Rabbi Jeffrey Bienenfeld
Mar 17, 2014
Rabbi Jeffrey Bienenfeld received his BA from Yeshiva University in 1964. He completed his Smicha studies in 1967 at which time he also received an MS in Education.
Previously, Rabbi Bienenfeld served as the rabbi of the Young Israel of St. Louis, and in pulpits in Oshawa, Ontario and New Orleans, Louisiana. He also taught at the Block Yeshiva High School.
While in St. Louis, Rabbi Bienenfeld was involved in a variety of local and national organizations. He was a Board Member of the St. Louis Vaad Haeir, Epstein Hebrew Academy, local RCA chapter, Young Israel Rabbis, NCSY, and Federation. He was also the Rav of the local Kollel Torah Mitzion chapter.
Rabbi Bienenfeld has been a member of the RCA since 1968. He served as a regional VP, chaired and co-chaired RCA conventions, and delivered lectures at these events. Rabbi Bienenfeld currently serves as a Board member of the RCA in Israel.
Rabbi Bienenfeld has written articles for numerous publications including: Beis Yitzchak, Young Israel Magazine, and several sifrei drush.
When asked about his favorite causes, Rabbi Bienenfeld insists that they are Jewish education, outreach and bridging differences between group adversaries. When reflecting on his rabbinic career thus far, Rabbi Bienenfeld is most proud of:
• Having started the Day School and NCSY in New Orleans • Putting a mechitza in his first pulpit in Oshawa. • Preventing the removal of the mechitza in New Orleans . • Being instrumental in influencing parents to send their children to yeshivos and helping the parents to become shomrei mitzvos. • Preventing machlokes in and at a variety of venues. • Influencing teens through his teaching to: become frum, remain frum, learn in Israel, etc.
In Rabbi Bienenfeld’s words: “I guess my rabbinate has and continues to be a ‘teaching rabbinate.’ And as a final thought, I would simply quote my Rebbe, the Rav, zt"l who said that a rabbi's central mission - his guiding loadstar - should be: to strive to cultivate the highest standards of Torah scholarship - lomdus, and aspire to the most noble of middos tovos - menchlegkeit. Whether any rav succeeds in either is for others to judge. In any case, though, this 'rabbinic burden' can neither be avoided nor dismissed. It must be embraced and practiced. But, then again ... who ever said being a rabbi was easy!”
In the late Summer of 2006, Rabbi Bienenfeld, along with his family, made aliyah. He currently lives in Yerushalayim and remains involved with the RCA in Israel as well as at the Israel Center of the OU. He gives shiurim at a variety of venues and helps mentor younger rabbanim who aspire to enter the clinical rabbinate.
Rabbi Bienenfeld is married to Yocheved (Winkler) and together they have six children.