As Shaarei Tefillah’s rabbi since 1995 and the Genesis Forum Scholar, Rabbi Benjamin J. Samuels has endeavored to intensify and strengthen the 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 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 immediate past president of the Vaad Harabonim of New England and a member of its Beit Din. He is a Master Teacher at Maayan: Torah Study from the Sources, the Genesis Forum Scholar at Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and an instructor for CJP/Hebrew College's Me'ah adult education program.
He earned 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. He holds a Ph.D. in Science, Philosophy, and Religion from Boston University, and an M.A. in Biblical Studies and Medieval Jewish History, and a B.A. in English Literature from Yeshiva University.