Rabbi Oded Peles received his rabbinical ordination from the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary on Feb. 23, 2021 in Jerusalem. The special ceremony was attended by some 25 colleagues (10 indoors and 15 outdoors, in accordance with Ministry of Health regulations), family and friends of Rabbi Peles, as well as more than 90 guests who viewed the event on Zoom in South Africa, England, the United States, Israel and elsewhere around the world.
Rabbi Peles, 53, a native of Petach Tikva, is the eldest son of an Israeli mother and immigrant father – a Holocaust survivor from The Netherlands. Their home was infused with a rich mix of Israeli culture and Dutch Jewish tradition, where Torah and mitzvot, holidays and music all played a central role.
After receiving his BA in Jewish education, Rabbi Peles went to England and South Africa to serve as a representative of the Jewish Agency. He helped found a world-wide network of Torah study groups – Torah MiTzion – whose aim is to connect diaspora Jewish communities with Israeli cultural traditions.
On his educational and professional journey, he followed in the footsteps of his grandparents who were cantors, teachers, mohels and prayer leaders. After completing his MA in the History of the Jewish People and Musicology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he worked to preserve and research the Jewish music of Western Europe, including traditions from his own family lineage.
“At a very young age I discovered how prayer melodies can build bridges between people who come from very different worlds,” Rabbi Peles said. “I seek to open gates, build bridges, instill melody and culture, connect tradition and language, family and community, truth and faith.”
Rabbi Peles is currently the community rabbi for Congregation “Shevet Achim” in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem.