Mir Yeshiva Musmach Named One of
“America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis”
The Jewish Daily Forward—a non-denominational, online Jewish newspaper—has selected Rabbi Benzion Klatzko as one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis.” Featuring Jewish leaders from communities across the country, the list of awardees come from the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox movements. Chosen from thousands of submissions of potential nominees, the site selected 28 rabbis “whose stories are most telling and compelling.” This is the first time a Musmach of Mir Yeshiva has been acknowledged by the mainstream Jewish media as a positive motivating force. This honor reveals the vast scope of Rabbi Klatzko’s impact, which clearly extends far beyond the Orthodox community.
Rabbi Klatzko, who lives with his wife Shani and their 11 children in Monsey, NY, has been working at the forefront of Jewish outreach in America since 1999. After receiving smicha from the Mir Yeshiva in 1993, Rabbi Klatzko went on to serve as the Rav of various kehillas in Brooklyn and Perth Amboy, NJ.
In 1999, Rabbi Klatzko moved with his family to the college campus of UCLA. There, he was able to help university students from secular backgrounds draw closer to their Jewish roots, take them on their first trip to Israel and access a Torah education for the first time in their lives. Today Rabbi Klatzko functions as one of the national directors of college kiruv.
Rabbi Klatzko’s distinctly accepting way of relating to every Jew he meets, regardless of their religious affiliation, transcends sub-cultural barriers. Those whose lives he has touched come from every Jewish stream imaginable, and all guests–no matter their background–are welcomed equally into the Klatzko home. It is no wonder that after “…a careful process of reading, sifting, tabulating and fact-checking,” The Forward found Rabbi Klatzko to be a worthy recipient of this honor.
Rabbi Klatzko (whose father-in-law is Rav Juravel, author of books and a widely-known series of Parsha tapes for children) is not only dedicated to teaching Torah but also to pioneering innovative solutions for challenges facing the Jewish community. Rabbi Klatzko’s creativity and foresight led to a historic breakthrough in promoting Jewish unity. In 2010 he founded Shabbat.com, the world’s largest Jewish social network. This website, which has been lauded by the national media including Market Watch and NBC News, has made Shabbos and Yom Tov hospitality as well as employment and dating opportunities accessible to Jews from Buenos Aires to Beijing and New York to Jerusalem.
The more than 80 Shabbos guests each week give testimony to the warmth and inspiration permeating the Klatzko home. Rosalyn F from a conservative background said it best in her guestbook entry:
“I have been wondering what to say since last night whilst driving home from spending Shabbos with Rabbi and Rebbetzin Klatzko. I was afraid that I could not do justice to the experience with mere words. What finally came to mind is that I have often wondered what it would be like to go back in time and visit Avraham Aveinu and Sarah Imenu for Shabbos; to be welcomed into their tent, to experience their wisdom and love and to become a better person just from being in the presence of holiness. I feel that I have just had that experience. I still cannot believe that Hashem gave me this gift just when I needed it so very much! I feel so grateful!”
It is no surprise to the thousands who know Rabbi Klatzko personally through hearing him speak or experience his ground-breaking community work that he has made it onto The Forward’s esteemed list. It is a continuation of the Kiddush Hashem that he and the entire Klatzko family strive towards.
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