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Our Team


KJ is blessed with world-renowned clergy, who are known for their warm pastoral care, engaging sermons, sensitive halakhic direction, insightful classes, attentive spiritual guidance and passionate leadership.  


Chaim Steinmetz



Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz is the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He has been a congregational Rabbi for over 30 years, and previously served pulpits in Montreal, Quebec and Mount Vernon, New York. Read More+   He has always been deeply engaged in community affairs. He is the chair of Mayor Adam’s antisemitism task force, on the leadership team of the Zionist Rabbinic Coalition, and on the board of directors of the American Jewish Committee-NY and American Friends of Open University- Israel. When he lived in Montreal, Rabbi Steinmetz served as a Vice President of the Montreal Federation, and held executive positions in the Montreal Hillel and the Canadian Jewish Congress. He writes a weekly column for The Jewish Journal, and has written for many other publications, including The Washington Post, The Daily News, The Globe and Mail, La Presse, Haaretz, and The Jerusalem Post.

Rabbi Steinmetz received his ordination from Yeshiva University, where he was a fellow of the Gruss Kollel Elyon and has an M.A. in Jewish Philosophy from the Bernard Revel Graduate School, and an M.A. in Education from Adelphi University. He is married to Lisa Schwartz, and they have four children.


212-774-5665 |


Roy Feldman



Rabbi Roy Feldman believes that a rabbi’s primary role in the twenty-first century is to articulate, embody, and exemplify the reasons why traditional Judaism remains relevant today. Read More+   He obtained a BA from Columbia College, and his ordination and MA in Jewish Philosophy from Yeshiva University, where he is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Jewish History. He also serves on the faculty of the Ramaz Upper School. For several years, Rabbi Feldman served as rabbi of the Modern Orthodox congregation in Albany, NY, and he has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He is married to Rachel Minkin, and they are proud parents of Charlotte, Millie, and Max. (Sermons)


212-774-5636 |


Meyer Laniado



Rabbi Laniado joined KJ as the first KJ Sephardic rabbi, charged with a mandate to actively grow the KJ Sephardic community through new outreach initiatives and engaging programming. Read More+  His vision, energy, and dedication have helped him be consistently attuned to the needs of the moment, developing programs, events, and opportunities for engagement. He received rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva University – RIETS and the Sephardic Bet Din of Queens. He holds a B.S. in Management from Yeshiva University – Sy Syms School of Business and has a Masters in Talmudic Studies from Yeshiva University – Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies.


212-774-5640 |




Haskel Lookstein



Rabbi Haskel Lookstein has been a Rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun since 1958 and served as Principal of the Ramaz School from 1966 until 2016 when he became Principal Emeritus. Read More+  He served for forty years as the Joseph H. Lookstein Professor of Homiletics at Yeshiva University. He is a Vice President of the Beth Din of America, and a member of the Board of Directors of UJA Federation of New York. He received his B.A. from Columbia College and earned his ordination, Master’s degree, and Ph.D. from Yeshiva University. He is the author of “Were We Our Brothers’ Keepers?: The Public Response of American Jews to the Holocaust, 1938-1944. He has also made available online recordings for a Ba’al Tephila for weekday, Shabbat and holiday davenings. (SermonsNusach Recordings).



212-774-5650 |


Rabbi Daniel Kraus



Rabbi Daniel Kraus is a native of Melbourne, Australia, and graduated Yeshiva University with a B.S. and MBA, completed the Ner LeElef Fellowship at RIETS. Read More+  He received his ordination from Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg of Jerusalem. Prior to KJ, Daniel served as the inaugural Director of the Manhattan Jewish Experience (MJE) Downtown location where, together with his wife Rachel, he spearheaded the creation of a vibrant community of young Jewish professionals and created a hub of Jewish engagement in Midtown Manhattan for over 7,000 participants. Daniel also served as MJE’s Chief Operating Officer. Outside of KJ, Daniel is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Birthright Israel Foundation, where he leads strategic alliances for the Foundation, and manages the post-trip engagement strategy for Birthright alumni and Institutional Giving.



212-774-5696 |


Rachel Kraus



Rachel Kraus completed a B.S. from Stern College majoring in marketing with a minor in music, including coursework study at The Juilliard School and holds an MBA from NYU. Read More+  She has over a decade of experience in teaching informal Jewish education, has taught and lectured in Australia, Belarus, and throughout the US and has been teaching the Matan Bat Mitzvah program in the NY/NJ area for the past decade. Rachel and Daniel are the proud parents of four young children. They were also listed among the 2017 Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36 list of emerging Jewish leaders.




Dr. Jeremy Wieder



Rabbi Dr. Jeremy Wieder is Yeshiva University’s Joseph and Gwendolyn Straus Professor of Talmud in the Mazer Yeshiva Program, a rosh yeshiva at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and an adjunct professor of Bible at Yeshiva College. Read More+  A summa cum laude graduate of Yeshiva College. He was ordained at RIETS, received his MS in American Jewish history from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and holds a Ph.D. in Judaic studies from New York University. Rabbi Wieder is a prolific scholar on issues of Torah’s relationship with modernity, with more than 1000 lectures on Judaism captured on audio and video and available online.

Our Team In Action


Cantors - Music at KJ

Our congregation takes great pride in its magnificent Sanctuary and eloquent services. Throughout its history, KJ has been blessed with world-renowned cantors who enrich the lives of our community with their inspiring T'filot and beautiful music.



Chaim Dovid Berson



Cantor Chaim Dovid Berson was born and raised in Jerusalem. He graduated from the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute and honed his outstanding musical skills under the tutelage of Cantor Naftali Hershtik and composer Raymond Goldstein. Read More+   Cantor Berson has led services and performed at music festivals around the world, the UN General Assembly, on Central Park’s Summer Stage, and was a featured singer with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. He is married to Batya, and they have two children Annaelle and Remy.


212-774-5625 |


Dr. Benjamin Zalta



Dr. Benjamin Zalta, an Associate Professor of Radiology in the Cardio-thoracic Division at Montefiore Medical Center and a native of Damascus, Syria, has been Chazan at the KJ Sephardic Minyan since its founding in 2011. Read More+   He came to New York at the age of 18 to study at Yeshiva University, and went on to earn a medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Steeped in the Syrian musical tradition, Dr. Zalta has served Sephardic congregations in Brooklyn and Deal, NJ and led the Sephardic Services at Fifth Avenue Synagogue for 18 years.


Mr. Charles Zami



Charles moved with his wife, Rosy, to the Upper East Side and joined KJ after their marriage in the summer of 2015. Charles grew up in Brooklyn, reading from the Torah and participating in weekly hazzanut classes from a young age. Read More+   He has been a leader of shabbat and daily minyanim for over 14 years in various synagogues throughout Brooklyn and Deal.



The KJ Administration is an experienced team of administrators who are responsible for KJ’s unparalleled programs and initiatives. Our Administration looks forward to working together with you.


Main office: 212-774-5600 | Security Guard: 212-774-5605



Leonard Silverman



Leonard Silverman oversees many non-rabbinic facets of KJ’s operations. A graduate of Ramaz School, he holds a B.A. from Brandeis University, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.


212-774-5680 |


Riva Alper



Riva Alper wears two hats. Not only is she the KJ Administrator and she is also a member of the KJ Faculty, bringing with her the perspective and dedication of a member and lay leader of the congregation. Read More+   Riva leads the Women's Tefillah Service and provides ecclesiastical support to community families. She is a graduate of Stern College with an MA in English and Education from Seton Hall University.


212-774-5670 |


Sy Yanofsky



Sy Yanofsky is KJ’s Comptroller. He holds a B.S. in Accounting from Brooklyn College. and also serves as a Gabbai at the Young Israel of Flatbush where he lives with his wife and daughters.


212-774-5620 |




Esther Feierman



Esther Feierman is Director of Communications and Programming. Orginally from Brooklyn, she graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in Global Politics and French. Read More+   Her first foray into the business world was selling diamonds on 47th Street until she found a passion for the Jewish non-profit world - specifically within the communications field. Esther has returned to her roots in Brooklyn with her husband, Chaim, daughter, Addy and pup, Suzie.


212-774-5654 |


Dina Farhi




Dina Farhi’s European refinement dates back to a childhood spent in Belgium. The face and voice of our rabbinic suite, Dina has faithfully served the KJ/Ramaz community for more than 30 years. Read More+   During which time she also demonstrated keen leadership and organizational skills that are now put to good use on behalf of our heavily engaged rabbis. Dina and husband Jacques are the proud parents of two distinguished Ramaz alumni, and the grandparents of three adorable grandchildren.


212-774-5648 |


Freddie Rodriguez




Superintendent Freddie Rodriguez is a home-grown New Yorker, coming to KJ from a close-knit Bronx family whose loyalty to NY Yankees baseball knows no bounds. Read More+  Dating to his earliest student accomplishments right here at Manhattan Vocational High School on East 96 Street, Freddie has excelled at understanding, installing, servicing, diagnosing and repairing all manner of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. His proactive, “can-do” attitude underpins everything at KJ, and the team of professionals he supervises takes their cue from his indefatigable spirit of helpfulness. For 4 decades, Freddie has been honing his expertise in property management and facility operations, and we benefit greatly – and daily – from his wealth of experience and good judgment. Freddie is impressively credentialed, licensed and certified, but nowhere more so than in the Heavenly rolls where it matters most.


646-872-5507 |




Yael Haller



Originally from Toronto, Canada, Yael Haller is a graduate of the International Academy of Design and Technology, majoring in Fashion Design. She has been very involved in the Jewish non-profit world. Read More+   First volunteering as an NCSY advisor as a student and most recently working for Manhattan Jewish Experience. She has also used her talents as a costume designer for 24/6: A Jewish Theater Company for two of their most recent productions. Yael is very excited to deploy her creativity and energy in her KJ role. Yael lives with her husband, Josh, and two adorable kids, Mikey and Layla, on the Upper West Side.


212-774-5674 |


Ruthie Hollander




Ruthie was born in Germany, grew up in Michigan, and has been in the NYC-tristate area for the last seven years. She is passionate about Jewish life and programming. Read More+



212-774-5674 | RUTHIE@CKJ.ORG   As the Director of the Orthodox Union's new executive fellowship, Ruthie recruits and provides leadership training for young Jewish professionals interested in service and advocacy. She also works as the Principal of Jewish Youth Connection and the incoming Youth Director of KJ on the Upper East Side, where she engages with children of all ages, developing and organizing thoughtful and innovative curricula and events. Ruthie serves as the Chair of the Changemakers Alumni Network Leadership Subcommittee and the Treasurer of the Board of Camp Tizmoret Shoshana. She hopes to provide opportunities for others to learn, grow, and create change in the Jewish world.



Wed, July 24 2024 18 Tammuz 5784