Benjamin Blech

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Rabbi Benjamin Blech
Rabbi Benjamin Blech.jpg
Position Rabbi Emeritus
Synagogue Young Israel of Oceanside
Position Professor of Talmud
Yeshiva Yeshiva University
Personal details
Born 1933
Zurich, Switzerland
Nationality American
Denomination Orthodox
Residence New York, United States
Parents Rabbi Benzion and Mrs. Gittel Blech
Spouse Elaine
Profession Rabbi, Professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University, Author, Speaker
Alma mater Yeshiva University, Columbia University
Semicha RIETS

Benjamin Blech, born in Zurich in 1933, is an Orthodox rabbi who now lives in New York City.

Rabbi Blech has been a Professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University since 1966, and was the Rabbi of Young Israel of Oceanside for 37 years.[1] In addition to his work in the rabbinate, Rabbi Blech has written many books on Judaism and the Jewish people and speaks on Jewish topics to communities around the world.


Rabbi Blech received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yeshiva University, a Master of Arts degree in psychology from Columbia University, and rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.[2]


Rabbi Blech is the author of twelve highly acclaimed and best selling books, with combined sales of close to half a million copies, including three as part of the highly popular Idiot’s Guide series. His book Understanding Judaism: The Basics of Deed and Creed was chosen by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations as “the single best book on Judaism in our generation”. Together with an accompanying six-hour video, filmed by the producers of 20/20, featuring Rabbi Blech, it is used as the basis for study groups in numerous synagogues and universities around the country.

In the 1980s, Blech was asked by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson to travel to the Far East on a speaking tour. Rabbi Schneerson paid for all Blech's travel and hotel expenses for the duration of his trip.[3]

Rabbi Blech at one point invested $50,000 in the stock market and, over a number of years turned it into $7 million, before losing almost all of it. The experience was the catalyst for his 2003 book titled Taking Stock: A Spiritual Guide to Rising Above Life’s Financial Ups and Downs.

In 2010 he was diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis and given six months to live. In what Rabbi Blech considers a gift from God, he survived.[4][5]

Relationship with the Vatican[edit]

In January 2005, Rabbi Blech, along with Rabbis Barry Dov Schwartz and Jack Bemporad, became the first rabbis in history known to confer a blessing on a Pope, when they were invited by the Vatican to visit and bless Pope John Paul II at Clementine Hall in the Apostolic Palace.[6]

Published works[edit]

  • Blech, Benjamin (January 1991). Understanding Judaism: The Basics of Deed and Creed. KTAV. ISBN 978-0-87668-291-3. 
  • Blech, Benjamin (August 1991). The Secrets of Hebrew Words. Jason Aronson. ISBN 978-0-87668-610-2. 
  • Blech, Benjamin (January 1993). More Secrets of Hebrew Words: Holy Days and Happy Days. Jason Aronson. ISBN 978-0-87668-223-4. 
  • Blech, Benjamin (December 1998). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Jewish History and Culture. Alpha. ISBN 978-0-02-862711-3. 
  • Blech, Benjamin (June 1999). Your Name Is Your Blessing: Hebrew Names and Their Mystical Meanings. Jason Aronson. ISBN 978-0-7657-6053-1. 
  • Blech, Benjamin (August 1999). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Judaism. Alpha. ISBN 978-0-02-863191-2. 
  • Blech, Benjamin (January 2000). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Yiddish. Alpha. ISBN 978-0-02-863387-9. 
  • Blech, Benjamin (March 2003). Taking Stock: A Spiritual Guide to Rising Above Life's Financial Ups and Downs. Amacom Books. ISBN 978-0-8144-0787-5. 
  • Blech, Benjamin (September 2003). If God Is Good, Why Is The World So Bad?. Simcha Press. ISBN 978-0-7573-0123-0. 
  • Blech, Benjamin (March 2005). The Book of Passover: A Celebration. Citadel. ISBN 978-0-8065-2580-8. 
  • Blech, Benjamin (March 2006). The Book of Passover. Citadel. ISBN 978-0-8065-2737-6. 
  • Blech, Benjamin (March 2007). Eyewitness to Jewish History. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-05313-3. 
  • Blech, Benjamin; Roy Doliner (April 2008). The Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo's Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican. HarperOne. ISBN 978-0-06-146904-6. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]