New Rabbis Ordained - ITJ Chag Hasemikhah (Semikhah Celebration)

Some are already rabbis who took upon themselves rigorous additional learning. Others are young men who sought out a place that combined serious Torah learning with an halakhic approach to Jewish Law and observance that also fosters open-minded questioning.

On Wednesday, Sept. 9, these students, ranging in age from their 30s to their 50s will come together to be ordained in a special Chag HaSemikhah ceremony at the Institute of Traditional Judaism (the Metivta), the educational arm of the Union for Traditional Judaism.

“What is especially exciting about this graduating class – beyond being one of our biggest – is the breadth of learning they represent,” said UTJ Executive V.P. and Dean of the Metivta, Rabbi Ronald D. Price. “Some are accomplished scholars who were eager to advance their learning; while several others chose the UTJ over larger institutions because of the world-class Rabbinic faculty we have and the openness in which they could learn. Two of those about to receive semikhah studied in our full-time program for 5 years after having received PhD’s, one in Chemistry and one in Nuclear Physics.”

“For nearly three decades we have been promoting a message of ‘Genuine Faith and Intellectual Honesty’, emunah tzerufah v’yosher da’at, and we are thrilled to see our students going out into the world to spread that message in schools where they teach, in shuls they have founded and serve, in communal organizations they lead and throughout the world of cyberspace,” Rabbi Price said.

The ITJ faculty features Rav David Halivni, one of the generation’s outstanding Talmudists and the Reish Metivta of the ITJ. Rav Halivni will confer semikhah and give a D’var Torah at the ordination ceremony. Other ITJ faculty include Sephardic Hakham Dr. Isaac Sassoon, of NY, Rabbi Dr. Alan Yuter of Baltimore, MD, Rabbi Gershon Bacon, Jerusalem, Rabbi Prof. David Novak of Toronto, Rabbis Richard Wolpoe and Leonard Levy of NJ and NY and Dr. Michael Kaplowitz of NY.

Three of those receiving semikhah, have studied at the Metivta for four or more years. They are:

- Steven Suson of Denver Colorado, a former Jewish camp director and Jewish educator

- Chaim Solomon, of Mount Dora, Florida who founded The UTJ Congregation of Mount Dora in Florida while still a student

- Eugene Shafir, of Bendery, Moldova who also helped design the newest website of the UTJ at

Joining them are two rabbis who have previous ordination and have been learning in the UTJ’s Advanced Semikhah program:

- Rabbi Leonard Levy, faculty member, Institute of Traditional Judaism

- Rabbi David Bauman, Rabbi of Kehilath Israel Synagogue in Overland Park, Kansas.

To learn more about the UTJ Ordination Ceremony, call 201-801-0707 ext. 200, or email