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Clergy and Staff

Yosie Levine
Rabbi Dr.

[O] 212-724-2700 x103

Not long after joining our clergy in 2004, Yosie Levine became the seventh rabbi of The Jewish Center. He served as Rabbinic Intern, Assistant Rabbi and Associate Rabbi, during which time he received practical rabbinic training and mentoring from his distinguished predecessors: Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, z”l; Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter; and Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman. Before joining the Center, he served as the educational director of the Lauder Foundation's Beit Midrash in Berlin, Germany and as the visiting scholar of Congregation Knesseth Israel in Birmingham, Alabama.

Rabbi Levine has taken a leadership role on the issue of day school affordability and has pioneered a communal model for sustaining excellent Jewish education. He is co-chair of the Manhattan Eruv and is active in numerous communal organizations including AIPAC, the Beth Din of America and UJA-Federation of New York, where he is a former Board Member.

His advocacy on behalf of Israel has made The Jewish Center a model for Israel activism both within and beyond the Religious Zionist community.

He earned a BA in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia College and received rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary where he was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. He holds a PhD in Early Modern Jewish History from Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School and now sits on the Dean’s Council. His work has appeared in both scholarly and popular publications. His book, Hakham Tsevi Ashkenazi and the Battlegrounds of the Early Modern Rabbinate (Littman Library, forthcoming) is the winner of the Association for Jewish Studies’ Jordan Schnitzer First Book Award.

Rabbi Levine’s wife, Rachel, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Manhattan. They are the proud parents of Akiva, Yehoshua, Ari and Judy.

Many of Rabbi Levine's sermons are available online.


Kalman Laufer
Assistant Rabbi


Rabbi Kalman Laufer serves as faculty at both Yeshiva University’s Isaac Breuer College and Stern College for Women teaching courses in Medical and Business Ethics. Rabbi Laufer completed his semikha at RIETS in 2017 and is currently pursuing Yadin Yadin (Dayanut) in the Rabbi Norman Lamm Kollel L’Horaah at RIETS under the auspices of Rabbi J. David Bleich and Rabbi Mordechai Willig. Rabbi Laufer graduated Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and a Master’s Degree in Accounting as well as a Master’s degree in Bioethics from Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Cardozo Law School. From 2017-2020, he served as the Rabbinic Associate under Rabbi Kenneth Hain at Congregation Beth Shalom in Lawrence, New York. Rabbi Laufer and his wife Talya are the proud parents of Jace, Shea, and Sam.


Jonathan Green


Jonathan Green is delighted to have officially joined The Jewish Center clergy in 2021 after leading services part-time since 2019. 

Prior to arriving at The Jewish Center, Jonathan served for several years as the acting chazzan for Yamin Noraim at the Forest Hill Jewish Centre in Toronto, Canada. He has been trained in nusach in his hometown Toronto as well as here in New York, and has studied vocal technique at NYU Steinhardt's Vocal Performance Program. Jonathan's tefillot are known for their warmth and dynamism, and for inspiring congregants of all ages to be uplifted in song.

Jonathan has brought his spirited style to synagogues, weddings, and countless other venues across North America, including The White House. He has also performed as a soloist on a variety of recordings and is responsible for having produced and directed Jewish music videos viewed by millions worldwide, such as the well-known "Evolution of Jewish Music” video of his former group, Y-Studs A Cappella.

When he is not leading services, Jonathan is working towards his doctorate in Jewish Philosophy at NYU's Department of Hebrew & Judaic Studies. He and his wife Yael along with their children are excited to be part of The Jewish Center community. They look forward to deepening their relationships with the congregation, and are thankful for the warm welcome they have received.


Ms. Raizi Chechik

Community Scholar
[E] rchechik                                                                                                                                 

Ms. Raizi Chechik is the former Head of School at Manhattan Day School. She studied Tanach and Counseling at Michlala Jerusalem Teacher's College, holds an MA in Jewish History, and is currently a doctoral candidate at the Bernard Revel Graduate School where she focuses on the printing of the Vilna Talmud. Ms. Chechik is a recipient of numerous professional and academic awards, among them the national Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. A graduate of the Intensive Training Program for Day School Leaders at Yeshiva University, Ms. Chechik served as a mentor to new school leaders through their Principal's Partnership program and continues to support new Principals and Heads of School. A sought-after scholar, she has lectured in dozens of communities throughout the US, Europe and Israel. 


Basya Goldstein
Community Educator

Basya Goldstein hails from Teaneck NJ. Following high school, she attended Sha’alvim for Women in Israel and then Stern College for Women where she majored in Art and minored in English. She has a Masters in Tanach from GPATS, and just taught a Tanach course in Stern while finishing a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Narrative from the School of Visual Arts (SVA). In her free time Basya loves drawing, running, cooking, and of course learning and teaching Torah!

Aaron Strum
Executive Director
[O] 212-724-2700 x107

Aaron Strum joined The Jewish Center in September 2008. He holds a B.S. Degree in Management from Touro College. Aaron has over 20 years of experience as an Executive Director, having served in that capacity at Congregation B'nai Torah in Indianapolis and the Jewish Community Center of Paramus in Paramus, NJ. Aaron was born in Brooklyn and raised in Staten Island. 


Izzy Selter

Youth Director



Izzy Selter, originally from Wesley Hills, holds a BBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from Stern College for Women/Sy-Syms School of Business. She is currently working for the OU as an associate for NCSY Summer Programs. Izzy has served as the youth director for Kehillas Bais Yehuda of Wesley Hills, as counselor and ultimately head counselor at the NJY Camps at Camp Nesher, and as a student advisor and program coordinator for both Stern College for Women and Sha'alvim for Women in Jerusalem. Not only did Izzy coordinate and execute group activities, she also acted as the liaison between students and administrators. Her greatest pride comes from the long-lasting relationships that she has built over the years with youth of all ages. Izzy arrives at the Jewish Center with great enthusiasm and looks forward to energizing the Youth Department while getting to know your children!

Mordy Blau 

William Fischman Rabbinic Intern and Teen Coordinator


Mordy Blau is from Cleveland, Ohio and attended Yeshivat HaKotel for 2 years. Mordy graduated from Yeshiva University with a bachelor's degree in psychology and received his master's in Social Work from Wurzweiler with a certificate in school social work. He is currently in his third year of Semicha at RIETS/YU studying under Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz and is in the Marcos and Adina Katz Kollel under the direction of Rabbi Hershel Schachter“. This will be Mordy’s second year as the Teen Coordinator at The Jewish Center.

Mordy worked as a social work intern at the SINAI high school in Torah Academy of Bergen County last school year. Mordy has dedicated his summers to working at Jewish camps. He has been the assistant program director of Yad B’ Yad and head counselor of the Yachad division at Camp Nesher. In addition, Mordy has worked as an advisor at Camp Stone, Camp Kaylie, Yad B’ Yad and Jolt Israel. Mordy is planning on pursuing a career working in the Jewish community and is looking forward to the coming year at The Jewish Center.



Saba Lawrence
Administrative Assistant
[O] 212-724-2700 x100

Born and raised in Pakistan, Saba comes to The JC with years of experience as Administrative Assistant at Manhattan Pentecostal Church. She received her Bachelors Degree in Arts and Education and taught junior high school for many years before coming to New York. 


Polina Berdich
[O] 212-724-2700 x101

Polina Berdich has been working as the Controller of The Jewish Center since August of 2005. Polina received her master’s degree from Odessa University and her bachelor’s degree from Touro College in New York. Born in Ukraine, Polina immigrated to America many years ago with 15 years of experience in accounting. In New York City, she has worked as the Controller of Congregation Habonim for over five years and as a Full Charge Bookkeeper for Calleo Development Co. prior to that. She and her family currently reside in Brooklyn.


Rabbi Adam Huttel                                                                                                                                                    Social Worker                                                                                                                                                              [E]
[O] 917-601-1783

Rabbi Adam Huttel is a Jewish Community Services Worker for the Jewish Board, where he facilitates bereavement support groups, provides short-term individual counseling, as well as assisting in community outreach. Rabbi Huttel graduated from Queens College, with a bachelor's degree in psychology. After graduation, he received his Master’s in Social Work degree from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, and is currently a licensed social worker in the State of New York. He also received his Rabbinical Degree at Yeshiva University’s REITS Rabbinical Program. Rabbi Huttel has been an integral part of the team at the Jewish Board and is passionate about his work.


Ellin Mitchell Cooper
Yoetzet Halacha
[C] (646) 598-1080


Ellin (Mitchell) Cooper, the incoming Manhattan Yoetzet Halacha, graduated from Nishmat’s Miriam Glaubach Center’s U.S. Yoetzot Halacha Fellows Program in 2021. She received her B.A. in Physics from Barnard College and is a graduate of GPATS (Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies for Women) at Yeshiva University. She was born on the Upper West Side and now resides there with husband Jeremy and son Ariel. They look forward to getting to know members of the broader Manhattan community. Ellin can be reached at and via phone at 646-598-1080.

Sun, May 26 2024 18 Iyyar 5784