Rabbi Emeritus David Gaffney
A native Jerusalemite, Rabbi Gaffney was raised on the Lower East Side in New York City. He attended the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School where he was ordained as a rabbi, the youngest student to be so honored. Rabbi Gaffney received his BA degree from Brooklyn College, with a major in psychology; his MA in Jewish philosophy from Yeshiva University, and was honored with a Doctor of Divinity degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
The rabbi was a student in the Doctoral Program in the Department of Religion at Columbia University when he was invited to assume the pulpit at the Jacksonville Jewish Center in Jacksonville, Florida. In that setting, Rabbi Gaffney was instrumental in creating a full-service congregation that included nursery school, kindergarten, a Solomon Schechter Day School consisting of eight grades, a Hebrew School and a High School. In addition, synagogue activities included extensive youth, adult education and cultural programs.
Rabbi Gaffney has also served the larger community in a variety of capacities. He was president of the Southeast Region of the Rabbinical Assembly; a member of the Board of The Jewish Federation, a member of the Board of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and its Inter-Faith Committee and a member of the Board of the Jewish Family and Children’s Service. He also led in efforts to facilitate the resettlement of Jews from the former Soviet Union. Rabbi Gaffney has also been involved in a variety of organizations committed to the welfare of the State of Israel.
In assuming the pulpit at the Conservative Synagogue of Fifth Avenue, Rabbi Gaffney expressed the hope that CSFA would always be a synagogue composed of warm and caring, sensitive and thoughtful congregants. He maintains that to be part of the synagogue is to be part of a larger collective Self which has the experience of 40 centuries and has extracted from that experience the wisdom and values, the spirit and inspiration to help inform our personal and social lives. To be part of our synagogue means to be part of a caring congregation and to share with others the opportunities of growing Jewishly and humanly; an intimate circle with whom we can experience the joy and celebration of Jewish life.
A Message from Rabbi Gaffney
The author of the 149th Psalm offers what may well be a defining description of our congregation, The Conservative Synagogue of Fifth Avenue. The psalm begins — and I paraphrase — “Halleluyah, sing a new song to the Lord: God’s name is praised in the company of warm and caring, sensitive and thoughtful congregants.” This is what we, as a congregation, aspire to be. To be part of our synagogue is to be part of a larger collective Self that has the experience of 40 centuries and has extracted from that experience the wisdom and values, the sprit and inspiration to help inform our personal and social lives. To be part of our synagogue is not only to enjoy uplifting services; it is to discover for ourselves from Torah discussions and classes what is important and sacred and how to find strength to help us cope with life’s challenges.
To be part of our synagogue means to be part of a caring congregation and to share with others the opportunities of growing Jewishly and humanly. It means an intimate circle with whom we can experience the joy and celebration of Jewish life.
To be part of our synagogue is to attach oneself to the Jewish heritage and to raise to lofty significance the great milestones of our life, to keep alive our people’s most treasured memories and to nurture and act on our faith in the possibilities of a time of justice and peace by living out the imperative of gemillat hesed-acting compassionately and humanely.
Please consider this an invitation to contact me for any information and/or to visit us at services. We look forward to meeting you and welcoming you. Come and help us create a community that “sings a new song to the Lord.”