Rabbi Yakov

Not Your Typical Rabbi

Rabbi Yakov's Story

Rabbi Yakov's journey is quite different from most Chabad Rabbis. Yakov, grew up in a secular family from Long Island, suburban NYC. To him Judaism felt more like a membership at a country club, where one's status was based on the size of the Bar Mitzvah. Judaism seemed anything but inspiring and Yakov, known then as Jerry, promptly checked out.

During his Junior year at Ohio State University, while living it up as a memeber of a rockin' fraternity & busy bar tending for party cash, he was approached by the local Chabad Rabbi, Aryeh Kaltmann. Rabbi Kaltmann asked the most important question that Jerry would ever be asked..."ARE YOU JEWISH?". Jerry/Yakov wanted so badly to say no, but he couldn't, and reluctantly signed up on the Chabad Buckeye Campus Hit List. Thus, Rabbi Kaltman started his weekly bombardment campaign of Shabbat invitations armed with the potential promise of meeting a Jewish sweetheart...

Needless to say, the campaign eventually worked: la dolce vita of dorm life faded away, Jerry became a regular fixture in the Rabbi's classes, and slowly, Jerry started to become more like Yakov. Instead of attending the Buckeye games on Saturday mornings, he helped Rabbi Aryeh to make minyan (which took alot of self sacrifice, especially on Michigan weekend). 

Eventually Jerry went on to become Rabbi Yakov, and now has his own center, CHABADLOFT, into which he welcomes the Jews he meets on the streets of Manhattan. Jews of all backgrounds come to hear about his personal journey into judaism & mitzvahs, and to share theirs. There is never an empty seat at the Shabbos table, yet no one is ever turned away from a delicious Shabbat dinner infused with warmth, love and spirituality.

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