We are an international organization formed to seek halakhic answers to modern questions. We continue to engage a broad range of scholars from North America, Europe and Israel in this enterprise. Our efforts follow those which began in the early eighteenth century as scholars such as Abraham Geiger and Zacharias Frankel grappled with the changes in life brought by the Enlightenment and the modern democratic state.
The ever changing social and political conditions in which the Jewish community finds itself demands new answers from the tradition. Our symposia and publications provide a broad range of discussions, open new vistas and enable to readers to see the range of possibilities and incorporate those appropriate into their lives.
The Institute was founded in 1989 by Rabbi Walter Jacob (President) and Rabbi Moshe Zemer (Director) and from the beginning included leading Jewish thinkers, representing a wide range of views and theologies are represented at symposia and in our publications. Our membership is world-wide. Our Symposia have been held in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, and Israel. Some symposia have provided continuing education credit for attorneys.
Dr. Walter Jacob is the President of the Abraham Geiger College – A Rabbinic Seminary for Central and Eastern Europe (Berlin/Potsdam) and teaches halakhic studies there. He has chaired the Responsa Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and edited, in association with Moshe Zemer, over twenty volumes on Jewish Law. He is editor of the publications and the organization in America and Europe.
Dr. Moshe Zemer (z”l) of Tel Aviv is a founder of Liberal Judaism in Israel. And has taught at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem. His book Evolving Halakhah (1996), has appeared in Hebrew and German. He has written on Jewish law in the Israeli press.
Rabbi Jonah Sievers began to chair our European section in 2008; he will expand our efforts on the continent.