Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky
Over the last 20 years, Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky has built B’nai David-Judea into a leading center of Modern Orthodoxy. Rabbi Kanefsky’s embrace of creative innovation, devotion to the dignity of all people, and commitment to intellectual inquiry and ethical striving, all within the framework of traditional Halacha, have established Bnai David-Judea as one of the most dynamic, warm and respected Modern Orthodox shuls in the country.
Rav Yosef is driven by a firm belief that Jewish tradition can provide a blueprint for modern ethical living for everything from business dealings, to relationships, to communal standards to our interactions as global citizens.
He helped to introduce changes in synagogue ritual and leadership to enhance the role of women, and most recently guided the congregation through hiring its first female clergy member. He has devoted himself to establishing meaningful relationships with Jewish leaders of all denominations, engages in interfaith dialogue, and is respected throughout the broader Los Angeles community. He believes ongoing Jewish education is the foundation to meaningful practice, and he teaches weekly Talmud, Midrash and halacha courses, as well as special courses on a variety of contemporary topics.
Most importantly to his congregants and friends, Rav Yosef is known as a true mensch — his empathy, honesty and desire to give are central to all his endeavors.
He is deeply committed to programs that engage the congregation in caring for the poor and homeless, as well as people who are mentally ill, disabled, or frail. He oversaw a renovation to make the sanctuary accessible to people with disabilities. He has nurtured an atmosphere of warmth and inclusivity among the membership and newcomers.
Rabbi Kanefsky was ordained in 1989 at Yeshiva University, where he also received a master’s degree in Jewish History. He began his rabbinic career in 1990 as the associate rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in New York, where he worked under the tutelage of spiritual activist Rabbi Avi Weiss. He came to B’nai David-Judea Congregation in the summer of 1996.
He is a past president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, and of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, which he helped found. He is a teaching fellow for the Wexner Heritage Foundation.
Rabbi Kanefsky is married to Sari Abrams, who is the director of parent and child education at the Pressman Academy, and an active leader within the congregation. He likes to hike, bike and visit Israel. They have 3 wonderful sons and one wonderful daughter-in-law.
Rabbanit Alissa Thomas-Newborn, BCC
Rabbanit Alissa is a graduate of Yeshivat Maharat. In her final year of studies, she served as the Kehilla Intern at B’nai David-Judea and enjoyed building relationships both within our community and within the broader Los Angeles community. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brandeis University with a degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Classical Studies Archaeology and Ancient History.
Rabbanit Alissa believes in and is informed by the power of our textual tradition to transform our present and ultimately draw us closer to each other and God. She believes in the Divine instruction for us to walk in God’s ways, most especially the imperative to be close to the brokenhearted and all who cry out for support.
Rabbanit Alissa teaches a weekly parsha class as well as courses on a variety of special topics including Bikkur Cholim and Taharat HaMishpacha. In her teaching, she uncovers how our rich, timeless tradition resonates with and deeply enhances our modern daily lives.
Rabbanit Alissa is also a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC) through Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains. She has specialities in Palliative Care, End of Life Care, and Psychiatric Care. She has worked as a chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center, and Bellevue Hospital. She was also a writer for the Center for Jewish End of Life Care at Metropolitan Jewish Health System.
Rabbanit Alissa has integrated her pastoral passions and skills into much of her work at B’nai David-Judea, leading programs on topics spanning from End of Life Care to Mental Health Awareness to Post Partum Depression.
Rabbanit Alissa was a fellow both at Clal: The National Center for Jewish Learning and Leadership and at the UJA-Federation of New York Wiener Educational Center. She has been a Scholar-in-Residence at various universities and shuls around the country.
Her heart, soul, and body stand with Israel.
A native Los Angelena, Rabbanit Alissa is married to Akiva Newborn. She is thrilled to be serving as a spiritual leader for the B’nai David-Judea family!
Vice President of Youth
Dalia Rotter Youngerwood
Vice President House
Vice President at Large
Board of Directors
Rena Selya Cohen
Marnin Weinreb - 2014 - 2016
Abigail Yasgur - 2012 - 2014
Sheldon Kasdan - 2010 - 2012
David Diamond - 2008 - 2010
Andrew Spitzer - 2006 - 2008
Robert Blitzstein - 2003 - 2006
Mayer Schames - 2000 - 2003
David Nimmer - 1999 - 2000
David Gardner - 1998 - 1999
Robert Smith - 1995 - 1998
David Nimmer - 1993 - 1995