Our Educators

Rabbis

Photo of Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon Rabbi

Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Upon ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1986, he came to B’nai Jeshurun to share the pulpit with his mentor and friend Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer. Together they transformed this declining synagogue into a revitalized congregation, dedicated to the work of education, social justice, and interfaith cooperation. Some recent classes he has taught include “Hakhanah laTefillah: Preparing for Prayer”, “Stories of the Talmudic Rabbis”, and “Engaging Israel: Foundations of a New Relationship”. Rabbi Matalon is a founding co-director of Piyut North America, a partnership between B’nai Jeshurun and Hazmanah Le-Piyut in Israel. View Rabbi Matalon’s full bio.

Photo of Rabbi Marcelo R. Bronstein Rabbi Marcelo R. Bronstein Rabbi

Rabbi Marcelo R. Bronstein was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1989.  After returning to Buenos Aires to teach, practice psychology, and establish a synagogue, he came back to New York to join the leadership of B’nai Jeshurun in 1995.  Rabbi Bronstein teaches classes about contemplative, mindful, and alternative prayer practices.  He is a founding member of the Ecovilla Project: A Model for Sustainable Living in Costa Rica and is the co-founder and adviser to the Hineni Foundation (which serves special needs children) in Santiago, Chile. He is also a member of the Rabbinic Advisory Board of Hebrew College in Massachusetts. View Rabbi Bronstein’s full bio.

Photo of Rabbi Felicia L. Sol Rabbi Felicia L. Sol Rabbi

Rabbi Felicia L. Sol was raised in Connecticut. While studying at HUC-JIR in New York, Rabbi Sol began her involvement with B’nai Jeshurun as the Family and Youth Director. In 2001, she joined her teachers in their rabbinic partnership. Rabbi Sol’s recent “Lunch and Learns” series have explored commentaries on the weekly torah portion and Hassidic texts of prayer. She also leads monthly discussions for women for Rosh Hodesh about a wide variety of topics. Rabbi Sol received the 2005 PaceSetter Award, and was honored as a Partner in Justice by Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps. She currently serves on the board of Bend the Arc. View Rabbi Sol full bio.

BJ Rabbinic Fellows

Photo of  Alex Braver Alex Braver BJ Rabbinic Fellow

Alex Braver grew up outside of Los Angeles, where he attended a small Jewish day school until 6th grade, and public schools thereafter. He graduated from Brandeis university with majors in history and politics. After college, he worked for a year as a fellow at a charter high school in Boston, where he tutored students in remedial English and math, and helped lead the school’s gay-straight alliance. He then studied for a year at Yeshivat Hadar in Manhattan before entering the rabbinical program at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Upon returning from a year of study at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem in 2013, he became a BJ Rabbinical Fellow, where he works with the daily minyan and teaches a class on Hassidut and the weekly Torah portion.

Photo of  Sarit Horwitz Sarit Horwitz BJ Rabbinic Fellow

Sarit Horwitz grew up in Kansas City, where she attended Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, a pluralistic Jewish day school. After spending the year in Israel with the Nativ College Leadership Program, Sarit moved to New York City to study  in the JTS’s Joint Program with Columbia University. She has served as a chaplain at Bellevue Hospital, worked as a rabbinic intern at Yale University’s Hillel, and has served as a rabbinic intern at Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago and Congregation Shir Chadash in New Orleans. In mid 2013, as a Wexner Graduate Fellow, Sarit began her fourth year in the Jewish Theological Seminary rabbinical school and started as a BJ Rabbinic Fellow working with conversion students and teaching the Introduction to Judaism class.

Photo of  Bryan Wexler Bryan Wexler Rabbinic Fellow for Youth and Family

Bryan Wexler is a Wexner Fellow and a second-year rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary with a passion for Jewish learning and working with people. Bryan graduated from Brandeis University in 2009 with a B.A. in Jewish Studies, Hebrew, and Philosophy. He then worked for two years as the Youth Director and Community Educator at Temple Aliyah, a Conservative synagogue in Needham, MA. Bryan and his wife, Rebecca, moved to New York in the summer of 2011.

Youth and Family Educators

Photo of  Ivy Schreiber Ivy Schreiber Director of Education, Youth and Family

Ivy Schreiber was born and raised in South Florida, where her formal Jewish education began in Hebrew school. It continued during summers at Camp Ramah in New England and Ramah Daron and USY. Following her graduation from Brandeis University, where she received a B.A. in Psychology, Ivy received a Master of Arts degree in Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she completed her practicum in synagogue education at Congregation Habonim. Ivy joined the B’nai Jeshurun team in 2006. For the first two years, she oversaw the B’nai Mitzvah Program, served as the Assistant Principal of the B’nai Jeshurun Hebrew School and supervised the Ozrim (teachers’ aides) program. Since 2008 Ivy has served as the Director of Education for Youth and Family at BJ, leading BJ’s Hebrew School and the Youth and Family Education team. In her spare time Ivy enjoys spending time with her family – her husband, David, and their sons Brady and Micah! She loves traveling, cooking, and curling up with her cats and a good book.

Photo of  Nina Loftspring Nina Loftspring Assistant Director of Education for Curriculum and Learning

Nina Loftspring, BJ’s first Assistant Director of Education for Curriculum and Learning, previously served as an educator with The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. In 2013, Nina received her Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York City. Before this, she worked in development on HUC-JIR’s Cincinnati campus, where she also started her graduate work by joining the HUC-JIR 2011 Year in Israel class, living and studying in Jerusalem. Nina is a 2009 graduate from Indiana University with a triple-major in Jewish Studies, History, and Non-Profit Management. She grew up in Cincinnati, where she attended Yavneh Day School through 8th grade, and was active in her synagogue and youth group. Nowadays, you can often find Nina drinking coffee in Central Park, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Photo of  Allison Kapusta Allison Kapusta Assistant Director of Education for Early Childhood

Allison Kapusta is originally from Long Island and is a graduate of Binghamton University. She recently completed her MA in Jewish Education at the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Allison completed her graduate school internship in the Center for Family Life at the JCC in Manhattan where she focused on Shabbat and holiday programs for infants and young children. She has spent many summers on staff at Camp Young Judaea Midwest in Wisconsin and previously worked in education and community engagement at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington, DC. As BJ’s first Assistant Director of Education for Early Childhood, Allison supervises our current programs and staff for families with young children, including Bim Bam, PJ Library and Children’s Services. Aside from Jewish education, Allison’s three favorite things are chocolate, post-it-notes and the New York Rangers.

Photo of  Ayala Wasser Ayala Wasser Teen Coordinator

Ayala Wasser was raised in Tampa, Florida where she received a formal Jewish education at the local Day School through 8th grade. As a teen she was active in United Synagogue Youth and spent her summers at Ramah Darom. She is a graduate from The Jewish Theological Seminary’s Joint Program between List College and Columbia University, where she received a Bachelor’s degree from The Jewish Theological Seminary in Midrash and from Columbia University in History. She is currently working to receive a Masters’ degree in Jewish Education from the Davidson School of Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Ayala has spent the past three years teaching 4th grade at B’nai Jeshurun Hebrew school. Ayala loves living in New York City, and enjoys traveling, basketball, being with friends, and working at camp.

Photo of  David Lieberman David Lieberman Teen Educator

David Lieberman is a native New Yorker, a life-long BJ member, and a graduate of Vassar College. He has been an educator at B’nai Jeshurun since 2005 and has been working with the BJ teens since 2010.  David has had a hand in piloting and developing curriculum for Moving Traditions’ national program for Jewish boys, Shevet Achim: The Brotherhood and has trained educators across the country to be Brotherhood group leaders. When not at B’nai Jeshurun, David works as a film editor for Flatbush Pictures.  His first film, the award winning documentary Magic Camp, is widely available on VOD and streaming platforms and he is hard at work on his second feature.