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Clergy and Staff

Yosie Levine

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Rabbi Yosie Levine joined The Jewish Center's rabbinic team in 2004. He earned a BA in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia College and remains an active alumnus. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, Rabbi Levine received rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and was the winner of RIETS' writing prize. He holds an MPA in Public Policy from NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School and is currently completing a doctoral degree in Early Modern Jewish History at Yeshiva University's Bernard Revel Graduate School. He recently returned from a sabbatical in Israel where he was a visiting research fellow at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His doctoral dissertation is titled Hakham Zevi: An Intellectual Biography of an Early Modern Port Rabbi. 

Rabbi Levine served as Rabbinic Intern, Assistant Rabbi and Associate Rabbi at The Jewish Center 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. 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                                                                        [E]

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. 


Noach Goldstein 
Assistant Rabbi 

Noach Goldstein is a fellow in the Bella and Harry Wexner Kollel Elyon at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He is also completing an M.A. in Medieval Jewish History at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University, and delivering a weekly Talmud shiur to the undergraduate community at the Columbia University Hillel.

Noach spent two years studying at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel prior to completing his B.A. in History and English at Yeshiva University’s Schottenstein Honors Program while studying with Rabbi Michael Rosensweig. He subsequently joined the Semicha Honors Program at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Beit Yitzchak Torah journal. Noach and his wife, Alexis, are thrilled to be part of the Jewish Center community.


Ora Weinbach 
Community Educator


Ora Weinbach teaches Limmudei Qodesh and serves as the 9th Grade Dean at the Abraham Joshua Heschel High School. 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. She earned her degree in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University as a member of the first graduating cohort of the Legacy Heritage Fellowship Program and has been honored to teach Jewish learners of every age. She completed a certification in Sexuality Education and teaches human sexuality both to teens and parents; she also consults with Jewish Day Schools on sexuality education curriculum development and execution.


Aaron Strum
Executive Director
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                                                                                                                                                        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 Director
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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. Batsheva  currently resides on the West Side of Manhattan.


Saba Lawrence
Administrative Assistant
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                                                                                                                                            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
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                                                                                                                                                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.

Wed, September 18 2019 18 Elul 5779