Sign In Forgot Password

Clergy and Staff

Yosie Levine

[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 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 serves as the chair of Manhattan Day School's Political Advocacy Committee. He is co-chair of the Manhattan Eruv and is active in numerous communal organizations including AIPAC and the Beth Din of America and serves on the Board of UJA-Federation of New York.

He earned a BA in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia College and as a Wexner Graduate Fellow received rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He holds an MPA in Public Policy from NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School and recently completed a doctoral degree in Early Modern Jewish History at Yeshiva University's Bernard Revel Graduate School. His doctoral dissertation is titled Hakham Zevi: An Intellectual Biography of an Early Modern Port Rabbi. 

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.


Eliezer Buechler, Assistant Rabbi 

[O] 212-724-2700 x119  


Elie Buechler, a native of Dix Hills, New York, joined the JC Clergy in 2017. He attended Yeshivat Orayta and received his B.A. in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. He holds an M.A. from Yeshiva University's Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies in Medieval Jewish History where he is also pursuing a doctorate in this field. He received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. 

Rabbi Buechler served for two years as the Rabbinic Intern at the JC. He was also an AIPAC Leffell Fellow, Straus Semikha Fellow, Limmud NY-Hartman Fellow, and served for two years as the intern for the OU-JLIC at Brandeis. Rabbi Buechler also teaches one-on-one Chattan classes to prepare Chattanim for their upcoming wedding and a life of Taharat haMishpachah.

Rabbi Buechler is married to Tamar Ossip Buechler of Plainview, New York. She is pursuing a PsyD in School Psychology at Rutgers University. 

Ora Weinbach 
Community Educator


Ora Weinbach is a Masters of Divinity candidate at Yale Divinity School and a  Wexner Fellow. She holds a BA in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University where she was a Legacy Heritage Fellow. Ora is a certified Sexuality Educator and teaches human sexuality both to teens and parents; she also consults with Jewish Day Schools on sexuality education curriculum development and execution. She taught Limmudei Qodesh for seven years at the Abraham Joshua Heschel High School, where she also served as the 9th Grade Dean. Before assuming the role of Community Educator at the Jewish Center, Ora was the Community Educator at the Young Israel of Scarsdale for three years.

Yoni Rabinovitch

William Fischman Rabbinic Intern 


Yoni Rabinovitch was born and raised in Denver, CO. He spent two years studying in Israel, spending one year at Yeshivat Hakotel and the other at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, and has since received his BA in Biology from Yeshiva University. Yoni is currently pursuing rabbinic ordination as a fellow of the Wexner Semikha Honors Program at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, as well as a master’s degree from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Yoni currently resides in Washington Heights with his wife, Nechama, who is studying to become a dentist at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine.


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 came to The Jewish Center with over 12 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. 


Sarah Cromwell

Youth Director


                                                                                                                            Sarah Cromwell has been active in synagogue youth departments for the past ten years. This past year, she served as a group leader at The Jewish Center. Sarah is a graduate of Muhlenberg College where she majored in psychology and double minored in public health and Jewish studies.  After college, she worked at the Jewish Child Care Agency as a sociotherapist, working with youth in foster care with psychiatric diagnoses.  She is currently enrolled in an MSW/PhD program in social work at Yeshiva University, Wurzweiler School of Social Work.  Her interest is in child welfare and family therapy.  As part of her graduate field work, Sarah spent last year working at Yachad leading relationship social skills groups, doing individual counseling, organizing and chaperoning programs, and performing assessments.  In the coming year, in addition to her new position at The Jewish Center, she will be working at the  Jewish Board of Family and Children Services.


Batsheva Leibtag
Clergy Assistant/Program Coordinator
[O] 212-724-2700 x112

Batsheva Leibtag was born in Dallas, TX and was raised in both St. Louis, MO and Long Island, NY. After completing high school, she attended Tiferet, a gap-year Seminary program in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel. Batsheva received a BA in Psychology from Queens College and has since then engaged in a number of professional experiences including teaching dance classes at Fitwize 4 Kids and managing Central Perk, a popular café located in Cedarhurst, NY.


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. Saba volunteers as a Sunday school teacher at her church.


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 a long time 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.


Shiffy Friedman
Yoetzet Halacha
[C] (646) 598-1080


Shiffy Friedman graduated from Nishmat’s Miriam Glaubach Center’s U.S. Yoatzot Halacha Fellows Program in 2015. She has been counseling women in the area of women's health and halacha, both through her role as Yoetzet Halacha in Westchester County and through teaching brides and couples before marriage. Shiffy has taught at SAR Academy and currently teaches at Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School. She received her B.A. in Judaic studies from Stern College and a dual M.A. in Education and Jewish studies from New York University. Prior to that, she spent a year studying in Israel at the Stella K. Abraham Beit Midrash for Women in Migdal Oz. She and her husband, Rabbi Noam Friedman, live with their two children, Avital and Adir, in Morningside Heights, where they serve as the OU-JLIC couple at Columbia/Barnard Hillel. They look forward to getting to know members of the broader Manhattan community.

Mon, April 19 2021 7 Iyyar 5781