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.
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.
Sharon is a Jewish educator and lay leader who has worked in both formal and informal settings. She grew up in West Orange, New Jersey, and graduated from the Ivry Prozdor Hebrew High School at JTS and was active in USY. Sharon is passionate about Jewish education in all its facets, and has spent her post Bat Mitzvah years teaching younger generations to leyn (read Torah and haftarah) and embrace their Jewish adulthood. She enjoys leading davening and baking challah — often with a fun flavor twist. In her other life, Sharon is an actor and singer.
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.
Neomi is one of four shinishinit — post-high school ambassadors from Israel — working in the Upper West Side during the 2018-2019 year. She is from Klil, a little village in the Galilee. In high school, Neomi majored in product design. For seven years, Neomi took part in the "B’nei Hamoshavim" youth movement and was a counselor for a year. In 2016 she served as a counselor in a Canadian Jewish sleepover camp. Neomi teaches martial arts for kids. She loves art, reading books, and martial arts. Neomi arrived in NYC in August 2018 and volunteers in the community’s day schools, with synagogues, and at Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. She will be back in Israel next summer and will join the Israeli army.
Shannah Zilcha joined our family engagement team this past fall, leading children's minyanim. She was raised in Israel in a Zionist American family, belonged to one of the biggest Reform communities in Israel, and was educated with a strong Jewish identity. Shannah was an educator in her local youth movement for five years. Before starting her army service, she served as the educational leader in a few difficult communities in Jaffa in a gap year program. Shannah served in the Israeli Defense Forces for over five years, both as an officer in the Air Force and in the Intelligence Unit. Most recently, she worked for the Israeli NGO One Day Social Volunteering, bringing young adults from all populations in Israel together to practice tikun olam and build a community based on helping others. Today, she lives on Roosevelt Island and works for an Israeli venture capital firm here in NYC. We welcome Shannah to Shaare Zedek!
2018-2019 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
Richard Friedman Daniel Goldberg