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Rabbi David Weiss Halivni
Born in the Carpathian town of Kobyletska, Poliana, and raised in Sziget, Romania, Rav David Weiss Halvini is one of the world’s pre-eminent Talmudic scholars.
A child prodigy who received rabbinic ordination as a teenager, Rav Halivni was deported to Auschwitz during the Holocaust and soon transferred to a forced labor camp. Tragically, he was the only member of his family to survive. When he arrived in the United States at the age of 18, Rav Halivni was placed in a Jewish orphanage.
Shortly after, he was introduced to heralded Talmudist Rav Saul Lieberman at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Over the following decades, Rav Halivni would embark on his prodigious critical commentary of the Talmud in his multi-volume Mekorot u’Mesorot.
In the mid-1980s Rav Halivni and many of his fellow Traditionalists left JTS after the Seminary’s vote to ordain women as rabbis and founded the Union for Traditional Judaism, where Rav Halivni was appointed Reish Metiva of the Union’s rabbinical school and its Panel of Halakhic Inquiry.
Rabbi Halivni resides in Israel, where he teaches and continues to work on his magnum opus. In addition, he has authored several books, including:
Peshat and Derash
The Book and the Sword, his memoirs.
Breaking the Tablets: Jewish Theology After the Shoah, a collection of essays on Holocaust theology.
In 1985, Rav Halivni was a co-recipient of the prestigious Bialik Prize for Jewish Thought, and in 2008, he was awarded the Israel Prize for his Talmudic Work.