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 prayer, learning, service, social justice, and interfaith cooperation.
After Rabbi Meyer’s death in 1993, Rabbi Matalon became BJ’s spiritual leader. He was joined by Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein in 1995 and by Rabbi Felicia Sol in 2001. With the support of Hazzan Ari Priven, Rabbis Matalon and Sol now lead a vibrant, diverse community of 1,800 households.
Rabbi Matalon’s visionary leadership has had a profound impact on the revitalization of Jewish synagogue life in the US and in Israel, his involvement in the New York, Jewish, and Israeli communities is broad and deep. He has received awards from the New York Board of Rabbis, the Jewish Peace Fellowship, the New Israel Fund, and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.
Rabbi Matalon is a founding co-director of Piyut North America, a partnership between B’nai Jeshurun and Hazmanah Le-Piyut in Israel, which is dedicated to the dissemination of liturgical music from Jewish communities around the world. A student of Arabic and Turkish music, Rabbi Matalon plays the oud (Arabic lute). Rabbi Matalon is married and has two daughters.