As Shaarei Tefillah's first full-time rabbi, Rabbi Benjamin Samuels has endeavored to intensify and strengthen the shul's threefold mission of Torah, Tefillah (prayer), and Darkhei Noam (communal responsibility). Rabbi Samuels explains: "As rabbi, I certainly aspire to fulfill the classic rabbinical roles of teacher, halakhic decisor, and counselor by providing rabbinical services, but more central to my personal vision of the contemporary Modern Orthodox rabbinate, I aspire to empower individuals to take their own religious identities and spiritual destinies into their own hands. All of Shaarei's administrative, ritualistic, and educational programming strives to be inclusive, participatory, and multi-vocal. Our goal is to make Shaarei an exceptional Makom Torah (religious institution) by helping every member grow in Torah living everyone, men and women, children and adults."
Rabbi Samuels is an officer of the Vaad Harabonim of Massachusetts and a junior member of its Beit Din, a member of the Executive Board of the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, a member of the Board of Jewish Education of Massachusetts, a member of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Alumni Board, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. Rabbi Samuels pursued his formal education primarily at Yeshiva University, where he earned a BA in English Literature, and as a Wexner Graduate Fellow, achieved an MA in both Bible and Medieval Jewish History from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and most importantly, 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.
We in the congregation have found ourselves blessed with a rabbi of considerable warmth, humor, and intellect, as well as wisdom beyond his youthful years. Our rabbi has proven himself equal to the task of enlarging 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.
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