Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun - Rabbis
Rabbis and Educators
KJ is blessed with world-renowned clergy and senior leadership. Talented, qualified and experienced, our professionals are unmatched. KJ clergy are known for their warm pastoral care, engaging sermons, sensitive halakhic direction, insightful classes, attentive spiritual guidance and passionate leadership. Our clergy are ready to partner with and serve you.
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein has been the Rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun since 1958 and principal of the Ramaz School since 1966. He is the Joseph H. Lookstein Professor of Homiletics at Yeshiva University, vice president of the Beth Din of America, and a member of the Board of Directors of the UJA Federation of New York. Rabbi Lookstein is also a commissioner of the New York City Human Rights Commission. He received his B.A. from Columbia College and earned his ordination, Master’s degree, and Ph.D. from Yeshiva University. (Sermons, Nusach Recordings).
Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz has been a congregational Rabbi for over 20 years, and has previously served pulpits in Montreal, Quebec and Mount Vernon, New York. He has always been deeply engaged in community affairs, and in Montreal served as a Vice President of the Federation, and held executive positions in the Hillel and the Canadian Jewish Congress. He has written for many publications, writes a regular column for the Canadian Jewish News, and has a blog called the "Happiness Warrior". Rabbi Steinmetz received his ordination from Yeshiva University, where he was a fellow of the Gruss Kollel Elyon, and has a M.A. in Jewish Philosophy from the Bernard Revel Graduate School, and a M.A. in Education from Adelphi University. He is married to Lisa Schwartz, and they have four children (Sermons).
Rabbi Elie Weinstock is a veteran of both formal and informal educational programs and a Yeshiva University graduate. He received his Rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and a Masters in Jewish Philosophy from the Bernard Revel Graduate school. Rabbi Weinstock serves as custodian of the highly developed KJ Beginners Program and is member of the Talmud faculty at the Ramaz Middle School (Sermons).
Cantor Mayer Davis graduated Queens College with a B.A. in Jewish Studies and studied at
Yeshiva University’s Cantor’s Institute. In addition, he trained under the tutelage of his
father, Cantor Avrum Davis, a”h, and with the late Cantor David Koussevitsky. A versatile
vocal performer and songwriter, he has appeared at venues across the country and has been
a featured guest soloist with Zamir Chorale, most recently at Avery Fisher Hall. He has been commissioned to compose numerous musical pieces for Jewish liturgy and several of his
choral compositions have been performed by various Jewish High school choruses,
including the Ramaz Chamber Chorus.
Rabbi Daniel Kraus is the Director of Community Education at KJ. A native of Melbourne,
Australia, Daniel graduated Yeshiva University, completed the Ner LeElef Fellowship at RIETS and received his ordination from Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg of Jerusalem. A veteran of informal education in both Australia and the US, Daniel was the founding Director of the Manhattan Jewish Experience (MJE) Downtown location and built, together with Rachel, a vibrant community of young Jewish professionals in the midtown Manhattan area, with over 7,000 people from diverse backgrounds participating in their programs. He also served as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. Among his many responsibilities, Daniel helps oversee the KJ Beginners Program as well as educational and family programming. Outside of KJ, Daniel serves at the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Birthright Israel Foundation.
Rachel Kraus is the Director of Community Education at KJ. Rachel completed a B.S. from Stern College majoring in marketing with a minor in music, including extensive study at The Juilliard
School and holds an MBA from NYU. Rachel is the Vice President of Marketing for the Westfield Corporation, where she leads brand experience, partnerships and marketing
Strategy for the World Trade Center retail development project. She has over a decade of
experience in teaching informal Jewish education, has taught and lectured in Australia,
Belarus, and throughout the US. Rachel has been teaching the Matan Bat Mitzvah program
in the NY/NJ area for the past decade. Rachel & Daniel are the proud parents of four young
Dr. Shilo Kramer
KJ Beginners Cantor
Shilo Kramer is the chazan for the KJ Beginners program. He is a physician specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is currently completing a fellowship in Cancer Rehabilitation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Shilo received his M.S. degree from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education at Yeshiva University and is a popular Jewish studies and Bar Mitzvah tutor for the community’s children.
Rabbi Angel leads the KJ Sephardic Minyan, and gives many Adult Education classes in the broader KJ community. He also is the National Scholar of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals (jewishideas.org). He also teaches advanced Bible courses to undergraduate, graduate, and rabbinical students at Yeshiva University, and lectures widely. He has published over 100 scholarly articles, primarily in Bible, and is author or editor of fourteen books. He received his B.A. in Jewish Studies Summa cum Laude from Yeshiva College, his M.A. in Bible from the Bernard Revel Graduate School, his M.S. in Jewish Education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education, and his Rabbinical Ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. He lives in New York with his wife and four children.
Rabbi 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. 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 PhD in Judaic studies from New York University. Rabbi Wieder is a prolific scholar on issues of Torah’s relationship with modernity, with more than 900 lectures on Judaism captured on audio and video and available online.
Dr. Shera Aranoff
Dr. Shera Aranoff Tuchman as been teaching a weekly class in Biblical commentary at KJ for the past 18 years. Notes from this class culminated in the publication of two books, Passions of the Matriarchs and Moses’ Women, commentaries on the women in Genesis and Exodus respectively. Shera recently translated and edited over 35 diaries written by her grandmother, Safta’s Diaries—Intimate Diaries of a Religious Zionist Woman. These diaries depict American Jewish life post World War Two and include private and personal family happenings, as well as political and historical writings. The book, just published by KTAV, has been reviewed as a “modern day Gluckel of Hamlen.” Dr. Aranoff also practices Dermatology in Manhattan.
Sara Rosen has been with the KJ Beginners program for over a decade. Born in Jerusalem, she
studied education at Beit Berl Teacher’s College and at Columbia University. Among her many
skills and teaching methodologies, Sara has developed Phonetic Hebrew Decoding (PHD), an
innovative approach to learning Hebrew reading, that simplifies the process and makes it more
accessible. In addition to teaching Hebrew at KJ, Sara oversees the Hebrew program at Rodeph
Sholom Religious School and teaches Hebrew in their adult education program.
Rabbi Yossi Weiser
Rabbi Yossi Weiser received his ordination from the Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn. He also has Masters degrees in Jewish History and Guidance Counseling. He is currently a member of the Judaic
Studies faculty of the Ramaz Upper School, and is a noted adult educator in Jewish history,
philosophy, political science and Bible.