three books, among them the most recent translation of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s classic work, Kol Dodi Dofeq. His forthcoming book, Sacred Community in Medieval Franco-Germany: The Ashkenazic Qehillah Qedoshah, will be published in the Fall of 2014 by E. J. Brill. He is presently working on a book (in Hebrew) of essays on Israeli Orthodoxy and its encounter with modernity in Israel. 

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