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 Rabbis Bronstein and Sol now lead a vibrant, diverse community of 1,700 households.
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, and the New Israel Fund.
Rabbi Matalon is a founding co-director of Piyut North America, a partnership between B’nai Jeshurun and Hazmanah Le-Piyut in Israel. A member of the New York Arabic Orchestra, he plays the ‘ud (Arabic lute). Rabbi Matalon is married and has two daughters.
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. He has launched many initiatives in the area of Jewish mindfulness (including retreats to Costa Rica), established services for the special needs population, and hosted community building salons. He is among the early participants of the Ecovilla, a model for sustainable living in Costa Rica.
He is father to three daughters and two stepsons and is married to Karina Zilberman.
Rabbi Felicia L. Sol
Rabbi Sol has served as a rabbinic leader 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.
Hazzan & Music Director Ari Priven
Hazzan Priven is also our Music Director, and plays a large part in creating the rousing melodies that bring everyone at our services to their feet! 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).
The third member of BJ’s Argentinean trifecta, Hazzan Priven trained under the late Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer. After earning a Masters degree from the Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, he joined his mentor Rabbi Meyer at B’nai Jeshurun, where his musical influence helped revitalize the community and drew admirers from all over New York City and beyond.
Hazzan Priven lives in New York City with his wife, Nina Priven, MD, and their three children.