DR. RAPPEL received his PhD from the University Professors Program at Boston University, where he specialized in Jewish history and rabbinic literature. He grew up in Israel where he lived most his life and where he also worked for 40 years as a journalist and senior program editor at the Israel Broadcasting Authority. Dr. Rappel was the founder and director of the Elie Wiesel Archive at Boston University from 2009 until 2015. Dr. Rappel has published 34 books, which have been translated into 8 languages, edited more than 80 (mostly academic) and written numerous articles, primarily in the fields of Israeli history and the history of the Jewish prayer book (the Siddur). His main focus is the connection between Jewish history and the evolution of the Jewish prayer book.
"Each morning, upon entering the Office of the President of the State of Israel, I am greeted by the handwritten text of my grandfather, Rabbi Yitzhak Isaac Halevi Herzog of blessed memory. His timeless composition, Tefillah le-Shlom ha-Medinah – “Prayer for the Welfare of the State,” first publicized ahead of the Jewish New Year 5709 and now proudly displayed opposite my desk, is far more than a decorative family souvenir. It is a liturgical study of profound theological depth, which aims to fundamentally encapsulate the spiritual awakening of the Jewish Nation. For me, reciting my grandfather’s poignant verses in the heart of Jerusalem aligns my inner compass. It crystalizes my mission as a member of the Jewish People and serves as an unambiguous reminder of my role as president of the only Jewish, democratic state in the world. Dr. Joel Rappel‘s Politics and Prayer illuminates through unprecedented research how the Tefillah le-Shlom ha-Medinah is a prayer befitting this modern- day miracle. ough the Tefillah le-Shlom ha-Medinah was well received from its earliest days, even more striking is the fact that it remains a beloved, widely accepted prayer in virtually every Jewish stream and community in the world. We have been greatly blessed, and we ask only that He who blessed us “Ordain peace in the land and grant its inhabitants eternal happiness.”
- Isaac Herzog President of the State of Israel