One of the world's foremost exponents of modern Orthodoxy, an American-born rabbi now serving a community on the Israeli-occupied West Bank, will speak tonight at an Annapolis synagogue about the modern Jew's search for faith.
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, who writes an internationally syndicated column, is eminently qualified to take on such a subject, says Ira Rifkin, assistant editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times.
A leading voice of modern, centrist Orthodoxy, Riskin is known as a bridge-builder between Israel and the Diaspora -- Jews in other countries -- and between observant and non-observant Jews, Rifkin says.
He is rabbi of the community of Efrat as well as a teacher, lecturer and author.
"What this means, this oxymoron of modern Orthodoxy, is adhering to traditional Jewish law and values while embracing the best of modern society," Rifkin explains. "Rabbi Riskin is known all over the world, and his work is printed in newspapers ranging from the Jerusalem Post to Australian papers."
While ultra-Orthodox Jews reject the modern world, modern Orthodox Jews attend college rather than studying only at yeshivas, hold regular jobs and interact with the non-Jewish world and with non-observant and non-Orthodox Jews.
Riskin is speaking at Kneseth Israel at 7:45 tonight as part of a lecture series established in memory of Rabbi Morris D. Rosenblatt, the spiritual leader of the synagogue for 40 years, who died in 1985.
Rosenblatt's son, Gary, editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times, is instrumental in bringing renowned figures to Annapolis, say members of Kneseth Israel.
Riskin, who also writes a weekly column for the magazine, was born in New York and founded the Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan, one of the largest and most active synagogues in the United States. He received a doctorate from New York University in Near Eastern languages and literature, and ordination from the rabbinical school of Yeshiva University.
Riskin taught at Yeshiva University before moving to Israel with his family in 1982. They live in the new 400-family community of Efrat, 8 miles south of Jerusalem.
The rabbi has created many educational institutions in the United States and in Israel, and is founder and dean of Ohr Torah Institutions, with more than 900 students in Israel from around the world.
Kneseth Israel is at Hilltop Lane and Spa Road in Annapolis. The public is invited to attend the lecture.