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Clergy and Staff

Yosie Levine
Rabbi Dr.

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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 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. His work has appeared in both scholarly and popular publications. He is currently working on a book based on his dissertation, "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                                                                                                                            
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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. 


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.


Shira Weiss
Community Scholar


Dr Shira Weiss teaches Jewish Thought at YU's Bernard Revel Graduate School and has previously taught at Stern College. She holds a PhD in Jewish Philosophy and has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment of Humanities, The Templeton Foundation, Oxford and Ben Gurion Universities. Dr Weiss is the author of Joseph Albo on Free Choice (Oxford, 2017) and Ethical Ambiguity in the Hebrew Bible (Cambridge, 2018), as well as articles in academic journals. Her research and teaching focus on the philosophical exploration of Tanakh.


Rabbi Ezra Cohen                                                                                                                                                     William Fischman Rabbinic Intern                                                                                                                         [E]

Ezra, a native of New Rochelle, NY, is in his last full year of rabbinical school at Yeshiva University's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.  Ezra studied in Israel at Yeshivat Orayta and graduated from Brandeis University summa cum laude in 2018 with Bachelor's Degrees in Psychology and Near Eastern Eastern/Judaic Studies, where he wrote his undergraduate dissertation on the Jewish legal treatment of depressive disorders.  In addition to rabbinical school, he is pursuing a Master's Degree at The Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and is a member of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship.  Before joining the Jewish Center, Ezra served as the rabbinic intern in Atlanta, GA, and Oakland, CA, as well as taught classes locally in New York.  He currently resides in Washington Heights, Manhattan with his wife Tova.  In his free time, Ezra enjoys mountain biking and making music.


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 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. 


 Amanda Chapman                                                                                                                                                    Program Coordinator                                                                                                                                              [O] 212-724-2700x110                                                                                                                                           [E] 

Originally from Massachusetts, Amanda holds a B.S. in Psychology from UMass Amherst and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Boston University. She spent the last few years living in Boston working at Simmons University as an academic advisor. She comes to us with a great deal of programming experience and expertise and is very excited to join us at The Jewish Center. 


Sarah Cromwell Goldstein

Youth Director


Sarah Goldstein has been active in synagogue youth departments for the past ten years. She has led youth programming in several shuls and has worked with children of all ages. Outside of The Jewish Center, Sarah works as a Child Parent Psychotherapy at JCCA. Sarah is a graduate of Muhlenberg College where she majored in psychology and double minored in public health and Jewish studies. She received her Masters Degree in Social Work from Yeshiva University, Wurzweiler School of Social Work. She is certified in child welfare practices and is trained in the evidence-based therapeutic model, Child-Parent Psychotherapy. . 



Ari Goldstein

Teen Coordinator



Ari Goldstein currently provides psychotherapy at the school-based clinics of Achieve Behavioral Health, a certified community behavioral health clinic in Rockland County, NY.  He has extensive experience working with children and adolescents for over a decade in various settings as a camp counselor, classroom teacher, guidance counselor, and therapist. Ari earned a BA in Individualized Studies with a concentration in Business from Fairleigh Dickinson University and he holds a Master of Social Work from Yeshiva University Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Ari is passionate about supporting children and adolescents to thrive as individuals within their families and communities.  He is excited to join the Jewish Center community as teen coordinator.


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 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]

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.


Shiffy Friedman
Yoetzet Halacha
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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, July 4 2022 5 Tammuz 5782