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Journal Dinner 2019 Bios

Rabbi Ezra and Dr. Rivka Press Schwartz
Rabbi Ezra and Dr. Rivka Schwartz have served for the last ten years as the Rabbi and Rebbetzin of Mount Sinai Jewish Center. Rabbi Schwartz came to Washington Heights to learn in Yeshiva University, from which he earned a bachelor's degree, Yoreh Yoreh semikha, master's degrees, and Yadin Yadin semikha. Dr. Schwartz came to Washington Heights by marrying Rabbi Schwartz, and in her first decade here completed her Ph.D. in the history of science. Their five children--Baruch, Hava, Bruria, Rina, and Yosef Dov--are Washington Heights born-and-bred. Rabbi Schwartz now serves as a Rosh Yeshiva at RIETS/Yeshiva University, teaching in the semikha program, as well as saying a Talmud shiur at Stern College for Women. Dr. Schwartz serves as an administrator and teacher at SAR High School in the Bronx. For ten years, the Schwartzes have found in Mt. Sinai Jewish Center a place of Torah and tefillah; community and conversation; warmth and fun. For those seeking to explore the wonders of Washington Heights beyond the corner of Bennett Avenue and 187th Street, they highly recommend The Little Red Lighthouse, Swindler Cove Park, and the High Bridge as favorite recreation spots.


Betty Ehrenberg
Betty Ehrenberg is the Executive Director of World Jewish Congress North America, which includes the United States, Canada, and Mexico. She previously served as Executive Director and Director of International Affairs and Communal Relations for the Institute for Public Affairs, the political action and public policy arm of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. Prior, she was  Executive Director of Dor Hemshech, the young leadership division of the World Zionist Organization; Bureau Chief for the Consul General of Israel in New York; Senior staff associate to the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York; and Liaison Officer for the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations. She has worked on many issues concerning Israel and the Middle East, the United Nations and other international organizations, racism and anti-Semitism, and on community, governmental, and interfaith relations. In 2004 she was appointed by the White House as a United States delegate to the OSCE Berlin Conference on Anti-Semitism, and as Advisor at the OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism and Racism in Cordoba, Spain. She was Chairperson of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations.

A graduate of City University of New York and Yeshiva University, Ms. Ehrenberg has an extensive background in Jewish education and speaks on a wide variety of issues of importance to the Jewish community and has written articles for Jewish publications.  


Nafi Schwarzenberger and Sarah Gordon
Sarah and Nafi have been living in Washington Heights since 2008 and 2013, respectively.  Sarah has served on the education, nominating and rabbinic contract committees, and as ombudsperson for the grievance committee. Her other skills involve avoiding parking tickets while checking the eruv by car and giving shiurim in the shul. Nafi sort of serves as head of the building committee and has worked on several sanctuary improvements (please refer any complaints about the carpet, parochet or cushions to the ombudsperson for the grievance committee). Sarah and Nafi have also both been on the MSJC Board of Trustees, with Nafi now completing his third year. They are appreciative of MSJC for creating a space where young professionals can take on leadership roles in the community, and of course, for helping them meet.  During non-shul hours, Sarah works as an educator and student activities director at Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School, and Nafi studies cats (and catastrophic events) as an actuary. Sarah and Nafi are inspired by the legacy of Rabbi Yehuda Hilewitz A"H and are greatly honored to receive the award bearing his name.


Rebecca Silver
Hailing from Toron-o, Canada, Penn grad Rebecca Silver joined the WaHi neighbourhood in the summer of 2017. Seeking a thriving, volunteer-driven shul, she set down roots at Mount Sinai. As a consistent 7:00 am shach attendee (7:30 when she's a little tired), Rebecca was soon poached to join the Gabbai committee. Along with her interest in creating a positive davening environment, her passion lies in building a warm and inviting community, which led her to co-spearheading the Welcoming committee for the past year (if you haven’t met her yet, she hopes to meet you soon and if you are new and haven’t received a welcome gift yet, please reach out to!). In addition to committee involvement, Rebecca currently serves on the Board of Trustees, where she enjoys thinking strategically about communal issues and making a broader impact on Mount Sinai. When she isn’t handing out lollipops as a shul greeter, she can be found working as a Category Specialist at Jet/Walmart eCommerce, exploring new spots in NYC or pouring over an Ottolenghi recipe. She is grateful to be honored with the Young Leadership Award and looks forward to continuing to contribute within the community.


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Thu, May 28 2020 5 Sivan 5780