Rabbi Fred Hyman
Westville Synagogue, New Haven, CT
Dec 2, 2010
Rabbi Fred Hyman grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, attending the Maimonides School founded by Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik, whose philosophy infused the atmosphere with commitment to excellence in learning Torah and Madda. He learned at Yeshivat Hakotel in Israel, and completed his BA in Philosophy at Brandeis University. He received semicha from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) at Yeshiva University, taking courses at Dov Revel in Bible and Jewish Philosophy, as well. He was honored to have been selected among the first class of Wexner Fellows. He has been a member of the RCA for eight years.
Rabbi Hyman chose to be a pulpit rabbi to share his passion for yiddishkeit and learning Torah with different age groups in a variety of settings, to lead a community in the spiritual ideals of our tradition, and to guide individuals and families at significant moments in life. In his personal philosophy of Judaism, Rabbi Hyman loves how being an eved Hashem brings beauty and meaning to his life. Through his sermons, classes, and daily interactions, he attempts to convey the noble ideals of kedusha and chesed.
In October 2010 (5771), Rabbi Hyman was selected by Westville Synagogue in New Haven to become their rabbi. He has been impressed with the incredible warmth of the congregation, their wonderful practice of hachnasas orchim, and committment to learning Torah on a sophisticated level. Rabbi Hyman has enjoyed adding new ruach to shul, its davening, and its community feeling. He looks forward to contributing to adult education, youth and family programming, and the recruitment of new members.
Before coming to New Haven, Rabbi Hyman served Congregation Kodimoh in Springfield, MA from 2003. With a diverse population, he worked to welcome and inspire all members with personal warmth and an infectious sense of humor. He is proud of the history of the shul, which was Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm's first pulpit. To celebrate the shul's 90th anniversary, Rabbi Hyman initiated a series of educational, religious and social programs.
He contributed to the broader Jewish community through participation in Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Center activities, and to the community at large as a member of the Mayor's Committee on Human Relations of the City of Springfield. He also served on the board of directors of a local community day school, Heritage Academy, and was the Rav Hamachshir of the local Va'ad of Kashruth.
In 2007, the three Orthodox synagogues of Springfield merged. Rabbi Hyman devoted a great deal of time to promoting a sense of unity among all of the members of the community.
Prior to becoming Rabbi of Congregation Kodimoh, Rabbi Hyman served as Assistant Rabbi for several years at Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue, under Rabbi Arthur Schneier.
Rabbi Hyman feels his greatest challenge is to balance family, professional, personal time. He notes, “as rabbis we have to take care of our community without neglecting our wives and children or ourselves”. To younger rabbis beginning their careers, Rabbi Hyman would advise them to have deep respect for the lay leaders of the shul and for the congregation at large. Have ideals but be realistic in your expectations. Be thankful for even small successes. Keep up your own spiritual growth and learning.
Rabbi Hyman relates this anecdote, in which he learned the definition of an Orthodox rabbi from an unexpected source: “A few months ago, like we all have sometimes, I had a patient in the hospital who was failing. I received a call Saturday night at 4:00am from "Reverend Joe", the on-call hospital chaplain, who notified me that the patient had died. I quickly dressed and went to the hospital to take care of the family and the requirements regarding the deceased. When I arrived, the daughter told me about the conversation she had with Reverend Joe just before he called me. ‘I wasn't sure if I should call you or not, it was so early in the morning. So the chaplain said let me look it up. Your Rabbi is Rabbi Hyman. He's Orthodox. Yes, it's OK to call him!’”
He is married to Tova Emanuel Hyman from London and they are proud parents to Talya, age 12, and twins, Raphaela and Rebecca, age 10.