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EMET STAFF BIOS

Rabbi Mordechai Kraft was born in Briarcliff Manor, NY and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Trinity College, Hartford, CT. He studied in Israel for four years and then continued his studies for over a decade at Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, The Rabbinical Seminary of America in Forest Hills, NY. Rabbi Kraft then received their prestigious “Yoreh Yoreh, Yadin Yadin” rabbinic ordination in 1999. Rabbi Kraft is fortunate to have studied under some of the foremost teachers of Torah of our generation, Rabbi Yaakov Rosenberg, Rabbi Moshe Chait, and Rabbi Henach Leibowitz, and to be inspired by their vision of love for every Jew.  In 2004, Rabbi Kraft founded and has since directed Emet College Outreach, together with Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg. Rabbi Kraft’s love for teaching Torah and inspiring ethical growth in his students is only matched by their receptivity to his words. Rabbi Kraft has a passion to convey the inherent greatness of every human being. His lectures are both highly articulate and poignantly expressive. Rabbi Kraft has served as the Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Havurat Yisrael in Forest Hills, NY for 15 years and is a popular teacher at Ateret Seminary, on campus at Queens College. He is an aspiring blues guitarist and an avid tennis enthusiast. Rabbi Kraft, his wife, Monica, and their six children live in Kew Gardens, NY where they host many guests each Shabbos.
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Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg, Director of Emet College Outreach, was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in Monsey, New York. He attended Yeshiva Shaar HaTorah and received rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Zelig Epstein, z”tzl, in 2004. Rabbi Rutenberg founded Emet College Outreach with Rabbi Mordechai Kraft and has spearheaded the organization’s growth to span eight college campuses in the New York City metropolitan area. Rabbi Rutenberg received a Masters degree in Social Work from New York University in 2007. His acclaimed lectures are widely attended and appreciated by both college students and graduates, single and married audiences. He lectures extensively on topics related to relationships and has guided many couples in the capacity of marriage counselor, equipped with both professional expertise and proficient Torah knowledge. Rabbi Rutenberg, his wife, Shonnie, and their sons Yehuda, Shlomo, Yehoshua, Yisrael and Shmuel live in Kew Gardens, New York.
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Rabbi Michael Gutmacher Born in San Francisco, lived 18 years in France and then two years in Germany before returning to Monsey, New York, where he has resided for over a decade, currently with his wife, Miriam, and four children. In the 1990s Rabbi Gutmacher participated in several humanitarian ventures including the production of a video for an organization which saved Sarajevo children during the war. He also volunteered three summers for a humanitarian organization which helped Togo, Africa children receive an education. Rabbi Gutmacher pursued intensive rabbinical studies for five years and received ordination from Yeshiva Ohr Somayach in 2005. Currently a campus rabbi for Emet College Outreach, Rabbi Gutmacher frequents several NY metro area campuses each week. His fellowship participants are spellbound by his penetrating Torah insights. He lectures weekly on character self-improvement and Jewish Mysticism (Kabbalah), based primarily on the teachings of the Ramch”l, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto. Rabbi Gutmacher’s diverse hobbies range from guitar and percussion to windsurfing.
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Rabbi Reuven Kigel is a dynamic campus rabbi for Emet Outreach at Baruch College and Hunter College in New York City. His love and enthusiasm for Torah is apparent at Emet Leaders Fellowship programs at Queens College, St. Johns University and at the Beit Gavriel Center evening program in Forest Hills, Queens. Rabbi Kigel and his wife Devorah, a popular kiruv lecturer on women’s topics in Judaism, host frequent shabbatons, large and small, at their home in Passaic, NJ. Born during the heyday of communism to capitalist-aspiring parents in Kiev, USSR, Rabbi Kigel immigrated to the United States in 1978, as a young child.  He studied in Yeshivas Bircas HaTorah in Jersusalem and developed a close bond with the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Shimon Green. Rabbi Kigel has adopted their style of Talmudic study which entails a particular focus on making the Talmud’s teachings come to life. Rabbi Kigel also studied Talmud and Judaic studies at Yeshivas Ohr Somayach in Monsey, NY. Rabbi Kigel graduated from the University of Michigan in 1995 with a degree in finance and worked as a stock and options trader on the New York Stock Exchange. A past full-time member of the Passaic/Clifton community kollel, Rabbi Kigel continues to learn at the kollel when not at EMET. Currently residing in Passaic, New Jersey, Rabbi Kigel, his wife, Devorah, and their four children look forward to Shabbos guests every week.
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Rabbi Josh Tabi earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the campus. In 2009, he received a bachelor of arts in psychology with a minor in philosophy magna cum laude, and in 2011 earned an M.S.Ed. degree. While studying at LIU Brooklyn, Tabi was president of the Jewish Club of LIU. Rabbi Tabi trained in Jerusalem, Israel, from 2001 to 2003 at Ohr Somayach, where he focused on Torah and philosophy and at Mir Yershalayim, where he learned about Talmud. His volunteer work in Brooklyn has been with youth at risk at Our Place, where he has been a counselor since 2006, and at Friday Night Chill, where he has served as director since 2009. Both of these organizations are under the guidance of Rabbi Solomon Herbst, who ordained Tabi. His professional affiliations include the Alpha Chi National Honor Society, the New York Mental Health Counselors Association, and the American Counseling Association.
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Rabbi David Delman or Rabbi Dave as he is affectionately known by his students, grew up in Silver Spring, MD. After graduating from Yeshiva High School in 2000, Dave spent the next 5 years studying at various Torah institutions in Israel which culminated in receiving his Rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva Ohr Somayach. In 2003 Dave married Tova Kober, and together they began a lifelong passion for Jewish outreach. Out of their home in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Tova and Dave undertook a program for at risk teenagers. The program was an instant success and many people today lead productive and fulfilling lives due to their efforts. In 2006 Tova and Dave moved to Austin, Texas to continue their outreach work at the University of Texas. After just one year, Rabbi Dave and Tova accepted a position entailing greater responsibility with R.O.O.T.S at Stony Brook University. Simultaneously, Dave completed graduate school at the Yeshiva University Wurzweiler program and now practices Social Work part time, and all while devoting himself to the Jewish students at S.B.U. Now residing adjacent to Emet headquarters in Kew Gardens Hills, Rabbi Dave and his wife continue to open their home and their hearts to hundreds of college students every year! Dave and Tova have 5 beautiful children, Pinchas, Sara Bracha, Tzivia Ahuva, Yocheved Gittel and Kayla.
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Rabbi Binyamin Yuhanan has been with EMET since 2007. He was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and at the age of 16, moved to Philadelphia. Being a great chess player, he won many national tournaments in high school and college. He attended Drexel University where he graduated, majoring in Physics and minoring in Biology. While at Drexel, he founded the Astronomy club, creating a forum for those interested in learning about the cosmos. After graduating from University, he conducted scientific research in Particle Physics at Brookhaven National Lab in Long Island, and in Structural Biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. While in Israel, Rabbi Yuhanan also worked as a computer programmer at Intel Corporation, and was involved in the creation of state-of-the-art technology. After returning to America in the late 90's, Rabbi Yuhanan started learning at Ohr Somayach in Monsey. In 2003, he received his Semicha (Rabbinic Ordination) from Rabbi Zimmerman, the Chief Rabbi of Gateshead, United Kingdom. After receiving Semicha, Rabbi Yuhanan learned Torah full-time in Monsey until 2011. While there, he taught Talmud to other students in 2004-2005. In addition to learning at Ohr Somayach, Rabbi Yuhanan teaches Math, Biology, and Chemistry in High Schools in Monsey and Queens Currently, he travels daily from Monsey to Queens and teaches Torah every morning from 7-9 AM at the Bet Gavriel Center. Rabbi Yuhanan is actively involved in the establishment of the new Bni Bechori Bucharian community in Monsey. He also plays a pivotal role in assisting married EMET students with setting up kosher homes.
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Mrs. Rivka Muskat grew up in Brooklyn, New York and received Judaic studies teaching certification from Bais Yaakov Yerushalayim Teacher’s Seminary in Jerusalem, Israel. She graduated with honors from Touro College with a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics/Computer Programming in 1990. For many years Mrs. Muskat taught women’s topics in Judaism, but was primarily employed as a Software Developer at several financial institutions in New York City, coding in Perl and C and specializing in XML conversion software. In 2006, Mrs. Muskat assumed the position of Women’s Program Director at Emet College Outreach to program for a higher cause. Mrs. Muskat, her husband, Rabbi Chaim Muskat, and their wonderful children, ages 1 to 21, live in Kew Gardens, New York.
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Shira Fendel, Special Projects Coordinator for Emet’s Women’s Division, grew up in Forest Hills, NY and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. She received Judaic studies teaching certification from Hadar Bais Yaakov Teacher’s Seminary in Jerusalem, Israel. Upon returning to New York City, Shira studied Special Education at Mercy College. A wealth of outreach experience accompanies Shira to Emet. Shira was on staff at Camp Shoroshim for seven summers in various capacities and subsequently created a collegiate summer retreat program at Camp Oorah, which she then directed, as well. Several schools have benefited from Shira’s dynamic style of education and organizational capacities including Yeshiva Institute, Queens Gymnasia and most significantly, Yeshiva of Central Queens, where Shira is currently a beloved grade school teacher and curriculum coordinator. Shira’s creativity and boundless energy result in many concurrent projects which she gracefully balances at any given time. Her love and concern for each and every Emet student is legendary.
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Miriam Fuchs, Campus Mekareves (Educator) since 2008, was born and grew up in Los Angeles, California. Her extensive education includes Neve Yerushalayim Women’s College, Maalot College, Touro College and Fordham University. Miriam was a Madricha at Aish HaTorah’s Jewel Women’s Learning Program and supervised The Jewish Enrichment Center’s post-college professionals trip to Israel. Prior to Emet, Miriam was a beloved high school and grade school teacher at Queens Gymnasia and Shalsheles Bais Yaakov. At present, Miriam works with troubled youth part-time as a rehabilitation counselor at a homeless youth shelter. As Campus Mekareves at Baruch, Hunter and Queens College, on any given day, Miriam can be found delivering a stimulating Torah class, mentoring a fellowship group and advising individual students regarding personal life issues. Her vibrant personality makes her popular with students cross-campus, of all backgrounds. Miriam’s creativity extends in many directions including childbirth education, psychology, art, dance, drama and nature.
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Sara Basiratmand Program Coordinator, was born in Shiraz, Iran. She grew up in Queens, New York and attended TBY, Tiferes Bnos Yisroel Seminary. Sara was educated at Queensborough Community College and Touro College. Joining Emet in 2005, she elevated Emet programming to a whole new dimension. Her boundless love for Judaism is absolutely contagious and builds momentum and excitement among Emet students. Sara has organized and led several Emet Birthright trips. Her energy and enthusiasm are absolutely unsurpassed.
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Devorah Kigel holds her B.A. from Hamilton College, where she majored in French and minored in women�s studies, and her M.A. in French from Middlebury College. She spent more than two years living in Paris and wrote her masters thesis on anti-Semitism in France. She then worked for various NYC Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, Hadassah, and the Jewish Renaissance Center. After spending some time in Israel in yeshiva, she got married, started a family and has been teaching classes on Judaism for women since 2001. She has taught for NYU, Rutgers, Touro College, EMET, Discovery, AishConnections, Manhattan Jewish Experience, and Jewish International Connection among others. Devorah prepares brides for marriage (kallah teacher), works as a dating and marriage coach, and hosts Shabbat guests every week. Her uniquely honest and entertaining way of presenting Torah ideas make her relatable to women from all backgrounds.
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