Join Rabbi Simon Benzaquen on Thursday, June 17 3pm ET for an AMA!
Rabbi Simon Benzaquen is an accomplished Dayan, Rabbi, Mohel, Sofer, Shochet, Chazan and Artist.
Rabbi Benzaquen was born in Spanish Morocco in the coastal city of Melilla, Spain. At the age of fourteen, Rabbi Benzaquen was accepted to the prestigious Yeshivat Netzach Israel in Sunderland, England where he attended for ten years. He continued his Talmudic studies in London, England, for an additional three years at the Etz Chaim Yeshiva and upon the completion of his Rabbinical studies, Rabbi Benzaquen became the assistant minister of the South end & West Cliff Hebrew Congregation in Essex, England, and served the community there for ten years.
Rabbi Benzaquen complimented his work in Essex by attending Jews’ College in London and earned his BA in Jewish studies and graduated with Honors issued by the National Council for Academic Awards of England. With his love for music and Jewish liturgy, he additionally completed a two year program at the Jewish College University, with an emphasis on Ashkenazik cantorial liturgy and Hazanut, which complimented his already familiar knowledge of Sephardic liturgy. Rabbi Benzaquen additionally received Rabbinic ordination from The Rabbinical Academy of Marseille, France.
Rabbi Benzaquen married his wife, Cecilia Margulies, while living in London and were blessed to have three children Jonathan, Tanya and Anna Aliza. Natasha, their fourth child, would be born in Seattle, Washington.
In 1979 Rabbi Benzaquen was presented with the opportunity to become the Rabbi of Sociedad Israelita in Maracaibo, Venezuela, a community in need of a Rabbi, community leader and Shochet for both Sephardic and Ashkenazic congregations. Rabbi Benzaquen answered the call and the family moved to Maracaibo, Venezuela and lived there for the next five years.
In 1984, Rabbi Benzaquen became the Rabbi of the Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation in Seattle, Washington, a vibrant Sephardic community of Turkish decent with over 300 families. As the rabbi there, he leads every aspect of life cycle events in the Synagogue and Community. Rabbi Benzaquen has been a certified Mohel since 1987, and has become very popular for his services which have been rendered from California all the way to Alaska.
As a member of the Va’ad HaRabanim of Greater Seattle, one of his many roles is to be instrumental in writing and assisting couples with Gitin.
To better serve the community, in 2006, Rabbi Benzaquen under the auspices of the SSC completed his Dayanut studies in Israel and became a Dayan.
Rabbi Benzaquen served as co-chair of the board of Rabbis for the American Sephardi Federation with Rabbi Marc Angel of New York City and during the years of 1992 and 1993, he was appointed Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America. In 1985, Rabbi Benzaquen was instrumental in introducing legislation whereby all food items labeled “kosher,” must either meet the requirements of Jewish dietary law or be in violation of the Consumer Protection Act. He is currently a member of the Rabbinical Council of America as well as the Executive Council of Sephardic Rabbis of the U.S.A. and Canada.
Rabbi Benzaquen is a Sofer for Sifrei Torah, Tefilin and Mezuzoth and a noted artist for his unique style of calligraphy of painted and decorated Ketuboth, marriage contracts. He is also a Shochet for Ofot and Gasot.
Rabbi Benzaquen and his wife Cecilia are vibrant and energetic and always involved in the welfare of the Community, whether it be counseling to improve Shalom Bayit, family wellbeing, involvement with adult education and the youth, or teaching young children at the elementary schools.
Rabbi Benzaquen is a well sought after speaker, and his CDs on the weekly lectures on the Parasha are widely distributed and can be heard at www.torahvista.com or at www.torahcentral.com www.sbhseattle.org
Also Videos Parashat Ha’shavua in Spanish. Search in YouTube for English version.
Also a rapper of Ladino Romansas. Google Me or YouTube “Nissim and Benzaquen” and “Los Serenos Sefarad”
“Los Serenos Sefarad in the Media”
Infusing ancient Ladino songs with rap to keep a culture alive – The Seattle Timeshttp://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/infusing-ancient-ladino-songs-with-rap-to-keep-a-culture-alive/
Meet the Rapping Rabbi of Seattle – The Forwardhttp://forward.com/culture/308586/meet-the-rapping-rabbi-of-washington-state/
Seattle’s Rapping Rabbi Revives Ladino Folksongs – Mosaic Magazinehttp://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/2015/09/seattles-rapping-rabbi-revives-ladino-folksongs/
SEATTLE’S SEPHARDI JEWS BROUGHT US STARBUCKS: NOW THEY’RE TRYING TO BRING BACK LADINO – Tablet Magazinehttp://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/179790/seattle-ladino-revival