MEET THE RABBI
Rabbi Emanual Ben-David was born in Israel to Arie, a Hungarian Orthodox Rabbi who made Aliya to Israel in 1925 and Naomi, a Holocaust survivor, coming to Israel from Hungary in 1949. At the age of 13 I entered the Maritime High School and upon graduation the Israeli Navy sent me to the Technion, to study Mechanical Engineering. Having received my Engineering diploma, I joined the Israeli Navy and served as an officer for five years in active service and later an additional 15+ years in the Navy Reserves.
At the age of 27, after finishing my active duty, I joined Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. I started at the lowest rung as a mechanical engineer, working on some amazing technologies. In 1985 the Israeli Navy ordered equipment from a company called Kollmorgen in Massachusetts, to integrate with some of Rafael’s naval components. I became the program manager responsible for everything from initial design to manufacturing, delivery and support of the equipment. The Contracts Manager at Kollmorgen was Connie, later to become my wife.
Over the course of time as the program developed, Connie and I were in constant communication and our mutual families became friends. We visited each other, and even after the program was over, we stayed in contact. An example of our friendship was demonstrated at the time of the first Gulf War, while I was in Milu-eem – Reserves Service. When the first Iraqi rocket attacks hit us and my family was in a closed sealed room, Connie called us from the States. “It’s dangerous! Send your kids to us!”
Later on, I had the privilege and joy to work on some of the most exciting defense projects in Israel, arguably in the world. The technologies and knowledge that was developed in the program I led was migrated to other products that served in defending Israel, the US and many other allies around the world.
In 1999, I reconnected with Connie. She suffered multiple traumas in a short period of time, including the loss of her husband. Her rabbi and her boss arranged for her to take a six-month sabbatical in Israel so she could study at the Hebrew Union College and regroup. It was only natural for me to help her find an apartment and get acclimated. At that time, my wife and I were separated and in the process of getting divorced. One thing led to another, and instead of going back to the US at the end of the sabbatical, Connie stayed in Israel and we have been together ever since.
After retiring from Rafael in 2014, we moved to Ashland OR. My vocation that led me throughout my entire live – defending Israel – took a different form. I started to engage with Jewish congregations, supporting them in following their spiritual, ritual, educational and communal paths, while being inclusive, accepting of diversity, and fostering the love of Israel.
In parallel, realizing my thirst to deepen and widen my knowledge base in everything to do with Judaism, I embarked on Rabbinical studies, receiving my ordination as a Rabbi in 2018.
I enjoy teaching, and the spectrum of subjects I love talking about is broad: Torah, Jewish thought and law (Halakha), “Judaism 101” and of course – Israel: history, current affairs, technology, and deepening the understanding of the Arab/Palestinian – Israeli