July 1, 2009
Our Orthodox Rabbis and an Orthodox Maharat writing about how they see Judaism, Israel, the Jewish People and our world.
Rabbi Hyim Shafner is the Rabbi of Bais Abraham Congregation in St. Louis, Missouri. Prior to Bais Abraham Rabbi Shafner was the Rabbi of the St. Louis Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis for eight years. He has S’micha (Rabbinical Ordination), an MSW in social work and an MA in Jewish philosophy from Yeshiva University in New York City. Before coming to St. Louis Rabbi Shafner was the Rabbi of India where he and his wife, Sara Winkelman, spent a year working with the Indian Jewish community under the auspices of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. They have three children, and live in University City, Missouri. Rabbi Shafner is the author of The Everything Jewish Wedding Book.
Rabbi Asher Lopatin, spiritual leader of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation, a modern Orthodox synagogue in Chicago, received his ordination from Rav Ahron Soloveichik and Yeshivas Brisk in Chicago, and from Yeshiva University in New York as a Wexner Graduate Fellow; he is an honorary alumnus of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Lopatin holds an M.Phil. in Medieval Arabic Thought from Oxford University and has done doctoral work, also at Oxford University, on Islamic Fundamentalist attitudes toward Jews, while on a Rhodes Scholarship from Massachusetts (1987).
Rabbi Lopatin’s interest in being a pulpit rabbi stemmed from his leadership in at Hillel at Boston University and at the Jewish Society at Oxford University. He maintains his interest in Islam by co-chairing the Muslim-Jewish task force of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and lecturing frequently on Islam, the Quran, and fundamentalism.
In 2008 Rabbi Lopatin was named one of the top 25 pulpit rabbis in America by Newsweek magazine, and in 2009 Anshe Sholom was named as one of the 25 most vibrant congregations in America. He is Vice President of the multidenominational Chicago Board of Rabbis as well as a member of the Orthodox Chicago Rabbinical Council and the Rabbinical Council of America. He sits on the board, ex-officio, of the Chicago Jewish Day School, as well as the Jewish Council for Urban Affairs. Rabbi Lopatin is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute and contributes a regular parsha column to the Chicago Jewish News.
Married to Rachel Tessler Lopatin, and together with their children, Shayna, Cara, Judah and Gideon, Rabbi Lopatin plans aliya for the summer of 2011, to hopefully help build a pluralistic and diverse community in the Negev.
Mahara”t Sara Hurwitz serves on the Rabbinic staff at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale where she holds the title of Mahara”t, an acronym for Manhigah Hilchatit Ruchanit Toranit – a leader capable of serving the halakhic, spiritual and educational needs of her congregants. She graduated from Drisha’s three-year Scholars Circle Program and, completed five years of studying Jewish law under the supervision of Rabbi Avi Weiss. Concurrently, she served the congregation in many pastoral, teaching, and advisory roles. Upon completing her studies, Sara was conferred with this new tirle by Rabbi Avu Weiss, Rabbi Dr. Daniel Sperber, and Rabbi Joshua Maroof. Sara received a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University. She lectures throughout the United States and has authored several articles that have appeared in journals and books. Additionally, Sara has helped develop a Kallah Curriculum for prospective brides. She is married to Josh Abraham and is the mother of three sons.
Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky was ordained in 1989 at Yeshiva University, from where he also received a Master’s Degree in Jewish History. He began his rabbinic career in 1990, as the associate Rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, New York. The Hebrew Institute is one of the national flagships of Modern Orthodoxy. Rabbi Kanefsky came to B’nai David – Judea Congregation in Los Angeles in the summer of 1996. During his tenure, he has helped B’nai David – Judea emerge as a voice of creativity and innovation within Orthodoxy, and as a vital link between the Orthodox community and the larger Los Angeles Jewish community. He has also introduced changes in synagogue ritual and leadership intended to enhance the role of women in Orthodox life, and has established social action as a central dimension of the congregation’s activity.
He is a past president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, and a regular contributor to the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
Rabbi Kanefsky is married to Sari Abrams, and they have 3 sons: Ori 20, Adin 16, and Yakir, 8.
Rabbi Barry Gelman is Rabbi of United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston, Texas. Rabbi Gelman has also served as Rabbi at the Hebrew Institute if Riverdale, Congregation Shaar Hashomayin in Montreal, Canada and Kehilath Jeshurun in New York. He has S’micha (Rabbinical Ordination), and an MS in Jewish Education Yeshiva University in New York City. He is the author of Irresistable Judaism: A Collection of Inspirational Sermons and Essays.
Rabbi Zev Farber received his ordination (yoreh yoreh) and advanced ordination (yadin yadin) from YCT Rabbinical School. He is the founder of AITZIM (Atlanta Institute of Torah and Zionism) - a small adult-education initiative. Rabbi Farber serves on the board of the International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF) and is the coordinator of their Vaad Giyyur. He is also a PhD candidate at Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion.