Cantors and Scholars in Residence Programs
Cantor Chaim Adler is the Chief Cantor of the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem. He has performed with the Great Russian Tenors in the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow with the Moscow Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. Cantor Adler also chose to perform Keulen, Germany to represent Jewish Religious Music for Pope Bendict XVI. The Pope told Cantor Adler – “You touched my heart with your singing”. In the last 10 years Cantor Adler performed the Memorial Prayer, E-l Maleh Rachamim, and the Kadish for thousands of people from all over the world on the Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom Hashoah, in Poland at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. He has received the honor of lighting the Torch in the 61st Yom Ha`atzmaut Celebration as a Representative of the Orthodox Jews in Tel Aviv. Cantor Adler has also performed all over the world in concerts and prayers. He has received Gold Medals and an Honorary Diploma and has produced several CD’s and DVD’s.
Cantor Avi Albrecht has sung in every major city in the United States, Canada, and Israel, from Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine, and from the north of Edmonton, Canada, to the south of Miami, Florida, with hundreds of stops in between. He has enjoyed accolades and standing ovations at each concert. Cantor Albrecht has performed in major concert halls, including Carnegie Radio City, Merkin, 92nd Street Y, Lefrak, Colden Center, Whitman, and he has sung for some of the largest national conventions. At the special commemorative event celebrating the fifty-year anniversary of Israel, Cantor Albrecht was a soloist in the presence of former Israeli President Ezer Weizman. Another spectacular performance celebrating Israel’s fiftieth year was held in New York. Cantor Albrecht sang in the presence of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the Consul General of Israel Avital, and many presidents and executive directors of major American Jewish organizations.
Cantor Nati Bar Am is a native of Jerusalem. His father teaches music and his mother is a professional artist. Both parents imbued him with a love of music from the time he was a toddler.
The turning point in his life came when he attended services at The Jerusalem Great Synagogue for the first time. As he listened to the inspiring prayers chanted by world renowned Chief Cantor Naftali Herstik accompanied by the magnificent choir conducted by Elli Jaffe, Netanel determined that he would like to become a Chazzan.
Following his High School graduation, Netanel continued his Torah studies at Yeshivat Ateret Yisrael and at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav Kook. He also began serious Cantorial study at the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute where he was guided by its Dean, Chazzan Naftali Herstik, Raymond Goldstein and other master teachers. His musical talents and skills were further developed by his father and by Maestro Elli Jaffe. Netanel has been a featured soloist at many concerts of The Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute in Israel and abroad. He has been a member and soloist of The Jerusalem Great Synagogue Choir and serves as guest Chazzan at that Synagogue.
During the past few years, Netanel has also been engaged by congregations in Israel and other countries to officiate as guest Chazzan. He has been a chazzan at Sea Point Congregation in Capetown, South Africa , at Zurich, Switzerland , Melbourne, Australia and more... . He has appeared as soloist with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra , the Kibbutz Lavi Music Festival and more... He has also, founded the "Kol Rinah" Choir, which officiated throughout Israel and abroad.
Netanel is currently serving as the cantor of Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, California.
Simon Cohen was born and grew up in London surrounded by cantorial and classical music. Today he is one of the leading international young cantors both in concert and in Synagogue being invited to perform with the most prestigious orchestras to excite and warm the hearts of thousands. Coming from such a rich musical background, his repertoire spans across the board, including performing in Italian, English, Hebrew, French and singing the traditional Cantorial classics, Opera, Israeli, Yiddish and even some Broadway!
He was influenced by his grandfather Rabbi and Chazan Eliezer Spector z"l and under the direction of his Father, Stanley Cohen y"la. He began his singing career in Shul (Synagogue) as a child soprano and created those magical moments where the beauty and purity of a child's voice met with Prayer. Today he creates the same magical moments in Synagogue at Services or Wedding ceremonies with his own outstanding choir or on stage with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in front of thousands.
Simon's voice has developed into a beautiful and powerful, flexible lyric tenor voice with a brilliant and exciting tone, across a wide dynamic spectrum. In both Synagogue and on stage his voice reveals instinctive musical sensitivity as well as a deep understanding of the text.
Simon studied at the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute under the world renowned Cantor Naftali Herstik, Cantor Chaim Feifal and pianist composer Raymond Goldstein. He made Aliyah and married in 1995 and is presently living in Raanana with his wife Nechamah and 3 children.
He continues to be in great demand and officiates as Chazzan across Europe, United States and prestigious Synagogues in Israel. Simon continues to perform with leading Orchestra's including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Dr Mordechai Sobol and Eli Jaffe.
Simon officiates at numerous Wedding Ceremonies, Chuppot, Shabbatot Chazzanut and Bar Mitsvot as well as concerts in Israel, London, New York, Miami, Canada, Budapest and places as far out as Istanbul.
Dudu Fisher is known throughout the world for his stirring performance as Jean Valjean in the hit show “Les Miserables,” but his career began in his native country, Israel. After three years of service in the Israel Defense Forces, Fisher studied at the Tel Aviv Academy of Music and studied privately with some of the great cantors of the previous generation. He was only 22 when he was invited to become the cantor of the Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv. Fisher also traveled throughout the world, bringing traditional Chassidic, Yiddish, and Cantorial music to new audiences. Playing the lead in “Les Miserables” was a turning point in his career. It was the longest running show in Israel and catapulted him to stardom. In 1988 he was invited to London to take part in a royal command performance hosted by the Queen of England, a special version of “Les Miz” featuring artists from around the world. As an observant Jew, Fisher was the first actor on Broadway and the West End to be excused from performing on Friday nights, Saturday matinees, and all Jewish holidays. During his long career, Fisher has recorded over twenty albums, and he’s recently filmed an Emmy-nominated PBS special in the valley of Beit She’an, Israel. From the Opera House in Sydney, Australia, to Madison Square Garden in New York, from Singapore to Sao Paulo, Dudu Fisher spends most of the year traveling around the globe bringing joy to millions of people.
Avraham Fried is a legend in the world of Jewish music. He’s been entertaining Jewish audiences for thirty years, in numerous concerts and venues. His music integrates a wide range of musical styles, combining them with Jewish lyrics and themes, to create unforgettable melodies that become all-time favorites. Fried is incredibly prolific, and has produced thirty CDs, the latest of which are “Yankel, Yankel” and “Live in Israel,” which is offered as both a DVD and a double CD. Fried lives with his wife and their six children in Brooklyn, New York.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Cantor Daniel Gildar studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, majoring in piano, theory and voice. In addition to his cantorial duties, Cantor Gildar has an international reputation as a highly skilled accompanist of both cantorial and secular music. He has participated in seven historic missions to Eastern and Central Europe under the auspices of the Chaim and Gila Weiner Society for the Advancement of Cantorial Art, and has also been the accompanist for every concert produced by Cantors of the World.
Cantor Tsodik Greenwald has been blessed with a beautiful lyric tenor voice, and the ability to surf from the bottom of the vocal-range to the highest notes, with ease and clarity. His voice remains crystal-clear at all times, and that is a real “Gift of heaven”.
Born in New York, Zudik received his education at the Haredic (Ultra Orthodox) community. He then made Aliya (immigrated) to Israel where he got married. Today he is the proud father of four children. He learned Chazanut (the Cantorial art) with Cantor Moshe Stern and the conductor Maestro Eli Yaffe, who was astonished with the talent of young Greenwald.
Although he already had the experience of singing solos as a boy, over the last two years, Zudik placed himself in a respectable position at the Cantorial world. His performances left many listeners amazed, and enthusiastic. Many will say today that he will be one of the greatest cantors of our time. Mr. Levie Kanes, a master producer in the Cantorial world and who established “Cantors Centre”, was very quick to realize the great potential of the young cantor and produced for him – in alliance with Mona Rosenblum – a professional CD.
Zudik Greenwald had his début at the honorary concert for the great cantor Moshe Stern. Since then, he has sung in other productions such as “Voice and Music in the Shteitel”, “The Rebbe’s Dream”, “Music and Tales” with Jackie Levi, a special evening with the world famous opera tenor Yevgeni Shapovalov, and more. Recently, Greenwald was appointed Chief Cantor for the Jewish community of Frankfurt, Germany. There he walks in the shoes of his predecessor Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot.
Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. From the tender age of five, after hearing Moshe Koussevitzky’s recording of “Akavia Ben Mahalalel," Yitzchok Meir knew what his life's calling would be. At just eight years old, Cantor Helfgot recorded his first works, and then spent much of his childhood and teenage years studying voice and nussach (the art of prayer).
Cantor Helfgot held his first concert at twenty-three years old, performing three great works—Zibert’s “Mimkomcha,” Kwartin’s “Tiher Rabbi Yishmael” and Rosenblatt’s “Ad Hena”—all of which were masterfully executed and admired by those in attendance. It was at this point that the world began to realize the divine gift in Cantor Helfgot, taking us back to the Golden Age of Rosenblatt, Koussevitzky, Kwartin, Sirota and Hershman.
Truly living up to his name, Helfgot (literally translated as someone who helps G-d) rouses all who hear his golden voice to new spiritual heights. Leading the way in today's revival of liturgical music, Cantor Helfgot has performed in concerts spanning six continents, where time after time he has left audiences spellbound. From New York to Beijing, from South Africa to Italy, and from Russia to Australia, Cantor Helfgot has drawn record crowds. Concertgoers agree it is almost impossible not to be warmed by the fire of his magnificent, soulful voice. Just when you think he has reached his peak, Helfgot takes you higher.
Cantor Helfgot currently serves as Chief Cantor of the Park East Synagogue in New York City. He appears regularly for Shabbatot around the world, and is currently booked for Shabbatot and concerts through the spring of 2008. Cantor Helfgot’s recent recording, entitled “Barchi Nafshi – Bless Hashem O My Soul” and his latest album “Avot,” have broken Jewish record sales.
Cantor Naftali Hershtik, the chief cantor emeritus of the magnificent Jerusalem Great Synagogue, is descended from a long line of chazzanim and ba’alei tefila. At the tender age of six he had already gained a reputation as a prodigy, able to interpret complicated cantorial recitatives with phenomenal skill. His musical education has been wide and varied, and he owes much to his first teacher, his late father. He also studied under Cantors Leib Glantz, Shlomo Ravitz, and Moshe Kossevitzky, and graduated from the Royal College of Music in London. Cantor Herstik possesses a rich and heartwarming tenor voice of rare quality, but the dominant characteristic of his interpretative originality lies in the unity of music and words. He has earned a worldwide reputation as a superb concert artist with rare elegance and class, and has sung with some of the most famous orchestras and finest choirs in the world. A number of these distinguished groups can be heard on his numerous recordings. Cantor Herstik is also the director of the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute.
Cantor Netanel Hershtik is the cantor of the New York Synagogue and the Hampton Synagogue. Born in 1978, his musical talent soon became apparent through regular appearances as a child soloist in the Jerusalem Great Synagogue with his father, Cantor Naftali Herstik. He sang with his father in Australia, and throughout America and Europe. Educated at the Horev Yeshiva High School and Yeshivat Midbara Ke’eden, Netanel later served as an IDF combat paramedic. He graduated with an LLB degree from Sha’arei Mishpat College of Law and recently completed his LLM at the University of Miami School of Law. Cantor Hershtik graduated from the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute, and trained under Cantor Chayim Feifel, Raymond Goldstein, and other renowned cantors and musicians. His cantorial style is a blend of his artistic originality, as well as his father’s inspiring influence, teaching, and signature cantorial style. Cantor Hershtik has appeared in concert, both in Israel and worldwide, with leading cantorial male choirs and in the world’s most acclaimed concert halls. He released two recordings: “Umusafim Kehilchatam,” a tribute to the traditional Shabbat Mussaf service, and “Tzad Bet,” a contemporary fusion of jazz, bossa nova, and other musical styles. They demonstrate his musical versatility as well as his wide range of musical styles.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Cantor Yaakov “Yanky” Lemmer is one of the leading young cantors on the cantorial horizon. His beautiful lyric tenor voice, dramatic color, and precise coloratura have garnered him universal praise among his peers and connoisseurs, alike. He began his singing career as the star soloist of the Young Israel of Bethel Choir, where world renowned Cantor Ben Zion Miller took him under his private tutelage. Yaakov earned a scholarship to the Belz School of Jewish Music at Yeshiva University, where he studied with Cantors Joseph Malovany and Bernard Beer. He also studied with cantorial legend Cantor Noach Schall, and has won a scholarship for vocal training in N.Y.C.
As an internationally renowned concert artist, Yaakov is in constant demand on the concert stage, as well as synagogues, thrilling audiences throughout the world. He has appeared at the Tel Aviv Culture Hall with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and has been featured throughout the United States, England, and at various European Culture Festivals. He has also officiated at some of the world’s most prominent pulpits throughout the world.
His repertoire spans many genres and languages, including traditional Hebrew liturgy, Yiddish folk, Opera, Broadway, Israeli, and more. He currently holds the position of Chief Cantor at Congregation Anshe Sholom in New Rochelle, NY.
Cantor Benzion Miller, a descendant of generations of cantors, began singing at age five, and was the head soloist in the Bobover Yeshiva Choir. He was trained in chazzanut by his father, popular cantor Reb Aaron Miller, ob”m. He also studied with Cantors Samuel B. Taube, Avshalom Zfira, Allan Bowers, and Dr. Donald N. Roberts, as well as at the Champagne School of Music. At the age of eighteen, Cantor Miller became the cantor of the Hillside Jewish Center in Hillside, NJ. Since then, he served congregations in the Bronx, Montreal, and Toronto. His current post is at the prestigious Young Israel Bet-El of Boro Park, where he officiates as a full-time shaliach tzibur. Acclaimed as one of the foremost interpreters of liturgical music, Cantor Miller is equally at home in operatic repertoire, Yiddish, and Chassidic folk music. He has appeared in prestigious concert halls throughout the world, and sung with various famous orchestras. He was featured in a special program for PBS Television entitled “Cantors, A Faith in Song.” Cantor Miller’s many recordings of liturgical, Yiddish, and Chassidic music are available in music shops all over the world.
Cantor Yaakov Motzen, born in Tel Aviv, is a fifth-generation cantor who began his career at age six as a soloist with the choir of Cantor Shlomo Ravitz. Cantor Motzen attended the Kol Torah, Be´er Yakov, and Ponevitz Yeshivot, and studied music and vocal technique with Yosef Goland. He also studied chazzanut with Cantor Yitschak Eshel. While serving in the Israeli army, he devotedly performed before wounded soldiers after the Yom Kippur War. He became vice president of the Nachala Organization, which is dedicated to entertaining wounded soldiers. Cantor Motzen held major positions in Givatayim, Haifa, and Ramat Gan, and has performed numerous times on Kol Yisrael Radio and television. He came to Montreal in 1978 and held the position of cantor first in the Shomrim Laboker-Bet Yehudah-Shaarei Tefillah, then in the Adath Israel Congregation. After 18 years in Montreal, Cantor Motzen became cantor of the largest Orthodox shul in Toronto, the Shaarei Shomayim Congregation. Today he serves as the chief cantor at “The Shul” in Bal Harbour, Florida.
COLIN SCHACHAT was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he received his schooling and University education. In Johannesburg he studied with world-renowned operatic coach, Sarie Lamprecht, and subsequently graduated from the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute.
Over the years, Colin has studied with various internationally-renowned vocal instructors and repertoire coaches, both stylistic and linguistic, in New York, London and Tel Aviv.
From a young age, he participated in major professional musical productions and in 1984 he was invited to participate in the World Chassidic Song Festival held in Israel. In South Africa he was a featured soloist in concerts encompassing Cantorial, Yiddish, Chassidic, Israeli and Operatic music. Colin has an extensive classical repertoire and has performed in innumerable concerts around the world with piano and orchestral accompaniment.
So, you're plotzing to know what I'm all about?
Wanna glimpse inside,
just to check me out?
Wanna shmooze the details,
and get the scoop?
Wanna spread Lipa gossip
throughout your group?
Wanna sneak a peek, spy, pry, and snoop,
To consider yourself 'in the Lipa loop'?
I'll give you a heads-up - here's the Lipa spin:
If you're outta the action, and wanna get in,
Just listen to my 8 great CD releases;
With each one, you'll notice, the thrill just increases.
Some songs are blockbusters, smash hits and showstoppers,
Some lyrics are bestsellers, epic chart-toppers;
Born March 17, 1978 -
But some say I still haven't 'grown up,' to date.
As number eleven out of a full dozen,
Mein getreye mishpucha vel ich keinmal farluzzen.
My song styles tend to 'drey yeddem ah kup' -
My critics turn thumbs down, my fans say 'thumbs up!'
Worldwide, I'm best known for unique compositions;
With tracks that are mind-blowing music renditions.
For all my successes, 'ich dank nar dem Boreh,'
And for all my messes. 'ich dank de kol koreh!'
Cantor Moshe Schulhof, an icon of the cantorial world and superstar of the concert stage, was born in New York City and began his singing career there as a child prodigy at the early age of six, when he performed a cantorial piece before an audience of 2,000 in New York. Foreseeing a great cantorial career in his future, at the age of eighteen the famed Cantor David Kusevitsky took him under his personal tutelage. Growing up, Moshe learned to sing in seven different languages and eventually decided to follow in the spiritual path of his father who was a rabbi and his grandfather, who was a cantor in Austria.
Schulhof studied cantorial singing and opera in New York and Montreal conservatories. At the early age of 18, he was appointed to his first pulpit in New York. Until October 2005 he served for nine years as the cantor of the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center Beth Jacob in North Miami Beach, considered by many as the premier cantorial pulpit in the United States today.
During his career, Schulhof has performed in concerts with the Israeli Philharmonic, the Jerusalem Symphony and other great Orchestras throughout the world and has released many very popular albums throughout the years. He has appeared in concerts with other renowned cantors including his teacher David Kusevitsky, Shmuel Vigoda, Shalom Katz, David Bagley and Moshe Stern as well as with many of his contemporaries such as Benzion Miller, Yaakov Motzen, Yitzchak Meir Helfgot and others.
In 1988, he was called upon by the American Society for the Advancement of Cantorial Art to be one of the representatives of the American Cantorate in a series of spectacular and historic concerts in the then Soviet Union, Romania and Poland. Moshe Schulhof is a prolific composer and also a recognized authority on "Nusach Hatfilah" as well as a gifted teacher of "Hazzanut", having many students who are in themselves professional cantors and has been on the faculty of the Academy of Jewish Religion in New York as an adjunct professor.
Cantor Aaron Shifman, son of Cantor Baruch Shifman, received his cantorial training under the tutelage of his father and his uncle, Cantor Yehuda Shifman. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Cantor Shifman was a soloist in his father’s choir from age ten through his early teens. He graduated high school from Talmudical Academy in New Jersey and attended Touro College in New York. He also studied voice training with Danny Gildar and Leslie Varnick. At 18, Cantor Shifman led High Holiday services at Beth Kodesh Synagogue of South Miami, Florida. He was Assistant Cantor and choir soloist at Temple Emanu-el of Greater Miami, and then became Cantor of Temple Beth Moshe of North Miami, where he managed the B’nai Mitzvah program and conducted the adult and children choirs. Cantor Shifman was appointed Cantor of Congregation Beth Shalom of Coconut Creek, Florida, in 1996 before joining B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Cleveland, Ohio, in November 1998. He has produced eleven family and solo CDs.
Cantor Shlomo Simcha, one of the Jewish world’s most talented performers, was born into a home steeped in music; his father was a chazzan and there were hours of zemirot around their Shabbat table. Since the release of his first hit album, “That Special Melody,” in 1993, his voice has been heard continuously on stages throughout the world, as well as on cassette, CD, MP3 players, and radios everywhere. Shlomo Simcha has served as chazzan at the Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation in Montreal, Canada, and the Shaarei Shomayim Congregation in Toronto, Canada, as well as serving as visiting cantor at many synagogues worldwide. He is currently cantor at Toras Emes Congregation in Toronto. Shlomo Simcha has appeared on numerous collaborative albums together with some of the top performers in Jewish music today. He developed the smash hit album “Aish” together with the world-renowned composer and star Abie Rottenberg, and “Made in Canada” together with Cantor Motzen and others. He also produced and sang on two special synagogue albums: “A Guide to the High Holidays” and “A Guide to the Pesach Seder.”
Cantor Yaakov Y. Stark has been described as possessing “a voice of great beauty, clear and true…breathtaking, radiant, as though from another world.” A child prodigy, at the mere age of seven Yaakov Yoseph Stark was already thrilling congregations with his heartrending solos on the High Holidays. His talent and ability were nurtured by the distinguished cantors in his family, and through continuously listening to the master cantors of the golden age: Rosenblatt, Hershman, Kwartin, Pinchik, Glantz and Koussevitzky. Cantor Stark is presently the chazzan at Congregation Orach Chaim in Manhattan. Huge crowds of people regularly attend to savor the stirring songs and timeless tefillos eloquently enhanced and warmly delivered by their beloved cantor. Cantor Stark was privileged to perform at numerous sold-out concerts with the most prestigious philharmonic orchestras and finest choirs throughout the world. His lyric tenor voice has put him in constant demand as a guest cantor in synagogues worldwide. Cantor Stark resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with his wife and children.
Rabbi Elie Abadie comes from a long and distinguished rabbinical lineage dating back to fifteenth century Spain and Provence. Following the expulsion of Jews from Spain and later Provence his family migrated throughout the ages through Italy, the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon. Rabbi Abadie was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and grew up in Mexico City, coming to the United States to attend Yeshiva University.
He earned his B.A. in Health Sciences in 1983, B.S.C. in 1984 in Bible Studies, Hebrew Teacher's diploma in 1985, and a Master's degree in Jewish Philosophy 1n 1986 from Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University. Rabbi Abadie received his ordination in 1986 from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He attended SUNY Downstate Medical Center, where he graduated in 1990 with an M.D. degree.
He did his residency in Internal Medicine, and later his fellowship in Gastroenterology at Maimonides Medical Center finishing in 1995. Rabbi Abadie is the founding Rabbi and Spiritual Leader of the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue in New York City, the Head of School of the Sephardic Academy of Manhattan and the Spiritual Leader of the Moise Safra Community Center in Manhattan. He is also the Director of the Jacob E. Safra Institute of Sephardic Studies, at Yeshiva University and is a scholar and college teacher of Sephardic Judaism, history, philosophy, and comparative traditional law. He is an Officer of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA). As Co-President of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC), he was instrumental in passing a Congressional resolution on behalf of Jews from Arab Countries to be recognized by the U.S government in their dealing with the issue of Middle Eastern Refugees.
He has lectured on Jewish themes, philosophy, law, and medical ethics. As a member of the board of the American Sephardi Federation and the World Sephardic Educational Center, he lectures on Sephardic Judaism, history, and comparative traditional law. He has appeared and was interviewed on many English, Television and Radio Programs several times, Spanish Radio and Television programs and Israeli Media. He was featured in the Jewish Voice Weekly, Image Magazine, the Jewish Week, Hamevasser, Israel Hayom, Hamodia Magazine and many others.
He is married to Elise Eichler and they presently live in New York City. Rabbi Abadie follows in the footsteps of the greatest Jewish scholar and philosopher Moses Maimonides, as he is both a rabbi and a physician. Rabbi Abadie maintains a practice in internal medicine and gastroenterology. He received the Orden Del Merito Civil, the highest civil decoration by His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain.
Rabbi Hershel Billet is a YU Musmach with an MA in Jewish History. He is Past President of the RCA , Chairman of their Israel Commission, and on the OU Executive Board. He has been Rabbi of the Young Israel of Woodmere for the past 28 years
Mrs. Renee (Rookie) Billet has a Masters from the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She lectures on topics related to Jewish women, family, education and community. She has served in both formal and informal Jewish educational settings since her college years. Currently, she is the principal of Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls in Teaneck, NJ, having previously served as assistant principal at both the Stella K. Abraham (HALB) High School and Yeshiva University High School for Girls.
Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen is the Rabbi of the Aitz Chaim Congregation in West Palm Beach, Florida.
A prolific writer who has published over one thousand articles in the Anglo-Jewish media, he contributes a popular weekly article, entitled “Halachic Questions”, to the Jewish Press newspaper. In addition, he has published seven volumes on halacha, including his most recent, “Shabbat The Right Way – Resolving Halachic Dilemmas” (Urim Publications). Other volumes include "How Does Jewish Law Work (vol. 1 and 2)", "Timely Jewish Questions: Timeless Rabbinic Answers", "Intermarriage and Conversion", "The Jewish Heart", and "The 613th Commandment." He has also contributed to the RCA's publications, Tradition and Hadarom. Rabbi Cohen is a noted orator and has served in prominent rabbinic and leadership positions.
He was the first Rabbi of Congregation AABJ and D in West Orange, New Jersey. Subsequently, he was the founding Executive Director of the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty. He then served for eighteen years as the Spiritual Leader of Congregation Shaarei Tefila in Los Angeles, California. There, he was elected as a Vice President of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, the first Orthodox Rabbi so honored.
After serving as the scholar in residence to the Mizrachi Kehilla in Melbourne, Australia, he was offered the position as Mara D’Atra and served in that capacity for over seven years. Melbourne Koshrut, the national kashrut certifying agency of Australia, was a subsidiary of the Mizrachi Kehilla under his supervision. Proud of his lineage, Rabbi Cohen is a descendant of eighteen consecutive father-to-son generations of communal rabbis. His father, Rabbi Meir Cohen, was the Executive Director of the Agudat HaRabonim for over twenty years. His paternal grandfather was the noted author of widely consulted halachic Sefarim, including Minchat Shabbat and Ma’adanai Shmuel (on Hilchot Pesach.)
Over the years, he has received many honors, include the Jerusalem Prize for rabbinic leadership; he was the first to receive the rabbinic award of the West Coast Region of the Orthodox Union. He studied at Yeshivat Rabbi Chaim Berlin and Kollel Gur Aryeh and was ordained by HaGoan HaRav Yitzchok Hutner. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and has several secular degrees. Rabbi Cohen and his rebbitzen Shoshana have been blessed with four children as well as with several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Rabbi Shmuel Goldin has served as spiritual leader of Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood, New Jersey, since 1984. With a membership of approximately 700 families, Ahavath Torah is the Orthodox synagogue in Northern New Jersey.
Recently elected President of the Rabbinical Council of America, Rabbi Goldin's impact on the broader Jewish community is reflected his selection as one of the "Forward 50", the Forward Magazine's list of Jewish communal leaders who have made a difference this past year.
He is an instructor of Bible, Talmud and Philosophy at the Isaac Breuer College and the Mechina Program of Yeshiva University; the founding director of and lecturer at The Eve Flechner Torah Institute-an institute of Torah study located in the Bergen County community; and has served on the faculty of numerous other institutes. Rabbi Goldin is past President of Rabbinic Alumni of Yeshiva University, past President of the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County and former Chairman of its Kashruth Committee. He is a member of various other prominent Jewish organizations.
Rabbi Goldin has received numerous awards including, Bnei Akiva- Rabbinic Leadership Award (1997); ECHO; Yeshiva University-Rabbinic Alumni Award (1991); Sinai Learning Disabilities Program of Bergen County (1987); Orthodox Union-Rabbinic Leadership Award (1986); NCSY; Yachad; Hebrew Free Burial Society; Shvut Ami, Shaare Zedek Hospital, Yeshivat Shaalvim and many others. He was selected as "1994 Newsmaker of the Year" by The Jewish Standard, a weekly publication of Bergen and Hudson Counties in New Jersey, has appeared on their newsmaker list almost every year since. He also appeared a number of years ago on the Jewish Week's list of notable young Jewish leaders.
An articulate spokesman for Orthodoxy, Rabbi Goldin has developed an innovative educational approach to Torah study, Jewish law and Jewish identity which is enthusiastically received by traditional and non-traditional Jews alike. In April 2000, Rabbi Goldin delivered a ground-breaking lecture at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America concerning interdenominational relations titled "Why Can't We All Just Get Along: An Orthodox Rabbi's View on Pluralism". He has lectured extensively throughout the world in a wide variety of synagogue and communal settings. He regularly leads congregational missions to Israel, particularly during critical times. Under his guidance, Congregation Ahavath Torah was the first American synagogue to visit Israel during the Iraqi scud attacks. In August 2002 Rabbi Goldin created the first international "Rally in Israel" which brought a group of over 250 people to Israel to march for solidarity with Israeli citizens. Rally in Israel II took place in November 2002 and brought three times the number of participants.
Rabbi Goldin is the author of three popular and extremely well-received volumes on the Torah: "Unlocking the Torah Text: Bereishit", "Shmot" and "Vayikra", Gefen Publishing Company and OU Publishers and is currently working on his volume on Bamidbar.
Rabbi Goldin has authored several articles on the peace process, Israel-Diaspora relations, interdenominational dialogue, the singles problem, and other current issues which have appeared in prominent publications in America and abroad.
Rabbi Goldin and his wife, Barbara(nee Leifer), are the proud parents of Avi, and his wife Rena, Yossi, and his wife Shifra, Yehuda, and his wife Noa, Donny, and his wife Tamara, and Rivka; and grandparents of Isaac, Ben, Jacob, Julia, Temima, Chaim, Rachel and Mordechai.
Professor Alan M. Dershowitz is a Brooklyn native who has been called “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights,” “the best-known criminal lawyer in the world,” “the top lawyer of last resort,” “America’s most public Jewish defender” and “Israel’s single most visible defender – the Jewish state’s lead attorney in the court of public opinion.” He is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Dershowitz, a graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School, joined the Harvard Law School faculty at age 25 after clerking for Judge David Bazelon and Justice Arthur Goldberg.
He has also published more than 100 articles in magazines and journals such as The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post. The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The Nation, Commentary, Saturday Review, The Harvard Law Review and the Yale Law Journal, and more than 300 of his articles have appeared in syndication in 50 national daily newspapers. Professor Dershowitz is the author of 27 fiction and non-fiction works with a worldwide audience. His most recent titles include “an exceptional, action packed book,” The Trials of Zion, a novel which has been called “a thought-provoking page turner,” Rights From Wrong, The Case For Israel, The Case For Peace, Blasphemy: How the Religious Right is Hijacking the Declaration of Independence and Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways, Finding Jefferson – A Lost Letter, A Remarkable Discovery, Shouting Fire and The First Amendment In An Age of Terrorism.
In addition to his numerous law review articles and books about criminal and constitutional law, he has written, taught and lectured about history, philosophy, psychology, literature, mathematics, theology, music, sports – and even delicatessens.
In 1983, the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith presented him with the William O. Douglas First Amendment Award for his "compassionate eloquent leadership and persistent advocacy in the struggle for civil and human rights." In presenting the award, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel said: "If there had been a few people like Alan Dershowitz during the 1930s and 1940s, the history of European Jewry might have been different." Professor Dershowitz has been awarded the honorary doctor of laws degree by Yeshiva University, the Hebrew Union College, Brooklyn College, Syracuse University, Tel Aviv University, New York City College and Haifa University.
Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb is the former rabbi of Congregation Shomrei Emunah, a prominent synagogue in Baltimore, MD. In August, 2010 Rabbi Gottlieb and his family made aliyah to Israel, where they currently live in Ramat Shilo, a suburb of Beit Shemesh.
Since making aliyah Rabbi Gottlieb has taught at a number of yeshivot and seminaries and he is currently on the faculty of Yeshivat Ashreinu. He has also been commissioned by OU Press to write a book about the laws of Yom Tov.
Additionally, Rabbi Gottlieb is the leader of www.GaneiHaela.com, a new community being built in the suburbs of Ramat Beit Shemesh.
A highly regarded speaker and teacher, Rabbi Gottlieb has served as a Scholar in Residence for numerous communities in the United States and Israel, as well as on previous Kosherica cruises, and was one of the featured speakers at the Siyum Hashas in the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, and
Rabbi Gottlieb received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University (RIETS), where he was also a member of their prestigious Wexner Kollel Elyon. In addition to publishing numerous scholarly articles and co-editing two rabbinic journals, Rabbi Gottlieb is the author of Ateret Yaakov, a book of in-depth essays about a wide range of halachic topics.
Rabbi Gottlieb's classes are filled with energy and excitement and over 400 of Rabbi Gottlieb's lectures and articles are available online at www.yutorah.org.
Rabbi Rafael Grossman is a former special consultant for the Anti Defamation League and has written widely about antisemitism in America and the world. He spent most of his rabbinic career in the South, where he developed close relationships with the national leaders of fundamentalist Christianity. As a leading expert in interreligious affairs, he speaks widely on Christian and European antisemitism.
Rabbi Grossman has long friendships with political leaders in both houses of Congress. The State of Israel regularly consults with him on interfaith relations, and has designated him for projects in international diplomacy. A speaker who uses quick wit and anecdotes, he has a reputation for enlightening and inspiring his audiences. He is a scholar respected by Jews of all denominations, and until recently, was chairman of the National Rabbinic Cabinet of Israel Bonds, a transdemoninational body of Conservative, Orthodox, and Reform rabbis.
Rabbi Grossman devoted most of his graduate studies at Dropsie University to the Near East, specifically, Islamic Literature, both historical and contemporary. He has traveled widely in Islamic countries and speaks on Islam's relationship to the Western world.
A past president of the Beth Din of America and the Rabbinical Council of America, Rabbi Grossman is Chairman of the Rabbinical Council International and a member of the Board of the Development Corporation for Israel. He is currently Rabbi of the West Side Institutional Synagogue in Manhattan and the Senior Rabbi Emeritus of Baron Hirsch Congregation in Memphis, the largest Modern Orthodox congregation in America. He is the author of Binah: The Modern Quest for Torah Understanding. His weekly column "Thinking Aloud," which appears in a number of newspapers and on several web sites, is one of the most widely read Jewish columns in the world.
Rabbi Dr. Basil Herring
is the chief executive of the Rabbinical Council of America, the largest association of Orthodox Rabbis in the world. He has served in that position since July 2003. Given his position, he plays a leadership role on a day to day in dealing with many of the major religious, cultural, communal, and political issues and challenges currently facing the Jewish community, both internally and in relationship to the world at large. He is also instrumental in providing professional, educational, and support services for the 1000 members of the RCA.
Prior to leading the RCA, Rabbi Herring served from 1994 till 2003 as Executive Chairman of The Orthodox Caucus, a dynamic national group of leading rabbinic and lay leaders. In this capacity, Rabbi Herring was responsible for implementing a broad array of national as well as regional and local projects and initiatives on critical issues confronting the Orthodox and Jewish communities.
Over the course of a distinguished 30 year career in the congregational rabbinate, Rabbi Herring led congregations in Kingston NY, Ottawa Ontario, and Atlantic Beach NY.
Rabbi Herring has authored six books as well as articles on a variety of topics. These include studies in Jewish philosophy and Biblical commentary, several widely used and quoted volumes dealing with Jewish Ethics in response to contemporary social and personal issues, a manual for rabbis and synagogues on practical aspects of the modern rabbinate, a volume of sermons, and another on Halachic prenuptial agreements. He has also edited and published a monthly subscription newsletter for rabbis.
Born in South Africa, Rabbi Herring studied there, as well as at Yeshivat Kerem Beyavneh in Israel, before coming to the U.S., where he received both his Semichah and Ph.d (in Medieval Jewish Philosophy) from Yeshiva University and its affiliated RIETS seminary. Rabbi Herring lectures widely on the interface between Torah, Orthodoxy, the Jewish community, and modern society.
He and his wife Sherri, currently living in Woodsburgh NY on the South Shore of Long Island in the New York area, are the proud parents of 4 children, and eight grandchildren.
In 1977, Rabbi Hier came to Los Angeles to create the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named in honor of famed Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal. Under his leadership, the Center has become one of the foremost Jewish human rights agencies in the world, with a constituency of more than 400,000 families, and offices throughout the United States, in Canada, Europe, Israel and Argentina. In 1993, an article in the Los Angeles Times noted that Rabbi Hier had made the Wiesenthal Center, "the most visible Jewish organization in the world" and, in 2007, an article in Newsweek named him the "number one most influential rabbi in America."
The Center's educational arm, The Museum of Tolerance, opened in February 1993 to worldwide acclaim. Founded to challenge visitors to confront bigotry and racism and to understand the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts, the Museum hosts over a half million visitors a year, including 110,000 students. Because of the success of its diversity training programs, the New York Tolerance Center opened in Manhattan in February 2004. The Wiesenthal Center is also in the process of creating the Center for Human Dignity-Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem, a 400,000 square foot site located in the heart of the city, designed by renowned architect Frank O. Gehry.
Rabbi Hier is the founder of Moriah, the Center's documentary film division, and has been the recipient of two Academy Awards™.
Noted for his powerful oratory, his views on issues of the day are regularly sought by the international media and his editorials have appeared in newspapers across the United States. Rabbi Hier meets regularly with world leaders to discuss the Center's agenda - a wide range of issues including worldwide antisemitism and hate, the resurgence of neo-Nazism and international terrorism, standing with Israel, defending the safety of Jews worldwide, and teaching the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations.
In 1992 and again in 2003, Rabbi Hier keynoted historic conferences on antisemitism and the struggle for tolerance which were co-sponsored by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the Wiesenthal Center, both convened at UNESCO's international headquarters in Paris. In 2005, Rabbi Hier led a delegation to the Vatican to participate in a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI to urge him to lead a "Coalition of Good" to combat Iranian threats, suicide bombers and international terrorism. "The greatest threat to mankind comes not from secularists and atheists, but from religious fanatics and zealots," he said. In 2003, he met with Pope John Paul II. At the private audience, he spoke about the worldwide threat of antisemitism and terrorism and the Center's campaign to make suicide bombing a crime against humanity. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, his dialogue with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl led to a critical debate on German reunification and the need for "deutsche memory."
As founder of Moriah Films, Rabbi Hier has been the recipient of two Academy Awards - in 1997 as co-producer of The Long Way Home and in 1981, as co-producer and co-writer for Genocide. He has also written and co-produced the award-winning Echoes That Remain, Liberation, In Search of Peace, Unlikely Heroes, Beautiful Music, and Ever Again. Moriah ‘s latest production, I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal, is a riveting documentary on Mr. Wiesenthal, narrated by Academy Award™-winning actress Nicole Kidman. The film premiered in Jerusalem, was an official selection at the Berlin Film Festival, and screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, the LA Film Festival, the Seattle Film Festival, and at the Viennale (Vienna Film Festival). I Have Never Forgotten You was the recipient of the 2007 Cinevegas Film Festival Audience Award for Documentary Feature.
Under his direction, the Center has served as consultant to Steven Spielberg's epic Schindler's List and ABC Television's miniseries adaptation of Herman Wouk's novel, War and Remembrance, among others. Rabbi Hier is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
He is the recipient of an honorary degree and many awards - among them, a Doctorate from Yeshiva University (2004) and France's Chevalier dans l'Ordre National du Merite (1993).
Rabbi Maurice Lamm
is the author of five major books (include The Power of Hope and a CD-ROM entitled Love and Marriage. He is most popularly known for his The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning, first issued in 1969 and considered one of the best Jewish books of the year by The New York Time. Rabbi Lamm has also authored The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage, Becoming a Jew, and Living Torah in America. ), President of the National Institute for Jewish Hospice, and Professor at RIETS at Yeshiva University's Rabbinical Seminary in New York, where he holds the Chair in Professional Rabbinics. He was the Rabbi of one of the largest Orthodox synagogues in the United States, Beth Jacob of Beverly Hills.
Maurice Lamm was awarded an honorary doctorate by Yeshiva University, from which he holds a B. A., M. A., and rabbinic ordination. He has served on the faculty of Stern College for Women, was field director of Military Chaplains, and traveled for the U. S. Department of Defense with the civilian equivalent of Major General. His chaplaincy duties took him around the world. One of his most important contributions has been the creation of the National Institute for Jewish Hospice.
Rabbi Sholom Dovber Lipskar
Since receiving ordination from the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva in Brooklyn in 1968, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Lipskar has worked as an emissary for the Lubavitcher Rebbe. In 1969 he founded the Landow yeshiva Center in Miami Beach, Florida. He has served as its principal and dean of its elementary, academy, and high school studies. Directly responsible for the training of its rabbinical students. He has formulated a school-wide curriculum and manages a multi-million dollar budget.
In 1981 he founded The Shul of Bal Harbour in Surfside, Florida. As its head Rabbi he is both the spiritual leader and educational programmer for all ages. Also in 1981 Rabbi Lipskar founded the Aleph Insititute and the Educational Academy for the Elderly, both based in Surfside. The Aleph Institute is a non-profit national humanitarian organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for both prisoners and military personnel and their families. Rabbi Lipskar has created alternative punishment philosophies and developed unique educational opportunities for the general public in the field of treatment of closed populations.
As director of the Educational Academy for the Elderly, Rabbi Lipskar develops pilot programs and restructures the educational priorities of elderly citizens, trying to positively alter their self-image.
Rabbi Lipskar is recognized as an international leader bringing Torah values to people from all walks of life.
A distinguished communal Rabbi for over 35 years, Rabbi Riskin continues to change the face of modern Orthodox Jewry in Israel and the Diaspora. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Rabbi Riskin graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude from Yeshiva University in 1960, where he majored in Greek, Latin and English literatures. He received his Smicha (rabbinical ordination) from the eminent Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. Rabbi Riskin holds a Master's Degree in Jewish History and was awarded his PhD from New York University's department of Near Eastern Languages and Literature.
As a young rabbinical graduate, Rabbi Riskin became the founding rabbi of the Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan, internationally renowned for its outreach to the entire Jewish community, as well as for its educational and social action programs. He became a major spokesperson for Modern Orthodoxy by pioneering the first women's Advanced Talmud Study program (Kollelet) and the first synagogue service conducted for women by women in the early 70's.
In 1983, Rabbi Riskin left his thriving career in Manhattan and pioneered the city of Efrat in Israel's West Bank. Beginning as a small settlement, Efrat now numbers over 11,000 people with 28 synagogues, and is a thriving community in the Gush Etzion bloc.
With hard work, determination, vision and love of the Jewish people and the land of Israel Rabbi Riskin founded the Ohr Torah High Schools for young men and women. Over the past two decades it has developed into an important network of high schools, colleges, graduate programs, a yeshiva, programs in Russia and Great Britain, a rabbinical seminary, a women's college of advanced Torah studies and a school for women advocates. Not content with merely educating students, each year scores of rabbis and teachers are sent to North and South America, England, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Ohr Torah Stone Colleges and Graduate Programs educate over 3,000 students each year from Israel, the U.S., England, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
Rabbi Riskin speaks in communities all over world. His innovative and creative ideology of an authentic Halachic Judaism that is inclusive of every Jew and is exquisitely sensitive to universal human concerns has made him an outstanding figure in the modern Orthodox world. He is the author of five books, "Torah Lights, Exodus Defines the Birth of a Nation", "Women and Jewish Divorce" , "The New Passover Haggadah", AAround The Family Table@, and ATorah Lights, Genesis Confronts Life, Love and Family", scores of articles and monographs on Judaism and contemporary issues, as well as a weekly column which is syndicated worldwide. Given Rabbi Riskin's illustrious career as rabbi and educator, city and institution builder, Rosh Yeshiva and public speaker, author and activist, he has been chronicled in major newspapers, magazines, and on TV and radio. He was described in a New York Times magazine feature article as, "teacher who cares... a charismatic speaker and widely respected Talmudic scholar: Rabbi Riskin sees as his major mission the preparation of a new generation of religious leaders, rooted in Judaism and secular learning, for Israel and the entire Jewish world."
Rabbi Riskin has been married to Victoria since 1963; they have four married children and thirteen grandchildren all living in Efrat.
Stephen J. Savitsky of Hewlett, Long Island, NY, was installed as the Orthodox Union’s President at its Biennial National Convention in Jerusalem in November, 2004. Mr. Savitsky had been Chairman of the Board since the previous OU Convention in December, 2002. He began his second term at the Convention in Jerusalem in 2006 and began his third and constitutionally-mandated final term in November 2008 at the Convention held once again in Jerusalem.
As President, Mr. Savitsky travels widely both in North America, Israel and to Jewish communities in other countries, such as Argentina, bringing the OU message with him.
Actively involved with the OU for over 20 years, in addition to being President and Chairman of the Board, Mr. Savitsky has served as Dinner Chairman, Chairman of several missions to Israel, and Chairman of the Community and Synagogue Services Commission. He also headed the Human Resources Commission and has been a member of the OU Executive team for over a decade.
Mr. Savitsky has held many additional leadership positions in the Jewish community, including President of the Vaad Hakashrus of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway; founder and President of the Kew Gardens Hills Eruv; President of Congregation Ansche Chesed in Hewlett, Long Island, NY; and Chairman of the Board of Mesivta Ohr Torah, in Forest Hills, NY. He is a member of the International Board of Governors of the Mesorah Heritage Foundation. Mr. Savitsky has also represented the OU as a Scholar-in-residence at numerous synagogues across the United States.
Stephen J. Savitsky is the President and Chairman of the Board of ATC Health Care Services, a nationwide provider of temporary medical staffing. He also founded and served as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Tender Loving Care – Staff Builders, one of the nation’s largest providers of home health care services. Mr. Savitsky graduated from Yeshiva University with a degree in Economics and received an MBA from The Bernard Baruch Graduate School of Business of the City University of New York, with a specialization in finance and marketing.
Mr. Savitsky is married to Genie (nee Tennenbaum) Savitsky. They have four children: Julie (married to Shabsi Schreier), Avi (married to Cheryl Stein), Penina (married to Zvi Weiner), and Estie (married to Yehuda Berman). Both Penina and Estie are graduates of Stern College. The Savitsky’s have 13 grandchildren who – much to the Savitsky’s delight – live within walking distance of their grandparents.
Rabbi Marc Schneier
is a leading personality and spokesperson for the Jewish community. The Forward, in its annual survey of Jewish leaders, named Rabbi Schneier one of the 50 most prominent Jews in the United States, and Newsweek Magazine named him one of America's top 50 rabbis. As President and Founder of The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) and as one of the leading voices in the field of intergroup and race relations, reconciliation and understanding, Rabbi Schneier is at the forefront of strengthening ties among the Jewish, African-American, Latino and Asian-American ethnic communities, as well as promoting dialogue and cooperation among the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faith communities. He has been honored by the United States Congress and the State of Israel as an advocate for human and civil rights and religious and ethnic tolerance. At the National Convention of the Democratic Party in Denver, Rabbi Schneier was among the religious leaders who led delegates in prayer at an interfaith gathering to kick off the convention; it was the first such forum at a Democratic convention. In 2008, Rabbi Schneier represented the American Jewish community in New Orleans at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) 50th annual convention, in New York at the national dinner of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), in Memphis at the 40th anniversary commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and in Madrid at the World Conference on Dialogue convened by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and hosted by King Juan Carlos of Spain.
In January 2000, Rabbi Schneier’s book SHARED DREAMS was published which documents Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s relationship with the Jewish Community. Along with FFEU's companion student guide program, the book tells the tale of Black and Jewish cooperation in the civil rights era to more than 12,000 students in more than 500 high schools, Hillel houses and historically Black colleges across America.
Rabbi Schneier also serves as Chairman of the World Jewish Congress United States, as well as its Commission on Intergroup Relations. He is the past President of the North American Board of Rabbis, a federation of presidents and past presidents of rabbinical boards from more than 50 major cities across the United States and Canada, and is past president of the New York Board of Rabbis, the world’s largest interdenominational rabbinic body representing the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist movements. Rabbi Schneier is founding rabbi of The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach and The New York Synagogue in Manhattan. He serves on myriad boards and executive committees, including the Drum Major Institute, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations and The Jewish National Fund.
Rabbi Schneier has published and lectured extensively on the subject of intergroup relations and is a frequent guest on television and radio, appearing on such television programs as: The Today Show (NBC), Good Morning America (ABC), Good Day New York (FOX), CBS Sunday Edition, CBS Morning Show, CNN, Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, Religion & Ethics Weekly (PBS), on evening news programs WABC, WNBC, WCBS, FOX, WWOR, WPIX and radio programs on WABC, WBLS, WKTU, WCBS and NPR. He also played a rabbi in the Miramax motion picture, The Substance of Fire.
Rabbi Schneier is the recipient of many awards, including The Kelly Miller Smith Ecumenical Award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, The NAACP Martin Luther King, Jr. "Measure Of A Man Award", The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, The Civil Rights Leadership Award in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The New York State Martin Luther King, Jr. Medal, the American Civil Rights Education Services Civil Rights Award, and the Interfaith Award from the Islamic Center of Long Island.
Rabbi Schneier is a graduate of Yeshiva University and resides in New York City and Westhampton Beach. He is married to Tobi Rubinstein Schneier and is the proud father of Brendan.
Rabbi Levi Shemtov
RABBI LEVI SHEMTOV is the Executive Vice President of American Friends of Lubavitch in Washington, DC, and is widely regarded as one of the most dynamic young Jewish leaders today. In this capacity, he serves the community of Washington, DC, as well as the daily governmental and diplomatic needs of the international Chabad-Lubavitch movement, the largest and fastest growing Jewish network of educational and social service institutions in the world, with over 3,500 centers in 47 states and over 80 countries.
Shemtov chairs the organizing committee of Living Legacy, the international Chabad-Lubavitch Conference which facilitates serious high-level interaction between rabbis and communal leadership from across the globe and prominent US and international figures in the arenas of government, diplomacy, academia and the arts.
Shemtov also serves as the founder and spiritual leader of TheSHUL of the Nation’s Capital – Lubavitch Center, which has become a beacon of Jewish outreach in the District of Columbia. Programs organized through American Friends of Lubavitch and The SHUL-Lubavitch Center range from small, informal Torah study sessions to large celebrations of Shabbat and Jewish festivals, including huge events such as the annual lighting ceremony of the National Chanukah Menorah on The Ellipse (across from the White House) which draws thousands annually, and is seen by millions more via various media and the internet.
In addition, he founded and directs the Capitol Jewish Forum, which is the largest Jewish group on Capitol Hill, designed to "create and enhance a sense of identity and community among Jewish Congressional staffers and members of Congress."
He resides in Washington, DC with his wife, Nechama (Feldman), and their seven children.
Rabbi Eliezer Shusterman
Rabbi Eliezer Shusterman is the Associate Rabbi at Shaare Torah Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania since 1994. He is a dynamic speaker who engages men and women of all ages and backgrounds. Speaking topics have included Tefilla Today, Jewish Mysticism, and Judaism for Beginners.
Rabbi Shusterman received his Smicha from the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva. He has traveled the world and lectured in Australia, South Africa, Asia, and Europe.
He is a beloved teacher at the Yeshiva Boys High School where he has taught hundreds of students through the years. His wife Chana teaches at the Yeshiva Girls High School in Pittsburgh, PA. They were sent to Pittsburgh in 1993 by Lubavitcher Rebbe to assist in Jewish outreach activities and classes.
Rabbi Shusterman gives classes in a wide variety of Jewish topics such as: Mishna, Jewish Philosophy, Daf Yomi, Parsha, and contemporary Jewish issues.
Rabbi Yehoram Ulman
Rabbi Yehoram Ulman has served as a Rabbi and Spiritual Leader of a large community in Sydney Australia since 1986. He and his wife Shternie had been sent there as emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Rabbi Ulman heads an organization called FREE (Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe) which is responsible in connecting thousands of immigrants from the former Soviet Union to their Jewish roots.
Rabbi Ulman also serves as a Dayan on the Sydney Beis Din and is the immediate Past President of the Rabbinical Council of NSW.
Rabbi Ulman has received simcha for Rabbonus (Yore Yore) as well as Dayonus (Yodin Yodin) from world renowned authorities including Rabbi Pinchos Hirschprung zt”l and yblch’t Rabbi Zalman Nehemia Goldberg shlit’a.
In his capacity as a Dayan, Rabbi Ulman regularly gives unique lectures and talks for Rabbonim, Yeshiva and Kollel students, as well as lay people, on the many diverse shayles and halachic matters that he deals with. These include topics such as geyrus (conversion), gitten (divorces), mamzeirus and possible solutions, halachic requirement in IVF and other fertility issues and many other subjects which are both topical and scholarly.
Rabbi Ulman has been consulted by Australia’s Attorney-General for his views on suggested changes to the Family Law Act and by the Australian Cabinet for halachic outlook on stem cell research.
For Yiddish lovers Rabbi Ulman often delivers talks and Shiurim in fluent Yiddish.
Rabbi Berel Simpser has worked as the Kashrus Field representative for the CRC (Chicago Rabbinical Council), the O.U. (Orthodox Union), the O.R.B. (Florida), and the Star –K, over the last 22 years. He is one of the most experienced Rav Hamachshirim in the areas of kosher cruising and hotel kashrut, having supervised over 15 Kosherica Cruises, over a dozen Pesach programs, as well as the North American Federation's General Assembly. Rabbi Simpser founded the Community Kollel of Des Moines in 1999, and currently leads a Kiruv /Jewish Outreach Program in Minneapolis.
An Executive Coach, Rabbi Simpser recently founded MyExecutiveLife.com. Its mission is to assist anyone in "applying the distinctions of business, while grounded in Torah wisdom, to be the "Executives of your own life".
He has lectured internationally on topics ranging from Mysticism, Relationships, Personal Growth and Leadership.
Rabbi Steven Weil is Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union. Rabbi Steven Weil, the son of German “Viehhaendler”, grew up on a cattle farm in Upstate New York. His love for learning began early, and as a teenager prevailed upon his parents to send him away to Yeshiva. He continued his education at Kerem B’Yavneh and Yeshiva University, concurrently completing his ordination at the Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan Theological Seminary and a Masters in Business Administration from NYU’s Stern School of Business. Rabbi Weil began his career teaching, and then began pulpit work; first at the Young Israel of Oak Park Michigan and then at Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, California. In both positions, Rabbi Weil significantly expanded the synagogue’s membership and programming and was involved in serving the needs of the greater community as well. In 2009 he became the chief executive officer of the Orthodox Union. Rabbi Weil is a popular teacher and lecturer, having delivered invocations for former President Bush, Governor Schwarzenneger as well as Speaker John Boehner and the House of Representatives among others. He has served internationally as scholar in residence on land and on sea, and is a passionate advocate for Israel and for Jewish education. Rabbi Weil resides in New Jersey with his wife and seven children.
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