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|Born||January 1, 1947|
Johannesburg, South Africa
|Citizenship||U.S. naturalized citizen (1973)|
|Occupation||American Orthodox rabbi|
Radio Show Host
|Organization||American Alliance of Jews and Christians, Toward Tradition|
Daniel Lapin (born January 1, 1947) is a South African-born American Orthodox rabbi, author, and public speaker who heads the "American Alliance of Jews and Christians". He was previously the founding rabbi of the Pacific Jewish Center in Venice, California, and the former head of Toward Tradition, the Commonwealth Loan Company and the Cascadia Business Institute. Lapin currently hosts a daily television program with his wife, Susan, and provides spiritual advice to people through his website.
Lapin was born on January 1, 1947, in Johannesburg, South Africa, to a family of Lithuanian Jewish descents. He was the eldest of four siblings. His father, A. H. Lapin, was the nephew of Rabbi Elya Lopian (1872-1970), and served as a prominent and outspoken Orthodox rabbi in Johannesburg and Cape Town. His father eventually established an Orthodox synagogue (Am Echad) in San Jose, California, after leaving South Africa in the 1970s. Lapin emigrated with his family from South Africa to the United States in the 1970s, and became a naturalized United States citizen in 1973. Prior to coming to the United States, he studied in Yeshivas in Gateshead and Jerusalem. Lapin has rabbinic ordination from three institutions: Gateshead Yeshiva (1969); Yeshiva Knesset Hezekiah in Israel (1972); and from Rabbi Jacob Ruderman in Baltimore, Maryland (1975).
While in his early twenties he returned to South Africa and taught physics and Bible in Yeshiva College of South Africa. In order to finance his planned move to Israel, Lapin formed a company, "Lapin Marine Enterprises" to manufacture boats. When he made enough money to finance his plans, he sold the company and went to New York in 1973, planning to stay one month in the US and then move to Israel. Lapin had a change of heart, and instead of moving to Israel, he partnered with Rabbi Matis Weinberg, the son of a prominent rabbi in Baltimore, and started a yeshiva for high school and post-high school students in California, Kerem College, in Santa Clara, in 1976.
His family re-located to Washington State in 1991 to develop Toward Tradition, and to host a nationally syndicated weekly radio show.
Lapin has two brothers, David and Raphael, who are also Orthodox rabbis and have similar educational backgrounds. His sister is married to an American rabbi. Lapin's wife and business partner, Susan Lapin, is also an author and lecturer.
From 1976 until 1991 Lapin was the rabbi of the Pacific Jewish Center in Venice, California. During those years Lapin and Michael Medved helped to revitalize the synagogue, which viewed itself as functioning as part of the recent Baal teshuva movement. The Center is known for its outreach to unaffiliated and disconnected Jews, and the Shul remains the last of the synagogues built in Venice during the first part of the 20th century. Due to its location in an eclectic neighborhood, worshippers who identify themselves from many different denominations are all welcomed, and attend services and other events. Actors Barbra Streisand and Richard Dreyfuss participated in the religious community and synagogue.
In 1995, Lapin began to broadcast a weekly radio talk show on KVI in Seattle. The show ended in 2006 when he began hosting a Sunday afternoon radio show on KSFO in San Francisco. He is frequently interviewed on the Mike Gallagher Show, the Michael Medved Show, and the Wallbuilders radio show. Lapin and his wife, Susan Lapin, also appear in the daily television program "Ancient Jewish Wisdom with Rabbi Daniel Lapin" produced by the TCT Television Network. Lapin has also been a frequent guest of Dave Ramsey on The Dave Ramsey Show on radio and television and on the Glenn Beck Program on Fox News Channel and TheBlaze.
Lapin is the founder of the Lifecodex Publishing Company, which is a Web site that handles the sale of his publications and markets his services as a lecturer to businesses, church groups, and other conservative organizations. Lapin's site has over 40,000 subscribers that he provides with a weekly e-mail containing his teachings and spiritual advice. The site also has archived podcasts from his show on KSFO, as well as links to numerous television appearances that he has made. The site also contains a section where people can purchase his books, CDs, and DVD.
In addition to many books that he has written, Lapin has lectured throughout the United States at different synagogues, businesses, and charities. He has also been quoted by many authors, including Dr. James Kennedy in "How Would Jesus Vote", and by Joseph A. D'Agostino in the National Conservative Weekly Newsletter. Lapin has also spoken for the Heritage Foundation and at the 1996 Republican National Convention.
Lapin has given lectures and public speeches to hundreds of companies and organizations, and continues to do so at locations throughout the United States. Some of his most notable speeches include addressing the Young America's Foundation at their Fifth Annual High School Conference at the Reagan Ranch Center in 2011, the 1996 Republican National Convention, and the Congressional Bi-Partisan reception for the 106th Congress in 1999. He has given speeches and lectures for organizations and companies, including the Christian Coalition, Crystal Cathedral, Harvard Law School, the Heritage Foundation, Voices United for Israel, and the Young Presidents' Organization. He has also appeared on many talk shows, including the Glenn Beck Program, the Focus on the Family with Dr. James Dobson, and National Public Radio.
Lapin has written many books, most of them self-published by LifeCodex publishing, most of which are available only as audio books.
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Lapin promotes conservative political principles, intermixed with traditional religious observance. Lapin was one of the Jewish voices in support of Mel Gibson's successful film The Passion of the Christ, and was a strong supporter of the efforts by Terri Schiavo's parents to keep their daughter alive. He is also a strong supporter of Pope Pius XII as a righteous gentile, a term he believes should be renamed "righteous Christian". Lapin has called the United States the most "Jewish-friendly" state in history because of its Christian heritage. He argues that it is better for Jews to promote shared Judeo-Christian values with the majority than promote solely Jewish values. He has also called secular liberalism a danger to Judeo-Christian values, and claimed that the Holocaust Memorial Museum presents anti-Christian propaganda; he says that the museum ignores, for example, the work of Corrie ten Boom's family in unconditionally saving Jews during World War II. Lapin has declared that the Anti-Defamation League and its allies are "dangerous organizations that are driving a wedge between American Jews and Christians". Referring to ADL national director Abraham Foxman, Lapin claimed that by calling The Passion of the Christ anti-Semitic, "what he is saying is that the only way (for Christians) to escape the wrath of Foxman is to repudiate (their own) faith". Lapin also rejects the idea that the Jewish left represents Judaism. He has excoriated Jewish liberals for their promotion of ideas he views as contrary to traditional Judaism, such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and socialism. He argues that Jewish-born liberals have redefined "Judaism" to mean "liberalism" - and redefined "anti-liberalism" as "anti-Semitism". Lapin has said: "It is time for us to recognize the charge of anti-Semitism for what it often is: a political weapon intended to silence critics of liberalism."
Lapin has spoken against the secularization of Christmas, saying that, "We see obsequious regard for faiths like Judaism and even Islam, while Christianity is treated with contempt". He is opposed to replacing the "Merry Christmas" greeting with "Happy Holidays", saying, "Let us all go out of our way to wish our many wonderful Christian friends a very merry Christmas ... Nationwide, Christmas Nativity scenes are banned from city halls and shopping malls, but Chanukah menorahs are permitted."
Lapin asks: "Does God want people to be rich?" ... "Yes!", he says, because God "wants us to be obsessively preoccupied by one another's needs", a habit that the commerce relationship fosters. "Wealth is a consequence of doing the right thing", he says. He argues that the Torah supports the free market and opposes punitive taxation, and wants people to pass on assets to their descendants, rather than being taken by the government by inheritance taxes.
Lapin has received endorsements from Dave Ramsey, Dr. Kenneth L. Hutcherson, Dr. James Dobson, Dr. Pat Robertson, and Zig Ziglar. In 1998, he was recognized by Seattle Magazine as one of the "Four Faces of Faith" and featured in an article that included three other religious leaders. In 2007, he was named by Newsweek as one of the top 50 rabbis in America.
Lapin has been linked to the scandal of Jack Abramoff through his organization Toward Tradition. From the early 1990s until 2004, Abramoff was a board member of the organization, which required its board members to contribute at least $10,000 per year to the organization, and served a few terms as Chairman of the Board. Abramoff met his contribution one year by donating $10,000 from the Capital Athletic Foundation, an organization Abramoff controlled. E-mails later surfaced that were alleged to have been sent between Lapin and Abramoff. In these e-mails, Abramoff requests that Lapin create fake awards for Talmudic studies to help Abramoff gain admittance to the Cosmos Club in Washington, D. C. Lapin later released a formal statement denying having given any awards to Abramoff, and stated that he was joking in the e-mails and believed that Abramoff was as well.
Lapin told the interviewer that he "is the oldest child" brother of Rabbi David Lapin and Rabbi Raphael Lapin; their sister is Rebbetzin Judith Chill. Their father was the notable South African Rabbi Avraham Hyam Lapin (1912-1991), who was a nephew of Rabbi Elyah Lopian (1876-1970). Lapin married Susan Friedberg on 15 May 1979. They have six daughters and one son.
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