Rabbi Zsolt Balla
Israelitische Religionsgemeinde (IRG) zu Leipzig
March 5, 2019
Rabbi Zsolt Balla has been serving the Leipzig Jewish Community (IRG) in Germany since 2009. He was born in 1979 in Budapest, Hungary. He has been through the rebirth of religious Jewish life in Hungary after the communism. He graduated in the Lauder Javne Jewish Community High School, established by the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation. After high school he attended the Budapest Technical University, where he earned his M.Sc. in Engineering and Management in 2002. Throughout his student years he has been actively involved in the JDC-Lauder International Jewish Summer Camp in Hungary as counselor and head counselor, using his skills for Jewish youth education. After his studies he attended the Beit Midrash D’Berlin, a yeshiva initiative for Eastern Europeans opened also by the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in Berlin. After two years in Berlin, and one more year in Yeshivat Midrash Shmuel in Yerushalaim, he started as a rabbinical student in the newly re-opened Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin, the famous Beit Midrash L’Rabbanim established by Rabbi Ezriel Hildesheimer, which had close its doors at the Pogrom-Night on the 9th of November 1938. Rabbi Balla became one of the first two orthodox rabbis, who received their training and were ordained in Germany, first time after the Shoah. The first Chag Hasmicha was held in the Ohel Jakob Synagogue of Munich in 2009. Since then Rabbi Balla has been serving the Leipzig Jewish Community, one year as visiting rabbi, and he lives there with his family since 2010. They have two daughters and a son. Rabbi Balla’s connection to the Leipzig Jewish Community is unique, his wife, Marina grew up and lived in Leipzig, and they met through the different kiruv initiatives of the Lauder Foundation in Germany. Both Rebbetzin Balla and Rabbi Balla has been actively involved in kiruv, they still visit the JDC-Lauder Summer Camp each year as educators. Since 2012 Rabbi Balla also serves as the director for Institute for Traditional Jewish Liturgy, a faculty of the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary, training ba’alei tefilla and chazzanim under the guidance of Chazzan Joseph Malovany, who serves as the rector of the institute. Rabbi Balla is also known as a Jewish musician and ba’al tefilla, together with his colleagues from the alumni of the Rabbinical Seminary they give concerts, bringing Jewish liturgy and music to the Jewish communities in Germany. Rabbi Balla also serves as one of the board members of the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference Germany since 2012. He also edited a new Hungarian and German Shabbat-Siddur, with transliteration, this is a continuation of two earlier projects, bringing the famous NCSY-Bencher to the Hungarian and the German speaking crowed in 2008. In May 2017 Rabbi Balla received the Maharal-Matanel Prize for Promising Young European Rabbi, granted by the Conference of European Rabbis and the Matanel-HULYA Foundation.