Recently, the congregation of Beit Edmond J. Safra Synagogue of Turnberry, Florida welcomed their new rabbi, Rabbi Yoseph Galimidi and Hazzan Jonathan Hen at a festive breakfast.

For the past 14 years, Rabbi Galimidi was the dynamic spiritual leader at Shaare Ezra of Miami Beach. With the approval of the Sephardic Rabbinical Council, Rabbi Galimidi will lead and inspire Beit Edmond J. Safra’s diverse congregation.

“It is an honor to have been selected to be rabbi of this synagogue,” said Rabbi Galimidi, who left Shaare Ezra for the challenge of leading a larger community. “I teach Torah classes every day in English and Spanish. I can communicate with everyone,” he added proudly. During the summer, the synagogue has many visitors from South American countries. It is a blessing that Rabbi Galimidi speaks Spanish.

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Rabbi Galimidi (center), Mr. David and Ivan Braka

Rabbi Galimidi (center), Mr. David and Ivan Braka

“The breakfast was a most beautiful time. A large part of the community came out and it was very lavish,” said the rabbi. “Everybody was very receptive. I’m happy that people are coming to the classes, people are calling to speak with me and activities are being organized.”

Clement Soffer, Vice-President of the synagogue added, “Beit Edmond Jacob Safra Synagogue was a project originally conceived by Mr. Ralph Tawil, and later constructed and completed by David and Pauline Braka and their son and his wife, Ivor and Robin Braka.”

The synagogue is proud to honor Mr. David Braka, Chairman Emeritus, for his dedication and devotion to the building of the synagogue. It is due to his efforts that the synagogue became a reality. Today it is recognized as one of the most beautiful synagogues in the world.

Hanania Abisror, Rabbi Galimidi, Rabbi Tawil and Lou Massry

Hanania Abisror, Rabbi Galimidi, Rabbi Tawil and Lou Massry

“This synagogue is dedicated to the memory of one of the greatest Sephardic visionaries and Jewish leaders of the 20th century, Mr Edmond Safra, and the Braka family pulled out all stops to build a synagogue befitting this great, philanthropic, world renowned benefactor of the Jewish people,” added Clem.
The Safra Synagogue is a proud Sephardic house of worship that demonstrates and projects the beauty and dedication of the Syrian Sephardic community. It reflects the Syrian community’s high standard of devotion to our Almighty Hashem.

“After a long and arduous search for a rabbi and a cantor befitting such a community, we were rewarded by the acceptance of Rabbi Joseph Galimidi. He is extremely knowledgeable, and he expresses himself magnificently. He was born in Egypt and educated in Israel. He received a degree in religious studies from The Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, NJ. He is also a hazzan and a Ba’al Koreh. He is multilingual, fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Yiddish and Arabic.”

“I’m working on my French,” Rabbi Galimidi added with a smile.

“Our new cantor, Mr. Jonathan Hen, comes to us from Israel. He’s a great addition,” Clem said. “He has a beautiful voice, he’s doing a superb job and a lot of people are very happy. He is a protégé of Cantor Yehezkel Zion of Beth Torah. He is currently organizing classes for our children, ages six to 11 years old, many of whom don’t know how to read or pray in Hebrew. Cantor Hen will teach them our customs, our prayers and our way of singing.”

Beit Edmond J. Safra Synagogue has united our Sephardic Middle Eastern families in a way that could not have been imagined when the land for the synagogue was purchased in 1997.

Everyone is thrilled to welcome Rabbi Galimidi and Cantor Hen to the Beit Edmond J. Safra Synagogue family.