Meet Rabbi Gavriel Rudin: Young Israel of Ottawa welcomes spiritual leader

Meet Rabbi Gavriel Rudin: Young Israel of Ottawa welcomes new spiritual leader

By Louise Rachlis

Rabbi Gavriel Rudin, with wife Malka, and their six children, ages (nearly) two to 10, arrived in Ottawa in August from Norfolk, Virginia, having never lived in Canada before. The new spiritual leader of Young Israel of Ottawa is looking forward to life in Canada.

“I know Canada has a lot of diversity and I’m looking forward to that,” Rabbi Rudin told the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin. “Everyone should be welcome, everyone should be accepted… It’s always good to have a strong central mission statement. The synagogue is a place for worship and a place of study, but also a place to come and socialize and build community.”

In Virginia, Rabbi Rudin served as outreach coordinator for the Norfolk Kollel and assisted the rabbi of B’nai Israel Congregation with teaching, programming and outreach.

Rabbi Rudin grew up in Passaic, New Jersey. He spent many years studying Talmud and halachah (Jewish law), and received his semicha (rabbinic ordination) from Ner Yisroel in Baltimore.

After receiving his semicha, Rabbi Rudin spent two years teaching at the Jewish Study Network of Palo Alto, California. 

Malka Rudin was born in Tucson, Arizona and spent most of her formative years in Monsey, New York. She works part-time as a social worker and full-time as a mother of six. In addition, Malka finds time to connect to Jewish women of all backgrounds and to learn with them one-on-one or in small groups, and teaching occasional classes.

 “It’s early and I’m trying to get a feel for what the needs of the community are. [Young Israel of Ottawa] hasn’t had a rabbi for a year now,” said Rabbi Rudin when asked about his plans for the Orthodox congregation.

Rabbi Rudin said the Young Israel membership encompasses a broad range of ages and personalities.

“It’s a diverse but cohesive group, and very special,” he said. “The little time I’ve been here it seems everybody is involved and everybody is dedicated to getting things done.”

“We are all so excited about the arrival of Rabbi Rudin and his family,” said Shayna Kahane, a Young Israel board member who served on the rabbi search committee. “They’ve really added to the warm and welcoming atmosphere of the shul.”

Kahane said the board was really taken by how “friendly and knowledgeable” Rabbi Rudin is, and knew that he’d be a good fit for the congregation.

For the past year, Young Israel has held services and other programs at the former Kollel building at 1762 Carling Avenue, near the Jewish Community Campus. High Holiday services will be held there as well. Cantor Pinchas Levinson, chazzan emeritus of Congregation Machzikei Hadas, will join Rabbi Rudin in leading High Holiday services.

“People should definitely come check us out,” said Rabbi Rudin. “We’re open for business and we welcome everybody.”

The community is invited to attend an installation ceremony to welcome Rabbi Rudin as the new spiritual leader of Young Israel of Ottawa on Sunday, September 15, 5:30 pm. An optional dinner ($36 per person) will follow the ceremony. Email for more information or to RSVP.