Rabbi Matt Carl
Rabbi Matt Carl was born and raised in Long Beach, California. He graduated from
Vassar College with Honors in 2000, majoring in religion and minoring in environmental geography, and from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and Machon Schechter in 2008, where he specialized in Talmud and Rabbinics. While at JTS he trained as a chaplain at Sloan Kettering Medical Center. For several years, he was the day-to-day rabbi for 150 families at Brooklyn’s Congregation Mount Sinai, where he created programs for the younger generation and unaffiliated Jews. He co-founded the Brooklyn United Jewish High School Program with several other local synagogue educators, and created the Brooklyn Bridge Community Supported Agriculture program. He also served as rabbi of Battery Park Synagogue and also as Director of Community Engagement at Hazon. Rabbi Carl has been EMJC’s Rabbi since July 2014.
Cantor Sam Levine
Cantor Sam Levine has been EMJC’s Cantor since 2004. He was born in Jerusalem, raised in Toronto, Canada, and spent a decade in California’s Monterey Bay area before moving to New York. He graduated from H.L. Miller Cantorial School and the Seminary College of Jewish Music at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. His musical interests are diverse: he is an aficionado of traditional Jewish liturgical music, plays in a Ladino ensemble, and has played in various folk-rock-country groups. He directs EMJC’s Chorus, composes and arranges music for the synagogue, and writes and records original songs. He is currently studying for rabbinical ordination at the
Academy for Jewish Religion. Cantor Levine lives in Brooklyn with his wife Courtney and his sons Micah and Matan.
Rabbi Emeritus Dr. Alvin Kass
Rabbi Emeritus Dr. Alvin Kass was the spiritual leader of EMJC for 36 years until his retirement in 2014. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in History from Columbia University, and a B.H.L. and M.H.L. from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he also received rabbinical training. He earned a Ph.D in History and Philosophical Foundations of Education from New York University. Besides graduating Summa Cum Laude and being the Class Salutatorian of his undergraduate class at Columbia, he was also a Quackenbush Foundation
Scholar and a Harry J. Carman and National Woodrow Wilson Fellow. Rabbi Kass was appointed to the New York City Police Department in 1966, making him the most tenured chaplain in the NYPD. In 2002 he was promoted to Chief Chaplain. He teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and lectures at Temple Emanuel’s Skirball Center. He is the author of Politics in New York State, 1800-1830 (Syracuse University Press, 1965).
Assistant Cantor Julia Ostrov
Assistant Cantor Julia Ostrov is a soprano who studies classical voice and the art
of davvenen’ leadership. Julia serves on occasion as ba’alat tefillah at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, where she has been singing Jewish music for almost a decade under the musical direction of Joyce Rosenzweig. Currently Julia is a participant in ALEPH’s Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute, an experiential program that explores the practice and process of communal prayer and ritual. She also performs in REVIVAL, a spiritual folk-rock music show with themes of justice and healing. Julia holds a Masters in Social Work from Hunter College and a Bachelor of Arts from
Brown University (Comparative Literature). She grew up in Long Island, NY, and lives in Brooklyn with her wife, Kristen.
Education Director Audrey Korelstein is a specialist in Jewish education and creates childhood and family programming in New York. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University, magna cum laude, and a Master of Arts from The City University of New York, Hunter College (Anthropology and Archaeology). She was a Lipsey Scholar, a scholarship recipient from the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women, and she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.
Shira Felberbaum, LMSW
Shira Felberbaum, LMSW, works for The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services and serves as EMJC’s dedicated Social Worker. Shira earned her two graduate degrees from NYU, the first in Social Work and the second in Strategic Human Resource Management and Development. Before changing professions, Shira spent over 10 years in financial services working at MetLife as an internal consultant leading interdisciplinary teams and providing program and/or project management services to many departments. Shira earned her undergraduate degree from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, where she focused on psychology. Shira was born and raised in New York City.