Our Rabbis and Hazzan
José Rolando Matalon, B’nai Jeshurun’s Senior Rabbi, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was educated in Buenos Aires, Montreal, Jerusalem, and New York City. After his ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1986, Rabbi Matalon came to BJ to share the pulpit—and vision—of his mentor and friend Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer. They worked together to revitalize the congregation and turn its focus to education, interfaith cooperation, and social justice.
After Rabbi Meyer’s death in 1993, Rabbi Matalon became BJ’s spiritual leader. He and Rabbi Sol now lead a vibrant, diverse community of 1,700 households, with the support of Rabbi Bronstein (part time) and Hazzan Priven.
Rabbi Matalon’s involvement in the New York, Jewish, and Israeli communities is broad and deep; he serves on a number of boards, including the Advisory Board of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, the Advisory Board of Beit Tefillah Israeli-Tel Aviv, and the Leadership Council of Habitat for Humanity. He has received awards from the New York Board of Rabbis, the Jewish Peace Fellowship, the New Israel Fund, and T’ruah.
Rabbi Matalon is a founding co-director of Piyut North America, a partnership between B’nai Jeshurun and Hazmanah Le-Piyut in Israel. A student of Arabic and Turkish music, he plays the ‘ud (Arabic lute). Rabbi Matalon is married and has two daughters.
Rabbi Felicia L. Sol
Rabbi Sol has served as a rabbi at BJ since 2001, becoming the first woman to serve as a rabbi to the community in the congregation’s almost 200-year history.
Rabbi Sol began her initial involvement with the BJ community when she was still a rabbinic student at Hebrew Union College. While serving as Family and Youth Director, she created Pnei Shabbat, B’nai Jeshurun’s families’ prayer book.
After Rabbi Sol’s ordination, she became a Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellow at BJ. During that time, Rabbi Sol edited Zimrat Yah: Prayers and Songs for Shabbat and Festivals.
After two years under the mentorship of Rabbis J. Rolando Matalon and Marcelo Bronstein, Rabbi Sol joined her teachers in their rabbinic partnership.
She received the 2005 PaceSetter Award and was honored in 2006 as a Partner in Justice by Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps.
Rabbi Sol was featured in the documentary All of the Above: Single, Clergy, Mother and has an essay in the book, Faithfully Feminist:Jewish, Christian and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay.
Rabbi Sol earned a BA in Developmental Psychology and Education from Tufts University, a Masters in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, her Masters of Hebrew Letters (1996) and rabbinic ordination (1999) also from HUC-JIR.
She currently serves on the board of Bend the Arc and co-chairs the rabbinic council of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.
Raised in Connecticut, she has a son and a daughter and lives on the Upper West Side.
Rabbi Marcelo R. Bronstein
Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He received a BA and MA in Clinical Psychology from Belgrano University, a BA of Hebrew Letters from the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, and a Masters of Hebrew Letters and Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.
After serving as Director of Camp Ramah in Argentina, Rabbi Bronstein worked closely with Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer for 10 years at Comunidad Bet El in Buenos Aires, where he served as youth director. Rabbi Bronstein then went on to found and lead Congregacion Or Shalom in Santiago, Chile in 1989. In 1995, after Rabbi Meyer’s death, Rabbi Bronstein joined Rabbi Roly Matalon at B’nai Jeshurun.
Rabbi Bronstein has served on the boards of health, ecology, interfaith, and social justice organizations in America and abroad. Among his many contributions to the BJ community, Rabbi Bronstein has established services and retreats in the area of Jewish mindfulness, as well as for the special needs population.
In June 2017, Rabbi Bronstein and his wife, Karina Zilberman, left New York to make their home in Costa Rica in “The Ecovilla”, a model for sustainable living. He is father to three daughters and two stepsons.
Rabbi Bronstein continues his rabbinate at BJ in a part-time capacity and spends one week per month at BJ during most of the year, as well as a longer period during the Yamim Nora’im.
Rabbi Adina Lewittes
Rabbi Lewittes was ordained in 1993 at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the first Canadian woman to become a Conservative Rabbi. Later, at JTS,
she served as the first female Assistant Dean of the Rabbinical School.
Rabbi Lewittes has held various leadership positions in the wider community, in addition to founding and leading Sha’ar Communities, a groundbreaking suburban initiative inspired by a broad vision of Jewish renaissance. Rabbi Adina Lewittes is a leading teacher, speaker, writer, and creative voice in the reimagination and revitalization of Jewish life. Recently, she was invited to become a member of the Senior Rabbinic Faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute.
She is married to Andi Lewittes and is the mother of four children and stepmother of two.
Rabbi Lewittes joins BJ as a part-time interim rabbi. She will be teaching, providing pastoral counseling and life cycle support, leading Shabbat services monthly, and helping to unfold the Jewish Home Project. Rabbi Lewittes will be in the BJ office on Mondays and Thursdays and one Shabbat a month.
Hazzan Ari Priven
Hazzan Priven plays a principal role in shaping BJ’s musical approach to prayer, which has become a model for synagogues across the country and around the world.
A composer, he has produced and performed in several recordings of BJ’s music, including With Every Breath (The Music of Shabbat), HaLailah Hazeh: The Music of Pesah at BJ, and TekiYah, Echoes of the High Holy Days at BJ.
Inspired as so many were by The Invitation to Piyut—North America conference, Hazzan Priven also helped produce recordings of piyutim (liturgical poems).
Hazzan Priven was born in Argentina, where he trained under the late Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer. After earning a Master’s degree from the Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, he joined his mentor, Rabbi Meyer, and Rabbi Matalon at B’nai Jeshurun in 1989, where his musical influence helped revitalize the community.
Hazzan Priven lives in New York City with his wife, Nina Priven, MD, and their three children.