Rabbi Joe Kanofsky began as Rabbi of Kehillat Shaarei Torah in July, 2009.
For five years prior to joining KST, he was an Educational Consultant at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. In addition to his portfolios in the Board of Jewish Education, Community Capacity-Building, and Strategic Planning departments, Rabbi Joe gave lecture series, “ask the rabbi” sessions, lunch-and-learn classes; counseled individuals, and served a variety of pastoral functions. He has also convened the roundtable of the Council of Large Synagogues, and worked with Toronto's rabbinic communities.
Beginning in the fall of 2004, he has served as volunteer rabbi of the “Jewish Unity Minyan” at the Bathurst JCC, which meets weekly for shacharit and study of Talmud and other rabbinic writings. The purpose of the Unity Minyan is to welcome Jews from all backgrounds and levels of learning, to engage in good conversation about basic Jewish values and current issues. Rabbi Joe regularly taught spring semester courses for the Mekorot Institute of Torah Study for Women.
From 2001-2004, he was Director of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in Poland, and traveled around the country to communities in Łódź, Wrocław, Lublin, Wałbrzych, and other cities from his base in Warsaw to learn with Jews of all ages and backgrounds. While in Poland , Rabbi Kanofsky served as a volunteer part-time rabbi in the Nozyk Synagogue, the only synagogue with a daily minyan in the country. He took responsibility for sermons, torah reading, holidays, shiurim, and most importantly, welcoming guests and helping newcomers and veterans to the Nozyk shul feel comfortable. For three years running, he and his family hosted Shabbat and holiday evening and daytime meals for members of the community and guests. In addition, he planned, organized, and led biannual community retreats for as many as 140 children, teens, singles, young families, and Holocaust survivors.
Rabbi Kanofsky was ordained by the former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel at the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown , New Jersey , where he was also a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Prior to that, he earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Boston University under the direction of Professor Elie Wiesel, whom he also served as an Andrew W. Mellon Teaching Fellow. He has published scholarly and popular articles in several languages in the US , Europe, and Israel , in periodicals such as Symposium , Sh'ma , Nowiny Kurier (Tel-Aviv), Midrasz ( Warsaw ); and contributed to The Comparative Religious Ideas Project , a multivolume series published by SUNY Press.
Rabbi Joe has served as a scholar-in-residence at synagogues in the US and Canada , and consults to major Jewish educational institutions on curriculum and policy. In 2005, he addressed the General Assembly of North American Federations on “The Future of Jewish Education.” He lives in Toronto with his wife Sharona, a Toronto native, and their five sons and daughter.
Rabbi Joe Kanofsky