Rabbi Daniel and Rabbanit Batya Friedman came to Beth Israel in 2002. Rabbi Friedman was born in the UK and grew up in Australia, where he learned in yeshivot in Sydney and Melbourne, and received his Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales. He has Semicha Yadin Yadin from Rav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Av Beit Din of the Beth Din of America, and a Masters of Arts in Political Science from the University of Alberta.
He began his career as rabbi of Newtown Synagogue, Sydney, at age 21, the youngest rabbi in Australia, although it seems that the calling to serve the community came much earlier. When his father was hired as the youth director of South Head Synagogue in Sydney, the family was interviewed. Upon being asked what eight-year-old Daniel wanted to be when he grows up, he replied, “the first rabbi on the moon”. Rabbi Friedman has yet to join NASA. From Australia, Rabbi Friedman continued on to New York to pursue a Master of Arts in Jewish Studies at Touro College. There he met Batya, a graduate of Brooklyn College with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, who was working as a financial analyst, doing contract work for Merrill Lynch. They were married in 2000, and have five girls, Millie (Miriam Leah), Joey (Sarah Joar), Jamie-Anna (Yemima Chana), Ella Bracha, and Liv (Levana Rivka).
Since the arrival of the Friedmans, the shul has seen a wonderful renewal, with daily morning and evening minyanim, a host of weekly shiurim and the hiring of a full-time youth director. Rabbi & Rabbanit Friedman are actively involved in the Edmonton Jewish community. Rabbi Friedman is past president of Jewish Family Services and has served on the boards of Talmud Torah and Menorah Academy. Rabbanit Batya was the vice president of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton, serving as Israel advocacy chair. In January 2006, Rabbi Friedman was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal for service to community.
Rabbi Friedman is a doctoral candidate in International Relations at the University of Alberta. He sits on the executive board of the Rabbinical Council of America, chairing its annual convention along with the RCA Affinity Groups project. He is a member of the Chicago Rabbinical Council, associate member of the Young Israel Council of Rabbis, and a member of Yeshiva University’s Elef L’Mateh society. He recently published His Mother Didn’t Call Him “Our Beloved Teacher”: A Collection of Sermons Inspired by Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter shlit”a, a project of Yeshiva University’s Centre for the Jewish Future.
Rabbi Friedman is a sought-after speaker. Recent addresses include invocations for Minister Rona Ambrose’s 400 Club, Premier Alison Redford’s Chanukah breakfast, and the University of Alberta Ronning Centre for Religion and Public Life. Rabbi Friedman is a popular panelist and has been invited to represent Judaism for the Catholic Archdiocese, discuss peace in the Middle East with a Palestinian professor at MacEwan University and debate the purpose of prayer with rabbis of other denominations.
Rabbi Friedman was recently appointed to chair the National Holocaust Development Council.
Rabbanit Batya earned her MBA at the University of Alberta and is the director of the Capital Region Interfaith Housing Initiative. She runs the successful MaTaN Bat-Mitzvah program and started the popular weekly Ladies’ Latté & Learning at Starbucks West Edmonton Mall and other popular women’s classes.
Rabbi Daniel Friedman is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America
Rabbi and Rabbanit Friedman have been featured on the OU Jewish Action website!