Rabbi Hanan Balk

Rabbi Emeritus Congregation Agudas Israel, Cincinnati, Ohi

Mar 14, 2014

Rabbi Hanan Balk is a respected leader of the Cincinnati Jewish community, whose 24 years of service to the Golf Manor Synagogue led to a blossoming of Torah learning and Torah living, both inside the congregation and beyond.

Rabbi Balk received his B.A. from Columbia University in Ancient Studies, his M.A. in Religion and Education from Columbia's Teachers College, and his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University. Formerly the rabbi of the Young Israel of Stamford, Ct., under whose leadership the congregation built its first synagogue, he has contributed articles to journals, periodicals, and books and has served as scholar-in-residence and guest speaker on the campus of several universities and in numerous congregations. Rabbi Balk's many lectures, which address numerous themes, may be found on the website of Yeshiva University as well as the synagogue's website. He has also lectured to rabbinic colleagues at the conventions of the Rabbinical Council of America.

Rabbi Balk has been honored locally by the congregagtion, and nationally, as the recipient of a National Rabbinic Service Award at the Union of Orthodox Congregation's National Centennial Rabbinic Award Dinner in New York. In 2013 he was chosen as the recipient of the RCA's prestigious Rubenstein Memorial Award at its national convention in recognition of his many achievements in the rabbinate.

Rabbi Balk is extremely proud of the the spiritual atmosphere of the davening that is maintained in his synagogue. He takes pride in the fact that his shul attracted seasoned Torah scholars, those who were only beginning their journey towards a Torah life, as well as many who sought to convert to the Jewish faith. He has been constantly impressed by the boundless acts of chesed that have been performed by so many members of his congregation and community.

"The most meaningful experiences that I have had as a rabbi," he reflects, "are those that have allowed me to have a real impact upon a person's life, be it through a speech, a class, making a shidduch, or in helping a person get through a life crisis. I am deeply thankful to the Ribono shel Olam for giving me so many opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others."

Rabbi Balk is married to Barbara, a Judaic specialist at the Jewish Community Center and teacher at the Cincinnati Hebrew Day School. They are the parents of five daughters and three granddaughters.