Straus Seminary Musmach Elected Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt

Rabbi Avichai Apel has been elected Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt

With the blessing of the leading rabbis, the Israeli rabbinate and the heads of the Conference of European Rabbis, Rabbi Avichai Apel has been elected to serve as rabbi of Frankfurt, Germany.  “I will continue to do everything in my power to spread and glorify the Torah”

Photo: Eli Itkin
Photo: Eli Itkin

With the blessings of the leading German rabbis, the Israeli Rabbinate and the heads of the Conference of European Rabbis, Rabbi Avichai Apel has been elected to serve as rabbi of Frankfurt, Germany.

Apel, a rabbi who has served eight years as Chairman of the Conference of Orthodox Rabbis in Germany, was elected unanimously by the 17 members of the community. Rabbi Apel could take office as soon as this summer, and will serve in joint leadership with Rabbi Haim Shushan.

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis and Rabbi and Chief Rabbinical Judge of Moscow, and Rabbi Moshe Lebel, Director of the Rabbinical Conference and Rosh Yeshiva of Moscow’s Torat Chaim, congratulated Rabbi Apel on his election and assured him that the Conference – of which Rabbi Apel is a member of the Standing Committee – would stand beside him as he spreads the light of the Torah. They added that they will support him as he strengthens and establishes religious institutions and nurtures education in Frankfurt, a city currently home to 8,000 Jews, with active synagogues including the Great Synagogue and three regional shuls, as well as educational institutions comprised of kindergartens, a school and a home for the elderly.

The Chief Rabbi elect, Rabbi Apel said he was accepting the position with great trepidation, awe and respect fo the city in which great Torah giants had tread before him.

“German Jewry today is comprised of about 120 thousand Jews, 90% of whom are from the Former Soviet Union (FSU). Most of them lack Jewish knowledge and background.  I work together with the Conference of Orthodox Rabbis in Germany to connect between all of the different of Jewish communities. In addition, many Israelis have moved to Germany in recent years. I will do everything within my power to continue spreading and glorifying the Torah, and to try to return to the city some of its former majesty.”

Photo: Eli Itkin
Photo: Eli Itkin

Rabbi Avichai Apel was born in Jerusalem and was educated at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav and Kedumim. He received his rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin at the Joseph and Gwendolyn Straus Rabbinical Seminary. For three years after his ordination, Apel served as a Straus-Amiel emissary, working in Germany for the administration of the Torah Mitzion Kollel while managing kiruv programs for youth and students within the “Congress of Russian Orthodoxy”, under the leadership of Rabbi Goldschmidt in Russia. He spent three additional years in Germany working with young immigrants from the FSU.

Eleven years ago, Rabbi Apel was appointed rabbi of the city of Dortmund in Germany where he literally “raised the Jewish community out of the ashes”, revitalizing a Jewish community that barely existed. Apel has reestablished Dortmund as a Jewish community, and founded educational and religious institutions based on Torah values.

Two months ago, after the birth of his seventh son, the President of Germany came to visit Apel in his home along with the mayor of Dortmund, Mr. Zeira, declaring that the government of Germany supports large families.

 

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