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Klei Kodesh

Rabbi Dovid Zirkind
Senior Rabbi
(O) 718.548.1850 x118

Rabbi Dovid Zirkind became the Senior Rabbi of The Riverdale Jewish Center in the summer of 2019. A native of Baltimore, Rabbi Zirkind spent two formative years of study at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh in Israel. From there Rabbi Zirkind continued his education at Yeshiva University. He holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and received Semicha/Rabbinic Ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.
From 2010-2012, Rabbi Zirkind served as an Avrech of the Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash of Toronto, studying full time in the Beit Midrash and served as Rabbinic Assistant at Shaarei Shomayim Congregation. In those roles, Rabbi Zirkind taught classes throughout the Greater Toronto Area and was privileged to train under a number of its leading Rabbis and educators.
Following his time in Toronto, Rabbi Zirkind became Assistant then Associate Rabbi of The Jewish Center in Manhattan. In that capacity, Rabbi Zirkind, taught throughout the Upper West Side, helped grow The Jewish Center’s Young Leadership division to two hundred strong and organized the Center’s Adult Education program and year-long Centennial Celebration. Together with his wife,  Ariella, the Zirkinds conducted highly sought-after personalized marriage workshops, including Chattan and Kallah classes and ongoing Taharat HaMishpacha and fertility counseling for young families.
Rabbi Zirkind is married to Ariella Zirkind, a Chicago native and graduate of Stern College for Women. Ariella holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College in Manhattan. She is a certified Kallah Teacher through the National Council of Young Israel and plays
an active role in our community. The Zirkinds are the proud parents of four young daughters - Amira, Gali, Kayla and Temima.

Rabbi Tzvi Benoff
Assistant Rabbi

Rabbi Tzvi Benoff, originally from Bergenfield, New Jersey, is a member of the Wexner Kollel Elyon at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), simultaneously pursuing Yadin Yadin Semicha in the Rabbi Norman Lamm Kollel L’horaa. He graduated from Yeshiva College with a Bachelor’s degree in Quantitative Economics and History, before which he studied for two years in Israel at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh. He holds an MA in International Political Economy from Fordham University. Rabbi Benoff is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and was awarded the UJA Graduate Fellowship as well. Rabbi Benoff previously served as Rabbinic Intern in Beth Shalom of Lawrence and Lincoln Square Synagogue, as a Kollel Fellow at the Frisch High School and is currently serving as Rabbinic Associate at Congregation Etz Chaim in Kew Gardens Hills.

Yoni Laub
Rabbinic Intern

Yoni Laub is originally from West Orange, NJ. After attending Torah Academy of Bergen County (TABC) for high school, he spent two years learning at Yeshivat Hakotel. Yoni received a BA in Psychology from Yeshiva University where he served as Student Organization of Yeshiva (SOY) President and learned in Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky’s Shiur. He has served as a fellow at Fuchs Mizrachi High School in Cleveland and as a Chinuch Head in Camp Morasha. Yoni is currently learning in the Semicha program at RIETS under Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz and works in Yeshiva University’s Chinuch Incubator. Yoni lives in the Einstein community with his wife, Leeba, who is a first year medical student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Chazzan Shimon Craimer

Chazzan Shim comes to us from London, England where he studied classical cantorial style with the Chief Rabbi.  He first came to the attention of the Riverdale Jewish Center as a Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur guest cantor.  Now, as the cantor of the RJC, Shim travels the country performing at various shuls, chagigahs, simchas, concerts and events. He has released 2 albums, the most recent of which earned him plaudits from the Jewish music world. Shim is married and has 4 kids, all of whom have 3 letter names.

Rivka Alter
Yoetzet Halacha
(C) 201.503.6597

Rivka Alter is a Tanach teacher from Bergenfield, NJ. She taught middle and high school students for fifteen years at the Denver Academy of Torah where she developed the high school Tanach curriculum. She is a Yoetzet Halacha and is currently completing her dissertation at YU’s Azrieli Graduate School in the area of problem based learning and Tanach. She has been involved in adult education in a variety of forums and formats. Her husband, Daniel, is head of school at the Moriah School in Englewood, New Jersey. They are parents to seven children, ranging in age from 19 to 4. 


Staff Members

Oren Hiller
Executive Director
(O) 718.548.1850 x113

Oren previously worked at the Mount Sinai Jewish Center in Washington Heights where he was Executive Director for nine years.  While at Mount Sinai Jewish Center Oren oversaw a one million dollar building renovation, received over $250,000 in Homeland Security security grants allowing for extensive security upgrades, introduced ShulCloud to MSJC, making MSJC one of the first 4 synagogues to use ShulCloud as their database. Oren is a ShulCloud power user and trainer. Oren and his wife Janis live in Fair Lawn, NJ, where Oren was President of Shomrei Torah for three years.  They have four daughters and five granddaughters.

Elana Kook and Adam Weisel
Youth Directors

Elana and Adam are truly excited and appreciative to be back as the Youth Directors for a second year! They are not strangers to youth programming, and they are so excited to channel their creativity and experience in this new role. Here's a fun fact: They even met at the RJC on their Bnei Akiva/Moshava "simcha-ton" in 9th grade! Adam grew up in Teaneck, NJ and was involved in the youth department in his shul, and was a camper, counselor, and division head at Moshava. He also was involved in community organizing and programming  in college at the University of Pennsylvania. Adam is currently pursuing his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at City College of New York. Elana is excited to return to her previous stomping grounds in Riverdale! She grew up attending and leading groups at the RJC. Elana also served as a counselor and division head at Moshava, and she facilitated the Kaytana program and worked at Moshava Ba'ir this past summer. Elana currently teaches at Naaleh High School for Girls and is the English Department Chairperson.

Efrat Malachi                                                                                                                                                                                                                Office and Events Coordinator                                                                                                                                                                        Email:                                                                                                                                                                               

Efrat is a Brooklyn native with Israeli-Yemenite roots. She is a Stern College graduate with a Bachelor's in Media Studies. She has been greatly involved in Jewish organizations like: NCSY, YACHAD, Camp HASC, and Oorah, and is excited to continue serving the Jewish community at the RJC. She has self-published a number of poetry books and strives to become a screenwriter and filmmaker one day. You can find Efrat at her desk ready to greet you with a friendly face and cup of coffee.

Rolando Rivera
Facilities Manager

Monday, June 24, 2024 18 Sivan 5784