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WHAT FAMILIES ARE SAYING ABOUT YCT

L’chvod Rav Avi, Rabbi Lopatin, Rabbi Linzer, Rabbi Love, Rav Katz and the rest of the faculty and staff, Obviously, we are grateful that you have created a holy place of learning for both Chai and Tzachi. But do you realize the profound influence you have had and continue to have in our lives? Thank you for helping us to create an open orthodox home where Torah is observed consciously. Thank you for modeling for us how to live the Torah that we learn. Thank you for helping us to raise our children with the knowledge that they could question anything that did not make sense to them, and that that is a proper and healthy attitude to apply to all aspects of Torah living. It brings us tremendous comfort and gives us strength knowing that Yeshivat Chovevei Torah is here to inspire and guide all of us.

With heartfelt thanks,
Estelle and Harvey Posner
Parents of Chai Posner (YCT ’10) and Tzachi Posner (YCT ’17)

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The S. Daniel Abraham Rabbis of YCT
Impacting the Jewish Community Around the World

Across North America, the rabbis ordained at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School come into regular contact with nearly 10,000 people as rabbis of synagogues, and college campuses, hospital chaplains, leaders of non-profit organizations and Jewish educators in Yeshiva Schools.

They are starting new synagogues and invigorating old ones. They are bringing a vibrant open Orthodoxy to Jewish students on campus - open to the world and open to all Jews. They are introducing to their schools and classrooms a spirit of intellectual excellence infused with spiritual passion and a love of Torah.

The rabbis ordained at YCT are a fresh breeze into Jewish institutional life. They bring with them profound knowledge of the texts of the tradition, full commitment to Halakha and love of, with openness to, all Jews.

Class of 2013

DAVID FRIED
David Fried

Judaic Studies Faculty, Frankel Jewish Academy, West Bloomfield, MI

David grew up in Plainview, NY. He received a BA in Mathematics from Brandeis University and an MS in Applied Mathematics from Stony Brook University. Before coming to YCT, David learned at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel. David interned at Congregation Shaarei Tefillah in Newton, MA, and SAR High School in Riverdale, NY. He participated in the Summer Beit Midrash Program at the Center for Modern Torah Leadership in Sharon, MA, and was part of the rabbinical student delegation from American Jewish World Service to Mexico.

http://www.frankelja.org/

BRADLEY HERCMAN
 
Bradley Hercman

PsyD Candidate, Combined School-Clinical Psychology, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University

Bradley Hercman grew up in Great Neck, NY, and now lives in Riverdale with his wife Rachel. After attending the Ramaz Upper School, and Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim, he graduated from New York University with a BA in Psychology and Jewish History and Civilization. While at YCT, Bradley interned at the JLIC – Binghamton Hillel, Hunter College Hillel, and the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU. He served as a student chaplain at North Shore University - LIJ and Columbia-Presbyterian hospitals. Bradley is pursuing a PsyD at the Combined School-Clinical Child Psychology program at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University where he is a recipient of the Dr. Norman Lamm scholarship. Bradley will join the staff as a psychology extern at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services at the J.W. Beatman Community Counseling Center

 

NOAH LEAVITT
Noah Leavitt

Rabbinic Educator, Columbia/Barnard Hillel, New York, NY

Noah Leavitt was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from Columbia University with a BA in History and completed an MA in Jewish Philosophy at Yeshiva University. He studied in Israel at Yeshivat Darche Noam/Shapell's and Yeshivat Torat Yosef Hamivtar. Noah served as the editor for Milin Havivin, YCT’s Torah journal. As a Tikvah Rabbinical Fellow, he took part in a seminar on Jews and the American Ethos to advance rabbinic involvement in American political discourse. Noah interned at The Jewish Center in Manhattan, Congregation Bais Abraham in St. Louis, and the Bronfman Center at NYU.

http://hillel.columbia.edu/

 

AARON LERNER
 
Aaron Lerner

 

Senior Jewish Educator, UCLA Hillel, Los Angeles, CA

Aaron Lerner graduated from the University of Southern California in 2002 and then lived in Israel for two years, studying at Pardes and Yeshivat Bat Ayin. He returned to LA in 2004 and worked as an investment banker. A passion for learning and the Jewish people led Aaron to YCT in 2008. While studying for semikha, Aaron was a student teacher at The Abraham Joshua Heschel High School, served as Rabbinic Intern at Hunter College Hillel, worked as an AJWS Kol Tzedek fellow and as a Jewish Educator at a JCC camp. Aaron is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and an avid runner, swimmer, and surfer. He has traveled to six continents and loves to laugh with his daughters, Lily and Gavriella, and wife, Rachel.

http://www.ucla.hillel.org/home.aspx

 

AARON POTEK
 
Aaron Potek

Campus Rabbi at Fiedler Hillel of Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Aaron Potek grew up in Saint Louis Park, MN, and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering. He studied in Israel for two years, at Pardes and at Yeshivat Har Etzion. A passion for working with teens led to his work with organizations like the Nesiya Institute in Israel, Impact and Genesis in Boston, and Moriah College in Sydney. Aaron has participated in a variety of interfaith programming. He interned at Beth Israel Congregation in New Orleans, LA, and at Hunter College and Harvard University Hillels. Aaron loves hiking, music, comedy, and podcasts.

http://www.nuhillel.org/

BRACHYAHU SCHONTHAL
Brachyahu Schonthal

Rabbi, Nairobi Hebrew Congregation, Nairobi, Kenya

Born in London, raised in Paris, and now living in the U.S., Brachyahu is a polyglot wandering Jew with a love of cycling and the outdoors. With a Chabad background, Brachyahu has studied in yeshivot in Israel, France and Canada, and in Brazil, where he worked as a shaliach for a year in Rio de Janeiro. Brachyahu has also worked for a number of years as a Judaic Studies teacher in Europe and Miami, FL. While at YCT, Brachyahu spent time in the Norwich and West Hartford, CT, communities. Brachyahu lives in Riverdale with his wife, Rebecca, and son, Ori. He is fluent in English, French, Hebrew and Yiddish. 

 http://nairobisynagogue.org/

Class of 2012

AARON BRAUN
Aaron Braun

Rabbi, Northbrook Community Synagogue, Northbrook, IL

Born and raised in Champaign, IL, Aaron attended the University of Illinois where he graduated with a degree in Judaic Studies and a minor in Animal Sciences. Aaron attended Yeshivat Bat Ayin in Israel for two years prior to attending YCT. While studying at YCT Aaron served as the Director of The Jewish Youth Encounter Program at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. Aaron also served as the rabbinic intern for Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago. He is trained and certified in shechitah. Aaron is the Rabbi of Northbrook Community Synagogue.
 
http://northbrookcommunitysynagogue.com/

GABRIEL GREENBERG
 Gabriel Greenberg

Senior Jewish Educator, UC Berkeley Hillel, Berkeley, CA

Incoming Rabbi (June 2014), Congregation Beth Israel, New Orleans, LA

Gabe grew up in Newton, MA, and graduated with honors in history from Wesleyan University. He lived for three years in Israel where he worked and studied in various yeshivot. During his time at YCT, he interned at Congregation Achei Yosef in Norwich, CT, Congregation Beth Israel in Berkeley, CA, and served as the first rabbinic intern at the New School in Manhattan. He directed the inaugural Kayam Summer Kollel in Reisterstown, MD, for two summers. Gabe is the Senior Jewish Educator at UC Berkeley Hillel.

http://berkeleyhillel.org

 
MORDECHAI HARRIS
Mordechai Harris

Teen Rabbi and Outreach Director, Baron Hirsch Synagogue, Memphis, TN                                  

Educational Director, Camp Darom Baron Hirsch, Grenada, MS 

Mordechai grew up in Schenectady, NY, and attended the University of Rochester and spent a year in Israel learning at Yeshivat Bat Ayin. His career in NCSY spanned a decade, culminating in his position as the Associate Regional Director for Upstate NY NCSY. During the summers, he worked as the director of Keshet’s special needs integration summer program at Camp Moshava in Wisconsin. While learning at YCT, Mordechai served as the Youth Rabbi at Hebrew Institute of White Plains. Mordechai, his wife Nisa, and their daughter Pliya live in Memphis.

http://www.baronhirsch.org/

 ARI HART
 Ari Hart

Assistant Rabbi, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale

Director of Recruitment and Admissions, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Riverdale, NY

Rabbi Ari Hart serves as Associate Rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and Director of Recruitment and Admissions at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. A co-founder of Uri L'Tzedek (Awaken to Justice): The Orthodox Social Justice Movement and the Jewish-Muslim Volunteer Alliance, Rabbi Hart is a leader of multiple initiatives that bring the Jewish community and the world together to make positive social change. Rabbi Hart is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Jerusalem Post, Haaretz magazine, and more. He was recently selected by the Jewish Week as one of the 36 "forward-thinking young people who are helping to remake the Jewish community." Rabbi Hart studied in Jerusalem at Yeshivat HaKotel and in the Advanced Study Program at Machon Pardes. He graduated from Grinnell College in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in music theory and composition. Ari is the proud husband of Becca Linden and father of Hodiyah.

 

http://www.thebayit.org/

SIMON LIVSON
 Simon Livson

Chief Rabbi of Finland, Helsinki, Finland

Born in Mevaseret Tzion, Israel, Simon moved with his family at age 7 to Finland. He served in the Finnish National Army in an anti-aircraft unit and later earned a BA in Business Administration from Helsinki Business Polytech. He studied at Mayanot in Jerusalem and Yeshivat HaMivtar in Efrat. Simon was a rabbinic intern at Beth David in West Hartford, CT, and served periodically as the rabbi at the Atria Riverdale. Simon and his wife Sivan returned to Finland where he serves as the Chief Rabbi of the country. 

DANI PASSOW
Daniel Passow

Orthodox Rabbi, Harvard University Hillel, Cambridge, MA

A graduate of Cooper Union’s engineering school and former researcher in chemistry and bio-engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Dani studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion and Yeshivat Maale Gilboa in Israel. He served as rabbinic consultant for the Sukkah City design competition and directed the Tav HaYosher, a non-profit program of Uri L’Tzedek, which certifies kosher eating establishments that treat employees fairly. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, Dani lectures and writes frequently and was awarded the 2010 Whizin Prize for Jewish ethics. Dani was a rabbinic intern at Congregation Shaarei Tefillah in Newton, MA. Dani was previously the Orthodox Rabbi at Columbia University Hillel.

hillel.harvard.edu

MICHAEL STEIN
 Michael Stein

Limudei Kodesh Faculty, Abraham Joshua Heschel High School, New York, NY

Mikey grew up in Englewood, NJ. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from NYU, earning high honors with a BA in American History, and minors in American literature and Psychology. He is currently working towards the completion of an MA in American Studies at Columbia University. Mikey  held internships at the Hunter College Hillel, Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford, CT, and at the Heschel High School in Manhattan. He is now a member of Heschel’s Limudei Kodesh faculty. Mikey is also an accomplished ba’al tefillah and ba’al koreh, an avid sports fan, and a music enthusiast.

http://www.heschel.org/

JOSHUA STROSBERG
Joshua Strosberg

Rabbi, Kehillat Ohr Tzion, Buffalo, NY

Josh grew up in Schenectady, NY. After graduating from the University of Rochester with a BA in Religion and a minor in Film Studies, he studied at Shapell's Darche Noam in Jerusalem and Shor Yashuv in Lawrence, NY. During his years at YCT, Josh taught classes at the Central Queens Y, Kinneret Day School, and SAR High School in Riverdale. Josh served as the Rabbi of the Atria Senior Residence in Riverdale from 2011-2012. Upon ordination, Josh returned upstate to become the Rabbi of KOT.

http://ohrtzion.org/kot/

 

Class of 2011

AARON FINKELSTEIN
Aaron Finkelstein 

Director of Community Programming, SmallCity@Senesh/Judaic Studies Faculty          

Hannah Senesh Community Day School, Brooklyn, NY

A native of Berkeley, CA., Rabbi Finkelstein attended Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied Political Science and Jewish and Islamic Near Eastern Studies. During his rabbinical studies, Rabbi Finkelstein worked with Jewish youth in California, on March of the Living, and at Camp Szarvas in Hungary. He participated in ecumenical delegations to Ghana and Israel, and trained as a chaplain at Roosevelt Hospital. Rabbi Finkelstein also served as a rabbinic intern at Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah in Potomac, Maryland, at Hunter College, at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and the Beatman Counseling Center. Rabbi Finkelstein is passionate about teaching midrash, parsha, and halakha and connecting these timeless texts to our modern lives. Following his ordination, Finkelstein founded the Prospect Heights shul in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

http://www.hannahsenesh.org/

JOSHUA FRANKEL
 Joshua Frankel

 New York, NY 

Joshua Frankel is an alumnus of Yeshivat Har Etzion’s hesder program and holds a BA in Economics from Hebrew University. Joshua held internships at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and the New Israel Fund, taught in diverse synagogue and community settings, and had the opportunity to explore questions of pluralism and community with Jews of all denominations, Protestant seminarians, Catholic clergy, and Muslim leaders across America and abroad.

 
AVI ROSENFELD
Avi Rosenfeld 

Chaplain, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, WA

Spiritual Leader, New Community: Mercaz Seattle  

Avi Rosenfeld graduated with a BA in Jewish Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle. Avi spent many years in Israel, learning at Yeshivat Bat Ayin and The Hebrew University and working for the Livnot U'Lehibanot and Isralight programs. While at YCT, he interned at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale, Brown University Hillel, The Sixth Street Community Synagogue in the East Village and Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford, CT. Avi is certified in the shechita of ofot. Upon ordination, Avi returned to his hometown state along with his wife, Rachel and 3 kids to create an open orthodox community. Following a year long residency at Swedish Medical Center, Avi has become the hospital chaplain.

www.mercazseattle.org  

 BENJAMIN VAGO
 Ben Vago

Rabbi & Jewish Educator, Hillel Montreal, Montreal, Canada

Benjamin Vago received his BA in Political Science from Yeshiva University and MA in Judaic Studies from Concordia University.  He studied for several years in Israel at various institutions including Yeshivat Hakotel, Bar Ilan University and The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. While at YCT, Ben interned at Anshe Shalom B'nai Israel Congregation in Chicago and then served as Rabbinic Fellow at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU.

 

www.hillel.ca

DANIEL VINIK
 Dan Vinik

Rabbi, Temple Zion, Long Beach, NY

Daniel Vinik hails from Long Beach, NY, and spent several years in Israel learning in Rabbi Chaim Brovender's yeshiva and at Machon Herzog Teacher's College. While at YCT, he held internships teaching at the University of Chicago Hillel and the Marsha Stern Talmudic Academy in Washington Heights.

http://www.templezion.org/index.htm

SETH WINBERG
Seth Winberg 

Assistant Director, University of Michigan Hillel, Ann Arbor, MI

Rabbi Seth Winberg cultivates a welcoming campus community in Ann Arbor by working with students to shape Shabbat and holiday celebrations, service projects, and interfaith dialog. He teaches and mentors students of all backgrounds, and has a reputation for being knowledgeable, accessible, and open-minded.

Before moving to Ann Arbor he trained at Congregation Beth Tefillah in Paramus, NJ and Congregation Ramath Orah in Manhattan, and has taught at Congregation Shearith Israel, Drisha, and YCT.

While still studying at YCT he earned an MA from Yeshiva University and received semikha from noted rabbis in Israel.

Rabbi Winberg currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ann Arbor Hebrew Day School, and the rabbinic advisory board of Jewish Women International.

He is married to Shoshanna Lockshin, and has three children.

www.michiganhillel.org

EYTAN YAMMER
 Eytan Yammer

Rabbi, Knesseth Israel Congregation, Birmingham, AL

Eytan Yammer grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey. Following high school, he went to Israel and learned at Beit Medrash L’Torah and served in the IDF. Upon returning to the U.S., he attended Rutgers University where he studied mathematics and marine biology and met his wife, Marisa. Eytan and Marisa served as the youth directors for the Synagogue of the Suburban Torah Center in Livingston, NJ, for four years. Upon his arrival at YCT they moved to White Plains where Eytan became the Youth Rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of White Plains.

www.kicong.org

MISHAEL ZION
Mishael Zion 

Co-Director and Director, Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel, Jerusalem, Israel

Mishael Zion was born and raised in Jerusalem. He studied at Yeshivat Maale Gilboa and served for three years in the IDF. He is co-author of the best-selling Israeli Haggadah "HaLaila HaZeh" (2004) and of "A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices" (2007).  Mishael earned his BA in Jewish Thought at The Hebrew University and taught Talmud at the Hartman's Boys High School. He has served on the faculty of the Hartman Institute and Pardes in Jerusalem and the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning in New York and was a Scholar at the NYU Law School Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization.

www.bronfman.org

Class of 2010

STEPHEN BELSKY
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Southfield, MI

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Stephen Belsky is a graduate of the Yeshiva of Flatbush, the State University of New York at Binghamton, and the Educators Program of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.  While at YCT, he held internships at Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford, Connecticut, and the International Rabbinic Fellowship.  Before starting semikha, Stephen taught at the Schechter high school in Teaneck, New Jersey, and after ordination, he returned to education, teaching Jewish Studies in the middle and high school divisions of Yeshivat Akiva in Southfield, Michigan.  In addition to classroom teaching, Stephen has taught and lectured both in his local community and in synagogues across the eastern United States.

 


 
YEHUDA HAUSMAN 
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Faculty, American Jewish University, Los Angeles, CA

Yehuda was born and raised in southern California. After high school, he spent one year studying at Bar-Ilan University. Following Bar-Ilan, Yehuda attended Brandeis University, graduating with a BA and an MA in Modern Jewish History and Thought. Yehuda was inspired to join YCT by friends who were then students at the yeshiva, as their passion was truly inspiring. While at YCT, Yehuda has held internships at B’nai David-Judea Congregation and Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. He also taught a weekly Talmud class at the Conservative Synagogue of Fifth Avenue. Yehuda and his wife, Aliza, are active members of the Los Angeles community.

www.rabbihausman.com                                                          

DAVIDI JONAS
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Rabbi, Kingsbridge Center of Israel, Riverdale, NY

Davidi was born and raised in Riverdale, New York. He attended SAR Academy, The Frisch School, and spent a year studying at Yeshivat Reishit in Israel. While studying for the rabbinate at YCT, Davidi also taught Daf Yomi shiurim. His internships have included Chabad of Dobbs Ferry, Kehillat Chovevei Tzion in Scarsdale, and the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.

http://www.kcishul.org/

 ANDREW KASTNER
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Founding Director of the Jewish Food Justice Fellowship, Leichtag Foundation, San Diego, CA

Andy was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and studied at Indiana University where he received a BA in Jewish Studies and Religious Studies. After university, Andy moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he worked for Hillel before traveling to Jerusalem to study at Machon Pardes. While at YCT, Andy interned at Beth Tfiloh High School in Baltimore and The Hebrew Institute of White Plains, and has served as the Director of the Jewish Youth Encounter Program at The Bayit, The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.

Why Andy became a rabbi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vOPgtAoxIs

DANIEL LEVITT
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Director of Jewish Life on Campus/ OU Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus Educator,

University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada

 

Dan is originally from West Orange, New Jersey. After majoring in Judaic Studies at SUNY Binghamton, he served as the Youth Department Supervisor at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Monmouth County. His professional experiences include internships at Rabbis Without Borders, CLAL, and Congregation Shearith Israel in Nashville, Tennessee. He has also worked as an instructor for the 92nd Street Y’s Derekh Torah program and served as the chair of the Research Committee for Fuel For Truth, a non-profit dedicated to educating young Americans about Israel and the Middle East.

http://www.guelphhillel.com/

Why Dan became a rabbi:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITWPIL0pNlw

CHAI POSNER
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Associate Rabbi, Beth Tfiloh Congregation, Baltimore, MD

Rabbi Chai Posner is Associate Rabbi of Beth Tfiloh Congregation in Baltimore, MD. Rabbi Posner also teaches Talmud and Theology in the Judaic Studies department of the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Commmunity High School. Before joining Beth Tfiloh, Rabbi Posner served as a rabbinic intern with the Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford, Connecticut and Kingsway Jewish Center in Brooklyn, New York. He developed his interest in teaching and working with children through his years at the Flatbush Park Jewish Center Camp, where he served in a variety of capacities, including Division Head, Sports Director and Head of Judaic Studies. Rabbi Posner holds a B.A. in Judaic Studies from Brooklyn College. Rabbi Posner’s skills and interests include reading Torah and all Megillot, leading services, spending time with his family, and playing baseball and basketball.   He currently lives in Pikesville, MD, with his wife, Rachel, and his three sons.

http://www.bethtfiloh.com/

Why Chai became a rabbi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fULnBIHKT-8

ZACHARY TRUBOFF
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Senior Rabbi, Cedar Sinai Synagogue, Cleveland, OH

Adult Educator, Mandel JCC, Cleveland, OH

Since arriving in Cleveland, Zach's leadership has led to a revitalization of Cedar Sinai Synagogue. Over 70 new member families have joined the shul, and there has been a series of dynamic programs that have engaged the entire Cleveland Jewish community. In addition to his work at the synagogue, Zach also teaches in a variety of adult education settings including the Torat Tzion Kollel and The Alvin and Laura Siegal College of Jewish Studies. At the Mandel JCC, he is working to develop programs that bring  a broad segment of the Jewish community together and empower all Jews to deepen their connection to Judaism. Zach is originally from Sharon, Massachusetts and attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he received a BS in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. After college, Zach worked as an engineer before moving to Jerusalem to dedicate himself to full time Torah study. While in Israel, he studied and taught at Machon Pardes and received semikha from HaRav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Zach continued with his studies at YCT to pursue an additional semikha and professional training. He and his wife Jennifer have three sons.

http://www.cedarroadsynagogue.org/

AKIVA WEISS
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Director, OU Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Rabbi Akiva Weiss hails from Margate City, NJ. He learned for several years in yeshivot in Eretz Yisrael, returning to the states to complete his BA and to receive semicha at Yeshiva University. After completing his BA he took a leave of absence to pursue his life's dream of serving in the IDF. Upon returning to the states, he worked at the Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy as a Judaics teacher where he met his wife Nataly. He completed his semicha at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, and has been working with Nataly on campus at Rutgers for the past three years as the Orthodox Union's Heshe and Harriet Seif JLIC Torah educator, giving shiurim and pastoral and halachic guidance to both Orthodox and non-Orthodox students from all different backgrounds. In his current position on campus he also serves as the Battalion Chaplain for the Rutgers ROTC Scarlet Knights Battalion and is the Orthodox member and liaison to the Rutgers University Interfaith Alliance, a group of university chaplains that advocates and aims to ensure the religious needs of all students of faith at Rutgers are respected and met by the university faculty and administration.

http://rutgers.jliconline.org/

 

SHMULY YANKLOWITZ
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Executive Director, Valley Beit Midrash, Phoenix, AZ

Shmuly is the Founder and President of Uri L’Tzedek, the Orthodox Social Justice Organization, the Founder and CEO of Shamayim V'Aretz, and is the Executive Director of the Valley Beit Midrash. He studied at the University of Texas as an undergraduate and at Harvard University for a Masters in Leadership and Psychology, and he completed a second Masters degree in Jewish Philosophy at Yeshiva University. In 2013, Shmuly earned his doctorate in Moral Development and Epistemology at Columbia University. Shmuly was featured in a PBS documentary, “The Calling,” about the training of religious leadership, released in 2010. Shmuly is a Wexner Graduate Fellow alum and in 2012 and 2013, Newsweek named Shmuly one of the most influential rabbis in America. Shmuly is the author of 3 books: "Jewish Social Justice: A Guide for the 21st Century," "Epistemic Development in Talmud Study," and "The Soul of Jewish Social Justice" to be released in the spring of 2014 (URIM Publications).  

 

http://www.valleybeitmidrash.org/

Why Shmuly became a rabbi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AslvFwJ71A

 

Class of 2009

MAURICE APPELBAUM
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Rabbi, Congregation Ahavath Israel of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY

Chaplain, New York Hospital Queens, Queens, NY

Maurice has been the rabbi at the Greenpoint Shul for the past four years. Over that time he has seen growth of the shul as Williamsburg and Greenpoint have also seen a renaissance in popularity. He, along with various committees, has helped cultivate the events such as monthly Friday night dinners with speakers, holiday programming, and other events which attracts a wide variety of people. The shul has recently been written up in the Jewish Week here.

 Maurice also is a supervisory education student at the Healthcare Chaplaincy where he is training on becoming a supervisor for chaplains; learning how to teach and lead Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) courses. He is currently serving as chaplain at NY Hospital Queens and helps lead the CPE groups there. Maurice serves patients of all ethnicity and faiths at the hospital and primarily works in the ICUs, Cardiac, Pediatrics and General/Medical units.

 

http://greenpointshul.org/

BENJAMIN BERGER
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Associate Program Director, The Wexner Foundation, Columbus, OH

Ben was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. He received a BA in Politics from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Before coming to YCT, he was a Steinhardt JCSC Fellow at Cornell University Hillel and subsequent to that, the Program Director at University of Michigan Hillel. He has served as a rabbinic intern at Congregation Kesher of Tenafly and Englewood, NJ, as well as at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. Ben has also worked closely with Rabbi Dr. Yitz Greenberg, Director of the Limdu Heitev Religious Leadership Initiative, and has spearheaded an archival project of the rabbi’s recorded lectures. Ben is married to Rachel Weiss-Berger and they have four daughters.

 www.wexnerfoundation.org

 

KENNETH BIRNBAUM
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Music Program Coordinator/Support Program Talmud Instructor, SAR High School, Riverdale, NY

Kenny grew up in Brooklyn, NY. He received his BA from Queens College, CUNY where he majored in music education. In addition to studying at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, Kenny completed his MA at Teachers College, Columbia University. Kenny interned at Congregation Beit Avraham in Bethlehem, PA and at Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

http://www.saracademy.org/          

STEVEN EXLER
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Rabbi, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale - The Bayit, Riverdale, NY

Steven grew up in Baltimore, MD, and attended Beth Tfiloh Community School from kindergarten through high school. He studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion before attending Brandeis University, where he graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Biology. He received an MA in Bible from Bernard Revel Graduate School and studied in the Yeshiva University Beit Midrash and Yeshivat Maale Gilboa. While at YCT as a Wexner Graduate Fellow, he interned at Sons of Israel in Yonkers, NY, Kehilat Chovevei Tzion in Scarsdale, NY, United Orthodox Synagogues in Houston, TX, and led the Meorot University Fellowships for two years.

http://www.thebayit.org/ 

DANIEL BRAUNE FRIEDMAN
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                                                                                                                                                                                    Clinical Pastoral Education Resident, Hartford Hospital, West Hartford, CT

Rabbinic Associate, Beth David Synagogue, West Hartford, CT

Daniel was born in Montrose, NY and graduated from UMass Amherst, where he met his wife, Hannah. Following graduation, Daniel learned at Yeshivat Darchei Noam, worked for the National Jewish Outreach Program and then began his rabbinical studies at YCT. A highlight of Daniel’s career as a rabbinical student included facilitating and participating in various social action programs all over the world. Daniel also makes it a priority to engage with other movements and faiths. He was honored with the Irving Weinstein Memorial Award for the Advancement of Interdenominational Cooperation. Daniel has held rabbinic internships at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Congregation Bais Abraham in St. Louis, Beth Israel Medical Center and New York University. Previously, Daniel and Hannah served as Jewish Chaplains at Oxford University.

 http://www.bethdavidwh.org/

 
BENJAMIN GREENBERG
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Rabbi, Director of Programs, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs

Rabbi Ben Greenberg received his BA in Psychology from the Lander College for Men where he was on the Dean’s List and was a recipient of the President’s Scholarship. He founded the Lander College chapter of Yavneh Olami, the Religious Zionist college student movement of World Mizrachi. Ben interned at the Jewish Center of Teaneck and the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. He completed a 400-hour rotation in hospital chaplaincy at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Medical Center in the neuroscience critical care unit and the post-surgery unit. Rabbi Greenberg is the author of two books, Twitter Torah: Thoughts on the Hebrew Bible in 140 Characters or Less and Covenantal Promise and Destiny: Wisdom for Life, among many other popular and scholarly articles and blogs regularly at bengreenberg.org. Prior to serving BMH-BJ, Ben was the Orthodox rabbi at Harvard Hillel. He is married to Sharon Weiss-Greenberg and the father of Yehuda.

 http://www.jcua.org

ANDREW KAPLAN
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Rabbi and Director, Southern California Jewish Student Services, Long Beach, CA

Rabbi and Director, Southern California Jewish Young Adult Enrichment, Long Beach, CA

Rabbi Drew Kaplan is the current rabbi and director for both Southern California Jewish Student Services (SoCalJSS) and Southern California Jewish Young Adult Enrichment (SoCalJYAE), both initiatives of Beth El Synagogue.  Through SoCalJSS, he serves as the resident rabbi for Beach Hillel. Rabbi Drew served as the educational director for Jewlicious Festivals 6, 7, 8, and 9, as well as organized area-wide Hillel leadership programs and Jewish learning events.  In the summers of 2011 and 2012, he served as a Judaic Educator at BBYO’s International Leadership Training Conference.  In 2011-2012, Rabbi Drew was among the third cohort in Clal’s Rabbis Without Borders Fellowship. Rabbi Drew is a member of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, and the Orange County Board of Rabbis, where he presently serving as the treasurer.  He is also on the board of the Interfaith Foundation at University of California, Irvine.

 

http://socaljss.org

MICHAEL KATZMAN
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Judaic Studies Faculty, Ann and Nate Levine Hebrew Academy, Dallas, TX

Michael, a native of Farmington Hills, MI, received his BA in History with a minor in Judaic Studies from the University of Michigan. Following graduation, he learned for two years in Israel at Yeshivas Ohr Sameach and Yeshivat Hamivtar. Michael has taught and lectured at Kollel Moshe of Congregation B'nai Moshe, the Frankel Jewish Academy in Detroit, and for the National Jewish Outreach Program. While studying for semikha, Michael also completed his MA in Talmud at Yeshiva University's Bernard Revel Graduate School. 

http://www.levineacademy.org/

BENJAMIN SHILLER

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Limudei Kodesh Faculty, Abraham Joshua Heschel High School, New York, NY

Benji was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He spent two years studying at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel and received his BA in English Literature and Fine Arts from Yeshiva University. Benji also served as a combat infantry soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, and has led and taught Jewish high school students on trips to Poland and Israel. While at YCT, Benji served as a rabbinic intern at Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, Connecticut and at the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale. At the Heschel High School, Benji teaches Talmud, Tanakh, and Jewish Ethics. He also facilitates a daily tefillah group that incorporates creative arts into prayer practice. He currently lives in New Rochelle, NY with his wife, Atara, and their four daughters.

http://www.heschel.org/ 

DEVIN VILLARREAL
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Judaic Studies Faculty, New Community Jewish High School, Los Angeles, CA

Devin is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles with a degree in the Study of Religion and a recipient of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. The four years he has spent at YCT have been profoundly enriching and have given him the opportunity to work with communities in Maine, New York, Tennessee and California. He and his wife Pamela have three children.

http://www.ncjhs.org/

ERIC ZAFF
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Instructor, Florence Melton Adult Education, Northbrook, IL

Eric grew up in Newton, MA. He received his BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago, his MA in Jewish Education from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a Certificate of Advanced Jewish Studies from the Pardes Institute of Jerusalem. Before coming to YCT, he taught Talmud at Chicagoland Jewish High School. While at YCT, Eric worked at the Abraham Joshua Heschel Middle School in New York and at Akiba Schechter in Chicago. Eric continues to be active in Jewish education, teaching and writing curriculum in a variety of settings. Eric lives in Chicago with his wife, Jillian, and his son, Joshua.

 http://www.meltonschool.org/

 

 

CLASS OF 2008

MAX DAVIS
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Rabbi, Congregation B'nai Torah, Greater Springfield, MA

After completing a year of study at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Israel, an Urban Studies BA at Harvard, and concurrent Jewish youth work, Max plunged into YCT with fervent aspirations to "do good." He has since completed coursework for an MA in Jewish Education at Azrieli Graduate School and enjoyed rabbinical internships at Ohev Shalom in Washington, D.C., Beth Israel, Berkeley, and Riker's Island Detention Center. Before his position in Massachusetts, Max was the Rabbinic Educator at Cong. Beth Israel and a Judaic Faculty member at Oakland Hebrew Day School in Berkeley, CA.

http://bnaitorahma.org/

AARON FRANK

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High School Principal, Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, Baltimore, MD

Rabbi Frank has been at Beth Tfiloh since 2001, serving as Lower School Principal until 2009, and currently serving as High School Principal.  He is a graduate of the Jerusalem Fellows program at the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem as well as of the Principals' Center at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Rabbi Frank currently serves on the boards of the International Rabbinic Fellowship and of Kehilat Netivot Shalom, an Open Orthodox congregation in Baltimore.  He served as Associate Rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale under the mentorship of Rabbi Avi Weiss from 1996 until 2000.  He received semikha from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and from Rabbi David Weiss Halivni. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan and an M.S. from Columbia University School of Social Work. Since 2001, Rabbi Frank has served as a High Holidays rabbi at Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac, Maryland. Rabbi Frank is married to Laura Shaw Frank. They have four children: Ateret, Yanniv, Elinadav and Neri.

www.btfiloh.org

CHARLES FRIEDMAN
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Director of Pastoral Care, Englewood Hospital, Englewood, NJ

Charlie is a product of Dov Revel Yeshiva, the Ramaz School, and Beit Midrash L'torah (BMT) in Givat Mordechai, Yerushalayim and holds a BA in Hebrew and Judaic Studies from New York University. For many years prior to applying to YCT, Charles worked alongside his father and brother in their family business, Gibraltar PlasticsCorp. As the factory reached the end of its thirty-year run, Charlie found himself at a crossroads. Upon entering YCT, Charles felt a sense of homecoming: he found a synthesis of musar avikha, his father's dedication to synagogue life, and Torat emehkha, his mother's convictions regarding feminism and social justice. Charlie was the Resident Chaplain at the Bridgeport Hospital in Bridgeport, CT.

http://www.englewoodhospital.com/

ALEXANDER KAYE
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Tikvah Post-doctoral Fellow, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Alexander studied in Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel before graduating from the University of Cambridge with a BA (First Class Honors) and later an MPhil in Historical Studies. He studied at RIETS before joining Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.  Alexander is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including the Arts and Humanities Research Board Fellowship from the British Government and the Richard Hofstadter Faculty Fellowship from Columbia University. He has served rabbinic internships under Rabbi Marc Angel at the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals and under Rabbi Daniel Wolff at Congregation Beth Tefillah in Paramus. Alexander was also an Adjunct Professor at Stern College and a history teacher at SAR High School. In 2012, he earned a PhD with a dissertation on "The Legal Philosophies of Religious Zionism 1937-1967" and has previously served as Assistant Rabbi at Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan.

MICHAEL SCHULTZ
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Head of Spiritual Care, Oncology Institute, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel

After receiving his semikha from YCT, Mike was a Resident Chaplain at New York Presbyterian Hospital - Weill Cornell in New York City. As soon as he finished his training, he and Rachael made aliyah to Karmiel, in the Galil, where they helped found Kehilat Ohel Avraham. Mike is now serving as Chaplain at Rambam, as supervisor for pastoral care at Herzog Hospital, in Jerusalem, and as an instructor in the Zimrat Yah spiritual care training program for native Russian speakers. Mike is currently in training to become an Israeli CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) Supervisor, as part of the first group of Israeli trainees. He is playing an active role in developing the field of chaplaincy in Israel, serving on the national committees for Research and for Professionalization of the Network of Spiritual Care Organizations in Israel.

www.rambam.org.il

YERACHMIEL SHAPIRO
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Rabbi, Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah, Baltimore, MD

Yerachmiel was raised in Northbrook, IL where he starred on the Glenbrook North football team.  He spent time learning torah at Skokie Yeshiva, Yeshivat Hakotel, and Isralight. Yerachmiel received his BA from Brandeis University, where he majored in Psychology and Near Eastern Judaic Studies.  He chose to attend Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School after meeting and being deeply inspired by Rabbi Avi Weiss.  After finishing his studies at YCT, Yerachmiel became the rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in Red Bank, NJ.  During his 2 years at Beth Shalom, he was able to double the shul’s membership.  More importantly, he served and inspired hundreds of Jews living on the Jersey shore.  He introduced new programs such as the Red Bank Jewish Reggae Fest, the Shofar Blowing Contest, Latke Fest, and community Shabbat dinners.  In June of 2010, Yerachmiel became the rabbi of Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Congregation in Baltimore, MD.  The transition to a large shul was a welcome challenge and MMAE has flourished and grown under his leadership.  He is genuinely loved by his congregation, but even better, he absolutely loves them. Yerachmiel was recently featured in the PBS documentary “The Calling”.

http://www.mmae.org/

DAVID WOLKENFELD
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Rabbi, Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation, Chicago, IL

David has a BA in Intellectual History from Harvard University and has completed graduate level coursework in Jewish History at Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School. In addition to learning at YCT, David was a student for two years at Yeshivat Hamivtar and for one year at Yeshivat Har Etzion. For five years, David directed, together with his wife Sara, the Orthodox Union's Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus at Princeton University.  In addition, David has been a member of the faculty at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education in New York City and has served as "summer rabbi" at New York's Lincoln Square Synagogue.  David is an officer of the International Rabbinic Fellowship and a member of the executive committee of the Rabbinical Council of America.  

http://www.asbi.org/

Class of 2007

YONAH BERMAN
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Rabbi, Kadimah-Toras Moshe Congregation, Brighton, MA

Judaic Studies Faculty,  Jewish Community Day School, Boston, MA

Yonah grew up in Teaneck, NJ. He studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel and received his BA in Psychology from Yeshiva University. After graduation, he returned to Israel and served in the IDF in a front-line tank unit, where he was awarded for his performance during training. During his time at YCT, Yonah held rabbinic internships at CLAL, the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale, Beth David Congregation in West Hartford, CT, Congregation Beth Sholom in Providence, RI, and BIAV Congregation in Overland Park, KS.

Yonah was the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal for 5 years, where he also served as Vice President of the city-wide Hillel organization. In 2012, he married Dr. Rachel Stein and became the Rabbi of Congregation Kadimah-Toras Moshe in Brighton, MA.

He currently teaches at the Jewish Community Day School of Boston and is on the faculty of the Eser Young Adult Learning Series. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts and is part of the founding cohort of Rabbis Without Borders.

 

http://www.kadimahtorasmoshe.org/

AVIDAN FREEDMAN
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Judaic Studies Faculty, Hartman Institute High School Program, Jerusalem, Israel 

Avidan grew up in Montreal, Quebec. After high school, he spent two years studying in Israel at Yeshivat Har Etzion, and received a BA from Yeshiva University. Avidan has been steadily involved in Bnei Akiva, the Religious Zionist youth movement, since high school, including working as National Programs Director and National Education Director in Bnei Akiva's national office. Avidan received an MA in Jewish Education from the Azrieli Graduate School and has been pursuing ordination with the Israeli Rabbinate along with his semikha at YCT. Prior to his current position, Avidan was a Limudei Kodesh Faculty member at SAR High School in Riverdale, NY.

http://www.hartman.org.il/

AKIVA HERZFELD
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Rabbi, Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh, Portland, ME

Akiva received his BA in Classical Languages from Yeshiva University, where he graduated magna cum laude. He received the Norman Palefski Award for most outstanding senior athlete-scholar, as well as the Bernard Floch Award for Classical Languages. Akiva holds an MA in History from Columbia University and he has also studied at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, Israel, the Goethe Institute in Berlin, Germany, and the American Language Institute in Fez, Morocco. While at YCT, Akiva worked as a student rabbi at the Jewish Home for the Elderly of Fairfield, CT,  interned at the Stanton Street Shul, NY, the Beth David Synagogue of West Hartford, CT, Congregation Shaarey Tephiloh of Portland, ME, and the Gann Academy in Waltham, MA. Akiva is a Wexner Graduate Fellow.

http://www.mainesynagogue.org/

ELLIOT KAPLOWITZ
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Rabbi in Residence, Beth Tfiloh Congregation, Baltimore, MD

Elliot grew up in Livingston, NJ. After learning for a year in Israel at Yeshivat Sha'arei Mevasseret Zion, he attended Brandeis University, where he received a combined BA/MA in Jewish Studies and graduated magna cum laude. He wrote an honors thesis on the "Jewish Legal Decisions of Rabbis Ovadia Yosef and Moses Feinstein." Elliot was active in Brandeis Hillel and was president of the Brandeis Orthodox Organization. Prior to coming to YCT, he worked as the Iyyun Fellow at Hillel's International Center in Washington, DC, where he focused on developing curricular materials for Hillels across the country; coordinated the educational component of all Hillel conferences, and provided support for Hillel professionals in the field. While at YCT, Elliot interned at Congregation Beth Sholom in Providence, RI and Congregation Shaarei Tefillah in Newton, MA.

http://www.bethtfiloh.com/congregation

DAVID KASHER
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Director of Jewish Education, Kevah, Berkeley, CA

David was first drawn to Jewish life by growing up spending summers in Satmar and New Square Chassidic communities and was later re-inspired by his encounter with the Modern Orthodox community in Berkeley, CA. After college at Wesleyan University, he spent two years in Israel at Machon Shlomo in Jerusalem. He returned to the Bay Area and, at a friend's recommendation, began teaching for a pluralistic Jewish after-school program for high school students across denominational lines. It was this immensely gratifying experience which finally solidified his commitment to Jewish service and led him to pursue the rabbinate.

http://kevah.org/

BENJAMIN PEARLBERG
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Talmud Faculty, Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, Livingston, NJ

Jamie grew up in Toronto, Canada and Southfield, MI. He received his BA and MFA at Columbia University where he has been an instructor of creative writing for the last eight years. During his years at YCT, he served as an intern at the Abraham Joshua Heschel High School in Manhattan and SAR High School in Riverdale.

http://www.jkha.org/

SORIN ROSEN
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Technology Education Coordinator, The Hebrew Academy, Montreal

Sorin was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania. He graduated the Politehnica University in Bucharest, with a Master's degree in Computer Science and Industrial Automation. As a teenager, Sorin became actively involved in the Jewish community, working as a volunteer and part-time employee of the Jewish Agency for Israel. He has taught at the Ronald S. Lauder School in Bucharest and eventually became the National Coordinator for the Talmud Torah Hebrew School Program at the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania. At the Federation, Sorin worked towards the establishment of the Pedagogical Center in Bucharest, and contributed to the development of diverse educational programs, as well as edited various religious and Jewish educational materials.  In 2011, Sorin ended his rabbinic mandate in Romania and moved to Canada with his family. He is currently working in educational technology at the Hebrew Academy of Montreal, a K-11 Modern Orthodox Jewish day school.

 

AKIVA SILTON
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Jerusalem, Israel

Akiva grew up in Albany, NY. He received his BA in History from Columbia College and spent his junior year abroad at Hebrew University, Yeshivat Hamivtar, and the Hartman Institute. After college, Akiva taught at Maimonides Day School in Boston, MA. Akiva then pursued a medical degree at SUNY Downstate Medical School, where he served as the President of the Maimonides Society. He completed his residency in Pediatrics at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. While studying at YCT, Akiva worked at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan and interned at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. Akiva made aliyah to Hashmonaim with his wife, Sharon, and his three sons, Ezra, Elisha, and Avidan. 

ARI WEISS
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Senior Director, Learning Networks, Birthright Next, New York, NY  

Ari served as the Executive Director of Uri L'Tzedek, the Orthodox Social Justice Organization, from 2008-2013. Prior to Uri L'Tzedek, he was Co-Director of the Meorot University Fellowship and has served on the Judaic Studies Faculty of the Heschel School.  In the summer of 2006, Rabbi Weiss was a JCUA Rabbinical Student Fellow and interned at We The People Media, a Chicago based public housing advocacy group. He has served as a Jewish educator for American Jewish World Service, Bnei Akiva, and the Lauder Foundation on missions to Nicaragua, Ghana, Israel, and Hungary. He is completing a Masters degree in Jewish Philosophy from Yeshiva University where he completed his undergraduate work in philosophy and religion.  He has studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion and Beit Morasha of Jerusalem. Before his role at Uri L'Tzedek, Ari was the Rabbinic Fellow at The Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU.

http://www.birthrightisrael.com/AfterTheTrip

 

Class of 2006

NISSAN ANTINE
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Rabbi, Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah, Potomac, MD

Nissan grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2002 with B.A. in Philosophy and Religion. While at YCT, Nissan interned at Kesher Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. and at Anshei Shalom in Chicago. Nissan teaches a daily daf yomi class and a weekly class on Responsa which deal with different periods of Jewish History (e.g. Spanish Inquisition, Holocaust, and the State of Israel). Nissan has served on the Executive Committee of the International Rabbinic Fellowship.

http://bethsholom.org/

SETH BRAUNSTEIN
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Director of The Szarvas Fellowships, Camp Szarvas, Hungary

Seth has traveled extensively working for many Jewish communities around the world. Some of his experiences included the educational directorship for YUSSR in Belarus, coordinating a communal educational empowerment program in Perth, Australia, and directing an outdoor adventure leadership training program at Camp Moshava.  He has also led inter-denominational teen programs to both Israel and Hungary.  Seth has worked with a variety of special needs groups both in the Jewish community and the greater world.  He has coordinated programs for Yachad, the Council for the Jewish Disabled, and participated in an inter-denominational rabbinical mission to El Salvador. Seth was also the Rabbinic Associate at the Hebrew Institute of White Plains for two years. Previously he was the Director of Havayah / Moreshet at Hebrew College in Boston, MA.

http://www.szarvas.org/ 

YONATAN COHEN
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Rabbi, Congregation Beth Israel, Berkeley, CA

Rabbi Yonatan Cohen is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel (CBI), a Modern Orthodox community in Berkeley, California.  Under Rabbi Cohen’s leadership, CBI  has significantly grown its membership and broadened its educational programming for youth and adults.  Recognizing the community’s innovative educational programming CBI together with Rabbi Cohen were awarded a prestigious grant from the Legacy Heritage Innovation Project for Congregational Education.

Rabbi Cohen is a frequent teacher of Kevah learning groups and at larger community learning opportunities. He has been a guest lecturer on Jewish Medical Ethics at the University of California, Berkeley and on Jewish Liturgy at the Magnes Museum of Jewish Art and Life.  He also teaches Jewish Thought to middle school students at Oakland Hebrew Day School. 

Rabbi Cohen serves on a variety of Jewish community related boards of directors, including Kevah and Oakland Hebrew Day School.  He is a member of the Hartman Rabbinic Advisory Board as well as a Rabbinic Mentor for Yeshivat Chovevei Torah rabbinical students and a mentor to Kevah Teaching Fellows.  He previously served on the Board of Directors of Berkeley Hillel. 

 

http://www.cbiberkeley.org/

ZEV FARBER
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Founder and Director, AITZIM (Atlanta Institute of Torah and Zionism), Atlanta, GA

A native of Miami, Florida, Zev has a B.A. in psychology from Touro College, an M.A. in Jewish History from Hebrew University, and most recently a Ph.D. in Jewish Religious Cultures from Emory University, where he focused on Hebrew Bible. Zev spent a number of years as a day school teacher and/or administrator, in Hillel Community Day School (Miami), Makhon Penzer (Ma'aleh Mikhmas), and Beit Rabban (Manhattan). After receiving smikha, Zev served two years as a Rosh Kollel of Atlanta Torah Mitzion and as the director of Atlanta Bnei Akiva, moving to found his modest adult education initiative called Aitzim (Atlanta Institute of Torah and Zionism) and gives classes at his home and in the the Young Israel of Toco Hills. In addition to his yoreh yoreh, he received his dayanut (yadin yadin) also from YCT, in 2010.

Zev is a founding board member of  the IRF (International Rabbinic Fellowship) and serves as the coordinator for their Va'ad Giyyur. He writes on topics of Jewish Law, Bible, and other matters in various fora, including regular contributions to the blogs / websites, Morethodoxy, JVO (Jewish Values Online), and Times of Israel. Zev is on the advisory board of Yeshivat Maharat as well as being the editor of their journal, Keren. As part of his academic work, Zev participates in Bar Ilan University's archaeological dig at Tel Eton, where he is part of the staff. Currently, in addition to his adult education work, Zev isa fellow at Project TABS (Torah and Academic Biblical Scholarship) where he writes and edits for its website, TheTorah.com. He lives in Atlanta, GA, with his wife, Channie, and their five children, Eden, Orli, Ezra, Omri and Gefen.

 

ARYEH LEIFERT
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Founder & Director, WalkingIsrael.com, Israel

Aryeh grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey. He earned his BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University and spent two years studying at Yeshivat HaKotel in Israel. He has been teaching Bar and Bat Mitzvah students since 1995, served as a Hebrew school teacher and principal, and has taught Hebrew to adults through the National Jewish Outreach Program. While at YCT, Aryeh interned with Rabbi Yitzchok Adler at Congregation Beth David in West Hartford, Connecticut, with Rabbi Joel Tessler at Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac, Maryland, and participated in the American Jewish World Service's rabbinical student delegation to El Salvador.  Before making aliyah to Mazkeret Batya, Israel, Aryeh served as the Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Rodfei Sholom, and as Director of Judaic Studies at the Eleanor Kolitz Academy, in San Antonio, Texas.  He is now a licensed tour guide in Israel and also does "Virtual Israel Guiding" for schools around the world.

http://walkingisrael.com/

ARI LEUBITZ
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Head of School, Oakland Hebrew Day School, Oakland, CA

Rabbi Ari Leubitz grew up in Cleveland, Ohio.  After a year of study at Bar-Ilan University, he earned a Bachelor of Science from Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business.  Rabbi Leubitz studied for a year at Yeshiva Ohr Sameach in Monsey, NY, followed by four years at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah where he received semikha. He has since received two master's degrees in education and is currently an Ed.D. candidate at Northeastern University.

In 2005, Rabbi Leubitz earned the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.  He was awarded a Fellowship at the Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Enrichment Initiative. In 2010, Rabbi Leubitz earned a role as a teacher-mentor at the Institute for University-School Partnership at Yeshiva University, and the following year he was selected as a DSLTI (Day School Leadership Training Institute) Fellow.

http://www.ohds.org/

JASON WEINER
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Senior Rabbi & Manager of Spiritual Care Department, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

Jason grew up in Southern California, attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and California State University - Monterey Bay, where he founded and led the "Jewish Student Union" and graduated in 2000.  He attended Yeshiva Ohr Sameach in Monsey for two years before starting at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.  During his time at YCT, he also earned a Masters degree in Jewish History from the Bernard Revel Graduate School at Yeshiva University.  Upon graduation he became the Assistant Rabbi at Young Israel of Century City in Los Angeles, a position he held for 3 years before becoming the Jewish Chaplain and then Manager of the Department of Spiritual Care at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, one of the leading hospitals in the country. 

CLASS of 2005

DAVID ALMOG
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PhD candidate, Talmud Program, Jewish Theological Seminary, NY

David is a 1999 graduate of the Joint Program at JTS/Columbia University. After completing his undergraduate studies, he traveled the Far East and Israel. David has spent time in varied Yeshivot including Yeshiva B’nei Torah and the Conservative Yeshiva. During his time in YCT he has interned at Harlem’s Old Broadway Synagogue, Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia, and the Columbia/Barnard Hillel. Before the Senior Educators Program, David was the Columbia/Barnard Hillel Campus Rabbi in NYC. He started a doctorate in Talmud at JTS in September of 2010.

MENASHE EAST
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 Rabbi, Mount Freedom Jewish Center, Randolph, NJ

Menashe graduated from Yeshiva University with a degree in Literature. After spending two years at RIETS, Menashe transferred to YCT. While at YCT, Menahe pursued his Masters of Social Work at YU. Menashe and his wife Donna moved to San Diego, CA to serve as Kehillat Ahavat Yisrael's first rabbi. During his four years in CA, Menashe taught upper school Judaic studies at the Jewish Academy, San Diego's community school. Menashe is very proud to have been selected as a Hartman fellow, joining Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Reform rabbinic colleagues from San Diego and all over the US as part of the third cohort of the Rabbinic Leadership Initiative. With Donna and two children, Menashe returned to the East Coast to serve as the Spiritual Leader of the Mt. Freedom Jewish Center in Randolph, NJ, where he currently works and lives. Menashe recently earned his Masters in Social Work from YU. Menashe and Donna are blessed to have three children, Ayala, Erez and Elisha. 

 www.mtfjc.org

JOSHUA FEIGELSON
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Director of Strategy and Field Building, The iCenter, Chicago, IL

Upon receiving semikha in 2005, Rabbi Josh Feigelson served as Campus Rabbi at Northwestern University Hillel. In this position, Rabbi Feigelson became a religious leader and leading personality on campus, recognized by the Daily Northwestern student newspaper as one of the top 10 people to know at the university in 2008. He successfully recruited Orthodox students to attend Northwestern and helped to build the infrastructure to sustain observant Jewish life, while also serving as a teacher, guide, and mentor to students of all backgrounds. In 2007, Rabbi Feigelson, with two students, co-founded Ask Big Questions, an initiative to engage diverse groups of students and faculty in questions "that matter to all of us," and from 2011-13 he served as Educational Director of Ask Big Questions as it became a national program of Hillel operating on over 30 campuses. Rabbi Feigelson blogs at rabbijosh.com, and has authored academic articles and book chapters on Jewish identity development on campus and during early adulthood. He has also served as a consultant and faculty member for American Jewish World Service, the Wexner Foundation, Jewish Funders Network, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, and the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel. Rabbi Feigelson is a doctoral candidate  in the Northwestern University Department of Religious Studies. His dissertation focuses on the work and teaching of Rabbi Yitz Greenberg in the 1960s and 70s. Rabbi Feigelson and his wife Natalie Blitt are the proud parents of three sons, Jonah, Micah, and Toby, and live in Skokie, Illinois. He is a spiritual leader of Kol Sasson congregation and chairs the Ritual Life committee at Chicago Jewish Day School.

SAMUEL FEINSMITH
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Faculty, Judaic Studies Department, Chicagoland Jewish High School, Deerfield, IL

Rabbi Sam Feinsmith teaches Judaic Studies and coordinates Jewish Life at Chicagoland Jewish High School, Illinois.  He holds semicha from YCT and an MA in Talmud from JTS.  He teaches meditation at the Center for Jewish Mindfulness, and has served as a consultant on a number of innovative prayer and minyan-related projects.  He served as a Kol Tzedek Fellow for American Jewish World Service, and volunteered in Cambodia with their Volunteer Corps.  He taught Judaic Studies at the AJ Heschel School in New York for six years, and during that time he also taught adults in various synagogues and communities across the denominational spectrum.

http://www.cjhs.org/

MARC GITLER
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Director of Development, Western United States - Leket Israel, Denver, CO 

Upon graduating from Yeshiva University in 1999, Marc traveled to Minsk, Belarus where he served as the overseas director for YUSSR helping build Jewish communities. Coordinating events at the Lauder Lech-Lecha youth center for a year, and creating the infrastructure for a Jewish Community in Moghilev for another, Marc returned to America to complete his education in 2001. Selected as a Wexner Fellow, Marc enrolled at YCT, and New York University's Wagner school of public service. Over four years he has worked for the Koby Mandell Foundation, taught Tanakh at the NYU Hillel, and participated in American Jewish World Service’s first Rabbinic Mission to El Salvador. Upon ordination Marc served for two years as assistant Rabbi at the 5th Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan, and five years as Rabbi of East Denver Orthodox Synagogue, Denver's largest modern Orthodox Synagogue.

JASON HERMAN
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Rabbi, Congregation Beth Israel - West Side Jewish Center, NY

Executive Director of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, New York, NY

Jason holds a BA in International Studies and a BS in Economics from the Huntsman Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation from college, he worked for two years as an investment banker. Jason has spent time lecturing at various synagogues and universities. Jason served as the Rabbinic Intern at both Netivot Shalom in Teaneck, NJ and Highland Park, NJ and has taught at the Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor at The Jewish Theological Seminary, and CLAL-Center for Leadership and Learning.

http://www.westsidejewishcenter.org/ 

http://www.internationalrabbinicfellowship.org/


JACK NAHMOD
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Middle School Judaic Studies Director/Rabbinic Advisor grades N-8

The Abraham Joshua Heschel School, New York, NY

Jack grew up in Skokie, Illinois. After attending college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, his first career began in Chicago, with a law degree from Chicago Kent College of Law. Jack practiced environmental law for 6 years, and then started his second career when he moved to New York to attend the Jewish Theological Seminary. After a Masters from JTS, he began his studies at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Jack has served as an intern at B'nai David in Los Angeles, Anshe Sholom in Chicago, NYU's Bronfman Center for Jewish Life, and University of Texas Hillel in Austin, and he has taught at the 92nd Street Y and Manhattan JCC. Prior to working at Heschel, Jack was the Tanakh Coordinator at Solomon Schechter High School of Westchester in New York.

http://www.heschel.org/

YOSSI POLLAK
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Lead Instructor, Judaic Studies, The Pre-Collegiate Learning Center, East Brunswick, NJ

Yossi is originally from East Brunswick, NJ. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1998, majoring in Political Science. Before coming to Chovevei Torah he learned at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, Israel. Yossi especially enjoys learning Chassidut and spiritual texts. He also served for one year as the Assistant Rabbi at Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue in Washington, D.C and as Rabbi of the Stanton Street Synagogue in New York City. Yossi served as Rabbi of Beit Chaverim in Westport, CT, from 2008-2013. 

 http://www.pclcnj.com/

 

SAUL STROSBERG
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Rabbi, Congregation Sherith Israel, Nashville, TN

Saul grew up in Schenectady, New York. He received a BA in Business from Yeshiva University and spent a year studying Business Management at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, while spending his afternoons at Yeshivat Ateret Kohanim. He enjoyed many summers at Camp Yavneh, a pluralistic camp in New Hampshire, where he met his wife, Daniella Pressner.  While leading a growing and vibrant congregation, Saul is deeply involved in the wider Jewish community. He serves as the head of the Board of Rabbis, Rabbinic consultant at Vanderbilt University, and is the director of the Nashville Kashrut Commission. He loves kids, and visits the Akiva School, Nashville's community day-school, where Daniella is the Principal. Saul prides himself on all of the strong relationships he enjoys within his Shul and beyond.

www.sherithisrael.com

URI TOPOLOSKY
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Rav HaKehilla, Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy, Rockville, MD

Rabbi, Beth Joshua Congregation, Rockville, MD

Uri grew up in Sharon, MA and later in Silver Spring, MD. Prior to his rabbinic studies at YCT, Uri spent two years studying in Israel at Yeshivat Sha'alvim before attending the University of Maryland at College Park. While completing a BA in Communications, Uri played an integral role in the development of an inclusive Jewish community on campus. He spent the following year living in Jerusalem, learning and working for the Isralight Institute, further cultivating his passion for music and spirituality as a community leader. Uri served for five years as an Intern Rabbi and then as the Associate Rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in the Bronx, NY. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Uri relocated to New Orleans with his family to serve as the Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel, where he helped to rebuild and re-establish the congregation from 2007-2013. He is currently living in Maryland, serving as the Rav HaKehilla of the MJB Hebrew Academy, and as the Rabbi of the Beth Joshua Congregation. Rabbi Uri is married to Dahlia, and they have four children, Elyon, Itai, Adi, and Liat.

http://www.mjbha.org/

http://www.bethjoshua.org/

CLASS of 2004

JONATHAN DUKER
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Faculty, Midreshet AMIT, Jerusalem, Israel

Jonathan, originally from Philadelphia, learned for two years at Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim before earning his B.A. in History and M.A. in Medieval Jewish History from Yeshiva University. Upon receiving his semicha, Jonathan, with his wife Susan and their children, made aliyah to Beit Shemesh with the goal of teaching post high school students. Jonathan is currently on the faculty of Midreshet AMIT (http://www.amit.org.il/midreshetamit/) and Machon Tal at the Jerusalem College of Technology (http://www.jct.ac.il/eng/units.php?cat=63), and is author of the book The Spirits Behind the Law: The Talmudic Scholars (Urim Publications).

http://midreshetamit.org/

 

JEFFREY FOX
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Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivat Maharat, New York, NY

Rabbi Jeffrey S. Fox, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Maharat, was the first graduate of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.  Upon graduation he served as the Rabbi of Kehilat Kesher: The Community Synagogue of Tenafly and Englewood for seven years.  In Rabbi Fox’s tenure at Kesher, the community grew three-fold from thirty families to nearly one hundred.  During that time Rabbi Fox also taught at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah as well as the Florence Melton Adult Education School in Bergen County.  He also served on the board of the Synagogue Leadership Initiative of the UJA of NNJ.  Rabbi Fox is also a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute.  He has also been a member of the faculty of the Drisha Institute, the Florence Melton Adult Education School in Westchester County as well as Yeshivat Hadar.

 

http://yeshivatmaharat.org/

YISRAEL HOLLENDER
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Talmud Teacher, SAR High School, Riverdale, NY

Yisrael grew up in Cleveland, Ohio where he attended Bet Sefer Mizrachi. He studied for a year in Israel at Yeshivat Har Etzion and is a graduate of Yeshiva University with BA in Philosophy. Yisrael has interned under Rabbi Chaim Marder at the Hebrew Institute of White Plains, NY and upon graduation from YCT served as an Assistant Rabbi at Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NYC for two years.

http://www.saracademy.org/

AARON LEVY
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Founding Director and Rabbi, Makom, Toronto, ON, Canada

Rabbi Aaron Levy is a leader in the revival of downtown Jewish life in Toronto, where he the founding director and rabbi of Makom : Creative Downtown Judaism, named one of North America’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofits in Slingshot ’10-’11 .  Aaron has created a space for Jewish community and a spiritual home for hundreds of Jews, especially unaffiliated young adults, in downtown Toronto. He also teaches percussion and is a sought-out educator on a wide variety of Jewish topics, especially ethical eating, environmentalism, spirituality, pluralism, and social justice. Aaron brings experience living and working in a variety of cities and Jewish communities; he previously founded an independent minyan, served as campus rabbi at three Hillels, and led wilderness backpacking trips.  Aaron is an avid drummer, hiker, and vegan.

DANIEL LEVY
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Judaic Studies Faculty, Ninth Grade Dean, North Shore Hebrew Academy High School, Great Neck, NY

Dan studied at Marianopolis College and Kollel Torah Mitzion before joining YCT upon his graduation from McGill University in Montreal. There he received his BA with a dual concentration in Economics and Jewish Studies. Dan has benefited greatly from the intense curriculum at YCT as it has allowed him to grow in both Torah and Mitzvot, strengthened his analytical thinking and enhanced his leadership skills. He currently teaches at the North Shore Hebrew Academy, where he will serve as Dean of the Class of 2017. He has completed a Master's degree in education at Yeshiva University's Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration.

http://www.nshahs.org/

 

AVI ORLOW
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Director of Jewish Education, The Foundation for Jewish Camp, New York, NY

 

Before joining the Foundation for Jewish Camp in 2008, Avi was the Campus Rabbi and Assistant Director of the St. Louis Hillel at Washington University and has held numerous positions as rabbi, educator, and youth leader. He spent 17 years as a camper and then educator at Ramah Camps in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and YUSSR camps in the Former Soviet Union. Avi has a B.A. in Religious Studies from Columbia University. He was ordained in the charter class at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Avi lives in White Plains with his wife, Cantor Adina Frydman, and their children, Yadid, Yishama, and Emunah. Avi blogs at saidtomyself.com.

http://www.jewishcamp.org/

 

ADAM SCHEIER
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Senior Rabbi, Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, Montreal, QC, Canada

Rabbi Adam Scheier is Senior Rabbi of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, a 1500-family synagogue, in Montreal, Canada.  He is Past President of the Montreal Board of Rabbis, Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of Canada, and Senior Rabbinic Fellow of Jerusalem’s Hartman Institute.  Rabbi Scheier serves on the Board of Trustees of many local and international organizations, including International Rabbinic Fellowship, Quebec Israel Committee, Canadian Magen David Adom, and McGill Ghetto Shul.  Rabbi Scheier has been active in international Jewish concerns, and recently testified before a Canadian Parliamentary committee on the topic of human rights in Venezuela.  Prior to his post in Montreal, Rabbi Scheier participated in the founding and development of the first Yeshiva in post-World War II Germany, and has continued to work extensively with the immigrant Jewish community in Germany.  Rabbi Scheier's hobbies include jogging, playing basketball, learning chassidut, and skiing with his children. Rabbi Scheier is married to Abby, and they are blessed with three daughters, Aviya, Ayelet, and Annael.

http://www.shaarhashomayim.org/

YA'AKOV SIMON
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Jerusalem, Israel

Ya'akov studied at the Pardes Institute, Yeshivat Hamivtar, and RIETS before joining YCT, and was a Wexner Fellowship finalist. He received his BA from the University of Chicago in Religion and the Humanities, and his MA in Bible from the Bernard Revel Graduate School. Ya'akov is grateful for the textual and leadership skills that he received at YCT. These skills have enabled him to develop an appropriate curriculum for high school students: one that aims for the study of Talmud and Halakha to be a spiritually meaningful experience. before making aliyah, Yaakov was a faculty member for 4 years at the Stern Hebrew High School in Philadelphia, PA.

MATTHEW STEIN
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New York, NY

Matthew grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Hillel Academy High School and spending a year at Yeshivat Hakotel in Jerusalem, Matthew studied literature and film at the University of Michigan where he graduated with Honors. Following another year at Yeshivat Hakotel, Matthew entered the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars Program where he earned a Masters of Writing degree. In subsequent years Matthew worked as a medical editor and project manager, a technical writer for a publicly traded computer-security company, and as a knowledge management consultant and corporate trainer for Deloitte and Touche, LLP. In a wonderfully serendipitous moment, YCT was founded just as he was deciding to explore other career options. While at YCT, Matthew has enjoyed the multiplicity of approaches and subjects addressed by the curriculum, the quality of the faculty and students, and the attempt to integrate professional training within a traditional semikha program. In addition, he has interned at Congregations Ramath Orah (NYC) and Beth Sholom (Potomac, MD), as well as the CLAL Rabbinic Student Fellowship Program. Matthew worked as a Senior Program Associate at the Birthright Israel Foundation in New York City.

 

 

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