Demanding More: An Exercise in Holiness

Demanding More: An Exercise in Holiness
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Yakir Englander

Scholar and Activist | Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and Kids4Peace

Yakir Englander discusses with the ELI audience about how his Chassidic roots have provided him with a lens with which to view the exercise of holiness--pushing the boundaries of what seems to be possible--even... See more


The Rest is Commentary

Leaving the Ultra-Orthodox World - With No Other Choice

A young ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman once contacted me with a serious question: "Should I leave the ultra-Orthodox community?" My reply to her was, "Since you have asked, 'Should I?' - then the answer is, 'No!'" Leaving the ultra-Orthodox Jewish fold is called in Hebrew yetzia bishe'elah - literally, "leaving with a question."

When will the Left start talking about Israeli trauma?

Without recognizing how deep-seated the trauma of ordinary Israelis really is, the Israeli peace camp will continue to be seen as elitist and disconnected. By Yakir Englander (translated by Dr. Henry R. Carse) My political opinions are aligned with Israel's Left, but I was not born that way.

New Hope in the 'Other'

My narrative below could be written almost exactly the same from the other point of view, from the Palestinian point of view, substituting my examples for ones relevant to Palestinians. Though I speak here about building trust from an Israeli point of view, we must remember that it is a two-way street.


Yakir  Englander, 

Scholar and Activist | Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and Kids4Peace

Originally from a Hasidic/Ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, Dr. Yakir Englander earned a PhD from Hebrew University in Jerusalem in Jewish philosophy and gender studies. Yakir is one of the leaders of Kids4Peace, a grassroots interfaith youth movement dedicated to ending conflict and inspiring hope in Jerusalem. 
Yakir is a Fulbright scholar and was a visiting professor of Israel Studies and Religion at Northwestern University and, Rutgers University, Harvard Divinity School.  In the last two year, he served as the Executive Director of Kids4Peace International’s innovative new program Dialogue to Action, as well as a scholar at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. In addition, he leads many of the leadership programs at the IAC (Israeli American Council). His work focuses on bringing religiously conservative communities into peace work, creating a Jewish theology of peace, and teaching and practicing peace activism in Jerusalem. In his academic writings he tries to touch the most sensitive subjects of gender, sexuality and religion and to create critique with love. His books are The Male Body in Jewish Lithuanian Ultra-Orthodoxy (Hebrew) and Sexuality and the Body in the New Religious Zionist Discourse (with Professor Avi Sagi) (English and Hebrew). 
Yakir tries to walk in life and find moments of holiness, particularly through practicing karate, contact improvisation, 5 rhythm, meditation, and taking time to live in the silence of monasteries and nature. Yakir tries to create intimate relationships with people who dedicate their lives to walk with tenderness, vulnerability, and intimacy.