Golinkin, David

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GOLINKIN, DAVID (1955– ), Conservative rabbi, leader, and posek (halakhic authority), was born and raised in Arlington, Virginia. After moving to Israel in 1972, he earned a B.A. in Jewish History and two teaching certificates from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He then received an M.A., rabbinical ordination, and a Ph.D. in Talmud from the *Jewish Theological Seminary (jts) in New York where he taught Talmud from 1980–82.

Upon returning to Israel in 1982, he taught Talmud and Jewish Law at Neve Schechter, the Jerusalem branch of jts, until 1990. In 1987, he began to teach Jewish Law at the Seminary of Judaic Studies (later renamed the *Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies) which was founded in 1984 in order to train Israeli Conservative/Masorti rabbis. After serving as assistant dean and then dean of the Schechter Institute beginning in 1990, he was chosen as president in 2000.

Golinkin played a large part in the growth of the Schechter Institute during those years, as it grew rapidly from a small rabbinical school into four amutot (non-profits): the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, an accredited Israeli graduate school; the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary for Israelis and for visiting Conservative rabbinical students from jts, the *University of Judaism, and the *Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano; the tali Education Fund which provides enriched Jewish education to 25,000 Israeli children in 140 tali schools and pre-schools; and Midreshet Yerushalayim which teaches Jewish studies to Russian immigrants in Israel and to Jews in Ukraine and Hungary. Golinkin stated that his dream is to provide every Israeli and Eastern European Jew with a Jewish education.

Golinkin has published widely in various fields of Jewish studies. He is the author or editor of 31 books and almost 200 articles including Rediscovering the Art of Jewish Prayer (1997); Ginzei Rosh Hashanah: Manuscripts of Bavli Rosh Hashanah from the Cairo Genizah (2000); Megillat Hashoah, a liturgy for Yom Hashoah (2003); Insight Israel: The View from Schechter (2003); and works by Theodore *Friedman, Gershon *Levi, and Hayyim *Kieval.

Golinkin, however, is known primarily as one of the leading posekim in the worldwide Conservative/Masorti movement. He served on the Va'ad Halakhah (Law Committee) of the Rabbinical Assembly of Israel from its inception in 1985 and has served as its chair for most of those years. Golinkin authored many of the responsa published by the Va'ad and edited volumes 4–6.

Golinkin also authored a column entitled "Responsa" which appeared in Moment magazine from 1990–96. Those responsa were collected in Responsa in a Moment (2000).

Golinkin felt that it was very important to publish or republish Conservative responsa. To that end, he published An Index of Conservative Responsa and Practical Halakhic Studies 1917–1990 (1992); The Responsa of Professor Louis Ginzberg (1996); Proceedings of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement 1927–1970 (1997); and Responsa and Halakhic Studies by Rabbi Isaac Klein (2005). He also founded the Institute of Applied Halakhah at the Schechter Institute in 1996 in order to publish a library of halakhic works in various languages for the worldwide Conservative/Masorti movement.

Golinkin viewed the status of women in Jewish law as one of the main halakhic challenges of our time. He therefore devoted many responsa to this topic and helped found the Center for Women in Jewish Law at the Schechter Institute in 1999. In that capacity, Golinkin authored The Status of Women in Jewish Law: Responsa (2001) and edited The Jewish Law Watch (2000–03), To Learn and To Teach (2004ff.), and Za'akat Dalot: Halakhic Solutions for the Agunot of our Time (2006), all of which were published by the Center.

Golinkin's responsa and halakhic studies are known for their thoroughness, examining all sides of every issue using a wide range of talmudic, medieval, and modern sources. In Halakhah for Our Time: A Conservative Approach to Jewish Law (1991), Golinkin maintains that there are six characteristics of Conservative responsa, including preference for a kula (leniency) over a humra (stringency), the use of a historic-scientific approach, and an emphasis on the ethical component in Jewish law. Golinkin is firmly committed to the halakhic tradition but allows for change and flexibility in Jewish law, provided that such change is well-grounded in talmudic and halakhic sources.


J. Adler, The Jerusalem Post (November 10, 2000), b12; S. Berkovic, The Jerusalem Post (May 3, 2002), b12; R. Brody, jqr xcii/1–2 (July–October 2001), 182–184; D. Ellenson, Between Tradition and Culture (1994), 101–114; Sh. Freedman, In the Service of God (1995), 61–73; M.Z. Fuchs, Mada'ei ha-Yahadut 40 (5760), 211–215; M.S. Geller, Conservative Judaism, 55:4 (Summer 2003), 92–93; G. Lichtman, In Jerusalem (October 6, 2000), 4; Sh. L. Sappir, jts Magazine, 10:2 (Winter 2001), 16–17; Y. Sheleg, Haaretz (July 7, 2000), b7; Z. Zohar, Tarbiz, 68:2 (5759), 303–308; idem, Nashim, 7 (2004), 240–246.

[Monique Susskind Goldberg (2nd ed.)]