Audio: The Sephardi Rabbi and the Rapper

Rabbi Simon Benzaquen builds bridges in Jewish communities around the world.
1/24/2014, 3:00 PM

A7 Radio's "Life Lessons with Judy Simon" with Judy Simon
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Why would a Spanish Moroccan Jew send his son to study in a yeshiva run by Ashkenazi Holocaust survivors?

How does one rabbi find common ground for Jews of all walks of life?

Why is there a natural bond between African Americans and the Jewish People?

Why would a retired rabbi who studied Hazzanut (Jewish cantorial singing) start performing with a rapper??

Rabbi Simon Benzaquen shares his international journey from Africa through Europe to South America and finally North America. He tells of his surprising career change after more than 40 years in the rabbinate.

Rabbi Benzaquen explains, "There aren't two peoples who are more connected and have more in common than the African American and the Jew . . . Who created the bad feeling between these two people? The anti-Semites."

Tune in to meet this soft-spoken rabbi with the slight Spanish accent tell his story eloquently and with humor.

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Cover photo credit: Judy Lash Balint.

Judy Simon is the host of the show Life Lessons and the mother of six children. After almost 20 years of teaching English and special education, Judy now serves as the Beit El Tourism Coordinator, and organizes tours of the site of Jacob's Dream in Beit El. Check out Beit El's website: and "like" the Beit El Heritage Center Facebook page: To "like" the Hebrew page: Life Lessons explores fascinating people from all walks of life and follows their stories of lessons learned along the way. The Life Lessons podcast airs every Thursday from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Israel time on Israel National Radio.
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