Rabbi Elisha Friedman

Kesher Israel Congregation

March 5, 2019

Rabbi Elisha Friedman is the rabbi of Kesher Israel Congregation in Harrisburg, PA, the largest Orthodox synagogue in Central PA and a historic Jewish community. As the center of Orthodox Jewish life in the region and a destination spot for many tourists and travelers passing through this centralized location, Kesher Israel offers a wide variety of Jewish resources as well as the only three minyanim daily in the area. As rabbi of Kesher Israel, Rabbi Friedman plays a role in all of these diverse activities and stays involved with the local day school, the Silver Academy. Kesher Israel also has a storied history. It was the synagogue Rav Eliezer Silver served in from 1907-1925 and which his son, Rabbi David Silver, returned to serve from 1932 until 1983. Rabbi Friedman feels immensely privileged to follow in the footsteps of such towering personalities, and also a profound sense of humility in the face of their legacy. Rabbi Friedman grew up the son of a rabbi, and spent his childhood in such diverse places as Yerushalayim and Durham, NC. After high school, he took a meandering route through yeshivot of various styles. He spent a number of years in more right-wing yeshiva settings, including the Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn and MTJ on the Lower East Side, and ultimately received his semicha from YU's RIETS, where he is also completing a PhD at the Bernard Revel Graduate School in modern Jewish philosophy. These experiences enriched his ability to relate to Jews from different backgrounds and points on the spectrum, as especially necessary skill in small town rabbinic life. Rabbi Friedman has a keen interest in Jewish philosophy and is writing a dissertation focusing on differing notions of love and their implications for Ahavat Hashem in Jewish thought. He lives with his wife, Yamit (Remz), and their newborn son, Eden, in Harrisburg, PA, where they are enjoying the pace of life and natural scenery and he is reconnecting with his small townness, after years spent lost in NYC.