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Joseph Dweck

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Joseph Dweck
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Rabbi Dweck
Personal
Born17 May 1975
ReligionJudaism
NationalityAmerican
SpouseMargalit Dweck (née Bar Shalom)
Children5
DenominationSephardi
Jewish leader
PredecessorRabbi Dr Abraham Levy
PositionSenior Rabbi
OrganizationThe S&P Sephardi Community, UK

Joseph Dweck is the senior rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community of the United Kingdom.

Biography

Rabbi Dweck is American born, of Syrian-Sephardi origin, and has lived in Los Angeles, California and Brooklyn, New York. He studied in Jerusalem at Hazon Ovadia Yeshiva under the tutelage of former Rishon LeZiyon, Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Ovadia Yosef and his son, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, the current Rishon LeZiyon.

Rav Ovadia Yosef referred to Rabbi Dweck as his "heart's desire" and "the esteemed Rabbi who brings merit to the community" in an approbation[1] written for Dweck's book on Jewish blessings, Birkhot Shamayim.[2]

Rabbi Dweck received his semikha (rabbinic ordination) from Rav Ovadia Yosef under the auspices of the Sephardic Rabbinical College of Brooklyn, New York.

In 1995 he married Margalit Bar Shalom, daughter of Dayan Ezra Bar Shalom and Adina (Yosef) Bar Shalom, and granddaughter of Rav Ovadia Yosef.

Rabbi Dweck studied for three years (1996–99) at the YULA Kollel in Los Angeles under Rabbi Nachum Sauer. In 1999 he moved with his wife and oldest son to Brooklyn, New York to become a fellow of the newly established Sephardic Rabbinical College under the direction of Rabbi Shimon Alouf, where he studied for the next seven years.

He also studied psychology and philosophy at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College in Albany, New York. He leans toward Rationalism.[3] He received a Master of Arts Degree in Jewish Education from Middlesex University in collaboration with the London School of Jewish Studies.

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Adina Bar-Shalom

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Santa Monica College

Santa Monica College

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Middlesex University

Middlesex University

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London School of Jewish Studies

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Career

Hazan (Cantor)

In his earlier years, Rabbi Dweck trained as a Hazan (cantor) in Israel under famed Hazan Moshe Habusha and later in Brooklyn, NY, under Rabbi Refael Elnadav. In 1999, he joined Sha’are Shalom, a Syrian synagogue in Brooklyn, NY as their Hazan.

Community Rabbi

Shortly thereafter, he was asked to assume the position as rabbi of the congregation, a position he held for 15 years. Under his guidance, the synagogue flourished, as the original 50 members grew into over 350 families, with Rabbi Dweck deeply involved in all aspects of daily community life.

Teacher

Rabbi Dweck began his formal teaching career as a high school teacher of Jewish Law and Philosophy at Magen David Yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York where he taught for two years.

From 2005 to 2008, Rabbi Dweck taught Mishna at Barkai Yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York City. He assumed the role of Hebrew Principal in 2009, and later became Rosh Yeshiva/Head of School in 2010, a position he served for four years.

Head of School

Rabbi Dweck centred Barkai's core vision on the concept that “the Author of the Torah is the Author of the world”. As such, all students were taught the five books of the Torah, establishing a comprehensive framework of thought, with secular studies taught uncompromisingly through the lens of Torah. This encompassed all aspects throughout the curriculum, including art and physical education.

Head of S&P Sephardi Community

In 2013, Rabbi Dweck was appointed Senior Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation of the UK,[4] later rebranded The S&P Sephardi Community.[5] Rabbi Dweck was elected with a 270–4 vote,[6] a margin believed to be the largest in UK synagogue history. On Sunday, 24 September 2014, Rabbi Dweck was officially installed as Senior Rabbi at the community's cathedral synagogue, Bevis Marks. The Jewish Chronicle reported that:

"Religious leaders from across the Anglo-Jewish spectrum, from Liberals to Lubavitch, came to celebrate the arrival of the fresh-faced new leader, aged just 39, at the community's oldest congregation. Dayanim from the Federation and United Synagogue and a large contingent from independent Sephardi communities attended, as well as Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who took part in the ceremony."[7]

In his inaugural address Rabbi Dweck said:

"The most precious element of [The S&P's] history are the ideas and the thinking that came from my predecessors because of their commitments not only to Jewish life, observance and continuity but also because they taught our Torah within a relevant and rational framework. This trend of traditional observance, coupled with immersion in the world and society, is the crowning glory of our Sephardi tradition."

He went on to say that Judaism should be available to the community in 'High Definition’.

As Head of S&P, Rabbi Dweck's responsibilities include:

  • Oversight of the religious functions of the various member synagogues
  • Setting the strategic and spiritual vision for the community
  • Overseeing the Sephardi Bet Din
  • Spiritual Head of The Sephardi Kashrut Authority (SKA)
  • Ambassador and Spokesperson for the community at various national and international forums
  • Interacting with Jewish students on university campuses across the UK

Annual Scholar-In-Residence with the Sephardic Community Alliance

Despite no longer living in the United States, Rabbi Dweck has maintained a close and warm relationship with the Sephardic Community Alliance. He participates in many of their programs and is an especially popular Scholar-in-Residence during their annual summer programming for the Syrian community in Deal, New Jersey.

Honorary roles

In his capacity as Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Dweck has the honor of serving as the Deputy President of the London School of Jewish Studies; a President of The Council of Christians and Jews along with the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, The Archbishop of Canterbury and other religious heads; and Ecclesiastical Authority of The Board of Deputies of British Jews. Rabbi Dweck also serves as a member of the Standing Committee of the Conference of European Rabbis.

In 2015, the Jewish News in conjunction with the Jewish Leadership Council published '40 Under 40', listing young members of the British Jewish Community at the forefront of Jewish life, with Rabbi Dweck listed 4th among the top 10.[8]

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Hazzan

Hazzan

A hazzan or chazzan is a Jewish musician or precentor trained in the vocal arts who helps lead the congregation in songful prayer. In English, this prayer leader is often referred to as a cantor, a term also used in Christianity.

Spanish and Portuguese Jews

Spanish and Portuguese Jews

Spanish and Portuguese Jews, also called Western Sephardim, Iberian Jews, or Peninsular Jews, are a distinctive sub-group of Sephardic Jews who are largely descended from Jews who lived as New Christians in the Iberian Peninsula during the immediate generations following the forced expulsion of unconverted Jews from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1497.

Bevis Marks Synagogue

Bevis Marks Synagogue

Bevis Marks Synagogue, officially Qahal Kadosh Sha'ar ha-Shamayim, is the oldest synagogue in the United Kingdom in continuous use. It is located off Bevis Marks, Aldgate, in the City of London.

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London School of Jewish Studies

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Council of Christians and Jews

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Ephraim Mirvis

Ephraim Mirvis

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Archbishop of Canterbury

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Board of Deputies of British Jews

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The Board of Deputies of British Jews, commonly referred to as the Board of Deputies, is the largest and second oldest Jewish communal organisation in the United Kingdom, after only the Initiation Society which was founded in 1745. Established in 1760 by a group of Sephardic Jews, the board presents itself as a forum for the views of most organisations within the British Jewish community, liaising with the British government on that basis. Notably, while Lord Rothschild was President of the Board of Deputies, the Balfour Declaration was addressed to him and eventually led to the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. It is affiliated to the World Jewish Congress and the European Jewish Congress. Its current president is Marie van der Zyl who, due to holding this position, also sits on the Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress.

Conference of European Rabbis

Conference of European Rabbis

The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) is the primary Orthodox rabbinical alliance in Europe. It unites more than 700 religious leaders of the mainstream synagogue communities in Europe. It was founded in 1956 on the initiative of British Chief Rabbi Sir Israel Brodie, in order to revive the vanquished Jewish communities on the European mainland. Brodie was supported by the chief rabbi of France, Jacob Kaplan, the chief rabbi of Amsterdam, Aharon Schuster and the British Sephardic spiritual leader, Hacham Gaon. The first conference took place in 1957 in Amsterdam. As a result of the CER union with the rabbinates of the stronger western European orthodox communities, the vast majority of mainstream communities throughout the continent retained Orthodox affiliation and rabbinical leadership. Even as some major Western European communities were deliberating joining non-Orthodox movements in the post WWII period, the strong rabbinical alliance was successful in ensuring an Orthodox rabbinate and securing the continuity of the orthodox rite even where the larger part of the membership had become secularized.

Jewish News

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Jewish Leadership Council

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The Jewish Leadership Council is an organisation in the United Kingdom, founded in 2003, whose declared aim is to forward the interests of the organised Jewish community in Britain. The council was founded by its first chairman, then president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Henry Grunwald, and a numberof other senior UK Jewish leaders. The council acts as an umbrella group for various Jewish community organizations, charities, Zionist and pro-Israel advocacy groups.

Online presence

Rabbi Dweck is also known for his online presence, reaching audiences around the globe by offering regular content on his mobile app, blog, and social media pages:

Controversy

In May 2017, Rabbi Dweck gave a lecture in London as part of his Perspectives[9] series in Hendon, in which he presented his approach regarding the Torah view on homosexual love, declaring that Jewish law does not legislate against the feelings involved (sexual relations, he stated, are prohibited by the Torah). He suggested that contemporary developments on this issue, while problematic, are also "a fantastic development to humanity" as they force humanity to rethink the question of love, and potentially remove the stigma associated with platonic love and affection between men.[10] He preceded his words with caveats and stated his awareness of the controversial nature of the topic, explaining that he had been thinking about it for years and felt the need to discuss it because "no one was talking about it openly in Orthodox Judaism."[10] This lecture proved highly controversial and while some welcomed and supported it,[11][12] others strongly rejected it,[13] including Rabbi Aharon Bassous and the Beth Din of the prominent Haredi Rabbi Nissim Karelitz.

Rabbi Dweck issued a clarification letter explaining his Halakhic stance and intentions.[14] Some of his many audio and video lectures were dissected by his rabbinic detractors, and more seemingly controversial opinions of his were criticised.

Consequently, in July 2017, an agreement was achieved,[15] led by British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, together with Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu (Av Beth Din of Europe), Dayan Menachem Gelly (Rosh Beth Din of The London Beth Din), and Dayan Avraham David (Rosh Beth Din of the Sephardi Beth Din), who questioned Rabbi Dweck on his statements and teachings, and concluded that he continue his role as the Senior Rabbi of the Sephardi community.[16] Rabbi Dweck agreed to step down from the Jewish legal position of a Judge (Dayan) of the Sephardi Beth Din. However, as Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Dweck maintains oversight of the Beth Din and appoints its dayyanim. In addition, his future public lectures that presented innovative approaches were to be subjected to rabbinic review, for a time.

The former British Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, publicly expressed his support for Rabbi Dweck.[17]

In January 2018, Rabbi Dweck resumed his lectures with a new series at the London Jewish School of Studies, at a sold-out return to Hendon.[18]

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Hendon

Hendon

Hendon is an urban area in the Borough of Barnet, northwest London 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Charing Cross. Hendon was an ancient manor and parish in the county of Middlesex and a former borough, the Municipal Borough of Hendon; it has been part of Greater London since 1965. Hendon falls almost entirely within the NW4 postcode, while the West Hendon part falls in NW9. Colindale to the northwest was once considered part of Hendon but is today separated by the M1 motorway.

Homosexuality

Homosexuality

Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions" to people of the same sex. It "also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions."

Nissim Karelitz

Nissim Karelitz

Shmaryahu Yosef Nissim Karelitz was an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and posek who served as the chairman of the beis din tzedek of Bnei Brak.

Ephraim Mirvis

Ephraim Mirvis

Rabbi Sir Ephraim Yitzchak Mirvis is an Orthodox rabbi who serves as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. He served as the Chief Rabbi of Ireland between 1985 and 1992.

Chanoch Ehrentreu

Chanoch Ehrentreu

Chanoch Ehrentreu was a German-born British Orthodox rabbi. He served for many years as the head of the London Beth Din in Great Britain, serving the United Synagogue Community and those independent Orthodox Congregations that accept the authority of the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. He retired from the post in December 2006.

London Beth Din

London Beth Din

The London Beth Din (LBD) is the Ashkenazi Beth Din of the United Synagogue, the largest Ashkenazi synagogal body in London, England. In its capacity as Court of the Chief Rabbi, it is historically the supreme halakhic Authority for Ashkenazim in several Commonwealth countries and additionally is consulted by Batei Din throughout Europe. The current head of the London Beth Din is Dayan Menachem Gelley, who joined the court in 1993 and was appointed to his current position in 2014, succeeding Chanoch Ehrentreu.

Beth din

Beth din

A beit din is a rabbinical court of Judaism. In ancient times, it was the building block of the legal system in the Biblical Land of Israel. Today, it is invested with legal powers in a number of religious matters both in Israel and in Jewish communities in the Diaspora, where its judgments hold varying degrees of authority in matters specifically related to Jewish religious life.

London School of Jewish Studies

London School of Jewish Studies

The London School of Jewish Studies is a London-based organisation providing adult educational courses and training to the wider Jewish community. Since 2012 LSJS also offers rabbinical training, returning to its roots.

Source: "Joseph Dweck", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Dweck.

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References
  1. ^ "Imgur".
  2. ^ "Album — Postimage.org". postimg.org. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  3. ^ "Rationalist vs Mystical Judaism – Rabbi Joseph Dweck in Conversation with Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin".
  4. ^ Rocker, Simon (8 April 2013). "Sephardi leaders select new senior rabbi". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  5. ^ Simon, Rocker (27 August 2015). "Spanish and Portuguese? Just call us S&P Sephardi". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  6. ^ Simon, Rocker (9 May 2013). "Sephardim vote in new rabbinic head with massive majority". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  7. ^ Simon, Rocker (23 September 2014). "New Sephardi leader is 'good news'". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  8. ^ "FORTY UNDER 40: It's time to meet our amazing TOP 10!". jewishnews.timesofisrael.com.
  9. ^ Rabbi Joseph Dweck (11 January 2016). "Perspectives: Episode 1 – God" – via YouTube.
  10. ^ a b sarkuf yiddishkeit (4 June 2017). "Rabbi Joseph Dweck – Male Homosexuality Shiur – May 2017" – via YouTube.
  11. ^ Lopes Cardozo, Nathan (June 21, 2017). "A modern day inquisition". The Times of Israel. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  12. ^ "Michael Harris on Dweck". www.thejc.com. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  13. ^ "Rabbi attacks Sephardi leader for dangerous gay love speech". www.thejc.com. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  14. ^ Simon, Rocker (2 June 2017). "Rabbi Joseph Dweck issues clarification of controversial gay love comments". www.thejc.com.
  15. ^ Simon, Rocker (19 July 2017). "Rabbi Dweck can remain as Sephardi leader, rabbinic panel says". www.thejc.com.
  16. ^ "Rabbi Dweck can remain as Sephardi leader rabbinic panel says". www.thejc.com. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  17. ^ "Goldstein reaction to Dweck". www.thejc.com. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  18. ^ Rocker, Simon (17 January 2018). "Full house for rabbi Joseph Dweck's lecture on Maimonides at the London School of Jewish Studies". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 16 February 2021.

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