Rabbi Joel Soffin || FounderPresident Jewish Helping Hands
Rabbi Joel E. Soffin has been a life-long social activist, addressing the needs of the poor and the vulnerable in many places around the world. He initially studied economics and has a Ph.D. pending at Yale. In 1971, he began his studies for the rabbinate at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City where he was ordained in 1976. Three years later, he became the Rabbi of Temple Shalom in Succasunna, NJ. While there, he developed a long series of social action projects, rescuing and resettling Vietnamese boat people and Soviet Refuseniks, supporting the Argentinian Jewish community of Mendoza and the Zvenigorodka community of Ukraine, and providing over a million meals to Ethiopian Jewish children waiting to make aliyah to Israel. Rabbi Soffin also created the Adult Mitzvah Corps of the Reform Movement and the teen Bonim Banim – Building Youth projects, organizing weeks of Jewish Religious Living in New Orleans and several other American cities, including home building and restoration projects. Upon his retirement from Temple Shalom, generous donors enabled him to create Jewish Helping Hands to continue his important social action work. He often serves as a teacher and Scholar-in-Residence.