Rabbi Meir Chai Benhiyoun is a descendant of a line of rabbis and artists originating in Spain. Born in Morocco in 1955, he moved to Israel 10 years later and served in the IDF from 1972 to 1975. In the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Benhiyoun majored in Linguistics and Film. He wrote and directed several short films, as well as a feature film about the Holocaust that won an award/scholarship from the Hebrew University. In 1980, Benhiyoun moved to the U.S. to start his rabbinic studies, where he was ordained in 1986. In 1987, the Lubavitcher Rebbe sent Rabbi Benhiyoun and his wife to start and establish the Chabad House-Center for Jewish Life in Downtown Chicago. Rabbi and Mrs. Benhiyoun have been serving the Chicago community since then, now for 27 years.