Dr. Michael (Avi) Helfand is a Senior Fellow of the Kogod Research Center at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. He is currently the Brenden Mann Foundation Chair in Law and Religion and Co-Director of the Nootbaar Institute for Law, Religion and Ethics at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law as well as Florence Rogatz Visiting Professor at Yale Law School.
Avi received his J.D. from Yale Law School and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University. A frequent author and lecturer, his work considers how the state treats religious law, custom and practice.
Avi’s academic articles have appeared in numerous law journals, including the Yale Law Journal and the New York University Law Review. He also often provides commentary on clashes between law and religion, writing for various general audience publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Forward, and has provided legal commentary for various news outlets, including the New York Times, PBS, and Huffington Post.
In addition to his academic work, Avi is Senior Legal Advisor to the Orthodox Union’s Teach Coalition and an executive board member of the Beth Din of America, where he also serves as a consultant on the enforceability of rabbinical arbitration agreements and awards in U.S. courts.