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Rabbi Shai Held, one of the most influential Jewish thinkers in the world, is President and Dean of the Hadar Institute in New York City, which he co-founded in 2006. A philosopher, theologian, and Bible scholar, Rabbi Held received the prestigious Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education, and has been named multiple times by Newsweek as one of the fifty most influential rabbis in America and by the Jewish Daily Forward as one of the fifty most prominent Jews in the world. Rabbi Held is the author of Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence (2013) and The Heart of Torah (2017). His next book, Judaism is About Love, will be published by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux in 2024. 

On September 12, Rabbi Held visited staff at the John Templeton Foundation to discuss Judaism’s five love commandments: love of God, love of neighbor, love of the stranger, love of all humanity, and love for people enduring suffering. Rabbi Held explained what each commandment includes and what it requires of us, and explored the unexpected idea that emotions can be commanded.

Watch the full video here:

Rabbi Held is the project leader of grant #61674, Love At The Center: Restoring The Heart Of Judaism. The grant provides support for his upcoming book, in which he not only aims to alter people’s perceptions of Judaism, but also to change their sense of what is possible and required in living a good life.