Rabbi Yehuda Amital

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Rabbi Yehuda Amital (Klein)

Hebrew: הרב יהודה עמיטל (קליין)
Also Known As: "הרב יהודה עמיטל"
Birthdate: (85)
Birthplace: Oradea, Oradea, Bihor County, Romania
Death: July 9, 2010 (85)
Place of Burial: Jerusalem, Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Yekutiel Ze'ev Zalman(?) Klein and Devora Klein
Husband of <private> Amital (Meltzer)
Father of יואל עמיטל; <private> קרש; <private> ברין; Private User; <private> ישי and 1 other

Occupation: Rosh Yeshiva
Managed by: Hillel Litoff
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Rabbi Yehuda Amital

Yehuda Amital (Hebrew: יהודה עמיטל, born Yehuda Klein; October 31, 1924 – July 9, 2010) was an Orthodox rabbi, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion and a former member of the Israeli cabinet.

Amital was born in Oradea in Romania. When Germany occupied the area in 1944, the Nazis sent his entire family to Auschwitz where they were killed. Amital was sent to a labor camp, thus surviving the Holocaust. He remained in the labor camp for eight months, and was liberated on October 4, 1944 by the Soviet Army.

After his liberation he made his way to Bucharest, from where he travelled to Palestine, arriving on December 11, 1944.

After a short stay at the Atlit detainee camp, he made his way to Jerusalem, where he studied at Hebron Yeshiva, receiving semicha from Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer. He also learned with Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Charlop, a student of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook. Around this time he joined the Haganah.

After learning at Hebron he moved to Pardes Hanna in order to learn at Kletzk Yeshiva. While learning at the yeshiva, he married Miriam, the daughter of the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Meltzer, and the granddaughter of Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer. When the yeshiva relocated to Rehovot, Amital followed, settling in Rehovot until he moved to Jerusalem in the 1960s.

The day after the Declaration of Independence, Amital's unit was mobilized. He took part in battles of Latrun and the western Galilee. After the war, Amital became a rabbinic secretary in the Beth Din of Rehovot and, two years later, he became an instructor at Yeshivat HaDarom, where he helped formulate the idea of a Hesder Yeshiva.

After the Six Day War, he founded Yeshivat Har Etzion, a Hesder Yeshiva in Gush Etzion. The yeshiva opened in Kfar Etzion in 1968 with 30 students. After two years the institution moved to its current location in Alon Shvut. In 1971 Rav Amital asked Rav Aharon Lichtenstein to join him as Rosh Yeshiva.

In 1988, Rav Amital founded the left-leaning religious Meimad movement, and was elected its chairman after it became a political party.

In 1995, Rav Amital served as a Minister without Portfolio in the government of Shimon Peres despite not being a Knesset member.

At the age of 80, Amital, with the intention of retiring, asked the management of Yeshivat Har Etzion to select his successors. The yeshiva chose Rabbis Yaaqov Medan and Baruch Gigi.[8] On January 4, 2006, Medan and Gigi were officially invested as co-roshei yeshiva alongside Amital and Aharon Lichtenstein.

On September 25, 2008, Amital officially announced his retirement in the yeshiva, to take effect on the last day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, in the year 5769 (October 28, 2008). He also announced that Mosheh Lichtenstein, the son of his co-Rosh Yeshiva Aharon Lichtenstein, would assume the position as the fourth Rosh Yeshiva on that same day.

Amital continued to be a prominent public figure in Israel, with a broad impact on matters of religious and national concern. His students and disciples are leading figures in many walks of life. He had developed an educational philosophy which combines deep faithfulness to tradition and ethical responsibility to society at large with commitment to the moral and spiritual flourishing of each individual.

Rav Amital died on July 9, 2010, and was laid to rest in the Har Hamenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem, where thousands attended his funeral.

Published works

  • • Jewish Values in a Changing World ISBN 0-88125-881-4
  • • Commitment and Complexity: Jewish Wisdom in an Age of Upheaval ISBN 1-60280-030-8
  • • A World Built, Destroyed and Rebuilt, Rabbi Yehudah Amital's Confrontation with the Memory of the Holocaust ISBN
  • • By Faith Alone: The Story of Rabbi Yehuda Amital ISBN 1-59264-192-X


  • • ^ Mandel, Jonah; Clinton, Daniel. "Rabbi Yehuda Amital dies at 85 in J'lem". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  • • Yehuda Amital on the Knesset website
  • • Alan Brill, "Worlds Destroyed, Worlds Rebuilt: The Religious Thought of R. Yehudah Amital"
  • • Series of shiurim by R. Yehuda Amital entitled Jewish Values in a Changing World, posted by The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash of Yeshivat Har Etzion
  • • Updated biography
  • • Updated bibliography
  • • Hespedim (eulogies) given for Rav Yehuda Amital zt"l
  • • By Faith Alone, The Story of Rav Yehuda Amital, by Elyashiv Reichner
  • • {http://www.jewishreviewofbooks.com/publications/detail/the-audacity-of-faith] Yehudah Mirsky, The Audacity of Faith

About הרב יהודה עמיטל (עברית)

  • • לעבדך באמת, לדמותו ולדרכו של הרב יהודה עמיטל, עורכים: ראובן ציגלר וראובן גפני
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Rabbi Yehuda Amital's Timeline

October 31, 1924
Oradea, Oradea, Bihor County, Romania
July 9, 2010
Age 85
Jerusalem, Israel