Rabbi Binyamin Rachmanov
Chief Bukharian Dayan of New York
Born in Israel on December 7, 1982, Binyamin Rachmanov came to New York with his parents Eliyahu Rachmanov and Bella Shimonov. Binyamin’s father Eliyahu was born in Bukhara, a maternal grandson of “Aboche Kalantarov.” Eliyahu’s paternal grandfather, Rachamim, was murdered by Islamic extremists in Bukhara. Eliyahu’s father, Ariyeh, was left to fend for himself, establishing, with his second wife Hana, a family of over ten children, most of whom live in Israel. Rabbi Binyamin testifies to the fact that Hana was an extremely righteous woman. She would never eat meat or chicken unless she saw a certified shochet perform the ritual slaughter in front of her eyes, and even with such regard she never ate meat anyway.
Bella Shimonov, daughter of Amnun Shimonov and Rosa Abramov, originally from Samarqand but grew up in Dushanbe. Amnun Shimonov, from Samarqand, was the son of Mulo Binyamin Serdone, after whom Rabbi Binyamin Rachmanov is named. According to Rabbi Binyamin, his grandfather Amnun repeatedly mentioned how proud his grandfather, Baruch Eroni, was that he was from Iran (the name Eroni means “from Iran”).
Rabbi Binyamin Rachmanov’s father Eliyahu, who served both in the Russian Communist army and the Israeli Defense Forces, brought his family to New York in 1985. He immigrated to the States in search of more significant opportunities for his family. Although they were not religiously educated in Judaism as they are today, both of Rabbi Binyamin’s parents decided early on that their children would have to be in a Yeshiva environment no matter sacrifices that entailed financially (and yes, the sacrifices were very high). To this day, Rabbi Binyamin admits that if his parents had not invested in a Yeshiva education for their children, their financial situation would be ten times better. But because it would have been at the expense of their Neshama, it wasn’t even a question; this shows the high value they placed on Torah education.
Rabbi Binyamin Rachmanov started his education in Yeshiva Tiferet Moshe. Reminiscing over one of his fondest memories from that time, he remembers that the Rosh Yeshiva Harav Alter Chanoch Henoch Leibowitz Zatzal would come to pray the Shacharit Morning service with the elementary school children. Rabbi Rachmanov was also strongly influenced by Rabbi Kasier & Rabbi Hauben during his Elementary career. Upon graduation, Rabbi Rachmanov was accepted to Yeshivat Ateres Yaakov, where he learned with Rabbi Yehuda Horowitz, Rabbi Leibe Wolf, Rabbi Mordechai Brownstein, Rabbi Elisha Sandler, and Rabbi Manoach Gelbfish. His English teachers made a big impression on him as well, as they emphasized the need to understand the American culture, along with the importance of the arts and science. He especially appreciated his studies in Global History and American History. When asked why he considers these studies so important, Rabbi Binyamin quotes the Great Rabbi Eliyahu, the Gaon of Vilna, “To the extent that one lacks knowledge of the Seven Pearls of Wisdom, he will lack one-hundred-fold in the wisdom of the Torah. And to the extent that the Torah sages attain knowledge of the underlying principles of nature, they will increase their understanding of the Torah one-hundred-fold.”
Immediately after his graduation from High School, Rabbi Rachmanov spent several months learning by Rabbi Mordechai Ben Haim and attending Shiurim by Rabbi Aharon Walkin. He also ventured to learn several months by Rabbi Zecharia Meins, in Yeshivat Chofetz Chaim, which he says was perhaps one of the most critical periods of study that he had ever experienced. Throughout his childhood and adolescence, Rabbi Binyamin Rachmanov strongly influenced by his cousin Rabbi Nerya Aminov, of who instilled in him a love of the study of Mussar, in addition to guiding him in all other aspects of Torah Study — Gemara, Humash and Rashi.
In 2004 Rabbi Rachmanov felt that he lacked in his spiritual independence. After learning IYUN with Rabbi Yitzchak Wise for over a year, he felt the need to grow in the Study of Halacha.
He searched for a teacher, and he found Morenu V’Rabenu Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Haim Shlita. Regarding his studies under the rabbi, Rabbi Rachmanov says, “What I learned with my Rabbi, Rebbe Eliyahu Ben Haim, would take thirty years under any other teacher.” Rabbi Rachmanov stood by his side every day in a study for four hours a day, for six years straight. During this time, they covered all sections of Shulchan Aruch, learning all the critical fundamental points of Halacha. As time went on, Rabbi Rachmanov pursued his career in Graphic Design, Book Publishing, and Real Estate.
At the same time, he finalized his Halacha studies and was awarded ordination as a Dayan by Rabbi Hanan Kablan Shlita, officiating Dayan in Ramat Gan & Bnei Brak (brother-in-law of the Great Rosh Yeshiva of Kisey Rachamim, Rabbi Meir Mazuz Shlita, and son-in-law of Gadol Hador Rabbi Matzliach Mazuz Zatzal). This Pursuit was important fro him to expand his horizons, and what better place is there then Rabbinical leaders in Israel.
Further, Rabbi Binyamin Rachmanov obtained his Ordination as a Rabbinical Judge (Laws of Gittin), from Chief Dayan of Jerusalem Rabbi Eliyahu Abergel Shlita, who fully supports the established New York Beth Din "Hok Natan" by Rabbi Binyamin Rachmanov, which was also co-supported by Rosh Yeshiva Gadol Hador Rabbi Meir Mazuz Shlita. Rabbi Binyamin Rachmanov also received Rabbinical Ordination from Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Dovid Lau Shlita and is recognized in the State of Israel. Rabbi Rachmanov has become the first Generation Bukhrian Jew in New York, ordained as a Rabbinical Judge. With Rabbi Yuval Noff Shlita being the first Bukharian in America to receive ordination as a Rabbinical Judge who also happens to be the first Bukharian Rabbi in New York.
Under both Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Haim’s and Rabbi Hanan Kablan’s tutelage, Rabbi Rachmanov established a Sephardic Center on Main Street, Flushing, Queens, in 2007 and continues to run it with Rabbi Hana Kablan direction. After years of experience of being a Torah Educator for all types of people (religious and non-religious), Rabbi Rachmanov says, “The balance between following the Torah, and at the same time accommodating people’s needs and their opinions, is outstanding. Unfortunately, many people forget and misunderstand how to maintain that balance.”