Appointed to the Perez and Frieda Friedberg Chair in Talmud
On Wednesday, March 27, 2019, the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) will hold its annual Gala Evening of Tribute at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.
This year’s principal honoree is Rabbi Daniel Stein, Rosh Yeshiva and director of the Norman and Johanne Sternthal Fourth Year Halachah Lemaaseh Program at RIETS. He will be honored for his appointment to the Perez and Frieda Friedberg Chair in Talmud, only the second person to hold that position, the first being the revered Rabbi Yosef Weiss z”l, a core educator for hundreds of rabbis for over half a century.
“Since the first day I came to YU, I have wanted to teach Torah, and specifically Talmud and Halacha [Jewish law] at RIETS, which I consider the heart of our community. I had the honor of knowing and interacting with Rabbi Weiss, who taught Halacha at RIETS for decades. I am humbled and honored to succeed him in occupying the Friedberg Chair in Talmud, which quite literally is a dream come true.”
Yeshiva University and RIETS have been Rabbi Stein’s intellectual and spiritual home for more than 20 years. In 1999, he graduated from Yeshiva College with a major in Judaic studies and was the valedictorian of the Mazer School of Talmudic Studies. He then went on to RIETS for semicha [rabbinic ordination], where he participated in the Bella and Harry Wexner Semichah Honors Program and later the Bella and Harry Wexner Kollel Elyon. He received his ordination in 2002.
As a student, Rabbi Stein looked to maximize his study hours in the beit medrash [study hall] so that he could “dedicate almost the entire day to examining, researching and dissecting the shiurim [lectures] of Rabbi Schachter.” He credits this discipline with helping him acquire the knowledge, analytical skills and religious perspective that continues to define his learning and teaching today.
He also credits his development as a scholar to the encouragement received from “a cherished and talented cadre of older mentors and friends who urged me to thrive and grow. Many members of my original group of colleagues have gone on to become great teachers and leaders within the wider Jewish world, and that is both humbling and inspiring.”
Rabbi Stein, along with his wife Gila and four children, divides his time between New York and New Jersey. In 2014, he became the rabbi at Congregation Ahavath Chesed, known as the Ridniker Shteibel, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Prior to that, he was the founding rabbi at Congregation Beis Sholom in Clifton, New Jersey. “When I came to the Ridniker Shteibel, I felt as if I was joining a family. I am eternally grateful to the leadership and membership of the Ridniker Shteibel for their continuous support as we work together to spread Torah values.”
The real-life situations he has encountered as a rabbi at both his congregations have helped inform the perspective he brings to the training and education of rabbonim [rabbis] at RIETS. “The leadership at RIETS has boldly reshaped the semicha program in recent years to appeal to the needs of contemporary rabbinate. We aim to provide our talmidim [students] with the entire range of tools necessary to respond to the challenge of an ever-changing world, one of which is our invaluable global network of rabbinic support, which is an indispensable asset not only for individual rabbis and their families, but by extension, to the entire community.”