Today is March 29, 2020 -
After having served the Hollis Hills Jewish Center community since 1976, Rabbi Simckes, in July 2005 assumed the role of Rabbi Emeritus. Far from retiring from the pulpit, Rabbi Simckes intends to remain as a source of spiritual leadership and inspiration for the community he has served; provide assistance and guidance to our new Rabbi, David Wise; and especially devote his time to his desired focus on bereavement counseling.
Born into a third generation Rabbinical family, the Rabbi was raised and educated in Boston, Massachusetts. After graduating with honors from the Boston Latin School (America’s oldest secondary school), he matriculated at Harvard College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in psychology while simultaneously attending Boston Hebrew Teachers College. He then entered Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan where he earned a masters Degree in Hebrew Literature, Rabbinic ordination and subsequently received an Honorary Degree in Theology.
In 1960 after his ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Rabbi returned to Massachusetts where he served Temple Beth Am, Randolph, Massachusetts as its Rabbi for a period of 16 years. While in New England the Rabbi earned a Doctorate in Pastoral Counseling at Andover Newton Theological Seminary and a Degree in Psychological Counseling from the Northeast Counseling Institute.
Rabbi Simckes served as Jewish Chaplain and therapist at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston where he was trained in psychotherapy. The Rabbi pursued his interest in the mental health field by securing further training in transactional analysis and serving as chaplain and counselor at other mental health facilities and institutions in the Boston area and taking advanced courses at Boston University Theological School.
Since coming to New York in 1976 to serve as Rabbi of the Hollis Hills Jewish Center, Rabbi Simckes became deeply involved in Jewish Communal life. For two years the Rabbi served as Chairman of the Task Force on Substance Abuse and Alcohol of the U.J.A. / Federation of Greater New York and is a past president of the Queens Region of the Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative). Rabbi Simckes is a member of the New York Board of Rabbis.
Together with his wife, Chana, fprmer Educational Director of the Oceanside Jewish Center, Rabbi Simckes has led over 40 trips to Israel including two as leaders of U.S.Y Israel Summer Pilgrimage Groups.
Rabbi Simckes has a long and continuing involvement in the Solomon Schechter Day School movement. The Rabbi was one of the Founders of the School in Boston where all his three sons attended and received their grade school education. A vigorous supporter of Day Schools, Camp Ramah, as well as afternoon supplementary Jewish Education, Rabbi Simckes currently serves on the Education Committee and Board of Overseers of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Queens.