Shaare Zedek Leadership
Rabbi Jonah Geffen serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation Shaare Zedek. A member of the New Shul's Rabbinic Havurah, Rabbi Geffen was the National Rabbinic Director for the J Street Education Fund and spent two years as a Marshal T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellow at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun on the Upper West Side. He has served as Senior Coexistence Educator for Kivunim, and as Senior Educator for the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution’s Rodef Shalom program. Rabbi Geffen attended Young Judaea Year Course, was a Kollel Fellow at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, a summer fellow at Yeshivat Hadar, and a CLAL Rabbis Without Borders Fellow. His writing has been featured in the Washington Post, Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post, and the Huffington Post, among others.
Rabbi Geffen received his BA in History and Jewish Studies from Indiana University, an MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, and an MA in Jewish Studies and Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary where he was the recipient of the 2013 United Synagogue Award for Congregational Leadership. He lives not far from the shul with his beloved, Julia Mannes, and their two daughters. They enjoy frequenting the playgrounds of the world, watching cooking shows, and singing the Indiana University fight song.
Shalom and nice to meet you!
I am a rabbinic student and have spent the last few months working with the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan as their Interim Director of Adult Jewish Education & Interfaith Engagement, where I managed adult Jewish learning opportunities and regularly met with interfaith couples to help them along their spiritual journeys. Before that, I worked with AJC, the American Jewish Committee building their Young Leadership chapter. Prior to AJC, I currently taught Hebrew and Jewish Yoga and meditation at both Romemu and BJ in New York City.
For three years, I served as the Rabbinic Intern at Temple Emanu-El in Miami Beach, assisting the Rabbi in leading services and created alternative high holiday services using Jewish chanting, yoga, and meditation as ways to better connect to a higher power. I am an avid yogi and Jewish yoga and meditation practitioner and work to incorporate these practices into Jewish prayer settings and daily life. In my spare time, I enjoy fabricating jewelry. I am so thrilled to be part of the Shaare Zedek community and looking forward to meeting each and every one of you!
Jessie Bruah, Shaare Zedek's (virtual) Administrative Manager, grew up in Crystal Lake, Illinois. She has been in NYC for the past decade after arriving to study at the School of Visual Arts, where she received her MFA in Photography. Her artwork has been published and exhibited throughout North America and Europe.
Jessie lives in Jackson Heights, Queens with her husband, Chris, and daughter, Josephine. She spends her free time working on her bread baking technique, reading books, exploring the city's museums and neighborhoods, and working on small creative pursuits.
Shira Wolf has been leading children's services at Shaare Zedek since 2016, soon after moving to New York. She has a dual degree from the University of Michigan in Performing Arts Management and Psychology. Shira spent 20 formative summers at Camp Ramah in Canada, moving from staff kid, to camper, and eventually counselor and unit head. With two Jewish educators for parents, she has been surrounded by both formal and informal Jewish education her entire life. During the week, Shira can be found working in a theatrical management office. She was also instrumental in coordinating the logistics for Shaare Zedek's final High Holiday seasons in our building in 2016 and 2017.
Aaron Leven grew up in Los Angeles, California and still has great pride for his state and city. Since graduating from high school, Aaron has lived in Israel, Atlanta, Brooklyn, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Harlem, and now the Upper West Side. In 2016, Aaron learned Jewish text and philosophy at Mechon Hadar, an egalitarian yeshiva on the Upper West Side. He currently works as the NY Program Coordinator for a Jewish organization called OneTable that helps millennials do Shabbat their own way. When he's not at work, Aaron spends plenty of time keeping up with the NBA, more specifically the Los Angeles Lakers, dancing, and hiking. More than anything he loves people. Relationships, new and old, are what Aaron devotes most of his energy to, and he's excited to join the Shaare Zedek community!
Miriam Bachman began working with Shaare Zedek in 2015. Before that, she spent a year in Israel volunteering to teach English to elementary schoolers. She has a degree in English from Boston University where she led the Conservative Minyan at Hillel, and is currently working on a Master's in Teaching of English at Teacher's College, Columbia University.
2017-2018 Board of Trustees
Michael Firestone, President
Lianna Levine Reisner, Vice President of Community Building & Membership
Harlan Levinson, Vice President of Finance
Adin Rosenberg, Vice President of Religious Life
Jeff Weinstein, Treasurer
Sara Marks, Secretary
Sharon Meiri Fox