About Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

Over the last 20 years, Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky has built B’nai David-Judea into a leading center of Modern Orthodoxy. Rabbi Kanefsky’s embrace of creative innovation, devotion to the dignity of all people, and commitment to intellectual inquiry and ethical striving, all within the framework of traditional Halacha, have established Bnai David-Judea as one of the most dynamic, warm and respected Modern Orthodox shuls in the country.

Rav Yosef is driven by a firm belief that Jewish tradition can provide a blueprint for modern ethical living for everything from business dealings, to relationships, to communal standards to our interactions as global citizens.

He helped to introduce changes in synagogue ritual and leadership to enhance the role of women, and most recently guided the congregation through hiring its first female clergy member. He has devoted himself to establishing meaningful relationships with Jewish leaders of all denominations, engages in interfaith dialogue, and is respected throughout the broader Los Angeles community. He believes ongoing Jewish education is the foundation to meaningful practice, and he teaches weekly Talmud, Midrash and halacha courses, as well as special courses on a variety of contemporary topics.

Most importantly to his congregants and friends, Rav Yosef is known as a true mensch — his empathy, honesty and desire to give are central to all his endeavors.

He is deeply committed to programs that engage the congregation in caring for the poor and homeless, as well as people who are mentally ill, disabled, or frail. He oversaw a renovation to make the sanctuary accessible to people with disabilities. He has nurtured an atmosphere of warmth and inclusivity among the membership and newcomers.

Rabbi Kanefsky was ordained in 1989 at Yeshiva University, where he also received a master’s degree in Jewish History. He began his rabbinic career in 1990 as the associate rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in New York, where he worked under the tutelage of spiritual activist Rabbi Avi Weiss. He came to B’nai David-Judea Congregation in the summer of 1996.

He is a past president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, and of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, which he helped found. He is a teaching fellow for the Wexner Heritage Foundation.

Rabbi Kanefsky is married to Sari Abrams, who is the director of parent and child education at the Pressman Academy, and an active leader within the congregation. He likes to hike, bike and visit Israel. They have 3 wonderful sons, two incredible daughter-in-laws and 1 adorable grandchild.

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