Rabbi Benjamin Joseph Samuels
As Shaarei Tefillah’s rabbi since 1995, Rabbi Benjamin 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 own 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 the President of the Vaad Harabonim of Massachusetts and a member of its Beit Din. He represents the Vaad as a member of the Executive Board of the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts. He is a Master Teacher at Maayan: Torah Inititiatives for Jewish Women, a Genesis Scholar at Combined Jewish Philanthropies and a member of CJP’s Board of Governors. He is a member of the Maimonides School Board of Trustees. Rabbi Samuels is an instructor for Meah.
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. Rabbi Samuels is currently a doctoral candidate at Boston University in its “Science and Religion” program.
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.