Rabbi Dr. Bernie ‘Baruch’ Kastner is one of WebYeshiva.org’s first semicha recipients.
Rabbi Kastner is a graduate of Yeshiva University and Columbia University. He served as an administrator at the Mount Sinai Medical Center and later on as an associate director of the AVI CHAI Foundation.
His family made Aliyah from New York in 1994 and he currently lives in Jerusalem with his wife and five children. All five of his grandchildren also live in Israel. Rabbi Kastner also holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology and is a certified Graphologist. In addition to his private practice in psychotherapy, he is also the published author of five books.
When asked why he decided to join the Halacha Mastery Program, Rabbi Kastner said, “Learning on a regular basis became a necessary ingredient for me for sustenance once I understood that I also have to feed my neshama. The body and soul are a team and rely on each other to grow and develop both physically and spiritually.”
He went on to explain how the Halacha Mastery Program and the semicha track at WebYeshiva.org provided him with a wide range of understanding of halachic principles and its underpinnings, and as a result, now enables him to explain to others what may not otherwise have been obvious or properly understood.
“The areas of leniency vs. being strict on various issues was especially important for me to understand,” he said, “as many decisions arise on a daily basis that require an understanding of when and how to be either more lenient or strict, all within the framework of halacha. Often, this defines one’s hashkafa as they go through life, toward finding that all important simchat chaim,” he said.