Rabbi Jay Kelman, C.A.

Torah in Motion, Toronto, Canada

Mar 14, 2008

Rabbi Jay Kelman grew up in Toronto, Canada. After attending Bnei Akiva Yeshiva High school in Toronto, he attended Yeshivat Hakotel and Yeshiva University, receiving a B.Sc. in Accounting, and semicha from its affiliate, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) in 1985, continuing a tradition of nine generations of Kelman rabbis.

Upon receiving his CPA designation, Rabbi Kelman returned to Toronto in 1988 where he continued to work in the accounting field and received his designation as a Chartered Accountant. At the same time, he served as the weekend rabbi of the Mishkan Avraham Synagogue, a small shul servicing primarily the elderly. Upon his marriage to Ilana (Abrams), they spent a year in Israel where Rabbi Jay learned at Beit Morasha which exposed him to the field of academic Jewish scholarship.

Upon his return from Israel, Rabbi Kelman taught at his high school alma mater for two years and in 1996 (until 2005) became Rabbi of the Beth Jacob Synagogue, a shul three blocks from where he grew up and across the street from the traditional conservative synagogue his father led for 38 years. One of the most rewarding aspects of serving this congregation was having the zechut of having his parents as his “congregants”. “My parents not only encouraged and inspired me to serve the Jewish community but were my best advisors. Being able to draw upon the experience and wisdom of my parents has been a major reason for any success I might enjoy.”

Rabbi Kelman is the co-founder of Torah in Motion, www.torahinmotion.org, an adult education institute which prides itself on its multifaceted and innovative programming, most recently with live, real-time interactive shiurim. “It is an honor for us to bring to Toronto many of the best minds in Orthodoxy today as we discuss and debate the issues facing Jews living within the modern world.” In recognition of his communal efforts, Rabbi Kelman was a 2005 Recipient of the Award for Rabbinic Leadership from the United Jewish Communities Federations of North America.

In addition to his leadership in Torah in Motion, Rabbi Kelman currently teaches Gemarah, Ethics and Rabbinics at the Tannenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT), a community school of over 1400 students.

His monthly column, Money Matters, on issues of Jewish business ethics is published in the Canadian Jewish News. Rabbi Kelman also writes a weekly column on the parsha which is widely distributed through the Torah in Motion email list.

Rabbi Kelman is particularly proud of the Tisha B’Av program he initiated in Toronto in 1989 which regularly draws hundreds of people. A highlight of the program was coming together of speakers from Toronto’s Lakewood Kollel and the Modern Orthodox community. Sadly this has become more difficult over the years.

Rabbi Kelman has been a member of the RCA for close to ten years, where he serves on the planning committee for the 2007 Convention. He and his wife Ilana are the proud parents of Ariel, Elisha, Atara, Rachel, Azaria and Elnatan.