Rabbi Aryeh (Robert) Klapper
Dean / Rabbi

Rabbi Aryeh (Robert) Klapper

Rabbi Aryeh Klapper is Dean of the Center for Modern Torah Leadership, Rosh Beit Midrash of its Summer Beit Midrash Program and a member of the Boston Beit Din. He previously served as Orthodox Adviser and Associate Director for Education at Harvard Hillel, as Talmud Curriculum Chair at Maimonides High School and as Instructor of Rabbinics and Medical Ethics at Gann Academy. Rabbi Klapper has published in Tradition, Meorot, Dinei Yisrael, Beit Yitzchak and other journals and has presented at numerous academic and community conferences. He is a popular lecturer who is consulted internationally on issues of Jewish law and whose work is cited regularly by both academic and traditional scholars. In the words of Harvard Hillel Executive Director Dr. Bernard Steinberg, he is "provocative and evocative.”  


In his decade of service at Harvard Hillel, Rabbi Klapper's innovative teaching and personal warmth attracted a broad range of students to his classes and home, and Harvard and MIT grads and undergrads are still frequent guests at Shabbat meals.  Rabbi Klapper's achievement in the area of Modern Orthodox leadership development is striking. One of every eight male Orthodox students to come through Harvard during his tenure has gone on to study for the rabbinate, and many more of both genders have taken advanced degrees in Jewish studies and/or taught in day schools. His SBM and Harvard alumni are already playing significanr leadership roles in the Jewish community as JLI Fellows, community rabbis, day school administrators and educators, academics, etc..

Rabbi Klapper's work at Harvard also had significant impact on developing non-Orthodox leaders. Harvard graduates are the spearhead of the growing movement within Conservative Judaism for "halakhic egalitarianism", and have founded innovative communities in various East Coast cities. Alumni attending JTS and RRC call him for advice and counsel, and gabbaim of the Student Conservative and Reform minyanim attended his classes and asked him for halakhic guidance and decisions. He accomplished all this from an explicit and uncompromised Orthodox stance.  

Rabbi Klapper also earned the respect of Harvard faculty. His innovative PARTNERSHIPS educational programs involved parallel presentations with faculty in their area of expertise, and his Faculty Talmud class was started by request after several such programs. His academic credentials within the Jewish Studies communities have been burnished by several well-received papers at the Association of Jewish Studies.    

Academic Publications and Academic Conference Presentation  

  • How Should Ethically Challenging Texts be Taught? (January, 2008). Teaching Rabbinic Literature: Bridging Scholarship and Pedagogy, Brandeis University 
  • Respondent to Moshe Sokolow,  Tradition and Innovation in Rabbinic Literature: The Or ha-Hayyim on Parshanut Ha-mikra, Biblical Exegesis. (January, 2008).  Teaching Rabbinic Literature: Bridging Scholarship and Pedagogy, Brandeis University.  
  • The Meiri’s Halakhah about Christians and Christianity: A Response to Halbertal .(2007)Association for Jewish Studies 39th Annual Conference
  •  The Promise of Abraham: A Review Essay. (Winter, 2007). Tradition. 
  •  Conversation:Ethics and War. (January, 2007)Meorot
  • בענין ממזרות ובדיקת רקמותבית יצחק , 2007  
  • בענין קטלנית ואמונה באסטרולוגיהבית יצחק, 2007
  • Torture: Is it Always Immoral? (November,  2006). University of Scranton, Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute Symposium
  • "יום טוב שני בארץ ישראל לבן חוץ לארץבית יצחק, 2005  
  • A Review of Rational Rabbis ( 2005). Dinei Israel 23
  • Revisiting Confrontation after Forty Years: A Response to Rabbi Eugene Korn. (November, 2003). Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik on Interreligious Dialogue: Forty Years LaterBoston College Center for Christian-Jewish Learning
  • MetaHalakhah:A Review Essay. (Spring, 2000). Tradition
  • Eulogy as Philosophy: The PluralisticPhenomenology of R. Soloveitchik’s Halakhic Mind.” (2000)  Association for Jewish Studies 32nd Annual Conference
  • Amnon and Tamar: A Case Study in Allusions (co-authored with Posner, G. & Friedman, M.) (1999). Nachalah
  • Philosophy and Torah Study in the Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. (1998),  Association for Jewish Studies 30th Annual Conference
  • Truth,Tradition and Law in Contemporary Halakhic Judaism: Two Theological Models. (1996).  Association for Jewish Studies 28th Annual Conference.  
  • הזקן ממרא כגבור המסורת: פתיחה למאמר מקיף על יחס ההלכה למתנגדים לה לשמה",  בית יצחק,1994"   
  • בענין מצות שופרבית יצחק, 1990
  • הידור מצוה ו"הדר", בית יצחק 1988    

Rabbinic and Teaching Experience  

  • Dean, The Center for Modern Torah Leadership, 2007-present 
  • Instructor of Rabbinics and Medical Ethics, Gann Academy, 2005-present 
  • Rosh Beit Midrash, The Summer Beit Midrash, 1997-present 
  • Member, Rabbinic Court of Boston, 2001-present 
  • Orthodox Rabbinic Adviser, Harvard Hillel, 1995-6, 1997-2005 
  • Instructor, Maimonides High School, 1994-2003
  • Orthodox Adviser, Brandeis Hillel, 1996-7 
  • Member, Rabbinic Court of Elizabeth, 1994-5

Administrative Experience  

  • Dean, Center for Modern Torah Leadership, 2006-present
  • Rosh Beit Midrash, The Summer Beit Midrash, 1997-present
  • Associate Director for Education, Harvard Hillel, 2002-present 
  • Talmud Curriculum Chair, Maimonides High School, 2003-present 
  • Israel Initiative Director,Harvard Hillel, 2002-3 
  • Member, Maimonides High School Faculty Steering Committee, 1998-2000 
  • North Charles Community Eruv Corporation Board, 1998-present 
  • Co-Chair, Committee to Preserve Revel, 1991-92 
  • Editor in Chief, Hamevaser, 1988-89

Education
 
Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) Kollel L'Horaah, 1991-4 RIETS, 1989-93 (ordained March 1994) Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies (BRGS) -MA in Bible 1989 BRGS - PhD. Coursework in Talmud, 1990-94 Yeshiva College (YC), 1984-89 (BA in Political Science) Mesivta Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, 1981-84   

Fellowships and Awards 

Wexner Graduate Fellowship, 1989-93 BRGS Fellowship, 1988-89 Professor Michael Bernstein Award for Excellence in Bible (BRGS), 1989 Max Stern Scholarship, 1984-88 Isaac Araten Award for Excellence in Bible (YC), 1988 Isaac Bacon Award for Excellence in Humanities (YC), 1988 Academy of American Poets Award (YC), 1988