Ilan D. Feldman

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Rabbi Ilan D. Feldman
Position Senior Rabbi
Synagogue Congregation Beth Jacob of Atlanta
Began 1991
Predecessor Rabbi Dr. Emanuel Feldman
Personal details
Birth name Ilan Daniel Feldman[1]
Born Atlanta, Georgia
Nationality United States
Residence Atlanta, Georgia
Parents Rabbi Dr. Emanuel Feldman and Estelle Feldman
Spouse Miriam Weinberg
Children 8
Occupation Orthodox rabbi, author, speaker

Ilan Daniel Feldman is an American Orthodox Jewish rabbi, public speaker and author. Since 1991 he has been the senior rabbi and spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Jacob of Atlanta, Georgia, succeeding his father, Rabbi Dr. Emanuel Feldman, who led the congregation for 39 years. Over the past 20 years Feldman has built on his father's work, bringing a community kollel to the city and nurturing the growth of Atlanta as one of the leading centers for Orthodox Jewish life in America.[2] He is also a founding board member of the Association for Jewish Outreach Programs (AJOP).[3]

Early life[edit]

Feldman was born in Atlanta to Rabbi Dr. Emanuel Feldman and his wife, Estelle, who arrived in that city as newlyweds in 1952 to assume the roles of Rabbi and Rebbetzin of Congregation Beth Jacob.[4] At that time, the synagogue was home to 40 families, only two of whom were Shomer Shabbat.[5] Over the next four decades, the couple brought hundreds of families closer to Torah observance, helped build a Hebrew academy and Torah day school,[2] and established a nationally-recognized kosher-certification organization.[6]

Although he was the rabbi's son, the young Ilan was more interested in politics than the rabbinate.[7] Like his father, he studied at Yeshivas Ner Yisroel of Baltimore, Maryland and was a talmid of rosh yeshiva Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg.[5] In 1976 Feldman married the rosh yeshiva's daughter, Miriam.[8] The couple has eight children.[9]

Assistant rabbi[edit]

In 1980 Feldman decided to join his father as assistant rabbi of Congregation Beth Jacob.[10] In addition to his synagogue duties, he assisted his father in the development of the Torah Day School of Atlanta, which opened in 1985.[2]

Atlanta Scholars Kollel[edit]

On his own initiative, the younger Feldman founded the Atlanta Summer Kollel (later renamed the Atlanta Scholars Kollel) in 1987.[2] Feldman secured funding for the project from Torah Umesorah, and brought in three graduates of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel as the first rabbis. Unlike the prevailing community kollel concept which viewed the kollel as an "inreach" organization serving its own, already-committed members, ASK is an outreach program that brings Jewish knowledge and commitment directly to the doorsteps of Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jews in Atlanta. ASK rabbis spend only 3 to 4 hours per day on their personal Torah learning and devote the rest of their day to "lunch 'n learn" classes, Hebrew reading crash courses, beginners minyans, campus outreach, and study groups for women, teens and singles. ASK has become a model for other community kollels in the United States.[11] The kollel now has 11 full-time rabbis and 3 part-time women teachers[5] who educate more than 1,000 men, women, students, teens and singles monthly.[12][13]

Upon his father's retirement in 1991, Rabbi Ilan Feldman was elected senior rabbi by the synagogue's board of directors.[5]

Leadership[edit]

Feldman has perpetuated the outreach work his father began. Congregation Beth Jacob now exceeds 500 families, and the Orthodox community, centered around the synagogue's location in Toco Hills, is now attracting more Torah-observant families from New York, Baltimore and other cities to relocate here. Besides nurturing his congregants' growth in religious observance, Feldman stresses the importance of taking responsibility for non-religious Jews and making visitors to Atlanta feel welcome.[5][14]

Feldman serves as the dean of the Atlanta Kashruth Commission, which was founded by his father in the 1960s. Today this agency certifies nearly 150 companies, manufacturing plants, bakeries, supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, and caterers nationwide,[6] and is considered one of the most reliable kosher-certification organizations.[15]

Feldman is also the head of a rabbinical court recognized by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel as a reliable conversion authority.[16]

As the rabbi of one of the leading Orthodox Jewish communities in the United States,[2] Feldman frequently speaks out on key issues. These include: Jewish conversion,[17] Christian missionizing of Jews,[18] Sabbath desecration,[14][19] and Jewish burial.[20] For his congregants, Feldman reserves one Shabbat a year to speak about everything he loves about them, and one Shabbat a year to offer gentle criticism for how they can improve.[5]

Feldman has served as a spiritual advisor for the Atlanta branch of the Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others (JACS) support network.[21] He also answers questions in the "Adviceline" column in Mishpacha Magazine.[5][22]

Miriam Feldman[edit]

Feldman's wife, Miriam, is a full partner in his synagogue and community work. Like her husband, she is a popular speaker for groups; the two have even appeared as "scholars in residence" on a cruise ship.[23] She has also taped many audio shiurim (Torah lectures) for Torah Media Atlanta.[24]

Holder of a Bachelor's degree from Yavne Teacher's College and Notre Dame University, and a Master's degree from Loyola University,[25] she was one of the first four teachers of the Torah Day School of Atlanta,[26] which opened with 19 students in 1985 and which today boasts more than 300 students.[27] In 1996[28] she opened the first girls-only high school in the South, the Temima High School for Girls, a Bais Yaakov-type school at which she is principal.[29] For this achievement, she was named one of the "50 Most Influential Jews in America" by Jewsweek, placing 13th on the magazine's list.[9]

On the occasion of Rabbi Feldman's tenth anniversary in office, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Resolution 131EX2 commending both Rabbi Ilan and Miriam Feldman for their contributions to their synagogue and the community at large.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "International Directory of Rabbinical Courts". Kosher Delight Magazine. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Klein, Devorah. "Atlanta: A burgeoning Southern metropolis". Hamodia. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Feldman, Rabbi Ilan. "Parking Lot Minyan". Jewish Action Online. ou.org. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Oberstein, Rabbi Elchonon (October 2009). "A Conversation with Rabbi Emanuel Feldman". Where What When. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Gros, Michael (27 January 2010). "A Shul and a Mission". Mishpacha Magazine. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Atlanta Kashruth Commission". Atlanta Kashruth Commission. 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  7. ^ Rosenstein, Neil (1990). The Unbroken Chain: Biographical sketches and the genealogy of illustrious Jewish families from the 15th-20th century, Volume II. CIS Publishers. ISBN 0-9610578-4-X. 
  8. ^ a b "The Jewsweek Fifty: The 50 Most Influential Jews in America". Jewsweek. 22 July 2002. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  9. ^ Olitzky, Kerry M. (1996). The American synagogue: a historical dictionary and sourcebook. Greenwood Press. pp. 111–112. ISBN 0-313-28856-9. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  10. ^ Ferziger, Adam S. (2006). "The Emergence of the Community Kollel: A new model for addressing assimilation". The Rappaport Center for Assimilation Research and Strengthening Jewish Vitality, Bar Ilan University. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  11. ^ "Atlanta Scholars Kollel Has Inspired Atlantans For 20 years". Jewish Georgian. May–June 2008. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  12. ^ "Atlanta Scholars Kollel". Atlanta Scholars Kollel. 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Feldman, Rabbi Ilan (2 June 2009). "Snatching Shabbos Victory From the Jaws of Defeat". cross-currents.com. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  14. ^ Zwickler, Eliezer (2010). "Recommended Kosher Certifications". Congregation Ahawas Achim B'nai Jacob and David. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  15. ^ "Recognized Rabbinical Courts for Conversion". The Jewish Life Information Center. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  16. ^ Pomerance, Rachel (18 June 2008). "Judaism drawing more black Americans: Blacks make up a significant portion of people learning about Judaism in Atlanta". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  17. ^ "Attempts to Convert Jews: Reaction to the 1996 SBC Resolution". Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  18. ^ Brozman, Suzie (25 July 2008). "Community Outreach or Slippery Slope? JCC Shabbat Opening Stirs Controversy". JT Online. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  19. ^ Abrams, Vivi. "Recovering Our Past: Search for relative reveals ramshackle and forgotten Jewish cemetery". Jewish Times. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  20. ^ Robinson, Ronda (19 September 2010). "Jews Do Drink". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  21. ^ "Adviceline". Mishpacha Magazine. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  22. ^ "The Essence of Northern California Aboard the 138-Passenger Yorktown Clipper, Oct. 30-Nov. 6, 2006". chosenvoyage.com. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  23. ^ "Rebbetzin Miriam Feldman". Torah Media Atlanta. 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  24. ^ "Temima High School Faculty and Staff Directory". Temima High School. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  25. ^ Grossblatt, R. M. (July–August 2010). "Torah Day School of Atlanta Celebrates 25 Years". The Jewish Georgian 22 (5). Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  26. ^ Memberg, Fran (2009). "Silver Anniversary for Torah Day School of Atlanta". Atlanta Jewish News. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  27. ^ "Atlanta". Jewish Virtual Library. 2008. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  28. ^ "Temima, The Richard and Jean Katz High School for Girls". Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  29. ^ "A Resolution". Georgia General Assembly. 2001. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 

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