Following work as a chef and undergraduate study focused on philosophy, Benjamin Resnick now follows a recipe for spiritual leadership as a first-year student at The Rabbinical School of The Jewish Theological Seminary.
After graduating from Brown University in 2006 with a degree in Contemporary Religious Philosophy, Ben decided to postpone future academic endeavors to pursue his love of cooking. When he walked into Bouley (the Michelin starred restaurant helmed by world-famous chef David Bouley) and asked to be hired, Ben had no way of knowing his job would involve peeling potatoes for 12 hours straight. Two years later, although Ben had climbed the ranks from potato peeler to chef at several New York City restaurants, he felt his love for Judaism needed to assume a more central role in his life.
As the Bronfman Fellow for Neighborhood Jewish Life at Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Ben worked on outreach programming for people in their twenties and thirties and community Shabbat activities. One event he programmed recalled his days behind the stove: "I cooked a five-course Tu Bishvat seder," Ben says, "with foods based on the seven traditional species of ancient Israel—wheat, barley, figs, grapes, pomegranates, dates/honey, and olives."
Ben had always considered the rabbinate, and eventually he spoke with the admissions director at The Rabbinical School about the advantages of a JTS education. "The Rabbinical School was philosophically in line with my life and academically rigorous. I have been consistently amazed by the quality of my teachers and the depth of their commitment to their students," Ben says.
Ben is currently on The Rabbinical School's year in Israel. With his wife by his side, Ben is enjoying the country as a singularly Jewish land. Initially, at least, they also enjoyed it as a honeymoon destination, having been married just one week before their departure. Though he considered it briefly, Ben did not personally cater the wedding