Shraga Simmons (born 1 July 1961) is an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, journalist, filmmaker, brand builder and leader in Torah-themed marketing. He is the co-founder of Aish.com, the educational website with 500,000 unique email subscribers, and co-founder of HonestReporting, the pro-Israel media watch group. He is also Founder and Director of the online Torah academy JewishPathways.com, and has produced a number of award-winning online films including "Google Exodus."
|Nationality||United States, Israel|
|Alma mater||University of Texas at Austin|
|Known for||Jewish outreach, media coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict|
Simmons was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism, he worked as a reporter for newspapers and magazines. In 1994, he received rabbinic ordination from the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. He served three years as Director of Outreach for Aish HaTorah in Los Angeles.
He was a close student of Rabbi Noah Weinberg, served as his ghostwriter for 20 years, and co-authored the best-selling 48 Ways to Wisdom. He is often quoted as a rabbinical authority in print and online media. He is author of: LifeWisdom Series; the Discovery Seminar sourcebook; "Ask the Rabbi" series featured on various websites; courses on Brachot, Middot, Jewish History; "Shraga's Weekly" on Chumash; reporting for Ami magazine and Mishpacha magazine; and hundreds of essays on spirituality, translated into 10 languages.
Simmons is an activist in matters regarding media bias relating to the Arab–Israeli conflict. In 2000, he co-founded HonestReporting.com, the pro-Israel media watch group. In 2012, he authored David & Goliath, a study of Western media bias in coverage of the Arab–Israeli conflict. As a historical study of the years 2000-2011, the book is sourced with over 2,000 footnotes and includes statistical studies that claim to document a pervasive pro-Palestinian slant in the New York Times, CNN and much of the British media. The book met with critical acclaim, with the Wall Street Journal calling it "crucially important" and the Boston Globe describing it as "astonishing, infuriating, illuminating."
In 2006 he produced a short film "Photo Fraud in Lebanon" which became the first Jewish-themed video to register 5 million views. In 2009 he produced a video which exposed glaring inconsistencies in media coverage of the Gaza flotilla raid.
In 2012 he wrote, directed and produced a short Internet film, The Red Line, explaining the urgency of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The film was viewed by over one million people in one week.
In 2017 he wrote, directed and produced Jerusalem: Unite or Divide?, a film and marketing campaign to promote the 50th anniversary of reunified Jerusalem.
- David & Goliath: The Explosive Inside Story of Media Bias in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Emesphere. 2012. ISBN 0-9840398-0-5.
Together with Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith of Aish.com, Simmons has co-edited four collections of articles which originally appeared on that website:
- 48 Ways to Wisdom. ArtScroll. 2017. ISBN 1-4226-1862-5.
- Like Water on a Rock. ArtScroll. 2011. ISBN 1-4226-1175-2.
- Heaven on Earth: Down to earth Jewish spirituality. Targum Press. 2002. ISBN 1-56871-206-5.
- Israel: Life in the shadow of terror. Targum Press. 2003. ISBN 1-56871-237-5.
- Triumph: Inspiring true stories of challenge and spiritual growth. Targum Press. 2006. ISBN 1-56871-411-4.
- "Antisemitism and the Holocaust" in Kornbluth, Doron (1999). Jewish Matters: A Pocketbook of Knowledge and Inspiration. pp. 30–37. ISBN 1-56871-188-3.
- Greenberg, Karen J. (2006). The Torture Debate in America. Cambridge University Press. p. 167. ISBN 0-521-85792-9.
- "Rabbi's Sermons – Does Judaism Allow Cloning?". Mishkan Torah Synagogue. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
- Kazilsky, Amy (8 January 2009). "Genesis Reads Like a Sibling Rivalry Primer". Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
- Memberg, Fran. "Organ Donation, a Lifesaving Mitzvah: Beth Jacob Member Needs a Kidney". Atlanta Jewish News. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
- Haist, Paul (15 November 2008). "Chosen Pets: May Fido have the lobster?". Jewish Review. Archived from the original on 7 January 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
- "Second Look". torah.org. 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
- Gerstenfeld, Manfred; Green, Ben (Fall 2004). "Watching the Pro-Israel Media Watchers". Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
- David House, "A Picture is Worth... Ah...", Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 27, 2006.
- Chottiner, Lee. "U.S. Jews play 'historic role' in campaigning for Israel". The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 9 February 2011.