About Shammai
For nearly three decades, people travelled from all over Northern New Jersey (and some even from New York) to attend Shabbat services with RABBI SHAMMAI ENGELMAYER. His virtual services during the coronavirus lockdown not only have attracted local participants, they have even attracted participants from Canada, Mexico and, at times, even Israel. One reason is the ruach (spirit) he facilitates. He is down-to-earth, accessible, and believes other people know more about certain subjects than he does. It's just that he knows more about Judaic subjects than most of us who have not studied much. He's happy to share that knowledge in a way that makes things understandable. He also is not afraid to admit it when he doesn't know the answer to a question—but he does research it and gets back to the questioner with an answer. People relate to Shammai because Shammai relates to them. Shammai wears several hats—literally and figuratively. First and foremost, he is a rabbi. He writes an award-winning column, "Keeping the Faith," for Bergen County's The Jewish Standard newspaper, and has been doing so since the early 1990s (so far, he has won six American Jewish Press Association awards); click on the Shammai’s Column button in the navigation bar to read his latest column). He also has a weekly podcast, called "Keep the Faith with Shammai Engelmayer." Click on the Podcasts button in the navigation bar to listen. Both his columns and his podcasts deal with contemporary issues through the prism of Jewish law and tradition. He is the editor of Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought (formerly published by the American Jewish Congress, it is currently on hiatus). He is among Northern New Jersey's most popular instructors of continuing adult Jewish education. Currently, he conducts two weekly virtual adult education classes (check out the two TEXT pages). A product of the yeshivah world, Shammai was ordained in 1967, but chose to pursue a career in journalism before assuming the pulpit, winning several prestigious journalism awards (including the Washington Journalism Center's Thomas L. Stokes Award for National Reporting, and the National Association for Justice's Media Humanitarian Award). He is the author of eight books, most on secular topics, and is at work on several more. His first book, Martha: The Mouth That Roared, is being made into a miniseries (it's about Martha Mitchell and Watergate) by Sir Ridley Scott's Scott Free production company. His latest book, tentatively titled Judaism for the disinterested, will be published later this year.
THE DAY SHAMMAI WENT GLOBAL! Two decades ago, Shammai met Dr. Frederik Paulsen, chairman and CEO of an international pharmaceutical company headquartered at the time in Copenhagen. The two men had significant philosophical discussions over the next couple of years. Then, one day, Dr. Paulsen, who is not Jewish, called Shammai and asked him to help craft a philosophy for the company that would reflect the Paulsen family's own values. The result was “The Ferring Philosophy,” which was unveiled in Janjuary 2004. Today, “The Ferring Philosophy” appears on entry walls in Ferring facilities worldwide, is the first thing employees see when they turn on their computers each day, and is among the first items handed and explained to new hires. In December 2014, Ferring opened its headquarters for its U.S. affiliate, Ferring USA, amid great pomp and festivity, and a very impressive guest list of Nobel Prize winners, distinguished internationally recognized scientists, government officials, and others. Shammai delivered the keynote address at the ceremonies. His address, seen in the linked film, is bracketed by comments by several Ferring officials about his effort. We are proud to present Shammai on this prestigious international stage. Click on the photo on the right to view the video.
ABOUT SHAMMAI
For nearly three decades, people travelled from all over Northern New Jersey (and some even from New York) to attend Shabbat services with RABBI SHAMMAI ENGELMAYER. His virtual services during the coronavirus lockdown not only have attracted local participants, they have even attracted participants from Canada, Mexico and, at times, even Israel. One reason is the ruach (spirit) he facilitates. He is down-to-earth, accessible, and believes other people know more about certain subjects than he does. It's just that he knows more about Judaic subjects than most of us who have not studied much. He's happy to share that knowledge in a way that makes things understandable. He also is not afraid to admit it when he doesn't know the answer to a question—but he does research it and gets back to the questioner with an answer. People relate to Shammai because Shammai relates to them. Shammai wears several hats—literally and figuratively. First and foremost, he is a rabbi.