May 28, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 28, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Teanecker Hezzy Jesin Appointed New Executive Director of The Riverdale Jewish Center

Riverdale—As Director of Student Life at Yeshiva University, Hezzy Jesin combined his training in social work and education to help students build the kind of community they wanted.  Now he’s bringing those skills to the Riverdale Jewish Center (RJC) in his new position as Executive Director. “I’m extremely pleased to be here,” Jesin told the Jewish Link. “I want to help members realize the potential of what they want their community to look like, what they want to create.”

Jesin, who lives in Teaneck with his wife and two children, sees his role as helping people get the most out of their membership in the RJC. “I’m looking forward to meeting members, get to know their needs and what can be done to address them,” he said.

The RJC is a bustling 600 family shul that is a “pillar of Modern Orthodoxy” in the area, with many learning opportunities for men and women. “Learning is valued here and I’m excited to be a part of that,” Jesin said. “For example, this week, Rabbi Yitzi Genack (son of Rabbi Menachem Genack of Englewood) is holding a siyum for members who have completed different masechtos to come together with a barbecue.”

The RJC is a community center as well as a shul. Next month, Rabbi Genack will partner with the UJA Federation in “Supplies for Success,” a program to fill backpacks with supplies for day school students in need.

“The RJC is a place to daven, learn and reach out to the community.

We’re more than a place for prayer,” Jesin said.

Jesin hopes to bring a strategic focus to the RJC, and “connect the lines” between programs. He will be meeting soon with Rabbis Rosenblatt and Genack, the lay leadership, and youth department to plot out events on the calendar and develop an annual approach. “It’s an exciting new initiative that will create a meaningful structure to our year-­round programming,” Jesin said.

Jesin is developing relationships with other executive directors throughout the New York metro area to capture best practices in the financial and operational realm of running the shul. He has met with the directors of the Hebrew Institute in Riverdale and Mt. Sinai in Washington Heights.

He has begun networking on a wider scale through the Orthodox Union’s Association for Executive Directors and looks forward to attending their annual conference.

Fostering relationships with city and state officials is another priority. “The RJC is privileged to have good relationships with representatives in government. These relationships are vital so the voice of the Jewish community is heard. Representative Engel is a good friend of the RJC and recently spoke at our annual dinner.”

Hezzy Jesin grew up in Toronto and received a degree from York University in education. A lifetime member of B’nei Akiva, Jesin worked in the national office and then pursued a Master’s Degree in social work from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University. He served as the Director of Student Life at YU for four years before joining the RJC.

The Jesins moved to the Teaneck area in 2009 to be near his position at YU and his wife’s work in Teaneck. Members of the Young Israel of Teaneck, Jesin said he loves the infrastructure in Teaneck that makes it possible to live a committed Jewish life, and the energy of the rapidly growing Young Israel with members of all ages engaged in shul activities. “Many of the social initiatives of the shul have really brought the community together and allowed for more entry points, and greater engagement, in more traditional forms of programming (learning opportunities, fundraisers, etc). I look forward to partnering with community members at the RJC in fostering a similar phenomenon that caters to the needs of the Riverdale community.”

By Bracha Schwartz

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles