Rabbi Kenneth BranderThe David Mitzner Dean of Yeshiva University's Center for the Jewish Future
Rabbi Kenneth Brander is the rabbi emeritus of the Boca Raton Synagogue, founding dean of the Boca Raton Community Kollel and founder of the Weinbaum Yeshiva High School of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. During his 14 years of service to the Boca Raton community, he oversaw its explosive growth from 60 families to some 600 families. Under his leadership, the Hahn Judaic Campus was built to include the Boca Raton Community Mikvah, a sanctuary, library, social hall, youth and senior center and yeshiva high school. He is a 1984 alumnus of Yeshiva College and received his ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) [link to RIETS] in 1986. During his tenure at RIETS, he served as the student assistant to the esteemed Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.
In 1999, Rabbi Brander received special ordination from Machon Puah, a center of medical ethics in Israel, and from then-Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu in the field of medical ethics, which included the topics of infertility, gynecology and Halacha [Jewish law]. He is currently a doctoral candidate in general philosophy at Florida Atlantic University.
Rabbi Brander has received numerous awards for his community service, including the South Palm Beach County Federation Award for Rabbinic Leadership, the Hurowitz UJA Federation Award for Rabbinic Leadership and the Key to the City of Boca Raton, for enhancing the quality of life in the community. He was the first recipient of the Yeshiva University Wexner Rabbinic Leadership Award in 1999 and was honored with the State of Israel Medal of Honor, presented by the Mayor of Gush Etzion, for rabbinic leadership in supporting Gush Etzion. Recently, Rabbi Brander was given the Bernard Revel Memorial Award by the Yeshiva College Alumni Association.
Rabbi Brander has authored many articles in various scholarly journals and also co-edited The Yeshiva University Haggadah. He is married to Rachel Tambor Brander. They are blessed with five children.
Suzy SchwartzAssistant Dean
Armed with strategic and management skills from the world of corporate advertising, Suzy Schwartz most recently served as senior vice president, senior account director at BBDO, a worldwide advertising agency network. She is a community activist who holds leadership roles in her synagogue and local schools. An alumnus of Stern College, Schwartz has an MBA in marketing and advertising from Baruch College.
Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. SchacterSenior Scholar
Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter is University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought at YU in addition to serving as Senior Scholar at the CJF. From 2000 to 2005 he served as dean of the Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik Institute in Boston, where he also served as rabbi of the Maimonides Minyan in Brookline, MA. He was the first rabbi of the Young Israel of Sharon, MA, from 1977 to 1981, creating a new, vibrant and committed community. From 1981 to 2000, he served as the rabbi of the Jewish Center in New York City, moving the congregation from 180 to more than 600 members over the course of his tenure.
Rabbi Schacter holds a PhD in Near Eastern languages from Harvard University and received rabbinic ordination from Mesivta Torah Vodaath. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Brooklyn College in 1973 with the Abraham S. Goodhartz Award for Excellence in Judaic Studies. Rabbi Schacter was a teaching fellow at Harvard from 1978 to 1980, director of Yeshiva University's Torah Umadda Project from 1986 to 1997 and an adjunct assistant professor at YU's Stern College for Women from 1993 to 1999. In 1995, he was awarded the prestigious Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellowship from Harvard's Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. He presently serves as a member of the faculty of the Wexner Foundation and the Wexner Heritage Foundation.
Rabbi Schacter is co-author of the award-winning A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community: Mordecai M. Kaplan, Orthodoxy, and American Judaism, (1996), author of The Lord is Righteous in All His Ways: Reflections on the Tish'ah be-Av Kinot by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (2006), and more than 60 articles and reviews in Hebrew and English. He is also the editor of Reverence, Righteousness and Rahamanut: Essays in Memory of Rabbi Dr. Leo Jung (1992), Jewish Tradition and the Nontraditional Jew (1992) and the award-winning Judaism's Encounter with other Cultures: Rejection or Integration? (1997) and co-editor of The Complete Service for the Period of Bereavement (1995). He is the founding editor of The Torah u-Madda Journal, a prestigious academic publication which has gained international acclaim.
Rabbi Schacter holds a number of prominent Jewish communal positions. He served as founding president of the Council of Orthodox Jewish Organizations (COJO) of the Upper West Side from 1994 to 2000, is a member of the Board of Governors of the Orthodox Union and is on the editorial boards of Tradition, Jewish Action, BDD (Bechal Derachecha Da'ehu) and Jewish Educational Leadership. He was awarded several fellowships and grants to further his scholarly research. In November 2007, Rabbi Schacter was the scholar-in-residence at the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities in Nashville, TN.
Rabbi Schacter is presently competing a new Hebrew edition of the autobiography of Rabbi Jacob Emden, an 18th-century Jewish figure.
Director of Service Learning and
Aliza Abrams is the Assistant Director of Service Learning and Experiential Education at the Center for the Jewish Future, where she is responsible for creating and facilitating national and international educational and volunteer programs. Aliza is a graduate from Yeshiva University's Stern College and Wurzweiler School of Social Work. In her work at Yeshiva University, Aliza has helped build the Jewish service learning program which enables hundreds of YU students to spend their summer and winter breaks volunteering around the world. As part of her work, she has led groups of students to Israel, Australia, Ukraine, Germany, Haiti, the United Kingdom and all across the United States. Aliza recruits and trains over 500 students who travel to teach in 80 communities in North America each year for Simchat Torah and Shavuot as part of the Aaron and Blanche Schreiber Torah Tours program.
Yoni CohenDirector of Operation
As the Director of Operations for the CJF, Yoni Cohen oversees the logistical and operational components of the myriad of programs that the CJF runs annually. With a degree in accounting and business administration, Yoni was the Executive Director of Bnos Malka Academy of Queens for eight years and the Executive Director of the Sephardic Congregation of Kew Garden Hills for three years. He, his wife Tzivia, and four children currently reside in Queens, NY.
Rabbi Levi Mostofsky, Director of Continuing Education
Rabbi Levi Mostofsky is the Director of Continuing Education at Yeshiva University's Center for the Jewish Future. Levi graduated from Yeshiva College with a degree in Biology before continuing his studies at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminar. In 2003 he was hired by Yeshiva University, where he worked in the Max Stern Division of Communal Services, and has been on the staff of the Center for the Jewish Future since its inception.
For the last few years, Levi served as Director of Rabbinic Programming, developing a cadre of programs for rabbis under the aegis of the Legacy Heritage Fund Rabbinic Enrichment Initiative. In his current position, he coordinates the continuing education and support programming for rabbis and their wives, including conferences, seminars and online services and resources.
Rabbi Ronald SchwarzbergDirector of Jewish Career Guidance and Placement
Rabbi Ronald Schwarzberg has served as the
Director of the Morris and Gertrude Bienenfeld Department of Jewish Career
Development and Placement for Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future
since 2005. Before his current position at Yeshiva University, Rabbi
Schwarzberg served as a pulpit rabbi in Highland Park, NJ, beginning in July
1986 after serving as associate rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. He brought
with him a passionate commitment to the principles of ahavat Yisrael [love for
the Jewish people], political activism and bridge building. Shortly after his
arrival in Highland Park, Rabbi Schwarzberg was instrumental in relocating
Congregation Ahavas Achim from New Brunswick, NJ, to Highland Park. Under his
leadership, Congregation Ahavas Achim developed Ahavas Achim University, an
innovative and far-reaching educational endeavor that enlists top-tier scholars
and religious leaders to teach at the synagogue and has attracted attendees
from across the state. Rabbi Schwarzberg has served as co-chair of the
Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex
County and was elected in December 2002 as associate chair of the National
Rabbinic Cabinet of the United Jewish Communities. Rabbi Schwarzberg served as
chair of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the United Jewish Communities from 2005 to
2007. Rabbi Schwarzberg is married to Morah Judy, a preschool teacher at the
Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva. Together they have four children: Ari, Elana, Aviva, and
Director of Department of Experiential Jewish Education and Jewish Service Learning
Before his current position with the CJF, Shuki Taylor served as the CJF's Israel liaison. In this capacity, he founded the Counterpoint Israel Program, the annual Israel winter missions, and the Midrashiya, an advanced leadership training program for women. Previously, Taylor worked at the Koby Mandell Foundation, where he founded and directed innovative and experiential therapy programs for Israeli teens who have been affected by terror. He also studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion and Herzog College.
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