Rabbi Aaron Brusso

Rabbi Brusso is senior rabbi of Bet Torah, where he has led a vibrant and dynamic congregation of approximately 550 families in Northern Westchester since 2009. In addition to pastoring, preaching, teaching and leading in the Bet Torah community, Rabbi Brusso is an officer of the the Rabbinical Assembly, a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute and served as faculty for the Anti-Defamation League’s Bearing Witness program teaching Catholic school educators about Judaism and Antisemitism. During his time at Bet Torah, Rabbi Brusso has been a vocal supporter of immigration rights and was awarded the 2020 Human Rights Hero award from T’ruah.

Prior to joining Bet Torah, Rabbi Brusso served for nine years as rabbi at Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka, Minnesota. While in Minnesota Rabbi Brusso chaired the Minnesota Rabbinical Association and served on the Minneapolis Children’s Hospital Ethics Committee and on the boards of the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition and Jewish Community Action.

Rabbi Brusso received his ordination and master’s degree in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and bachelor’s degree in Political Science from American University. While in Washington he worked at the Supreme Court of the United States and interned on Capitol Hill for his congressman and senator. Rabbi Brusso has written articles featured in The Forward, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Slate and been featured in the Washington Post

He is married to Hana Gruenberg, who is the Managing Director of the Department of Jewish Life at UJA-Federation of New York, and they have three children, Sari, Zoe, and Ilan. Originally from Chicago, Rabbi Brusso is a Bulls fan, a loyal reader of Marilynne Robinson, and appreciator of fine craft beer.

Interim Cantor Ezring

Cantor Gil Ezring joins Bet Torah after moving to Westchester from Long Grove, IL where he served as cantor at Congregation Beth Judea since 2018. In addition to serving as shaliach tzibbur, leading the congregation in prayer, Cantor Ezring taught in the Beth Judea religious school, oversaw the B’nai Mitzvah program, empowered congregants of all ages to read Torah and participate in services, interfaced with Sisterhood and Men’s Club, mentored young musicians and led the synagogue band. 

With an extensive background in music of many styles, Cantor Ezring is an accomplished singer, songwriter and composer of contemporary Jewish music. He especially loves working with young families and children and has spent time as Mashgiach and B’nai Mitzvah tutor at Camp Ramah Darom and song leader & Music Director at Camp Zeke.

Cantor Ezring was a founding member of Rock HaRuach, a Jewish rock band based out of Charlotte, NC, where he grew up. In addition, Cantor Ezring and his sister, Aviva Ezring, write and perform as the Jewish musical duo, AGEz. He attended the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. 

 

Rabbi Lisa Sacks

As the Director of Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning, Rabbi Lisa Sacks helps individuals continue their Jewish journeys and find their place in our community.

Rabbi Sacks was ordained in 2020 from the Academy for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic seminary based in Yonkers. As a student she served both Conservative and Reform synagogues in a variety of roles, most recently as the student rabbi for Ohev Sholom Congregation, a Conservative community in York, PA. In recognition of her service and creativity during rabbinical school, she was awarded the AJR Community Service Award,  the Rabbi Chana Timoner Creative Liturgy Award and the AJR Student Leadership Award. She continues her association with AJR as an Adjunct Lecturer teaching about prayer.

Over the past ten years Rabbi Sacks developed a particular interest in contemplative practice and Mussar, a tradition within Judaism focused on developing one’s character traits as a spiritual practice. She was trained as a facilitator through The Mussar Institute and wrote her rabbinic thesis on Contemplative Practice in Jewish Community.

Prior to entering the rabbinate, Rabbi Sacks had a wide-ranging career in the public sector working in local, state and national politics, serving as an Assistant Commissioner for the City of New York, as the Executive Director of Beit Rabban Day School, and as the Chief Financial Officer of Hazon, the Jewish environmental organization. She has a BA in government from Cornell University and an MPA from Columbia University. She also spent a year learning at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies on a Dorot Fellowship.

Originally from Santa Cruz, Rabbi Sacks now lives in Hastings-on-Hudson with her two daughters.

Seth Young Executive Director

Seth brings a wealth of strategic, financial and operational experience from tenures at multiple Jewish organizations in Westchester County, NY, and Fairfield County, CT. Seth’s most recent position was as Associate Head of School at Carmel Academy (Carmel), a Jewish day school, in Greenwich, CT, overseeing Communications, Admissions and Development services. Seth also supported volunteer engagement while at Carmel, working closely with the Director of Facilities Management, supporting the Security Committee, engaging heavily with the Board of Trustees and as a strategic partner with the Head of School.

Prior to Carmel, Seth spent three years as a Development Executive at UJA-Federation of New York, cultivating relationships and supporting many campaigns and initiatives. Seth also spent time at Westchester Jewish Center (WJC), holding several roles in formal and informal education for multiple cohorts as an educator and administrator. Seth was the Assistant Principal of the Hebrew High School at Westchester Jewish Center (WJC) for 10 years, continuing in his role while working at UJA-Federation and at Carmel. Seth is also an active volunteer in his Jewish community in Stamford, CT.  Seth grew up in Syracuse, NY, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Bible Studies through a joint program at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

Mindy Citera

Mindy (Bailin) Citera has been the director of Bet Torah Nursery School since 2001 and has been a teacher in the religious school since 1995. She holds a Master’s degree in elementary education from Boston University and a Bachelor’s degree in English Education from SUNYAlbany.  She has taught at the college, high school, middle school and elementary school levels, as well as pre-school and parenting classes.  Mindy is the author of Around New York City with Kids, a Fodor’s Guide published by Random House. She has also written for numerous parenting magazines and newspapers over the last 30 years on parenting, education and children’s health. Mindy began teaching at her childhood synagogue in Bellmore, New York in 1970 and has worked in youth groups, religious schools, day schools, camps, and preschools in Long Island, Albany, Buffalo, Boston, Virginia, and Chappaqua before coming to Bet Torah.  Mindy and her husband, Jerry, are the proud parents of Michael, an L.A.-based stand-up comic, Jenn, a New York City-based Events Planner and Rachel, enrolled at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

 

Gina Fass, Director of Education for the Religious School

 

With over 20 years of experience in Jewish education, Gina Fass joined the staff of Bet Torah as the Director of Education for the Religious School in July 2016.  She holds dual Master’s degrees in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Service from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and is a graduate of the prestigious Wexner Graduate Fellowship.  Prior to joining Bet Torah, Gina served as a director of education at synagogues and Jewish camps in Minnesota, California and Connecticut.  She has also taught high school and middle school Jewish Studies at Day Schools in Houston and Stamford.  She has also directed youth programs, a community Hebrew High, and inclusion programs for Jewish teens with special needs.  A world traveler, Gina has lived in cities across the United States, in France, and in Israel. She and her husband Jonathan, are the proud parents of Michal and Erez and live in Stamford.

 

Nili Ionascu, Director of The B’nei Mitzvah Program and The Schleiffer Center

 

Nili was born and raised in the Rehavia neighborhood of Jerusalem. She concentrated on Arabic and Middle Eastern studies in high school and utilized that knowledge in her service with the I.D.F.’s intelligence division before and during the Six-Day War. After completing her army service, Nili continued her focus on Arabic and Middle Eastern studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she also ran track.

Nili obtained a graduate degree in education from Hebrew University, and taught Hebrew and Arabic at schools in Jerusalem and East Jerusalem before leaving to work as a film editor in Israeli television. After moving to the United States, she began working at Bet Torah in 1981, teaching Hebrew and tefillot to students with special needs. Since then, Nili has been directing Bet Torah Religious School’s special needs program and preparing students for their b’nai mitzvot. She is a recipient of the Westchester Association of Hebrew Schools Teacher of the Year Award and the Ernest Rothschild Award for excellence in education.

Loen Amer, Director of Youth Engagement

Loen has been an experiential Jewish educator working with teens since she was one herself. Before joining the Bet Torah family, she was the Marketing and Recruitment Coordinator for Ramah Israel. As an educator on Long Island, Loen worked with teens at two Conservative congregations: Beth Sholom in Roslyn Heights, where she was a teacher and Youth Director for five years, and the Woodbury Jewish Center where she was Youth Director for three years. She was the Wohl Family Engagement Coordinator at the Hillel at Hofstra University, and also volunteered as the Education Coordinator for the Rakevet Division of MENTY USY. Loen has a voracious love for lifelong Jewish learning, and most recently studied Torah le’shmah, Torah for its own sake, at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. She has also studied at Gratz College, Columbia University, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Loen lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and enjoys baking and reading.

 

 

Robin Weber, Assistant to the Executive Director

We are pleased to introduce Robin Weber to our Bet Torah Family as the Assistant to the Executive Director. In her new role, Robin will support the overall administrative operation of the synagogue and support the Executive Director. Robin’s role includes the usual range of duties for an administrative professional, and we expect everyone will have an opportunity to meet and work with Robin.

Prior to joining Bet Torah, Robin worked for 10 years at Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford as the Senior Rabbi’s Assistant and Events Coordinator. Robin also worked in administration at Temple Sholom in Greenwich. Robin earned her Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing from Hofstra University.