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Haim Otto Rechnitzer

Title: Associate Professor of Jewish Thought
Office: Old Chemistry Building
Tel: 513-556-2297
Email: hrechnitzer@huc.edu

Dr. Rechnitzer earned his doctorate from The Department of Jewish Thought at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 2003, and his rabbinical ordination from HUC-JIR/Jerusalem in 2003. He received both his M.A. (1996) and B.A. (1993) with distinction in the Department of Jewish Thought at Hebrew University.  He studied at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership as a Jerusalem Fellow, engaged in Mishnah and Talmud studies at the Shalom Hartman Institute, and studied composition, theory, and instrumentation at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.


  • PhD, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 2003 (Jewish Thought & Political Theology).
  • Rabbinic Ordination, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem, 2003 (Jewish Culture).
  • Master in Hebrew Letters, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem, 2003.
  • Master (with distinction), Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1996 (Jewish Thought).
  • B.A. (with distinction),, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1993 (Jewish Thought (Minor in Philosophy and Christian religion)).

Research Information

Research Interests

AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Political Theology and Modern Jewish and Israeli Thought

My first book, Prophecy and the Perfect Political Order: The Political Theology of Leo Strauss, (2012).  My current book project focuses on the reconstruction of theology and political theology out of the wellspring of Modern Hebrew poetry.  I explore what I consider to be the unique contribution of poets such as Avraham Shlonsky, Uri Zvi Greenberg and Yitzhak Lamdan or later ones such as Amir Gilboa and T. Carmi, to the wider Jewish discourse.   It is my conviction that highlighting the array of references to Jewish sources embedded in these creative texts is essential in order to understand their poetry and fully appreciate their influence.  I see the contribution of this project as threefold; contextualization of Modern Hebrew verse within the Jewish canon,  enriching the Jewish Thought canon  and deepening our understanding of Modern Hebrew verse.


Peer Reviewed Publications

  • “To See God in His Beauty': Abraham Chalfi and the Mystical Quest for
    the Evasive God,” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, issue 10 vol. 2.
    (2012) 383-400
  • "Hobbes, Maimonides, Healthcare Reform and Tzelem Elohim: The Political Theology of Universal Health Care", CCAR Journal, (Winter 2010) 104-109.
  • "Tell Me What Your Questions Are and I will Tell You Who You Are: Some Reflections on the 'Proposed Taxonomy for a Twenty-First-Century Theology of Reform Zionism' by S. M. Davids," CCAR Journal (Summer 2008). 29-37.
  • "Redemptive Theology in the Thought of Yeshayahu Leibowitz," Israel Studies Vol. 13,3 (2008) 137-159.
  • "Judaism and the Idea of the Law: Leo Strauss and Yeshayahu Leibowitz�s Philosophical and Ideological Interpretations of Maimonides," Hebrew Union College Annual, 79 (2008) 165-191.
  • “From Honolulu via Mt. Gilboa to Tel-Aviv: the Rise and Fall of Shlonsky’s Messianic  Hebrew Studies. (Forthcoming)


  • נבואה והסדר המדיני המושלם: התיאולוגיה המדינית של ליאו שטראוס
    (Prophecy and the Perfect Political Order: The Political Theology of Leo
    Strauss), Jerusalem: Mosad Bialik Press(2012).

Book Chapter

  • Haim O. Rechnitzer & Jonathan Cohen, "The Evolution of the Term Talmud Torah in the Reform Prayer books and Platforms during the Last Three Decades," (Hebrew) in The Reform Movement: Sociology, Education and Theology, ed Avinoam Rosnak (Jerusalem, Van-Leer Institute). (forthcoming)
  • "The Reform Zionist Theology at the turn of the 20th Century," (Hebrew) in The Reform Movement: Sociology, Education and Theology, ed Avinoam Rosnak (Jerusalem, Van-Leer Institute). (forthcoming)
  • "The Political Theology of Leo Strauss" (Hebrew) in God Will Not Stand Still: Jewish Modernity and Political Theology, ed. Christoph Schmidt (Tel-Aviv: Van-Leer and Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2009). 70-102.
  • "Maimonides' Messianism: Between Personal Salvation and Public Responsibility" in Gog U'Magog, ed. David A. Yoel, Moti Inbari, Yoram Mazor and Maya Leibowitz (Tel Aviv: Yediot Ha'Ahronot Press, 2002): 38-57

Electronic Journal

  • "Haim Guri and Rabbi David Buzaglo: A Theo-Political Meeting Place of Zionist Sabra Poetry and Jewish Liturgy," The Journal for the Study of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry 2, n. 1 (Summer 2008): 37-62. http://sephardic.fiu.edu/journal/JSSMJinsidecover.htm
  • Haim O. Rechnitzer & Gabriella Minnes Brandes, "Theological and Pedagogical Implications of the Role of Zionism in Reform Jewish Manifestos: A Bridge from Vision to Praxis", Journal of Jewish Education, 75 (2009) 329-349.


Honors & Awards

  • Lucius Littauer Foundation book publishing award, 2011 to 2011.
  • Werner Wienberg Foundation book publishing award, 2011 to 2011.
  • Celebration of Teaching 2007 Award Honoree for excellence in teaching, the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities, 2009 to 2009.

Experience & Service

Work Experience

  • 2005 to Present, Associate Professor of Jewish Thought, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati.
  • 2010 to Present, Research Associate, The Center for Studies in Jewish Education and Culture, University of Cincinnati.
  • 2012 to Present, Visiting Professor, Judaic Studies, University of Cincinnati.
  • 2004 to 2005, Visiting Professor, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA.
  • 2003 to 2004, Visiting Professor, Hebrew Union College-JIR (Jerusalem), Jerusalem.
  • 2002 to 2004, Jewish Thought (Instructor), Kerem Teachers College, Jerusalem.
  • 2002 to 2004, Jewish Thought (Instructor), Sapir College: Modern and Medieval Jewish Thought, Shderot, Shderot, Israel.
  • 1999 to 2002, Jewish Thought & Talmud (Instructor), Beit Shemuel – Beit Midrash, Jerusalem.
  • 1988 to 1989, Jewish Thought (Instructor), Hebrew University, Jerusalem.