Rabbi Avi Okin
November 24, 2023

We are delighted to cast a spotlight today on Jewish Buffalo’s newest rabbi, Avi Okin.  A graduate of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), the rabbinical seminary of Yeshiva University (YU), Rabbi Okin is the new leader at Young Israel of Buffalo as well as the Rav Ha’Machshir of the Buffalo Va’ad Hakashrus.  “I’m excited to be in Buffalo,” shared Rabbi Okin. “It is a very friendly place with so many opportunities to grow Jewish life.”

Born and raised in West Orange, NJ, Rabbi Okin also holds an MSW from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work.  He has served congregations in Los Angeles and St. Louis before coming to Buffalo to fill a position that has been vacant for over a year.  His wife Devorah Tova Okin has a PhD in psychology and the Okins have two children, Beni (4) and Ahuvah (1 ½).

“Buffalo is so much more affordable than other communities,” remarked Rabbi Okin.  “Young families can make a great Jewish life here and I’m committed to figuring out how we bring them into our Jewish community.” Alex Green, Visiting Associate Professor and Buffalo Community Jewish Educator at UB, elaborates: “Rabbi Okin has brought a new energy to the shul with a vision to attract and welcome new members to Young Israel and Buffalo. Since the Okins’ arrival, we had a joyous shul-wide shabbat dinner and a challah bake at the Okins’ home. In a troubled time for the Jewish world, he has provided regular inspiring divrei Torah and words of wisdom.”

Federation Vice-President and active Young Israel member Marc Brown adds: “It’s great to have Rabbi Okin whose community-minded vision is very much welcome.  We at the Federation are looking forward to work with him as we continue to grow Jewish Buffalo.”

Rabbi Avi Okin - rabbi okin family scaled