Rabbi Mordechai Abergel
was born in France in 1968 and grew up in Belgium . He left Belgium at 17 to study at the Rabbinical College in Morristown , New Jersey . From 1989 to 1990 he spent time in Miami as an emissary where he led outreach activities geared towards the Sephardic communities of Greater Miami.
In 1992 Rabbi Abergel received his smicha at the Tomchei Tmimim Rabbinical Seminary in Brooklyn , New York , where the world headquarters of the Chabad Lubavitch movement is also located.
Then, in 1994, Rabbi Abergel and his wife Simcha joined us in Singapore , excited to bring youthful energy and new ideas to this long established community. We haven’t looked back since. The Rabbi has brought traditional skills – for instance he is a trained Shochet (ritual slaughterer) – but he has also added many new dimensions that have enriched the community. Ganenu (Our Garden), our very own Jewish day school, bears testament to the drive and creativity of the Rabbi and his talented Rebbetzin. In just a few short years, Ganenu has gone from nothing to become a thriving institution with over 60 students. More than anything this institution represents the foundation of our future.
The Rabbi is constantly involved in promoting Jewish education and Jewish living, topics close to his heart. He is currently the principal of the Talmud Torah Hebrew School . He has also provided the impetus for wider Kashrut observance and has initiated the highly successful Yeshiva Youth Leadership Program which sees several Yeshiva Bachurim lending their services and friendship each year to the community. This program has touched the lives of nearly every member of our community in some form, and brought a new vibrancy and depth to Singapore .
Seeing the need for more meaningful social interaction among the diverse segments of the community, the Rabbi also initiated Gesher, a group that encourages Jewish awareness and adult education through guest speakers and other events. Gesher, collaboration with various volunteers from the community, has added a new social dimension and richness to the Jewish people in Singapore.
Outside of our community, the Rabbi represents us in many official capacities, perhaps none more important than the inter-religious organization in Singapore , a group that encourages religious harmony and mutual understanding. Rabbi Abergel served as the organization’s vice-president in 1997.
The Rabbi lectures widely on Judaism in Singapore , which he feels is essential to provide exposure and understanding of our views towards issues facing the world today. In whatever forum, the Rabbi comes across eloquently – he speaks Hebrew, English, Yiddish, French and Arabic. Being at a birthday with the Rabbi takes a long time because he insists on saying “happy birthday” in all 5 languages!