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meet our clergy

 

JOSH DORSCH, SENIOR RABBI
 

CHARLES A. KLEIN, RABBI EMERITUS
 

BENJAMIN WARSCHAWSKI, CANTOR

 


     

Josh Dorsch, Senior Rabbi

With great enthusiasm, warmth, and a community vision, Rabbi Josh Dorsch leads the Merrick Jewish Centre as our Senior Rabbi. He is a socially minded, creative, and enthusiastic Rabbi who is focused on community building, youth engagement, and lifelong learning. 

After being ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Dorsch also earned two masters degrees, one in Jewish education and the other in midrash and Scriptural Interpretation. While in Rabbinical School, Rabbi Dorsch was a Schusterman Rabbinic Fellow, and had the opportunity to participate in the Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Fellowship program where he served as a Rabbi for Temple Emanuel, in Reno, Nevada, and worked as a chaplain at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Following, he headed to New Rochelle, NY to serve as the Rabbinic Intern and then Rabbi at Beth El Synagogue Center of New Rochelle, NY for five years, before heading out west to serve as the Senior Rabbi at Tifereth Israel in San Diego, CA for five years, through early 2022.

Originally from Philadelphia, Josh grew up attending, and then staffing, Camp Ramah in the Poconos and was very active in USY. He received a BA from Columbia University in Political Science,  is an enthusiastic Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles fan, and is a retired competitive table tennis player. Rabbi Dorsch, his wife Stephanie, and their three children, Nadav, Ziva and Avi are excited to be part of the Merrick community. 

Rabbi Josh Dorsch can be reached at rabbidorsch@merrickjc.org.

 

 

Charles A. Klein, Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Klein’s expansive vision of his rabbinate has shaped the Merrick Jewish Centre since he became the senior rabbi of the MJC in 1978. His warmth, compassion, wisdom, scholarship, activism and leadership set the tone for the entire community. 

Rabbi Klein’s path to the MJC began when he was an undergraduate at Brandeis University, after which he pursued a degree in Rabbinical Studies and Masters of Hebrew Letters at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS). He also received a master’s degree in social work while attending JTS. Rabbi Klein went on to become an adjunct lecturer at the JTS and was a field faculty member for both the Columbia University School of Social Work and the Adelphi School of Social Work.

Not only a member of the New York Board of Rabbis, the world’s oldest and largest interdenominational rabbinic group, Klein served as its president. He also served as president of the Rabbinical Assembly of Nassau/Suffolk. Over the years, Rabbi Klein has worked closely with the United Jewish Appeal. With a local colleague, Rabbi Klein created Synagogue Connect, a national network of more than 750 synagogues that open their doors to college students who want to observe the High Holy Days, free of charge.

While serving the community of the MJC, Rabbi Klein demonstrated a wholehearted commitment to his pastoral role in congregants’ times of sadness, grief, and all of life’s other inevitable personal and family crises. One can not write about his years without telling of Rabbi Klein’s ceaseless activism to free the Jews of the Former Soviet Union and then the Jews of Ethiopia. This resulted in years of MJC involvement in working to free both communities. 

For all the decades of Rabbi Klein’s rabbinate, the MJC was widely known as a congregation that was powerfully Zionistic. The MJC took on many projects in Israel, all of which reflected a deep love and devotion to Israel and the people of Israel. Moreover, the MJC stood strong in the challenges posed by anti-Semites, both here and abroad. Under Rabbi Klein’s leadership, the Merrick Jewish Centre was a constant presence in forums held domestically and abroad to fight Jew Hatred.  Rabbi Klein loved teaching students of all ages. Whether it was in our Hebrew School, Hebrew High School, the Merrick Bellmore Adult Education Program, or in our own Lifelong Learning, teaching was his passion. Rabbi Klein is also an author. As a result of the publication of his book, How to Forgive When You Can’t Forget: Healing our Personal Relationships, which melded together his rabbinic and social work perspective, Rabbi Klein became a much sought-after lecturer, counselor, and television and radio commentator. He appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and scores of other television programs and literally hundreds of radio programs. His name became synonymous with healing and strengthening family relationships.

Rabbi Klein and his wife, Betty, have led numerous congregational tours to Israel, Central and Eastern Europe, and Cuba. Rabbi Klein has four children, four children by marriage, and 10 precious grandchildren.

 

 

 

Benjamin Warschawski, Cantor

With his soulful tenor voice and personal kindness, Cantor Benjamin Warschawski brings warmth and tradition to the Merrick Jewish Centre. Cantor Warschawski is recognized worldwide for his extraordinary talents in both the operatic and cantorial realms. He brings a polished, classical style to his cantorial singing and emotion to each Shabbat and holiday service at the MJC.

As a teen, Cantor Warschawski sang in the prestigious Beth T’filoh Choir in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1997, he received the title of Reverend Cantor from the Cantorial Council of America at the Belz School of Music, Yeshiva University. That year, he assumed the pulpit at The Ner Tamid/Greenspring Valley Synagogue in Baltimore, and went on to serve as the cantor at B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, Florida and Ezra-Habonim The Niles Township Jewish Congregation in Skokie, Illinois.  

Cantor Warschawski has concertized with virtually every major cantor and renowned Jewish singer singing today. A native of Basel, Switzerland, he is married to Mezzo-soprano, Heather Johnson, and has a daughter, Adina, and a son, Samuel.

Email Cantor Warschawski at cantorbmw@merrickjc.org or call 516-379-8650.

Tue, February 20 2024 11 Adar I 5784