Young Israel President Stepping Down, Rabbi Lerner To Take Six-Month Sabbatical


young-israel-dinnerThe National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) today announced a series of changes to its organizational structure after its current President and Chairman of the Board each informed the organization at a recent board meeting that they will be stepping aside at the end of this month to pursue other interests.

For the past 100 years, the National Council of Young Israel has ably served the broader Jewish community. With more than 25,000 member families, and over 200 branch synagogues, the NCYI is a central agency, which provides religious, educational, Zionistic, social, and communal programming for all its member synagogues and their affiliated families.

Pursuant to the NCYI Constitution, in the event of a vacancy in the office of the president, the 1st Vice President ascends to the position of president, and upon the vacancy of an executive board position, such as Chairman of the Board, that vacancy gets filled through an act of the NCYI Executive Board.

steven-z-mostofskyNCYI President Shlomo Z. Mostofsky, a New York-based attorney who has served as the NCYI president since 2000, announced that he will be stepping down from his post at the end of this month. After nearly a dozen years at the helm of the Young Israel Movement, Mostofsky, who is a fourth generation “Young Israelite,” chose to step down from the board in order to spend more time with his family and to place a renewed focus on his law practice and other professional pursuits.

“After nearly twelve years as president of an international organization that works every single day to improve the lives of Jews throughout the United States and Israel, I have decided that it is time for me to spend more time with my family and to once again devote myself to my law practice and professional career,” said Mostofsky. “It has been a distinct privilege and a true honor to serve as the president of an organization that helped shape Torah-true Judaism in the United States and played an integral role in the growth of American Jewry over the past century. I am proud of all that we have accomplished on behalf of our branch synagogues and their members, and I am confident that the National Council of Young Israel will continue providing outstanding programmatic support and services to the greater Jewish community in the months and years ahead.”

Assuming the presidency of the National Council of Young Israel will be Eli Dworetsky, its current 1st Vice President. Dworetsky, a New York-based CPA who holds an advanced degree in accounting and taxation, like Mostofsky, his family has multi-generational involvement with the Young Israel Movement. In addition to serving as an Executive Board Member of the NCYI and Dinner Chairman for a number of years, Dworetsky has served as the President of the Young Israel of North Woodmere, New York, and as an Executive Board Member of the Young Israel of Staten Island, New York. Dworetsky, an ardent supporter of the State of Israel, has led many missions to Israel on behalf of the National Council of Young Israel, where he has met with Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Chief Rabbis of the Jewish State.

“I am very much looking forward to doing all that I can to help build on the successes of the National Council of Young Israel of the past one-hundred years and working to further expand and enhance the Young Israel Movement as it embarks on its second century,” said Dworetsky. “By continuing to focus on our branch synagogues and remaining receptive to their needs and concerns, we will continue strengthening our relationships with our members across the United States and Israel. The National Council of Young Israel is going to work diligently to keep embracing Jewish communal needs and focusing on the issues that affect the greater Jewish community.”

NCYI Chairman of the Board Rabbi Jonah Gewirtz also announced that he will be stepping down from his post. Rabbi Gewirtz, who is the Senior Advisor of the Star-K Kosher Certification Agency in Baltimore, Maryland, is a well-respected pulpit rabbi, having served congregations in Bridgeport and Waterbury, Connecticut; New Orleans, Louisiana; and, at present, the Young Israel of White Oak in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Stepping into the role of NCYI Chairman of the Board will be Sheldon Schreiner of Plainview, New York. Schreiner is a past President of the former Young Israel of San Jose, California, and a three-term past President of the Young Israel of Plainview, New York. He was a member of the NCYI Board of Directors before assuming his current position of Financial Secretary. Schreiner is a retired engineering manager from KeySpan with a Master’s Degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Certificate in Philosophy in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle.

rabbi-pesach-lerner1The National Council of Young Israel also announced that NCYI Executive Vice President Rabbi Pesach Lerner will be taking a “six-month sabbatical for special projects.” Rabbi Lerner, who has served in his current role for the past twenty years, is primarily responsible for the rebirth and rejuvenation of the National Council of Young Israel, and for taking the Young Israel Movement beyond the synagogue and bringing it to the broader Jewish community. Rabbi Lerner has also been at the forefront of numerous key Jewish issues and causes over the years, including the ongoing effort to free Jonathan Pollard, and ensuring the safety and security of the land of Israel and its citizenry. In addition to his rabbinic ordination and rabbinic degrees, Lerner has advanced certificates and degrees in not-for-profit management, a master’s degree in education, and a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

“After much deliberation and consultation with the National Council of Young Israel’s executive leadership, and with approval from the board of directors, I have decided to take a ‘six-month sabbatical for special projects’ from the organization so that I can fully focus my efforts and energy on a number of critical and pressing issues that face the Jewish community and the State of Israel,” said Rabbi Lerner. “It is not my intention to break free from the organization that I have dedicated my life to for the past twenty years; rather, my goal is to spend the next six months working with the people and communal leaders with whom I have established close working relationships over the past two decades solely for the betterment of the Jewish community and the State of Israel.”

To ensure the continuity, the organization has elevated Rabbi Bini Maryles, Senior Director of Branch Services, to the additional position of Associate Executive Director to assume the primary responsibility of maintaining the day-to-day operations of the organization over the next six months.

“During his time at Young Israel, Rabbi Maryles has demonstrated a strong commitment to ensuring that there are vibrant synagogues in communities all across the United States, and he has worked diligently together with the NCYI staff, its branch synagogues, and their leadership in an ongoing effort to achieve that goal,” said Mostofsky.

Rabbi Maryles, a resident of North Woodmere, New York and a lifelong “Young Israelite,” received his rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in secondary education.

Previously, Rabbi Maryles had the distinction of serving as the Rabbi of the Young Israel of North Woodmere, New York and as the Director of Synagogue Services of the Orthodox Union. Rabbi Maryles also served as a member of the Judaic Studies faculty at Ramaz Middle School.

Mr. Dworetsky pledged that the National Council of Young would continue to service its branch synagogues and Klal Yisrael while remaining devoted to its Torah-true values.

{Noam Newscenter}