About Rabbi Raphael Benchimol
Rabbi Raphael Benchimol was born in Rabat, Morocco in 1966. He attended the Talmud Torah Hebrew School in Rabat until age 8. At that time, he emigrated with his family to the United States and settled in Miami, Florida.
Because of his parents' steadfast desire that their children continue to go to Hebrew school, they enrolled them at the Landow Yeshiva in Miami. There, Rabbi Benchimol excelled in his studies. His love for Torah made him pursue becoming a rabbi.
After finishing high school, Rabbi Benchimol attended many well-known rabbinical schools. He received his rabbinical ordination (semichah) in December 1988 from Central Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim, the Lubavitch seminary at 770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY. He continued his studies and received a "Dayanut" diploma from the Rosh Yeshiva of Central Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim in early 1990. Despite his demanding and rigorous learning schedule, he also took time to participate in various outreach programs and activities including giving a weekly Parasha class on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to those who would later become the founders of MSC. During the course of their learning, they formed a close bond and Rabbi Benchimol, then aged 23, was asked to be the founding rabbi of MSC. Rabbi Benchimol is also a shaliach (emissary) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT"L.
In 2003, Rabbi Benchimol created the Aleph Learning Center (www.alephlearning.org), of which he is the Executive Director, to expand his outreach programs to the greater Tri-State community and beyond.
In 2012-2013, during the year of his father's passing, and in his memory (אהרן בן אברהם ז"ל), Rabbi Benchimol published two volumes of Divrei Torah entitled ‘Bet Aharon,’ which bear his father’s name. Volume three of 'Bet Aharon' was published in 2016 and was dedicated also in memory of Rabbi Benchimol's parents-in-law, Simon (שמעון בן משה ז"ל) and Simha Alegria (שמחה בת אברהם ז"ל) Schnaider.
Rabbi Benchimol's latest work is a two-volume book, entitled "Rabbi Naftali HaKohen Katz: His Life, Legacy and Ethical Will," was completed in the summer of 2019.
[Rabbi Naftali Katz ZT"L (c. 1648-1719) was a great rabbi and kabbalist, author of many scholarly works, including Semichat Chachamim, Kedushah Uverachah etc... He had an illustrious ancestry and was a descendant of the famed Maharal of Prague.]
Rabbi Benchimol lives in New York City with his wife, Rachel, and their four children, Sarah Leah, Esther, Channah and Avraham Moshe.