Rabbi Benjamin Samuels
Congregation Shaarei Tefillah, Newton
"R. Samuels’ innovative programming has enabled our congregants to continue to feel part of a closely knit halachically traditional kehilla. He has created an incredibly wide range of programs for adults and youth including Jewish learning, cooking, arts and crafts - all in a COVID responsible fashion."
"Rabbi Samuels helped bring the "Pessach in a Box" idea to Boston, and helped out of town communities as well create their own program. He has tirelessly created alternatives to in-person congregational worship in keeping with Orthodox practice, and in constant consultation with a slew of medical experts (he has been a role model here). He has taught, figured out ways to handle life cycle events, and handled pastoral needs of congregants -- often working 17 hours a day. Recently, he spearheaded for our shul a “Rosh Hashanah gift-box” to all our congregants, and worked with our Shul’s officers and volunteers to provide in-person, masked, small, socially-distant minyanim to meet the needs of over 400 people (no Zoom!) on the High Holidays, while keeping within Commonwealth guidelines. He is one of the national heroes of the Covid era, and I strongly urge that he be recognized.”