About Me

Rabbi Chaim Coffman
Rabbi Coffman has helped people from all across the spectrum to prepare themselves properly for Orthodox Conversion to Judaism. His students admire his vast knowledge and appreciate his warm, personal attention and endearing sense of humor.
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Welcome to Rabbi Chaim Coffman's Blog!

I would like to thank you for visiting my blog, Beyond Orthodox Conversion to Judaism.

The conversion process can be a lengthy and daunting one to say the least and I want you to know that I am here to help you through it.

I have been teaching newcomers to Judaism for over a decade and over the last few years I have seen that conversion candidates really lack the support and knowledge they need to navigate the conversion process and successfully integrate into the Orthodox Jewish community.

I created my mentorship program in order to help make this whole experience as smooth and as painless as possible! (Can't do much about the growing pains, though ;)

Feel free to get to know me a little through the posts on my blog and visit the mentorship and syllabus page if you are interested in possible joining us.

I sincerely wish you all the best in your search for truth and spiritual growth.

Looking forward to meeting you,
Chaim Coffman

My Rebbe, Rav Moshe Sternbuch

In case you were wondering why I have all of these articles written by Rav Moshe Sternbuch, he is my Rebbe, and one of the gedolei hador (greatest Rabbis of our generation).

Rav Sternbuch fully endorses me and supports my mentorship program.

He is the address for all of my halachic or hashkafic (practical and philosophical) questions that I or my students may have.

The articles are based on his weekly talks on the Torah portion that the Rav gives in Jerusalem in his kollel. As a member of the kollel I get first dibbs on the photocopies and I type them up for my blog so you can all benefit from the Rav's erudition and insight.
Friday, April 9, 2010

Rabbi Shopping

How does one go Rabbi Shopping or community shopping?

Rabbi Coffman responds:

How does one find a rabbi and search for a community? Better question: what makes someone a rabbi? Just like in any other profession, one has to take the requisite exams to become proficient in their field. Rabbinics is no different. One has to have the proper knowledge in Torah to receive Semicha (rabbinic ordination)

Passing the exams on the information at hand is one thing. Putting it into practicality is another issue. The first thing is that once one passes the exams, they need to know for themselves what they "really" know and when they need to go ask someone more knowledgeable then themselves.

The most important thing in choosing a rabbi like in any other profession is to see their credentials. The credentials here are where they learned, how long they have been learning for but even more importantly than that who they learned under and who is considered their Daas Torah.

Daas Torah here means who do they themselves go to when they have a question or do they go to anyone at all. Another criteria is what practical experience do they have and what their background is. Not every rabbi is for every person when it comes to asking personal advice.

When choosing a rabbi, a person should check their background, where they have been, what they have done and then take it from there.

The other issue is even if they meet the above criteria, how do you get along with them. Do they have a nice personality?

The gemara tells us that for someone to teach and have students, that person has to be similar to a malach (angel). If that person does not strive to reach that level or has other issues that make it difficult for one to listen to that person, then one should find another rabbi.

If someone was exemplary in his knowledge but had some shady financial deals or other bad character traits, would we want to get advice from them? Something to keep in mind


Mark said...

This is helpful, thank you. So, may we ask what are your credentials? I see there are different sorts of semicha like Rav umanhig, and Yoreh Yoreh and Yadin Yadin and I don't know what else? I've also heard that not all rabbis or schools have the same requirements of scholarship when they give a student semicha. Can you tell us about your credentials, and where they are from, etc. ? Did you get semicha from Rav Sternbuch? Thanks!

Rabbi Chaim Coffman said...

I have semicha from Rabbi Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg, Shlita and a letter of approbation from Rav Moshe Sternbuch, Shlita.

Also I have given classes in Ohr Sameach, Yeshivas Or David, worked with students from Hebrew University and also ran my own Kollel for 3 years


Anonymous said...

I have attended orthodox shul for years and recently completed orthodox conversion. I was instructed by my mentor, to find a rabbi "who is available 24/7 and who you feel comfortable talking to." I have been very disapointed. I read that rabbi's also function as counselors, etc. My rabbi has engaged in loshon hara against me, fails to respond when needed. I have decided to find a rabbi who also has a university degree in philosophy or counseling. Its quite a disapointment when you have an unresponsive/unavailable rabbi.

Rabbi Chaim Coffman said...

Definitely true. I think the hardest part of the conversion process is finding a rabbi that you relate to and you can confide in. I am sorry that you have had such a negative experience. I may be able to help you and I have a university degree