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Rabbi Yehuda Septimus has served as the Senior Rabbi of the Young Israel of North Woodmere since September 2008. Our Rabbi focuses first and foremost on close relationships with and addressing the needs of every one of the families in his shul. On a communal level, he employs an approach of "synthesis of intellectual and spiritual creativity and growth." He has promoted North Woodmere’s unique qualities to attract young families to the community and to the shul shul. At the same time, he has worked to make North Woodmere a hub of communal activity through lecturers, youth, and chesed programs attracting the entire community. As the community has grown, Rabbi Septimus has worked to develop close relationships with all the rabbis and all of the shuls, making YINW an anchor shul to an exploding young Jewish community. He considers it a source of great pride that the community has increased in unity and coordinated efforts even amidst this explosion.

Rabbi Septimus received his semikhah as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Yeshiva University, a PhD in classical Jewish history and literature from Yale University, a Master of Arts degree at NYU Silver School of Social Work, and a post-graduate training at the Trauma Studies Center of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, where he went on to become a teacher, committee member, and advisor. He spent three years of intensive Torah study at Yeshivat Har Etzion, and he studied psychology extensively and worked as a fellow at the Center for Psychotherapy Research at the University of Pennsylvania. 

He began his rabbinic career at the Riverdale Jewish Center, where he served as an intern for a year, and as an assistant rabbi to Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt for three years. His communal work includes his roles as co-founder of the high school leadership program Eimatai, counselor at Camp Simchah, and communal educator at the Yeshiva of Capetown.

Our Rabbi has lectured at numerous synagogues and adult learning programs. He has also held positions as teaching fellow and instructor at Yale University, Gruss Scholar in Residence at the New York University School of Law, the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University, and instructor at Trauma Studies Center of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy.

In addition to his role as Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Septimus has a private practice as a psychotherapist in Lawrence, NY, where he specializes in trauma, relationships, and peak performance, using cutting edge modalities such as Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, EMDR, TIST, and ISF Neurofeedback.  He has studied under world experts in the integration of these and other modalities to treat trauma and other complex life challenges

His wife, Lisa, is the Yoetzet Halacha of the Five Towns and Yoetzet Halacha of Great Neck Synagogue. She also teaches limudei kodesh at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School. They are blessed with four children, Lea, Avi, Dalya, and Gila.

Rabbi's message

According to Rav Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik, of blessed memory, the holiness of objects in this world emanates from the holiness of the humans who consecrate them. This is definitely the case of kedushat beit ha-kenesset, the sanctity of a shul.

The Yerushalmi (Megillah 3:1), however, articulates a different principle: “כל כלי בית הכנסת כבית הכנסת”; “all of the vessels used in a shul take on the sanctity of the shul.” In other words, the sanctity of the shul spreads to everything used in the shul. Similarly, humans who enter and participate in a shul have the capacity to take on that sanctity, to become so to speak the vessels of the shul. Thus they are at once the sources and the beneficiaries of that sanctity. It follows that the stronger the relationship between the shul and its people, the stronger the sanctity – of both the shul and the humans who inhabit its space.

The Young Israel of North Woodmere prides itself on its people – their warmth, their goodness, and their capacity thus to create a shul of sanctity built on the principles of Torat Chesed, a Torah of loving kindness. We welcome you – for a Shabbat, for a weekday davenning, for learning, for a shiur, for an event, or just to say hello. It would be a pleasure to have you join us on our mission of at once creating and drawing from our of kedushat beit ha-kenesset.

Fri, July 12 2024 6 Tammuz 5784