May 26, 2024
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Bergenfield’s Daniel Kaminetsky Joins Agudath Israel as General Counsel

With a 22-year track record of excellence in the legal profession in New York City, Daniel Kaminetsky appeared to be on track to building his entire career in law firms. Most recently he was principal at Offit Kurman, P.A., a full-service firm in New York with a 30-year history. Previously, he was a founding member of Snitow Kaminetsky Rosner & Snitow, LLP, and before that he was a senior associate for 14 years at Snitow Kanfer & Holtzer, LLP.

Daniel Kaminetsky at work at The Agudah.

However, Kaminetsky decided to step off the fast track of legal industry leadership and, instead, move into the Jewish communal field. In June the Agudath Israel of America announced the appointment of Kaminetsky as their general counsel.

In his new position, Kaminetsky interacts daily with national staff in Agudath Israel’s 11 regional offices and their D.C. office regarding federal affairs, advising them on a variety of legal issues. He also advises individuals and yeshivot on religious freedom concerns. He finds “the breadth of Agudath Israel’s work to be truly incredible.”

Asked what prompted him to decide to change the course of his career, Kaminetsky shared with The Jewish Link that “my family has a rich history of working for and within the Jewish community.” He pointed to his grandfather, Rabbi Dr. Joseph Kaminetsky, z”l, who served for decades as the national director of Torah Umesorah. In that capacity, he traveled around the country to help set up day schools in both “out of the way” places like Savanna, Georgia and Portland, Oregon and in coastal urban areas more associated with observant Jewish life.

Kaminetsky’s father, Rabbi David Kaminetsky, was a Jewish educator who served as a faculty member at the Frisch School, principal of the Moriah Day School and Manhattan Day School, and associate principal for 16 years at what is now the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey in River Edge. His mother, Suri, also taught at the Frisch School, and his three siblings and their spouses all teach in or run Jewish communal institutions. Jewish communal work can be seen as the family business.

Kaminetsky is also no stranger to Jewish organizational life himself, having served in a variety of leadership capacities in the community. He is a past president of his shul in Bergenfield, Congregation Beth Abraham, and is currently a board member of the Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck. He has served on a number of other yeshiva boards and fundraising committees as well.

The Kaminetsky family.

He expressed particular pride in his long-standing involvement in the Nusach Sefard minyan at Congregation Beth Abraham, and is pleased that the shul brought in Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Weinberg as the mashpia (spiritual mentor) of the synagogue.

In addition to his family background and his communal involvement as a lay leader, Kaminetsky’s legal career enabled him to take on a few cases that had direct bearing on Jewish communal life. He was counsel to the Vaad of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway, which faced a defamation lawsuit from a restaurant whose hashgacha was not locally supported. The lawsuit was dismissed in March 2022. At another point, his firm was hired by the board of directors of a Jewish communal organization that was conducting an internal investigation of alleged improprieties by an employee; Kaminetsky provided legal support for this investigation.

Though he’s been in the position at Agudath Israel for nearly a month, Kaminetsky has already been called on to comment publicly on a Supreme Court decision with major ramifications on workplace protections for religious freedom. The Court’s ruling in late June on the Groff v. DeJoy case centered on an Evangelical Christian who faced disciplinary action at the United States Postal Service for refusing to work on Sundays for religious reasons. Setting aside rulings from earlier decisions, the Supreme Court’s decision interpreted the “undue hardship” limit on workplace accommodations for religious freedoms to be defined as “substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct” of the business.

Kaminetsky stated publicly that the Supreme Court decision “will undoubtedly have a direct impact on countless individuals who will enjoy greater protection in the workplace as a result.” He added, for The Jewish Link: “Indeed, I have seen the positive effect of this ruling already in the change of tune from some employers that are relaxing their previous unwillingness to accommodate requests for time off for the Sabbath and holidays.”

Kaminetsky is anchored by the support of his family. His wife, Heather, is a fashion executive. Their oldest daughter is married, lives in Queens, and is starting a graduate Ph.D. program in psychology at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology of Yeshiva University. Their second daughter just graduated Naaleh High School for Girls and in the fall will be going to Sha’alvim for Women in Israel. Their third child, a son, just graduated from Yeshivat Noam and will start TABC in the fall.


Harry Glazer is the Middlesex County editor of The Jewish Link. Occasionally he gets invited to cover news in Bergen County as well. He can be reached at [email protected]

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