web analytics
May 4, 2015 / 15 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


RABBIS R' US

What Israeli Rabbis Can Learn from their American Counterparts: Communal Leadership

In cities and towns across Israel, the missing, pivotal character who could serve as a locus for spiritual needs, informal education and charitable programs is the communal rabbi, argue the founders of the Barkai Center for Practical Rabbinics.
Rabbi David Fine (L.) and Rabbi Shlomo Sobol (R.), founders of the Barkai Center for Practical Rabbinics.

Rabbi David Fine (L.) and Rabbi Shlomo Sobol (R.), founders of the Barkai Center for Practical Rabbinics.
Photo Credit: Lovka.com

In cities and towns across Israel, the missing, pivotal character who could serve as a locus for spiritual needs, informal education and charitable programs is the communal rabbi, argue the founders of the Barkai Center for Practical Rabbinics.

“The shul in Israel has always been perceived as, basically, a place to go daven, and maybe catch a class. It provides a service,” says Rabbi David Fine, one of the two founders of Barkai. “We feel that there’s a growing desire to create more of a community around the synagogues.”

Unfortunately, most Israeli rabbis have never been trained to fill the role of communal rabbi as it is performed by rabbis in the U.S..

Barkai’s founders Rabbi David Fine and Rabbi Shlomo Sobol aim to improve the fabric of Israeli society by giving Israeli rabbis the skills they need to lead their communities to “a more meaningful connection with Judaism.” They want their new center to “act as a unifying force in Israeli society.”

“In the U.S., we take it for granted that a community rabbi is someone you can turn to in times of trouble,” Rabbi Fine continues. “In the Jewish State that’s not always the case. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis, religious and secular, are spiritually adrift. They have questions about their Judaism. They would love to be part of a warm community, to be inspired, to learn, and to make their life cycle events and holidays more meaningful. They are searching for a Jewish role model who can speak to them.”

Rabbi David Fine, 43, holds a BA with honors in Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, an MA in Jewish History, and received his rabbinic ordination from the Joseph Straus Rabbinical Seminary in Efrat, Israel. He has served as a rabbi in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Overland Park, Kansas, and has been involved in overseeing communal Jewish services such as kosher certification, eruv maintenance, and burial.

Rabbi Fine made aliyah in 2008. He is a staff member of Yeshivat Meir Harel, the Hesder Yeshiva of Modi’in, the Program Coordinator for Jewish Identity at the Modi’in Community Center and teaches adult education at Sha’arei Yonah Menachem Congregation in Modi’in.

Rabbi Shlomo Sobol, 42, is an eighth-generation Jerusalem native who studied in Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav for ten years and served in the IDF Artillery Corps. He received his ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate in 1997 and has a Master’s Degree in Talmud from Bar-Ilan University.

Rabbi Sobol headed the Torah MiTzion Kollel in Detroit for four years and has served as Rabbinic Consultant for the Torah MiTzion network ever since. He is also a licensed marriage counselor, a certified mediator, and has headed the Sha’arei Yonah Menachem Congregation in Modi’in for seven years, where he is well known for his work in education and immigrant absorption.

“When we started trying to recruit students, we got calls from communities – already asking if we had rabbis for them” reports Rabbi Fine. “There’s a real thirst out there for community rabbis and there’s a real need for it.”

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau has agreed to become the president of Barkai, and the organization has already received the endorsement of the entire “senior generation” – as Fine puts it – of the Religious Zionist rabbis, including Rabbis Druckman, Arial (ramat Gan), and Rabinowitz  (Maale Adumim), as well as UJA President Natan Sharansky.

This week they launched their first class, with about 20 students (out of some 100 applicants – well above the founders’ expectations) which will receive 500 hours of instruction. Rabbi Lau and Zevolun Orlev spoke, as well as a few of the local dignitaries of Modiin.

Personally, I believe the true miracle of the Barkai endeavor is in the fact that they found so many Israelis willing to learn from Americans about the rabbinate… We wish them great success, and please keep us posted.

Click here to visit the Barkai Center.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “What Israeli Rabbis Can Learn from their American Counterparts: Communal Leadership”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman Resigning from FM, Quiting Coalition, Heading to Opposition
Latest News Stories
Avigdor Liberman

Avigdor Liberman, unhappy with the coalition talks dropped a political bombshell today.

Computers at Har Etzion Yeshiva

Students at the Har Etzion Yeshiva in Gush Etzion open up their laptops to study Gemorah.

President Reuven Rivlin said Monday morning that the Ethiopian protests against police brutality and racism “revealed an open and raw wound at the heart of Israeli society.” Speaking at a meeting in his office with mayors and heads of the ultra-Orthodox municipalities and local council, the President added, “We must look directly at this open […]

Police and medics treat terrorist who was shot after trying to stab a guard at the light rail.

An Arab terrorist was shot and injured shortly before noon Monday when he tried to stab one or more people at the French Hill light rail station in Jerusalem. A light rail guard said the terrorist tried to attack him from behind with a knife. The guard was able to shoot the terrorist, 35 years […]

The Islamic State reportedly has deployed forces near the border.

Carson’s never having held a political office is a disadvantage – and a big advantage for those fed up with professional politicians.

Shooting at AFDI’s Mohammed cartoon art contest in Texas, two dead.

Hundreds of Israeli Ethiopians continued protests in Tel Aviv on Sunday, blocking traffic on the Ayalon Highway and elsewhere in the city.

Rabbi Nechemya Wilhelm, director of Ohr Menachem-Bangkok Chabad House, is one of the recipients of the Jerusalem Unity Award.

Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau is warning citizens not to travel to Tunisia, especially during Lag B’Omer.

‘Survey Monkey’ CEO David Goldberg, husband of Facebook exec Sheryl Sandberg, dies suddenly Friday night at age 47.

A 37-year old Chareidi man, Meir Lebel “haRakdan haYerushalmi” (the dancing Jerusalemite), was seen breathing fire at the Kotel, the Tower of David and other locations in Jerusalem’s Old City on April 29, 2015. Fire breathing is the act of creating a plume of fire by breathing a stream of fuel over an open flame. […]

Rescue workers have found the body of the last missing Israeli, 22-year-old Or Ashraf, on Mt. Everest in a “complicated” location.

“DouxMatok’s technology will allow for a reduction of 30-60 percent of sugar in a product, depending on the application, and with no effect on taste.”

More Articles from Yori Yanover
rain ATM

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last […]

Rabbi Meir Mazuz (seen visiting a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) declared in a public Internet psak that it is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount.

Needless to say, Shas, the Haredi Sefardi party, is not happy.

“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”

Here’s the Israeli Navy boat INS Hanit arriving in Eilat on Saturday, March 8, 2014, after capturing the Klos C, which was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied weapons made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. Here’s Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg speaking with the INS Hanit soldiers in […]

Pat Condell has a new video out, so, sit back, have fun. By the way, Message to Offended Muslims should not be confused with Message to Off Handed Muslims. Also, I’d love to hear what he has to say about Haredim.

The description that came with this picture says: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American actor Bette Midler during an event at the house of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in Hollywood on March 6, 2014. But Bette Midler is not really an actor, she’s a singer who made movies for the LGBT community and […]

We will shut them up in the campuses, we will shut them up in the high schools, we will shut them up at the 92nd St. Y.

An Israeli female soldier (because they’re better at removing babies from their homes) evacuates a baby from a settlement in Judea and Samaria some time in the recent past. I’m thinking, if the baby was angry enough, couldn’t he evacuate in return, right there in her arms? Imagine the same picture, except with a settler […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/83619/2012/10/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: