In July of 2019, Rabbi Moshe and Leah Shemtov of the Chabad of Stamford announced a new program for young Jewish professionals, YJP, living in Stamford. YJP is a new focus area for Chabad and comprises a select group of young Jews who have already completed college and have not yet started families and may not have found their place in Jewish life.
“We are thrilled to announce that our own home-grown boy, born and bred in Stamford, Rabbi Binyomin Warmflash, has moved back to Stamford, along with his wife Fraida and their baby daughter Esther Chana,” revealed Rabbi Shemtov. “At this time we are laying the groundwork and networking, with the hope, God willing, to create a robust community. Rabbi Binyomin and Fraida will be taking this year to explore the establishment of Chabad’s Young Jewish Professionals here in Stamford.”
“After many years of Chabad of Stamford reaching out to the youth through our many programs and the preschool, it was time to expand and reach out to young professionals to bring them the warmth of Judaism, while giving them a social space among their peers,” explained Rabbi Shemtov. “This is within the many programs Chabad currently has for adults, including our many classes and avant-garde programs.”
Shemtov continued, ‘We hope that this will create a thriving Jewish community among the young professional community, who for the most part do not have a comfortable place to express their Judaism.”
As for the specific type of programing, Rabbi Shemtov expressed, “We plan on having sophisticated Jewish experiences, unique social events, educational and volunteer experiences, catered for this segment of the community. With that, the Warmflashes will create a hyper-personal experience and warm setting for the young professional to explore and cultivate their Jewish knowledge and heritage.”
Rabbi Warmflash is excited to spread awareness of this program. “It’s an incredible honor to be able to give back to a community that I grew up in,” he stated. “Stamford has been booming in a physical sense. Many families have been moving to Stamford. The community has been expanding majorly, both in a spiritual sense and in terms of unity and acceptance.”
Rabbi Warmflash continued, “Many young professionals have been moving to downtown Stamford from all around the country, for work or for other various reasons. The need for a young Jewish community became an apparent and crucial need for our community.” Rabbi Warmflash explained that under his and Fraida’s leadership, “we hope that this will create a thriving Jewish community among the young professionals. Every young Jew in town should feel welcomed and comfortable to express their Judaism, as well as a hub for social life.”
Rabbi Binyomin grew up in Stamford and attended Gan Yeladim and Bi-Cultural Day School (now known as BCHA). Fraida is a native of Montreal and has been involved in Jewish education and outreach in Canada and the United States as well as around the world. Each has a passion and creativity for Jewish awareness. Binyomin is famous for holding the world record in shortest time to wrap tefillin on someone, while Fraida is credited with helping take the “Chalk Shabbat Program” from NYC to pavements and sidewalks around the world, helping to chalk Shabbat Candle lighting times on street corners for all to see.
“Both Binyomin and Fraida are known for their warmth and inclusiveness and their drive to share the joy and light of Judaism with Jews of all ages and stages,” stated Rabbi Shemtov. “We are excited to welcome them and look forward to having their energy enhance our community.”
By Judy Berger