Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch is a prominent Reform leader in the US who heads the renowned and historic Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York.
Hirsch served for 12 years as executive director of the Association of Reform Zionists of America. He has written numerous articles and editorials and is the co-author of One People, Two Worlds, a collaboration with Orthodox Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Reinman in which the two discuss Reform and Orthodox perspectives on numerous issues related to Jewish life.
Hirsch speaks fluent Hebrew and served in the IDF Armored Corps. He is an ardent Zionist and a champion of progressive Judaism and liberalism.
The rabbi has spoken out against illiberal policies in Israel and the US, such as family separation policies on the US-Mexico border and Israel’s recent surrogacy law which prohibits access to surrogacy services for gay men.
But Hirsch has also insisted that contemporary Jewish identity is bound up in the State of Israel. He has spoken out against boycott campaigns, calling them “highly immoral,” and against organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace for turning away from the Jewish people.
And he also said that it had been wrong for the Reform Movement to oppose President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel and the transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the capital.
Hirsch is a charismatic and passionate Jewish leader, a strong advocate for Israel and a standard-bearer for liberal values, messages he is disseminating from his pulpit in New York.