Shmuel Kamenetsky
Shmuel Kamenetsky in 2016
BornNovember 1924 (age 97)
Tytuvėnai (Tzetivyan), Lithuania
SpouseTemi Brooks
ParentsYaakov Kamenetsky and Ettil Kamenetsky
DenominationOrthodox Judaism
Alma materBeth Medrash Govoha, Ner Israel Rabbinical College
OccupationRosh Yeshiva
PositionRosh yeshiva
YeshivaTalmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia
ResidencePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania

Shmuel Kamenetsky (born November 1924) is an American Haredi rabbi. He is the co-founder and rosh yeshiva (dean) of the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia. He is also a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah (Council of Torah Sages).


Shmuel Kamenetsky was born in Tytuvėnai, Lithuania to Yaakov Kamenetsky, then that town's rabbi. After the family's emigration in 1937, he attended Eitz Chaim Day Schools in Toronto,[1] then studied at Ner Israel Rabbinical College under his father's cousin, Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman. He went on to study at Lakewood Yeshiva, becoming a primary student of Aharon Kotler, from whom he received rabbinic ordination. In the mid-1950s,[2] as part of the Lakewood Yeshiva's effort to establish out-of-town yeshivas, Kamenetsky and Dov Schwartzman were sent to found the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia. In 1955, Schwartzman departed to open his own yeshiva in Israel, and Kamenetsky called upon Elya Svei[3] to serve as co-rosh yeshiva. This arrangement continued until Svei's death in March 2009.

Kamenetsky is a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Israel of America[4][5] and serves on the rabbinical board of organizations including Chinuch Atzmai (Torah Schools for Israel), Torah Umesorah, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, and the Association for Jewish Outreach Professionals (AJOP). His opinion is frequently sought and quoted on current issues such as same-sex attraction,[6] child molestation,[7] obesity and dieting,[8] smoking,[9] and drinking alcohol to excess on Purim.[10]

Kamenetsky and his wife Temi believe that vaccines are more harmful than the diseases they prevent. He said, "I see vaccinations as the problem. It's a hoax. Even the Salk vaccine is a hoax. It is just big business".[11] He has supported the idea that a child cannot be refused entry into a school for refusing to vaccinate.[12] During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kamenetsky denied that he ever instructed anyone to refuse to take the vaccine, stating that a letter publicized to this effect was a forgery.[13][14] In a rebuttal letter, he stated his opinion that each individual should ask his own doctor.[15][16]

In July 2020, Kamenetsky endorsed the Donald Trump 2020 presidential campaign, stating "Yes, I think people should vote for him. He’s done a good job. It’s hakaras hatov."[17]


Kamenetsky's wife, Temi, was the daughter of Mordechai Brooks, a hazzan. She grew up in Brooklyn, New York,[18] and died on January 10, 2022.[19]


  1. ^ Klein, Devorah (24 May 2017). "Eitz Chaim Schools to Celebrate 100th anniversary". Community. Hamodia. p. 13. Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlita, an alumnus...
  2. ^ Birnbaum, Rabbi Avraham (2011). "Rav Dov Schwartzman, zt"l". Yated Ne'eman. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  3. ^ Tannenbaum, Rabbi Gershon (1 April 2009). "Rabbi Elya Svei (1924–2009) Rosh Yeshiva Philadelphia". The Jewish Press. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Six Gedolim Added To Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah Of Agudas Yisroel". TheYeshivaWorld.com. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  5. ^ By: The “Hamodia Staff” (September 14, 2020). "Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah Call on Community to Achieve Improvements; New Chavrei HaMoetzes Welcomed". Hamodia. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  6. ^ Goldberg, Arthur. "A Discussion with Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky on 'SSA'" (PDF). Hakira, the Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and Thought. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  7. ^ Berger, Paul (2 August 2011). "Leiby Kletzky Murder Reignites Fight Over Reporting Abuse". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  8. ^ "'We Have To Control Ourselves': SOVEYA Interview With Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky" (PDF). Switchh. 4 (3). 2010.
  9. ^ "Rabbi Shmuel against smoking". Archived from the original on 2021-12-15. Retrieved 20 May 2013. (video)
  10. ^ "New York – Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky: 'It is an Aveira to Get Drunk on Purim'". Vos Iz Neias?. 12 February 2010. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  11. ^ Bridwell, Lindsey (August 28, 2014) "A Healthy Dose?", Baltimore Jewish Times. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  12. ^ https://www.thecity.nyc/platform/amp/health/2019/5/23/21211066/anti-vaccine-rabbi-sits-on-prominent-ultra-orthodox-panel-as-measles-spread
  13. ^ "Baltimore Jewish Life | Rav Kamenetsky: My Signature On Anti-Covid Vaccine Propaganda is a Forgery". www.baltimorejewishlife.com. Retrieved 2021-02-07.
  14. ^ Editor, Y. W. (2020-12-14). "FORGERY: Hagaon HaRav Shmuel Kaminetzky Never Signed Any Letter About COVID Vaccine". The Yeshiva World. Retrieved 2021-02-07. ((cite web)): |last= has generic name (help)
  15. ^ "FORGERY: Harav Shmuel Kamenetzky Disputes Individuals Who Falsely Claimed His Endorsement Against COVID Vaccine » The Lakewood Scoop » The heartbeat of the lakewood community". www.thelakewoodscoop.com. Retrieved 2021-02-07.
  16. ^ Team, 5TC (2020-12-14). "Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky Responds to a False Letter Regarding Covid Vaccine, In His Name". 5 Towns Central. Retrieved 2021-02-07.
  17. ^ "Leading Orthodox rabbi endorses Donald Trump for reelection".
  18. ^ Gebber, Leah. "The Rebbetzin's Perspective: A schmooze with Rebbetzin Temi Kamenetsky". Mishpacha Family First, 27 September 2012, pp. 26–32.
  19. ^ (January 10, 2022) "BDE: Petirah of Rebetzin Temi Kamenetsky, A'H, Wife of Maran HaGaon Shmuel Kamenetsky, Shlita", Baltimore Jewish Life. Retrieved January 11, 2022.