By Stacey Dresner
LONGMEADOW, Massachusetts – Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, former spiritual leader of Congregation Agudas Achim in West Hartford, has been appointed the new rabbi at Congregation B’nai Torah in Longmeadow, it was announced by the congregation’s president, Bob Kushner. Rabbi Yaffe will begin his role as spiritual leader at the Modern Orthodox shul Sept. 1. He succeeds Rabbi Eytan Yammer.
“We felt that [Rabbi Yaffe] he would be a wonderful fit for our congregation with his being experienced as a pulpit rabbi, in conjunction with his many years as an internationally acclaimed speaker,” Kushner said.
Yaffe, who lives in Nonantum, Massachusetts with his wife, Chana and their children, spent several years in the greater Hartford area. In addition to serving as spiritual leader of Agudas Achim, he also served as rabbi at Young Israel of Hartford, in West Hartford, one of the first Orthodox congregations in Connecticut, having been founded in 1887. For many years, he also served as director of the Hartford Kashrut Commission and taught a full range of Judaic subjects for the Hebrew High School of New England.
Raised in Portland, Maine and Los Angeles, California, Yaffe studied at yeshivot in Miami, London, and New York. He received rabbinic ordination in 1989 from Yeshivat Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch in Brooklyn, New York and is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America.
He was a fellow of the post-ordination program at the Leeds Kollel in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England from 1990-1992 and served as a pulpit rabbi at Hull Hebrew Congregation in Hull, England.
He left Hartford to become scholar-in-residence at Chabad at Harvard, serving the Harvard and MIT communities.
The author of a broad range of articles on several online forums, Yaffe was lead author for the Jewish Learning Institute’s “Living with Integrity” course. He is also currently dean of the Institute of American and Talmudic Law based in New York, with activities all across North America; and he directs the Institute for Judaic Knowledge which offers lecture, seminars, and other programs, in person and online, throughout North America, as well as in Africa, Australia, Latin America, and Europe.
A particular focus of Rabbi Yaffe’s work has been the intersection of the concerns created by contemporary legal, scientific, medical, public and foreign policy issues with the ethics and values presented in three-and-a-half millennia of Judaic law and thought.
“Being the largest Orthodox congregation in the Pioneer Valley, we hope to see new and current friends participate with us in our growing congregation,” Kushner said. “We’ve experienced some new membership activity recently and hope that with Rabbi Yaffe that will continue to increase.”