Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky received rabbinical ordination and a Master’s degree in Jewish history from Yeshiva University in 1989. From 1990-1996, he served as the Associate Rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, working with Rabbi Avi Weiss.
Since joining B'nai David-Judea in 1996 Rabbi Kanefsky has helped transform BDJ into a powerful force in the Los Angeles and American Orthodox community, providing leadership in critical directions, from women's participation to Israel activism to care for the homeless. He is a major leader in the effort to build bridges to the larger Jewish community. He has served as President of the interdenominational Southern California Board of Rabbis and continues to pioneer in the fundamental activities of Tikkun Olam (a.k.a. repairing the world), from assisting victims of Hurricane Katrina by organizing a troop of congregants to Louisiana, to engaging in activism on behalf of the victims of the genocide in Darfur, to hosting monthly lunches for our community’s homeless. In addition to many other honors, Rabbi Kanefsky was recently named one of the 50 most influential Rabbis in America, and one of the top 25 pulpit Rabbis by Newsweek magazine.
In addition to his work on this website's blog, Rabbi Kanefsky also blogs regularly at "morethodoxy"
Amram Hassan was born in Gibraltar into a life of shul service. His grandfather was a president and parnas of a shul there, and his father was a board member and teen committee chair for many years after the family moved to Canada in 1965. Amram left home to attend Sephardic Yeshiva in New York when he was 14, then returned to Canada six years later to continue studying. In 1979, he moved to Israel to try life on Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, where he met his California-native wife, Elana. In 1983, now with a daughter, Chava, the family moved to Long Beach, where they lived until 1995. While in Long Beach, they were blessed with another daughter and a son, Deena and Natan. Amram and Elana founded the Young Israel of Long Beach, and Amram not only served as Gabbai there, but also, later, as shul President.
In 1995 the Hassans moved to Los Angeles so that their children could have the Jewish education Amram and Elana wanted. They did some shul-hopping, but once they heard BDJ’s previous Rabbi, the beloved Rabbi Philip Schroit, z”l, speak about Israel, they knew they had found their spiritual home. After one year, Amram was nominated to the Board of Directors, and shortly after, he became Executive Director. He has been with the shul since 1995.
heldon Kasdan was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, where he attended Emek Hebrew Academy. He went "over the hill" for high school, attending YULA. After a one-year hiatus at Yeshivat Beit Midrash L'Torah in Jerusalem, he returned to Los Angeles, where he attended UCLA and Loyola Law School. Sheldon is currently a labor attorney at NBC Universal in Universal City.
In 1994, Sheldon married Batsheva Kahn, who willingly gave up the cold climates of Chicago, her birthplace, and New York, her home of 5 years after college, for Los Angeles' sunny weather. They settled in the Pico Robertson area and started a family, which now includes their two sons Jonah (13) and Will (10), and Roxie (the dog). In 2003, they joined B'nai David-Judea because their boys wanted to be with their friends from school.
Upon joining B'nai David-Judea, Sheldon and Batsheva were immediately taken with Rabbi Kanefsky's vision and the Shul's warmth and hospitality. Sheldon and Batsheva quickly became involved in Shul life. Batsheva served for many years on the Rechov Yeladim Committee and is currently the chairperson of the BDJuniors Committee. Sheldon served as floor gabbai, a board member, an executive board member and currently as President.
Sheldon and Batsheva are very proud to be part of a shul that is inclusive of all and is constantly striving to make an impact on the lives of the entire community.