Please note that many of our writers are accomplished public speakers, and may be available to speak in your community. Please send your inquiries to speakers -at- cross-currents.com.
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is the Director of Interfaith Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He also serves as a faculty member at Yeshiva of Los Angeles and its high schools, and holds the Sydney M. Irmas Chair in Jewish Law and Ethics at Loyola Law School.
Rabbi Adlerstein is a contributing editor of the quarterly Jewish Action, as well as its regular computer columnist. His essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Present Tense, Tradition, Shma, the Los Angeles Daily Law Journal, and a host of Jewish and general printed and electronic media. He was frequently heard on KABC’s Religion on the Line, and appears often in the printed media as a voice of traditional Judaism. He co-hosted Rabbis With Attitude, a weekly radio program. His Be’er Hagolah, the classic defense of rabbinic Judaism by Maharal of Prague, was published by Artscroll/Mesorah Publications.
Rabbi Adlerstein received his ordination from the Chofetz Chaim yeshiva in New York. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Queens College, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. [All associations are for identification purposes only. All content and opinions offered are solely the responsibility of the author and not those of the institutions with which he is affiliated.]
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman, presently living in Jerusalem, is one of the most respected and distinguished figures in the American rabbinate. He led Atlanta’s Congregation Beth Jacob for almost forty years, from its infancy until its current position as one of America’s finest Torah institutions. Ordained by Baltimore’s Ner Israel, with degrees from John Hopkins and a doctorate from Emory University, he has taught at Jerusalem’s Ohr Somayach Yeshiva, at Bar Ilan University, and at Emory University.
For many years, Rabbi Feldman served as editor-in-chief of Tradition, the journal of the Rabbinical Council of America. His many book credits range from the scholarly (Jewish Law and the New Reproductive Technologies, Ktav Pub., 1997) to the personal (Tales Out of Shul: The unorthodox journal of an Orthodox rabbi, Shaar Press, 1999), and he has written hundreds of articles in journals like The New Republic, Saturday Review, Judaism, and The Jerusalem Post.
Rabbi Yaakov Menken is the Managing Director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, a rabbinic public policy organization with hundreds of members across North America. He is also the Director of Project Genesis, a pioneering program in the field of Internet-based Jewish Outreach and education. Project Genesis hosts Torah.org, the Internet’s premier Jewish learning web site, as well as Cross-Currents and other Jewish sites and programs.
Rabbi Menken is the author of The Everything Torah Book, a basic guide to Jewish thought and history. Rabbi Menken is a featured writer for the Baltimore Sun’s In Good Faith blog, and his writing has appeared in the Jerusalem Report, the Baltimore Jewish Times, and elsewhere.
Yaakov Menken earned his Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in Computer Science, and then pursued Rabbinic studies in Yeshivas Ohr Somayach of Monsey, NY, Beth Medrash Govoha in Jerusalem, and the Mirrer Yeshiva Jerusalem, before founding Project Genesis in 1993.
Jonathan Rosenblum is a widely-read columnist for the Jerusalem Post’s domestic and international editions and for the Hebrew daily Maariv. He is also a respected commentator on Israeli politics, society, culture and the Israeli legal system, who speaks frequently on these topics in the United States, Europe, and Israel. His articles appear regularly in numerous Jewish periodicals in the United States and Israel. Rosenblum is also the author of seven biographies of major modern Jewish figures.
In 1999, Rosenblum founded Jewish Media Resources, a media organization dedicated to furthering an understanding of Torah Judaism. Jewish Media Resources works with foreign journalists stationed in Israel and with local journalists by providing access to leading figures within the Orthodox Jewish community in Israel, and with information and insights about the community. Rosenblum is also the Jerusalem director of Am Echad, a media outreach organization founded in the United States. A graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School, Rosenblum lives with his family in Jerusalem.
Shira Leibowitz Schmidt was raised in an assimilated Jewish home in New York, and became observant while studying at Stanford University in California. In June 1967 she told her engineering school professor she would miss the final exam because she was going to Israel to volunteer during the Six Day War. “That’s the most original excuse I have ever been offered,” he responded. She arrived during the war and stayed, receiving her BSc in absentia. She subsequently met and married the late Elhanan Leibowitz, and they raised their six children in Beersheba. Mrs. Leibowitz acquired a Masters in Urban & Regional Planning from the Technion, and an MSc in Civil Engineering from University of Waterloo. Today she lives with her husband, Dr. Baruch Schmidt, in Netanya.
Mrs. Schmidt is a member of the faculty of the Haredi College for Women, and also co-founded Voices of the Wall, a group of Orthodox women which was created to balance the distorted perception created by Women of the Wall, a Jerusalem-based organization agitating to abandon traditional custom at the Western Wall. Voices of the Wall represents the vast majority of the women who take advantage of the opportunity to pray at the wall regularly, who wish to preserve the traditional nature of that holy site.
Marvin Schick is President of the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, a voluntary position he has held for over three decades. He is senior advisor to the Avi Chai Foundation and publisher of the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society. He was the founder and first president of the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs – COLPA, which was established in 1965 to combat employment and other forms of discrimination against religious minorities.
His writings have appeared in numerous publications, and he has served as a columnist for the Jewish Press, the Long Island Jewish World and the New York Jewish Week. He is the author of Learned Hand’s Court and of two comprehensive censuses of Jewish day schools and yeshivas.
He has a PhD in political science from New York University, and is a retired professor who served on the faculty of a number of universities, including Hunter College and The New School.
Rabbi Avi Shafran has served as Agudath Israel of America’s director of public affairs since 1994, and also blogs at his own site.
He received ordination from Rav Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman, the founding Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Ner Yisrael in Baltimore and was a student of Rav Ruderman’s son-in-law Rav Yaakov Weinberg, who followed his father-in-law as Rosh Yeshiva. Rabbi Shafran served as a high school rebbe for close to twenty years before assuming his current position, writes widely in the Jewish and general press and is the author of several books, including “Migrant Soul: The Story of an American Ger” (Targum/Feldheim) and, most recently “It’s All in the Angle” (Torah Temimah Publications/Judaica Press), a collection of selected essays.