Lawrence A. Hoffman

Dr. Lawrence A. Hoffman

Address3101 Clifton Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45220

directed, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion

Ordained, HUC-JIR, New York, 1969
Ph.D., HUC-JIR (Cincinnati), 1973

Dr. Lawrence A. Hoffman was ordained as a rabbi in 1969, received his Ph.D. in 1973, and has taught since then at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, in New York. From 1984 to 1987, he directed its School of Sacred Music as well. In 2003, he was named the first Barbara and Stephen Friedman Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Ritual. He currently teaches classes in liturgy, ritual, theology and synagogue leadership.

For thirty-five years, Rabbi Hoffman has combined research, classroom teaching, and a passion for the spiritual renewal of North American Judaism. In that regard, he is internationally known for his lectures to lay audiences at synagogues and other venues.

Rabbi Hoffman has written or edited thirty-three books, including My People’s Prayer Book (Jewish Lights Publishing), a ten-volume edition of the Siddur with modern commentaries, which was named a National Jewish Book Award winner for 2007. A follow-up, My People’s Passover Haggadah, appeared in February 2008. His recent book, Rethinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life (2007) is widely used by congregations of all denominations engaged in transformational synagogue change; and his Art of Public Prayer published originally for Catholic churches in America (Pastoral Press, 1988), is now used more broadly (Skylight Paths, 1999) by churches and synagogues as a guide to liturgical renewal.

His articles, both popular and scholarly, have appeared in eight languages and four continents, and include contributions to various encyclopedias and journals, including such places as The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Religion, The Oxford Dictionary of Religion, and The Encyclopedia of Judaism. He syndicates a regular column which appears, among other places, in The Jewish Week, The Jewish Times and The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent.

For many years, Rabbi Hoffman served as visiting professor of the University of Notre Dame, and has lectured at such places as the Jewish theological Seminary of America, the University of Southern California, and the Yale Divinity School.

In 1990, Dr. Hoffman was selected by the United States Navy as a member of a three-person design team, charged with developing a continuing education course on worship for Navy chaplains. In 1994, he co-founded “Synagogue 3000” (originally Synagogue 2000), a trans-denominational project to envision and implement the ideal synagogue “as moral and spiritual center” for the 21st century. He is a past-president of the North American Academy of Liturgy, the professional and academic organization for liturgists, and in January 2004, received that organization’s annual Berakhah Award, for outstanding lifetime contributions to his field.

His research, writing and classes fall into four categories: 1) the history of Jewish liturgy; 2) ritual studies (the application of the human sciences and philosophical thought to the act of human ritual); 3) contemporary worship and modern Jewish spirituality; 4) American Jewish identity and the contemporary American synagogue

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