RABBI LAWRENCE HAJIOFF
SCHOLAR IN RESIDENCE
Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff
Originally from London, England, Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff graduated with honors in political science from Manchester University. After working for MTV in news production, and winning the national competition ‘Jewish Stand-Up Comedian’ of the Year, Rabbi Hajioff traveled to study in Israel and then Monsey to receive his rabbinical smicha ordination from Yeshiva Ohr Somayach.
Rabbi Hajioff was the educational director of Birthright Israel Alumni in Manhattan, New York. He has been instrumental in implementing programs for Birthright Israel and has led nearly thirty trips to Israel, Poland and Prague for hundreds of young professionals. Rabbi Hajioff is on the full time faculty of Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University.
His very popular credited courses include courses on Jewish Philosophy, Mashiach, Jewish holidays, Shabbat and many others. He received the "Professor of the Year" award in Judaic Studies from the senior year students at Stern.
His very popular book "Jew Got Questions" was a best seller and his follow up "Will Jew Marry Me?" Is online at Amazon.com and in stores now. His newest book "The Future - The Jewish Messiah, Israel and the End of Days" will be out fall 2017.
Rabbi Hajioff lives in Wesley Hills with his wife Anita, and their five children
Jewish Rights Activist
was born in France and grew up moving around the world from Paris, Miami, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Israel, New York, and Singapore. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the IDF Paratroopers and served as a sniper in the 101st Airborne Brigade, which he still serves as a reservist today. After the army, Rudy completed his bachelor’s degree at Columbia University since it was listed as the #1 most anti-Semitic school in North America. There, he founded the grassroots pro-Israel movement on campus, which revolutionized campus discourse and quickly became a model for international Zionist movements worldwide.
Rudy is considered a social media influencer with over 300,000 followers; creating educational viral content aimed at shifting the global, ideological, and political conversations regarding the Jewish People & Israel. His work primarily focuses on empowering Jews & allies, uniting sectors of Israeli society and generating innovative ways to combat anti-Semitism. He even got banned from Malaysia for being “too much of a Zionist”. In 2018, Rudy was chosen for the 36 Under 36 award of most influential Jews in the world for his work and activism. Rudy runs his own businesses and is a leader in several grassroots movements such as LAVI, VISION, and HaBayit, which focus on Jewish education and uniting Israeli & Palestinian local activists to craft a better collective reality for all inhabitants of the land without giving up on the aspirations of either population. Rudy also sits on the board of the American Zionist Movement (AZM) and on the board of The Israel Innovation Fund (TIIF), which showcases the story of Israel by promoting authentic Israeli culture and sustainable initiatives. In 2020, Rudy completed his MBA in Israel where he is now based and uses his background and expertise to inspire the next generation of Jews to narrate their own story and to write the next chapter of Jewish history.
Previous years Scholars
Ami Horowitz is an irreverent media personality. Ami is currently an on-air contributor for Fox News, creating satirical videos and expert analysis on a variety of topics, his videos have been seen over a hundred million times around the world.
Ami released the feature documentary U.N. Me, which he produced, directed and starred in. U.N. Me was one of the most talked about documentaries in recent years and was released theatrically and broadcast on television in 15 countries.
Ami has appeared on Fox News, Access Hollywood, CNN, NBC Nightly News, Morning Joe, the BBC, NPR, Russia Today, CSPAN among many others national television programs.
Ambassador Hillel Neuman
Ambassador Hillel Neuman
Ambassador Newman currently serves as Israel's Council General the US, Hillel has previously served as the Israeli ambassador to the Republics of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan,
Ambassador Newman has been an Israeli diplomat for the past 20 years. He earned a doctorate in Jewish history and Judaic studies from Israel’s Bar-Ilan University and mastered ancient Greek to research the history of Israel during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. In the mid-1980s, he served as a medic in the Israel Defense Forces during the Lebanon War. As a diplomat, he has served as the Israeli ambassador to the Republics of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, where his list of assignments included the preservation of Jewish cemeteries and “facilitation” of a supply of matzo and kosher wine for Passover.
For the past two years, Newman has served as a special policy adviser to Israeli Foreign Ministry Director Yuval Rotem, himself a former consul general in Los Angeles from 1999-2004.
As both an activist and a researcher, Newman was at the forefront of countering running attacks on the Jewish practices of circumcision and shechitah (ritual slaughtering). Today, he said, “Both Jewish life and identity are in jeopardy. There are the direct murderous attacks at synagogues in Pittsburgh and San Diego and the internal threats of assimilation and lack of Jewish education.”
A press release from the Foreign Ministry notes that Newman “has gathered extensive experience in professional advocacy, public speaking, networking, new media connectivity and the cultivation of both formal and informal contacts. … [He is] passionate about the preservation of global Jewish identity and the safety and security of the State of Israel.”
GOV. RELATIONS DIRECTOR UJA
Dani was born and raised in Sydney, Australia where he was an active member of the Jewish community, serving frequently as a lecturer and communal spokesperson on issues related to Israel and the Jewish People.
With degrees in political science, history and law, Dani moved to Israel in 1995. He has since worked in Israeli legal practice, and later led the effort to encourage foreign businesspeople to invest in Israeli companies at the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Dani also worked for seven years as a senior account executive at the Jerusalem offices of Ruder Finn Inc., one of the world’s largest public relations firms.
Since 2008, Dani has served as the director of Israeli government relations at The Jewish Federations of North America.
In Israel, Dani has been involved in a number of political, educational, social and social-action groups, and also serves as a reserve soldier in the IDF’s Spokespersons Unit. Today he lives in the city of Bet Shemesh with his wife and four children