The Father-and-Son Rabbis Who Inspire One Another — and Grandma Too

Aaron and Eliyahu Fink Share Devotion to Faith and Family

Like Father, Like Son: Eliyahu Fink speaks at his bar mitzvah in 1994 as his father, Aaron Fink, looks on.
Peter Carr
Like Father, Like Son: Eliyahu Fink speaks at his bar mitzvah in 1994 as his father, Aaron Fink, looks on.

By Anna Goldenberg

Published March 20, 2014.

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Both men showed signs of being leaders at a young age, Louise Fink, noting that both are oldest siblings.

“They both lead nicely, not bossy,” she said. “They just lead.”

Even though Aaron Fink’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were rabbis (as well as Eliyahu Fink’s maternal grandfather) both men started out with different plans for their lives.

Aaron Fink envisioned going to medical school, until he realized that he enjoyed working with children when he helped at a summer camp.

“There are a lot of good doctors out there, but not a lot of good educators,” he says. The father of seven was ordained at Ner Israel Rabbinic College in Baltimore in 1981, and runs the girls’ school as well as Camp Regesh, an Orthodox summer camp, in Monsey.

Eliyahu spent two years as a full-time yeshiva student after he got married. But even then, he didn’t expect to become a pulpit rabbi.

“My father told me, if you are going to study, you need a goal, a test, something to do,” he says. “I got the smicha, but 100% never expected to use it.”

Eliyahu got a taste of what it means to be a rabbi when he took an outreach job counseling Jewish students in L.A. He went on to study law, and applied to be a part-time rabbi at the Pacific Jewish Center, also known as “Shul on the Beach”. After he graduated, it turned into a full-time job.

“I realized that after law school I had grown into my position as rabbi,” he says.

Now, instead of sending handwritten letters to authors, he starts debates online. But what his father and mother taught him early on is still relevant to him today.

“One of the most important things for me,” he says, “is to tell people that questions are questions.”

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