Our Kollel Family


 

Rabbi Yehuda Shor, Director of Outreach

Rabbi Ephraim Weiss, Kollel Adjunct, Rabbi of MAKOR, Scottsdale

Rabbi Weiss was born and raised in New York City and studied in some of Israel’s prestigious institutions including Mir Yeshiva and Torah Ohr in Jerusalem under the late R’ Chaim P. Scheinberg zt’l. R’ Weiss received Rabbinic ordination from Rav Zalman N. Goldberg of the Jerusalem Bet Din. He has vast Kollel experience both in Israel and America; most recently, he started an outreach Kollel in Jacksonville, Florida.

Rabbi Weiss is known for his inspirational classes, speaking on various topics in Halacha and Hashkafa. He has helped many on their path of growth in life and Judaism. When not busy studying or running after his six children, R’ Weiss enjoys exercise, cycling and the great outdoors.


 

ALUMNUS/PAST LEADERSHIP

We are most proud of our Alumni who have gone on to serve the Jewish Community. Their lasting contributions to the Jewish Community in general, and in our community in particular, are a source of nachas and satisfaction. Each alumnus and their families helped in their own unique way in our kollel to meet the most basic of our goals: Building Jewish Community Through Learning. Indeed, they excelled at this and much more!

 

 

 

 

Past Leadership

Rabbi Dovid & Mimi Gonsky, Torah Day School

Hailing from both the East and West Coasts, Rabbi Dovid and Mimi Gonsky have crossed many bridges on their path to the sunshine and Torah of the Phoenix Community Kollel. Raised in California by a Rabbi and a microbiologist, Rabbi Gonsky went on to study at several of the most illustrious Talmudic academies in North America and Israel, developing into a well-rounded, learned scholar.  He received his Rabbinic ordination from the prestigious Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, New Jersey. Equipped with his dynamic personality, thirst for knowledge, and desire to help others, Dovid has participated in a New Jersey based Talmudic mentoring program, and graduated from the Ner L’elef Community Leadership Fellowship and the Touro College Young Israel Rabbinical Program.  

Although originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Mimi’s roots are not new to Phoenix. Her grandfather, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Chaykel Shifrin, served as the Rabbi of the Phoenix Jewish Community until 1972. Mimi’s thoughtful nature, keen focus, and excellent rapport with people of all backgrounds has led to her success both in teaching and her current position as a senior product consultant for Quality Bath, a high-end purveyor of household fixtures. Avid fans of the Arizona Cardinals, astronomy, and pepper crusted steaks, Rabbi Gonsky, his wife Mimi, and their children Eliezer, Shmuel, Chaya, and Sara Rochel enjoy serving Shabbos guests their signature cuisine that includes everything but gefilte fish and matzah balls.

Rabbi Gonsky is now teaching in Torah Day School, leading the 8th Grade boys in their growth in Torah and Avodah.

Rabbi Don & Dina Bacharach

Rabbi Bacharach studied at a number of the most prestigious Talmudic academies in Israel and America.  He received his Rabbinic ordination from Kollel La’asukai Shma’atsa in Jerusalem.  With his warmth and care for all, Rabbi Bacharach welcomes everyone to enjoy broadening and strengthening their Jewish identity and knowledge.  He enthusiastically taught a wide spectrum of Jewish knowledge ranging from advanced to beginner levels.

Dina, originally from Baltimore, MD, is an educator with over ten years of experience in both Judaic and General studies, ranging from young children through adults.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Education, Curriculum and Development from California State University, Bakersfield.  Dina lead the TLC program, Mother & Daughter Holiday events and BNOS with her fun and creative personality. 

Together, with their adorable children, they enjoy sharing Shabbos with many guests, their chicken soup is known to taste heavenly! 

They moved back to Baltimore in 2017.

Rabbi Zvi Holland, Senior Kashruth Administrator, Star-K

 

In 2001 Rabbi Holland arrived in Phoenix to begin his tenure as Rosh Kollel. His arrival coincided with an unprecedented growth spurt in Jewish community, which to no small measure can be credited to him. His dedication to community, the Orthodox Rabbinical Council, the Eruv, and to rendering practical halachic rulings has left a permanent mark on the Valley. 

If you are lucky, you can still catch a glimpse of Rabbi Holland on one of his repeated visits to Phoenix to facilitating Gittin – Jewish Divorce proceedings. 

Rabbi Holland hails from the “Jerusalem of the Poconos” Scranton, PA. Educated in the U.S. and Israel, Rabbi Holland was ordained by the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem and a member of the Council of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Rabbi Holland has an infectious personality, an intelligent style, and a delicious recipe for every occasion. 

In 2011 he and his wife Sima moved to Baltimore where they maintain a brood of exclusively red-headed children in an environment of frenetic enthusiasm and well-fed guests.

Kollel Alumni

Rabbi Daniel & Yael Abramowitz

 

Daniel was born in Monterey, California and the son of a rabbi. His father, an army chaplain, and gave him the opportunity to experience frontier Judaism in the twentieth century. He was raised primarily in Elizabeth, New Jersey, studied at Torah V’Daath and Mir in Jerusalem AND he is also a CPA.

Yael hails from Brooklyn and studied at Prospect Park and at Meor Bais Yaakov. She has worked as a teacher, administrator and camp director for various special education organizations in Brooklyn and is a graduate of Long Island University with an MA in Special Education.

The Abramowitzes now reside in Israel.  

Rabbi Elimelech and Chani Adler

Both hailing from Brooklyn, NY, the Adlers joined the Kollel in 2004. Rabbi Adler headed JSU- Jewish Student Union clubs in Valley High Schools and helped found JAC spending incredible amounts of time wearing out I-10 to Tucson. Rabbi Adler enhanced the community with his fiery Divrei Torah and musical talents as a Chazzan and an instrumentalist performing and Simchas to the delight of everyone.

While living in Phoenix, Chani taught at the Phoenix Hebrew Academy and changed the lives of every student she welcomed into her classroom.

Rabbi Yakov and Esther Bronsteyn

Rabbi Bronsteyn is one of four of the Kollel’s "Founding Fathers”. He was raised in Lawrence, New York.  While studying in both the US and Israel, Rabbi Bronsteyn earned a Bachelors in Economics from Queens College and was ordained as a Rabbi at Yeshiva Mercaz Hatorah in Jerusalem. As a well seasoned senior lecturer, he offers popular public classes in the community and other venues Valley-wide. Many of his lectures are available online at www.bronsteyn.org.

As a recognized expert in Jewish Law, Rabbi Bronsteyn serves as the West Coast Director of Supervision for the world renowned Star-K Kosher Certification Service. Rabbi Bronsteyn’s responsibilities include maintaining STAR-K kashrus standards throughout the Western United States and Mexico for wide array of products from baked good to pharmaceutical.
Esther was born in Jerusalem and grew up in Oak Park, Michigan, where she attended Bais Yaakov for 12 years. She studied for one year at Machon Devorah seminary in Israel and received her teacher's certification there. Mrs. Bronsteyn, a student of the arts, puts her creative talent to direct community choirs and plays. She has taught a variety of classes for the Kollel and studied one-on-one with women over the past 15 years. Esther has taught art, P.E.and music at local Jewish schools. She also volunteers for several organizations including Sinai Mortuary, Shabbat Project, and local boys' and girls' Jewish high schools.
Esther enjoys spending time with her husband Yakov and their six children in the great outdoors, hosting guests for Shabbos and holidays and cooking nutritious foods.
Rabbi Bronsteyn can be reached at yaakov.bronsteyn@gmail.com.

Rabbi Jordan and Risa Brumer, Jewish Arizonans on Campus (JAC)

 

Rabbi Brumer studied at Yeshiva Ner Israel in Baltimore, as well as receiving a Master of Education at Johns Hopkins U. Rabbi Brumer was recruited to be the head of the Kollel’s college outreach division, commuting to Tucson several times a week to run programs and shabbatons at the U of Arizona Hillel. With his success JAC-Jewish Arizonans on Campus grew to be a full time college outreach initiative at both Arizona State University and University of Arizona in Tucson.

Rabbi Brumer lives in Scottsdale with his wife Risa, who is also active with JAC. They are the parents of four adorable children and the hosts of one of the most popular Shabbos tables in Arizona.

Learn more about JAC at www.myjac.org   

 

 

Rabbi Baruch and Elinor Cohen, Rabbi of Sha’arei Tzion Ohel Bracha

 

The Cohen’s arrived in Phoenix from Israel to accomplish the impossible. Recruited after a worldwide search in 2003 to reach out to the burgeoning Bucharian Jewish population in the Valley, They have presided together over a revolution. Since their arrival there has been a veritable renaissance of Judaism in their community. With unwavering commitment and boundless enthusiasm they have inspired growth and change. Today the Bucharian Jews are a major part of Jewish life in town and their presence is felt throughout the Valley and the Cohen’s have infused them with the spirit of Torah. Rabbi Cohen serves as the Chief Rabbi of The Shaarei Tzion Ohel Bracha Phoenix Bucharian Jewish Community.

They live in Phoenix with their daughter Ruty.

 

 

Rabbi David and Ziva Fleshitiyev

 

The Fleshitiyev’s arrived in 2004 to head a new Bucharian shul on the “West Side”. After studying in Israel, they had already spent a few years in Tashkent, Uzbekistan serving their community there. Seeing so many of their brethren moving to Phoenix they did so as well and we were enriched while they were here. Rabbi David an accomplished “Shochet” -Ritual Slaughterer and Certified Mohel served the Bucharian community for over three years reaching out to families across the Valley. His direct style and oratory skills impacted everyone he encountered.

The Fleshitiyevs now reside in New York.

 

 

Rabbi Shlomie and Sari Gelber

 

The Gelbers arrived in 2002 from Israel. Rabbi Gelber, originally from Queens, N.Y. studied in the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Sari from Fair Lawn, NJ is a graduate of Stern College and ASU. They taught at the Phoenix Hebrew Academy and were a part of the Kollel family for five years focusing on reaching out to children developing their love for Judaism and Torah learning.

In 2006 they joined the founding group of the Kollel of South Florida where Shlomie serves as the Director of Outreach.

 

 

Rabbi Tzvi and Dvora Gershbaum

 

The Gershbaums brought a great deal of zest for Torah life with them as they moved west from Lakewood, NJ. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Tzvi was filled with a love of Torah and all Jews from his early years of diligent study in the yeshiva in Twin Rivers, New Jersey. From there, he traveled all the way to Eretz Yisroel to further enhance his Talmudic prowess under the guidance of Rav Asher Arieli in the Mir Yeshiva of Jerusalem. In addition to working the last five years to achieve Rabbinic Ordination in Lakewood, Tzvi has also worked towards and received two Bachelor’s degrees, and been an active participant in two mentoring programs.

Dvora grew up in Lakewood, NJ, and is passionate about passing on the beauty of Torah to the next generation. She attended Bnos Sara Teacher’s Seminary in Jerusalem, and has been a sought-after educator ever since. She has many years of experience as a preschool Morah, reading specialist, and head of a local day camp.

The Gershbaums now reside in Lakewood N.J.

 

 

Rabbi Gavriel & Gittel Goetz, Dean of Yeshiva High School of Arizona

 

The Goetz family joined us from Lakewood, New Jersey.

Gavriel Goetz was born in Jerusalem and lived in the West Bank for eight years before moving to Baltimore, MD. A graduate of Yeshiva Ner Israel, and Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ. Gavriel is a published author with a series of articles on some of the more difficult areas of Talmudic Law. In his spare time, he also enjoys playing basketball.

His outgoing and warm personality and his tremendous desire to contribute to the community prompted him to found Yeshiva High School of Arizona together with Rabbi Yossie Semel In 2010. He currently serves as Head of School.

Gittel was also born in Jerusalem and lived in South Bend, Indiana, Cleveland, Ohio and Monsey, New York before settling with her husband in New Jersey. A graduate of Touro College with a B.A. in psychology, Gittel taught Hebrew School for four years. She is a professional graphic designer.

Learn more about Yeshiva High School of Arizona at www.azyeshiva.org

 

 

 

Rabbi Dovid and Shira Goldman

 

Rabbi Dovid Goldman, a native of Philadelphia, was ordained at Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore. He earned a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from USC in Los Angeles, went on to graduate from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, and is a member of the Bar in the State of Maryland.

Rabbi Dovid Goldman coulda’ been a lawyer. He also could have been a philosopher (though law definitely pays better!). But his heart tugged him back to Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, even after finishing law-school, because there’s no substitute for the rigor of Torah learning. 

Joining the Kollel’s founding group in May of 2000, Shira served as the administrator of the Kollel from the first day. Even with all of the responsibility they had the creative juices flowed freely from this couple of the Kollel’s original ‘Fab Four’, from magazines to election-themed Sheva Berachos. 

In 2008, the Goldmans moved back to Baltimore.

 

  

Rabbi Yaakov & Rivky Gruenebaum

Rabbi Yaakov and Rivky Gruenebaum both hail from Monsey, NY.  Rabbi Gruenebaum studied in Israel at the Ner Moshe Yeshiva as well as in Beth Medrash Gevohah in Lakewood, NJ.  Rabbi Gruenebaum’s oft repeated line, “There’s a way to do everything,” is indicative of the way in which he always seems ready to roll up his sleeves and get a job done - whatever it may be!  His joy is to study Torah with others, no matter how challenging a topic may seem.  

Rivky Gruenebaum holds a Masters degree in Special Education from Daeman College, and she was a teacher in SCHI, a school for Jewish children with developmental delays in Lakewood, NJ. Her vibrant upbeat personality makes her a beloved teacher and one who has a wide circle of friends. The Gruenebaums are parents of their children, Rochel and Asher Zelig.

Rabbi Raphael Landesman, Dean of Shearim Torah High School for Girls, former Rabbi of Ohr Hatorah 

Cindy Landesman, Shearim High School for Girls

Rabbi Landesman is one of the founding members of the Phoenix Community Kollel, having moved with his family to the Valley from Israel 2001. An alumnus of Yeshiva Ner Israel in Baltimore and the Mir yeshiva in Jerusalem, he received ordination from a member of the Council of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He has served as advisor to the local chapter of the NCSY teen group. Rabbi Landesman is the Head of School at Shearim Torah High School. Additionally since 2012 he has served as Rabbi of Ohr Hatorah he is a sought after halachic advisor and teacher of Bar Mitzvah students. His busy schedule revolves around a dogged commitment to advancing his own erudite Torah scholarship. He lives in Phoenix with his wife Cindy, his eight children, and his Pittsburgh Steelers championship gear.

Cindy has a master’s degree in speech therapy from the University of North Texas and is a graduate of Michlala College for Women. She earned her Certificate in Clinical Competence by working at a pediatric speech clinic in the Scottsdale area, and then moved on to Boswell Hospital in Sun City. Eventually, Cindy’s passion for community involvement took over and she left her position at Boswell to assume the position as the Director of Women’s Education for the Kollel. Cindy has expanded the educational and social programming available for women to now include day and evening classes, lunch-and-learns, semi-annual luncheons, Rosh Chodesh groups and one on one learning. A highlight of the women’s division is Phoenix Conference for Jewish Women which each year draws women from all over the valley.

Learn more about Shearim High School at www.shearimhighschool.org

Learn more about Ohr Hatorah at www.ohrhatorahphoenix.org

      

 

Rabbi Pinchas and Sara Nisanov, Rabbi of Sha’arei Tzion Ohel Bracha

 

Rabbi Pinchas and his family arrived in the Valley in 2004 to expand outreach to the younger members of the Bucharian Jewish Community. Together with his wife Sara they helped build a distinct community in North Phoenix where they now reside. Always ready with a nice word and a balanced approach to every issue he is now the Rabbi of Shaarei Tzion Ohel Bracha of North Phoenix where he and his family live. 

Sara founded Moked Tehillim which brings together hundreds of Bucharian women to pray for the welfare of the sick and destitute. Together they make time to raise their three beautiful daughters.

 

 

Rabbi Yossie & Baila Semel, Assistant Principal of Yeshiva High School of Arizona

 

The Semels arrived in the Valley from the holy city of Jerusalem, where they had lived since they married. Rabbi Yossie, originally from New York, has studied in Ner Israel of Baltimore and the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He has Rabbinic Ordination from the Rabbinic Court of Jerusalem, and becomes the first certified Mohel to join the Kollel faculty. 

In 2010 along with Rabbi Gavriel Goetz he founded Yeshiva High School of Arizona. He brings to the Yeshiva the warmth and enthusiasm necessary to motivate students toward reaching their potential in learning skills and knowledge.

Baila comes from Los Angeles and studied at the BYA Seminary in Jerusalem. She is our Administrator where she uses her prodigious administrative skills and accounting background to keep the Kollel running smooth on an even and organized keel. 

Learn more about Yeshiva High School of Arizona at www.azyeshiva.org

 

 

Rabbi Ariel and Ayala Shoshan, Rabbi, Ahavas Torah Scottsdale

 

Rabbi and Mrs. Shoshan arrived from Baltimore in 2002. Rabbi Shoshan a graduate of both Ner Israel Rabbinical College and the University of Maryland, and a former ice cream vendor for the Chicago Cubs. Ayala, a native of Atlanta and scion of a well-known Rabbinic family Studied in Israel and Maryland. 

Rabbi Shoshan served as the Kollel’s Director for five years during which time he led the Kollel’s efforts in North Scottsdale which became Ahavas Torah. He developed many programs became a major part of the Kollel calendar including Jewish Unity Live and The Abraham Samuel Friedman Distinguished Speaker Series. 

Since 2007 he has served as full time Rabbi of Ahavas Torah: Scottsdale Torah Center which due to his and Ayala’s leadership is a shining example of a growth community. 

Rabbi Shoshan is active on the Orthodox Rabbinical Council, Agudath Israel of America and has dedicated himself as a meaningful partner in the continued building of the Valley’s Jewish Community. 

For more information on Ahavas Torah go to www.ahavastorah.org

 

 

Rabbi Binyamin and Penina Teitelbaum, Program Director Cincinnati Kollel

 

The Teitelbaum family joined our community after spending five years in the holy city of Yerushalyim. Rabbi Teitelbaum grew up in the Five Towns, where he witnessed firsthand what it means to be committed to the Jewish community. Rabbi Teitelbaum’s father is the Rabbi of a large congregation, and both of his parents taught him the art of giving to others through their shining examples. He began his intensive Torah study in Yeshiva of Far Rockaway under R’ Moshe Brown, and then went to the great Mir Yeshiva in Yerushalyim, where he developed into a leading Talmudic student of the renowned Rav Asher Arieli. Rabbi Teitelbaum completed both the Vaad Chizuk and Ner L’Elef training programs in Yerushalyim, and is an experienced teacher and mentor for young adults. 

Penina is also a native of the Five Towns, and was also raised in a home that is dedicated to helping the Jewish people in whatever way they can. She is a multi-talented and dynamic teacher, holds a Master’s degree from the University of North Texas, and was a practicing mental-health professional at the Family Institute of Neve Yerushalyim. She is also an experienced teacher of assorted Jewish topics at both the high school and college levels. Penina was the Assistant Principal at Shearim Torah High School for Girls. 

The Teitelbaums currently reside in Cincinnati OH

 

 

Rabbi Nosson & Nechama Ungar, Torah Day School

The Ungars joined the Kollel from Lakewood, NJ. Nosson, a native of Philadelphia, PA, studied at the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, Yeshivas Kodshim in Yerushalyim, and Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood NJ, where he received his rabbinic ordination. Rabbi Ungar is an experienced and dynamic teacher, and is a graduate of both the Ner L’elef Community Leadership Fellowship and the Aish Dos Teachers Training programs.

Rabbi Ungar is currently teaching at Torah Day School of Phoenix, where he displays great talent and patience, as he helps our sons grow in their Torah and Yiddishkeit. Additionally he is the director for special projects at the school. 

Nechama was born and raised in Lakewood, NJ, and is a graduate of The Lakewood Teachers Seminary. Nechama founded Camp Shafto Mayim, and held the position of Director for 9 years. She is assistant girl’s principal in Torah Day School.  

The Ungars are thrilled to be part of our community, and to share the beauty of a Torah-lifestyle with their fellow Jews, through Torah study and a delicious Shabbos meals!

 

 

Rabbi Yonah and Ayala Wohlgelernter, Yeshiva High School of Arizona

 

Yonah and Ayala Wohlgelernter moved to Phoenix from the charming city of Baltimore. Rabbi Wohlgelernter grew up in La Jolla, California where his father is the Rabbi of Congregation Adat Yeshurun. His only regret from his childhood is not learning how to surf. He studied in a number of great Yeshivos, including Ner Israel, Lakewood, and abroad. He also studied for three years in the Community Kollel of Greater Washington/Olney. Rabbi Wohlgelernter has a Masters’ degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University, and has a real passion for teaching and Torah. He loves talking about the Chargers, food, and surfing. 

Rabbi Wohlgelernter is currently a Rebbi at Yeshiva High School of Arizona, where he continues teaching Torah with great skill and dedication.

Ayala was born, raised, and spent most of her life in Baltimore. After studying in Bais Yaakov of Baltimore and Bnos Chava Seminary of Jerusalem, she received her degree in accounting and was a practicing CPA for many years. Ayala loves to cook and bake, and entertain. 

The Wohlgelernters, relish entertaining in their burgeoning home their many Shabbos guests. 

Contact Rabbi Wohlgelernter via email at yonahw@aztorah.com.

 

 

Rabbi Moshe & Leah Wolin, Torah Day School

 

The Wolins joined us from the Torah capital of Lakewood, NJ. Born in Santa Clara, CA, Rabbi Wolin moved to Los Angeles at a young age. Rabbi Wolin began his rabbinic training at the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, where he studied under Torah greats, Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky Shlit”a and Rabbi Elya Svei ZT”L. He spent the last decade studying in Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, NJ, where he received advanced training in practical Halachic application. In addition, Rabbi Wolin holds a teaching certificate from the Aish Dos Teachers Training Institute, and spent three years mentoring in a Yeshiva for young adults.

Currently Rabbi Wolin is a super star Rebbi in Torah Day School, inspiring a new generation of children to Torah. 

Leah, a Lakewood native, holds a teaching diploma and a certificate in special education from Yavne Teachers’ Seminary. She spent seven years working as a teacher in a number of educational settings, and three years teaching at TDSP. 

Contact Rabbi Wolin at mwolin@aztorah.com.

 

 

Rabbi Shragi & Chana Yankelewitz, Yeshiva High School of Arizona 

 

Shragi Yankelewitz grew up in Philadelphia, graduated Yeshivath Beth Moshe of Scranton with highest honors and studied at the Mir Yeshiva of Jerusalem and Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood. He is a graduate of the Ner L’elef Community Leadership program and Aish Dos Teachers Training course. Shragi enjoys singing Carlebach and warm weather.

Originally from Monsey, N.Y., Chana Yankelewitz graduated Bnos Chava Seminary in Israel. She taught in Torah High Schools of San Diego, California and subsequently in Breuer’s in Manhattan. She founded and directed an interactive “Jewish Joy!” program at senior facilities in the Lakewood area. Chana taught at Shearim Torah High School, and enjoys meeting new people and milkshakes. 

Rabbi Yankelewitz is the 10th Grade Rebbi at Yeshiva High School of Arizona. 

Get in touch with Rabbi Yankelewitz by emailing him at syankelewitz@aztorah.com

Rabbi Viggy Lauer, Torah Day School

Rabbi Viggy Lauer was born in Denver and moved to Detroit when he was in Elementary school.  He went to high school in Yeshiva Gedola of Greater Detroit and continued his Talmudic studies there after High School. Rabbi Lauer attended Mir Yeshiva and graduated from Ner Le'elef community leadership and Jewish education training.  He lived in Jerusalem for five years and taught in the Center for Torah studies in Ohr Somayach of Jerusalem. He was an integral part of the latest Phoenix Community Kollel until   He now teaches in Torah Day School of Phoenix and studies in the kollel on a part time basis.