Bayit Alumni - Hebrew Institute of Riverdale - The Bayit

Bayit Alumni

See where our former rabbinic staff members are today!

Aaron Frank

Aaron Frank

Head of School, Kinneret Day School, Riverdale, NY

Rabbi Aaron Frank is Head of School at the Kinneret Day School in Riverdale, NY. Prior to coming to Kinneret, Rabbi Frank was the Associate Principal at SAR High School. Before moving to New York, he worked at the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Baltimore for twelve years, serving as Lower School and then High School Principal. In addition to his work in education administration, Rabbi Frank has served as a High Holidays rabbi at Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac, Maryland since 2001. A graduate of the Jerusalem Fellows program at the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem as well as of the Principals' Center at Harvard Graduate School of Education, Rabbi Frank serves on the board of the International Rabbinic Fellowship and on the Rabbinic Advisory Board of Yeshivat Maharat. He served as Associate Rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale under the mentorship of Rabbi Avi Weiss from 1996 until 2000 and was a founding member of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Baltimore. A musmakh of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Aaron holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan and an M.S. from Columbia University School of Social Work. Rabbi Frank is married to Laura Shaw Frank. They have four children: Ateret, Yanniv, Elinadav, and Neri.

Barry Gelman

Barry Gelman

Rabbi Barry Gelman is Rabbi of United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston. With over 400 families, United Orthodox is the largest Orthodox Synagogue in the Southwest. Previously Rabbi Gelman served as Rabbi of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal, Canada as well as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, both in New York. He is the founding Director of MeORoT - Modern Orthodox Rabbinic Training, and Torat Miriam, both fellowships for those interested in Jewish communal service. Rabbi Gelman has taught at the Drisha Institute as well as at RAMAZ, a modern orthodox High School in New York.

Rabbi Gelman received his bachelors and masters from Yeshiva University and Rabbinic Ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchonon Theological Seminary, an affiliate of Yeshiva University. His passions include Modern Orthodox thought, reading, Zionism and the New York Yankees.

Rabbi Gelman teaches numerous classes and chavurot on a wide variety of topics including: Jewish law, Jewish history and Jewish philosophy and thought. He is also heavily involved with the youth of the congregation providing educational as well as social programs for children of all ages.

Rabbi Gelman is very proud of the development of universal kashrut and Shabbat warming standards in his community in order to allow for maximum social interaction between community members. He is the Halachik authority for the Houston Community Mikvah and the eruv in the United Orthodox Synagogue neighborhood. Rabbi Gelman is member of the Board of Directors of the Rabbinic Cabinet of State of Israel Bonds and the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America.

Locally Rabbi Gelman is the Treasurer of the Houston Rabbinical Association, a member of the Vaad of the Houston Kashrut Association and on the Board of Directors of the Houston Jewish Federation.

Rabbi Gelman was invited to the White House in December 2005 where he delivered the annual Chanukah message to President Bush and the Jewish staff of the White House.

Rabbi Gelman is involved in the local Houston community efforts on behalf of Darfur and created the “Bring Gilad Home” Blue Ribbon Campaign on behalf of Gilad Shalit and Israel Soldier abducted by Palestinian Terrorists. He also spearheaded relief efforts for the Jewish and general community of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Rabbi Gelman is married to Gabrielle and they have five children.
Shmuel Herzfeld

Shmuel Herzfeld

Since 2004 Shmuel Herzfeld has been the Rabbi of Ohev Sholom--The National Synagogue, the oldest Orthodox synagogue in Washington, DC.

His communal responsibilities include teaching classes, attending to the elderly, the youth, and the sick, and ministering to the pastoral needs of the congregation which currently includes more than 300 families.

He received rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, an affiliate of Yeshiva University, and a Masters in Jewish History from Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University.

From 1999-2004, Rabbi Herzfeld was Associate Rabbi at The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, where he was mentored by Rabbi Avi Weiss.

He is a frequent guest columnist in newspapers and now writes regularly for Huffington Post and The Washington Post.

Rabbi Herzfeld teaches a daily Talmud class in his synagogue, at least two other weekly Torah classes in his synagogue, plus a weekly Torah class in downtown Washington D.C. at the Hudson Institute (all are welcome to attend) and a regular class on Judaism at the US Senate.

His first book "Fifty-Four Pick Up: Fifteen Minute Inspirational Torah Lessons" is now available at Amazon.

He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife Dr. Rhanni Herzfeld (a Neurologist), and children Lea, Roey, Elai, Max, Shia, and Kolbi.

He can be contacted at or 202 882 7225

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Yosef Kanefsky

Yosef Kanefsky

Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky received rabbinical ordination and a Master’s degree in Jewish history from Yeshiva University in 1989. From 1990-1996, he served as the Associate Rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, working with Rabbi Avi Weiss.
Since joining B'nai David-Judea in 1996 Rabbi Kanefsky has helped transform BDJ into a powerful force in the Los Angeles and American Orthodox community, providing leadership in critical directions, from women's participation to Israel activism to care for the homeless. He is a major leader in the effort to build bridges to the larger Jewish community. He has served as President of the interdenominational Southern California Board of Rabbis and continues to pioneer in the fundamental activities of Tikkun Olam (a.k.a. repairing the world), from assisting victims of Hurricane Katrina by organizing a troop of congregants to Louisiana, to engaging in activism on behalf of the victims of the genocide in Darfur, to hosting monthly lunches for our community’s homeless. In addition to many other honors, Rabbi Kanefsky was recently named one of the 50 most influential Rabbis in America, and one of the top 25 pulpit Rabbis by Newsweek magazine.
In addition to his work on this website's blog, Rabbi Kanefsky also blogs regularly at "morethodoxy"
Rav Yosef, as he is known to congregants, is beloved for his compassion, his wisdom, and his open mind. He can be reached at .
Chaim Marder

Chaim Marder

Rabbi Chaim Marder has served as the rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of White Plains since 1995. His enthusiasm, wisdom, caring and charm has brought life to our community.  Under his leadership, the synagogue has experienced a true renaissance, becoming an exciting hub of thoughtful and engaging experiences, and an embracing home for the people of varied ages, interests, and backgrounds who have joined the HIWP family.
Rabbi Marder has been is involved in many communal organizations including the Vaad Harabonim, Vaad Hakashruth, and the Westchester Board of Rabbis. He is a former Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America and was recognized by the UJA Federation of New York with its annual Rabbinical Award. Since 2004 he has served as the chair of the department of the Professional Rabbinate at YCT Rabbinical School.
Prior to his arrival in White Plains, Rabbi Marder served as a rabbi in Providence, RI and Riverdale, NY. He holds a Masters degree in Jewish History from BRGS of Yeshiva University, and rabbinical ordination from RIETS. He also studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel.
Rabbi Marder and his wife Suzie are the proud parents of seven children.
Sharona Margolin Halickman

Sharona Margolin Halickman

Sharona graduated from Stern College for Women with a BA in Judaic Studies, Magna Cum Laude, receiving the award for excellence in Modern Hebrew Literature. She went on to study at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration as a Block Fellow, earning an MS. Prior to entering Stern College, Sharona studied for a year and a half in Jerusalem where she was awarded a Hebrew Teachers’ Diploma from the Israel Ministry of Education. 
Sharona was a Congregational Intern at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale from 1997-1999, and Director of Educational Programming from 1999-2001.  She was the Hebrew Institute's first Madricha Ruchanit, serving from 2001-2004.  Aside from her responsibilities at HIR, Sharona served as the Religious Activities Coordinator at the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale, and pursued studies in Clinical Pastoral Education at the Health Care Chaplaincy’s Jewish Institute for Pastoral Care. She has been a visiting lecturer in Jewish communities across North America and Israel.
In the summer of 2004, Sharona and her family made aliya. Shortly after making aliya, Sharona began to teach classes in Jerusalem and founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim Torat Reva Yerushalayim is a non profit organization which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds. Study groups meet in private homes, synagogues, nursing homes, assisted living communities and places of business. Study sessions are tailored to the schedules and interests of the participants. Sharona serves as the organization’s director. 
Sharona is the Rosh HaMidrasha at Midreshet Devora, a Religious Zionist Midrasha in Jerusalem for women 18-26 who want to live, learn and feel the love of the Land of Israel
Sharona is the author of "Parsha Points - Torah from the Land of Israel"
Sharona was an ATID (Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions) fellow.
Sharona resides in Jerusalem with her husband, Josh, and their children Dov, Moshe and Yehuda.
Karen Miller

Karen Miller

Karen Miller Jackson has an MA in Rabbinic Literature from NYU.
Besides growing up in HIR, she served as the congregational intern in 1999/2000.
She currently lives in Ra'anana, Israel with her husband and 5 children.

Etan Mintz

Rabbi Etan Mintz is Rabbi of B’nai Israel Congregation of Baltimore, where he is spearheading a revitalization of Maryland's oldest continually active synagogue.  A vibrant and historic 140 year old congregation near Baltimore's Inner Harbor, the shul is also now home to Baltimore's fastest growing young adult community.  Rav Etan is especially proud of B'nai's warm and inclusive nature, as well as its open, diverse and eclectic atmosphere.  In addition to his congregational duties, Rav Etan teaches Judaic Studies at The Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community Day School, and lectures widely throughout the Baltimore community.   
Rav Etan served for five years as Associate Rabbi at the Hebrew Institute under the mentorship of Rabbi Avi Weiss.  He also taught Jewish thought, text and practice at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland, and has served as a summer rabbi at The Hampton Synagogue. 
He received his pastoral training through a year-long chaplain residency program at the University of Virginia Health System, where he counseled individuals of all faiths in times of crisis. Rav Etan is passionate about pluralism and life-long learning and is a senior rabbinic fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute, and a long time group leader with the American Jewish World Service.
He studied for two years at Yeshivat Shaalvim in Israel, and received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.  He also holds a Masters Degree in Jewish Philosophy and Mysticism from the Bernard Revel Graduate School, and an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School at Harvard University.
Rav Etan is married to Tammy, and they are proud parents of Ilana. 
Ronald Schwarzberg

Ronald Schwarzberg

Rabbi Ronald Schwarzberg has served as the Director of the Morris and Gertrude Bienenfeld Department of Jewish Career Development and Placement for Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future since 2005.
Before his current position at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Schwarzberg served as a pulpit rabbi in Highland Park, NJ, beginning in July 1986 after serving as associate rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. He brought with him a passionate commitment to the principles of ahavat Yisrael [love for the Jewish people], political activism and bridge building.
Shortly after his arrival in Highland Park, Rabbi Schwarzberg was instrumental in relocating Congregation Ahavas Achim from New Brunswick, NJ, to Highland Park.
Under his leadership, Congregation Ahavas Achim developed Ahavas Achim University, an innovative and far-reaching educational endeavor that enlists top-tier scholars and religious leaders to teach at the synagogue and has attracted attendees from across the state.
Rabbi Schwarzberg has served as co-chair of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County and was elected in December 2002 as associate chair of the National Rabbinic Cabinet of the United Jewish Communities.
Rabbi Schwarzberg served as chair of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the United Jewish Communities from 2005 to 2007.
Rabbi Schwarzberg is married to Morah Judy, a preschool teacher at the Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva. Together they have four children: Ari, Elana, Aviva, and Shayna.
Adam Starr

Adam Starr

Rabbi Adam Starr is the spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Toco Hills in Atlanta, a vibrant and fast growing modern orthodox congregation.
Rabbi Starr grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, and studied at Yeshivat Shalavim in Israel for two years prior to college. He received his BA from Yeshiva College and has rabbinical ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Rabbinical Seminary at Yeshiva University.
Rabbi Starr served in a rabbinic position for 8 years at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in New York under the leadership of the senior rabbi, Avi Weiss. The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale is a well known and highly respected Modern Orthodox synagogue with a membership of over 800 families.
Rabbi Starr is an instructor of Jewish Ethics and Purposes at the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School based at the Jewish Community Center in Atlanta. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America.
Rabbi Starr is married to Talya Gorsetman and they are blessed with two daughters, Maayan and Yakira and a son Adin.

Uri Topolosky

Uri Topolosky

Uri Topolosky (YCT Class of ’05) is the Rabbi of the Beth Joshua Congregation in Aspen Hill, MD. He also serves as the Rav HaKehillah of the MJB Hebrew Academy, where he is an alumnus (class of ’96).

Prior to his return to Maryland, Uri served as the Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in New Orleans for six years where he helped revitalize a community shattered by Hurricane Katrina.Uri served previously as the Associate Rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in Bronx, NY.
Prior to his rabbinic studies, Uri spent two years studying in Israel at Yeshivat Sha’alvim before attending the University of Maryland at College Park. While completing a BA in Communication, Uri played an integral role in the development of an inclusive, Jewish community on campus. He spent the following year living in Jerusalem, learning and working for the Isralight Institute, further cultivating his passion for music and spirituality as a community leader. Uri is also a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute.


Uri is married to Dahlia, a psychologist, and they are blessed with four children, Elyon, Itai, Adi, and Liat. 

Sun, 19 February 2017 23 Shevat 5777