The Jewish world lost a giant today, with the death of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein at the age of 81.
Rabbi Lichtenstein was the head of the Etz Hayyim Yeshiva, which is located in the settlement of Alon Shvut, in the West Bank. Rabbi Lichtenstein was an Orthodox religious Zionist, who believed that Jews should be allowed to live on the West Bank, as it was part of biblical Israel. He was the most respected leader of what would come to be called “Modern Orthodoxy” and his influence is felt today in such institutions as Yeshivat Hovevei Torah, the forward-thinking Orthodox Rabbinical school founded by Avi Weiss. He was also the most powerful and respected voice for demanding that religious Jews live according to the highest ethical and moral standards, including in the treatment of the Palestinians and in the conduct of war. He courageously took on other rabbinic authorities who he felt were distorting the moral nature of halakhic Judaism. Every Reform Jew should know his name, and revere his memory.