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Who's Who at KJ


 

Clergy

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 SteinmetzChaim Steinmetz, Senior Rabbi
212-774-5665 | rcs@ckj.org

Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz has been a congregational Rabbi for nearly 30 years and has previously served pulpits in Montreal, Quebec and Mount Vernon, New York. He has always been deeply engaged in community affairs, and currently serves on the board of directors of the UJA-Federation of New York. When he was in Montreal, Rabbi Steinmetz 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, (and wrote a regular column for the Canadian Jewish News for many years), 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 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 (Sermons).

Haskel LooksteinHaskel Lookstein, Rabbi Emeritus
212-774-5650 | RHL@ckj.org

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. 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).

Elie WeinstockRoy Feldman, Associate Rabbi
212-774-5636 | RRF@CKJ.ORG

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. 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. For several years, Rabbi Feldman served as rabbi of the Modern Orthodox congregation in Albany, NY, and he is 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 and Millie. (Sermons)

Meyer Laniado, Associate Rabbi
212-774-5640 | RML@CKJ.ORG

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. 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.

Rabbi Daniel Kraus, Director of Community Education
212-774-5696 | RDK@ckj.org

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, and 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.

RaCHEL Kraus, Director of Community Education
RACHEL@CKJ.ORG

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. 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.

Rabbi Jeremy Wieder, Scholar in  residence
 

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 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. 


 

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           
212-774-5626 | CANTOR@ckj.org

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. 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. 

Dr. Benjamin ZaltA | Chazan
 

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. 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 | Assistant Chazan
 

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. He has been a leader of shabbat and daily minyanim for over 14 years in various synagogues throughout Brooklyn and Deal.

Mr. Joey Senders | KJB Chazan
 

Joey was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and currently resides on the UES. He attended Yeshiva University where he quickly got involved in the Jewish A Cappella scene, performing around the world with groups such as The Maccabeats, Six13, and Y-Studs A Cappella. Following graduation, he began a career in Technology Consulting and in his free time, Joey enjoys training for functional fitness competitions and marathons, as well as coaching group fitness classes. 


 

Administrators

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

Chaim SteinmetzLeonard Silverman, Executive Director 212-774-5680 | LSS@CKJ.ORG

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.

Riva Alper, Administrator
212-774 -5670  | Riva@ckj.org

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. 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.

Sy Yanofsky, Comptroller
212-774-5620 | sy@ckj.org 

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.

Esther Feierman, Director of Communications and Programming
212-774-5654 | ESTHER@CKJ.ORG 

Esther Feierman is Director of Communications and Programming. Orginally from Brooklyn, she graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in Global Politics and French. 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. 

Freddie Rodriguez, Superintendant 
212-774-5656 | FRODRIGUEZ@CKJ.ORG 
646-872-5507

 

Dina Farhi, Executive Assistant 
212-774-5648 | DINA@CKJ.ORG  

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, 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.

Yael Haller, Director of Member Affairs
212-774-5674 |YAEL@CKJ.ORG  

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, 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.

Mon, December 5 2022 11 Kislev 5783