June 25, 2024
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June 25, 2024
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Young Israel Launches “Gabbai2gabbai” Initiative

New York—As part of its continuing vision to inspire and enable synagogue leadership, the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) has created “Gabbai2Gabbai,” a forum for professional development for the synagogue’s unsung heroes, the gabbaim (sextons).

“The gabbai is essentially a ‘first responder’ in synagogue services,” said NCYI Director of Rabbinic Services Rabbi Binyamin Hammer. “Whether it is recognizing and addressing calendric issues or dealing with congregants and guests in the context of the services, halacha and dignity are at the crossroads of what a gabbai’s life is. The enlightening discourse on the Gabbai2Gabbai conference calls enables these unsung synagogue heroes to learn and share best practices with their colleagues.”

The inaugural Gabbai2Gabbai conference call was led by Rabbi Dovid Heber of Baltimore, Maryland. Originally a member of the Young Israel of St. Louis, Missouri, Rabbi Heber is the Director of the STAR-K computer department and oversees its kashrus database and automation and is the rabbi of a synagogue. He is respected as a foremost expert in the field of kosher pharmaceuticals, nutriceuticals and medications.

Among the topics discussed by Rabbi Heber were “Mourners and Yahrtzeits — Who Has Preference? Determining Yahrtzeit Dates”; “Zmanim — Daily and Year-Round Issues”; “Tachanun — Yes or No?” and “Kriat HaTorah and Aliyot Issues — What to Read and Who to Call Up.”

“All About Kohanim” was the focus of April’s conference call featuring Rabbi Moshe Taub of the Young Israel of Greater Buffalo, New York. Rabbi Taub, who is a Kohain and a gabbai, is the Rav Hamachshir of the Buffalo Vaad HaKashrut and the rabbinic editor for Ami Magazine.

Rabbi Taub’s presentation reviewed the laws of Birkat Kohanim, being called for an aliyah and the unique halachic situations that face Kohanim.

“The gabbai has traditionally been the rabbi’s ‘voice’ in communicating synagogue protocol directly to the congregation in ‘real time,’” said Rabbi Hammer. “The National Council of Young Israel recognizes this essential relationship between rabbi and gabbai and is providing programming directly to the gabbai as a way for us to express our hakarat hatov to their professional and invaluable stewardship of their respective Young Israel branch.”

The calls are open to gabbaim of all synagogues.

For more information about the Gabbai2Gabbai initiative, contact Young Israel’s Director of Rabbinic Services Rabbi Binyamin Hammer at 212-929-1525 x104 or via email at [email protected].

By Aaron Troodler

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