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The legacy of Rabbi Berel Wein


A legacy is something to be appreciated by all who benefit from a person’s teachings and personal example.

One such person is Rabbi Berel Wein, whose life’s work as a rabbi has impacted many over his eight decades of spiritual service to the Jewish people both in the United States, and, for the last twenty years, in Jerusalem as rabbi of Beit Knesset Hanassi — Young Israel of Rechavia.

In honor of his twentieth anniversary as rabbi of this iconic shul in Jerusalem, his congregation will celebrate Rabbi Wein’s many literary and communal contributions through the writing of a new sefer Torah and the establishment of a Jewish History Scholarship Program to encourage the learning and teaching of Jewish history.

Sponsors plan to provide scholarships to enable young students to continue their studies in Jewish history at a recognized institution of higher learning. A committee will select the appropriate recipients for these grants and invite them to give shiurim and lectures at Beit Knesset Hanassi at the conclusion of the scholarship period.

Rabbi Wein’s 20 years of service in Jerusalem have seen continued growth in shul programs. Currently, the shul has over 400 members and a full educational program that includes a morning kollel and stimulating shiurim for both men and women, daily. The shul is home to three minyanim every Shabbat that welcome hundreds of visitors from all over the world.

Among the many books authored by Rabbi Wein are two that I wish to bring to your attention.

Patterns in Jewish History (Maggid Books, 2014) gives us an eloquent thematic exploration of the history of the Jewish people. Rabbi Wein teaches us the values that have enabled us to survive and thrive for over 3000 years. This work explains how religious practice, ritual observance, traditions, and responses to historical influences have varied over time and location.

However, it should be noted that the Jewish faith is home to unchanging ideals and deep religious beliefs that have united Jews throughout history — from the Exodus and Mt. Sinai to historical events worldwide.

Rabbi Wein’s career demonstrates the inner resolve of the Jewish people though his use of historical and theological depth and deep love of Torah as the base for his work on behalf of our people.

In his autobiography, Teach Them Diligently (Maggid Books, 2014), Rabbi Wein gives us a very personal glimpse into his life as a rabbi, with all the pressures, dilemmas and organizational politics that he encountered throughout his career. Within this narrative Rabbi Wein shares sound advice and lessons learned, some, honestly noted, the hard way. He writes with a smile, and his tone is laced with passion and zeal.

These two books should serve as apt introductory material of the fine example that Rabbi Berel Wein serves as one of the leading rabbinic figures in our times.

Rabbi Wein made aliyah in 1997 and assumed his new pulpit in Jerusalem soon thereafter. Prior to making aliyah, he was executive vice president of the Orthodox Union. He also served as a pulpit rabbi in Miami Beach and Monsey.

To join in this historic tribute to Rabbi Wein’s legacy, contact Henry Israel of Beit Knesset Hanassi: