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Our Rabbi

Rabbi Benjamin Joseph Samuels, PhD

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As Shaarei Tefillah’s rabbi since 1995, Rabbi Benjamin J. Samuels has endeavored to intensify and strengthen our shul’s threefold mission of Torah, Tefillah (prayer), and Darkhei Noam (chesed and communal responsibility). Rabbi Samuels explains: “As rabbi, I certainly aspire to fulfill the classic rabbinical roles of teacher, posek (halakhic decisor), and pastoral counselor by providing rabbinical services, but more central to my personal vision of the contemporary rabbinate, I aspire to empower individuals to take their religious identities and spiritual destinies into their own hands. All of Shaarei’s ritual, educational, and outreach programming strives to be inclusive and participatory. Our goal is to make Shaarei an exceptional Makom Torah by helping every member grow in Torah living — everyone: men and women, children and adults.”

Rabbi Samuels is immediate-past president of the Vaad Harabonim of New England and a member of its Beit Din. He is a Master Teacher at Maayan: Torah Study from the Sources, a Genesis Scholar at Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and an instructor for CJP/Hebrew College's Meah adult education program. 

He earned his semikhah (rabbinical ordination) from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Rabbi Samuels also spent three years studying advanced Talmud in Israel at Yeshivat Har Etzion (Gush) and Yeshiva University’s Gruss Kollel. He holds a PhD in Science, Philosophy, and Religion from Boston University, and a MA in Biblical Studies and Medieval Jewish History, and a BA in English Literature from Yeshiva University. 

We in the congregation have found ourselves blessed with a rabbi of considerable warmth, humor, intellect, and wisdom. Our rabbi has helped our community enlarge our inspiration and knowledge, enhancing our seasons of joy, strengthening and advising us in times of difficulty, and leading us with a shared vision of Jewish sanctity and vitality.

Sat, September 21 2019 21 Elul 5779