Young Israel names first associate rabbi

Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin (Britta Van Vranken)

Congregation Young Israel appointed Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin as associate rabbi as of May 2011. He will work alongside CYI’s spiritual leader of 27 years, Rabbi Yossie Shemtov.


Ceitlin grew up in Montreal, where his parents are both educators. He studied in yeshivot in Bnei Brak and Kfar Chabad in Israel and in Brooklyn, N.Y. He received his rabbinical ordination in 2008 from Rabbi Yitzchak Yehuda Yaroslavsky, chairman of the Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbinical Alliance of Israel.

He brings to his new role years of experience in the nonprofit sector, working for Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn, Ohr Avner Foundation in the former Soviet Union and the Rabbinical Centre of Europe in Belgium. He coordinates the annual Yarchei Kallah rabbinical summit in New York’s Catskill Mountains for 50 rabbis and scholars.

“Rabbi Yudi Ceitlin has become an invaluable addition to our shul,” said CYI’s president, David Siegel. “He has provided most capable leadership assisting Rabbi Shemtov and already established a number of educational opportunities for members. We all look forward to the wit and wisdom of his Divrei Torah.”

One of Ceitlin’s new programs is “Bagels, Lox & Torah,” held every Sunday morning, with a dozen or more men and women discussing the parsha and current events.

“Learning with Rabbi Yudi is a great way to start off the week,” says Harriette Levitt. “He always has an interesting or amusing story that helps us relate the weekly parsha to our daily lives. I enjoy his easygoing approach and his willingness to narrow or broaden the discussion as the group desires.”

Ceitlin is married to Tucson native Feigie Ceitlin, the daughter of Rabbi Yossie and Chanie Shemtov, who is director of youth development at Chabad of Tucson. They have a daughter, Goldie.