Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein, who has served for seven years as director of youth and family education at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, was named executive director of the 14th Street Y in Manhattan. She succeeds Steven Aranoff, who moved to Israel in August; Wendy Seligson has served as interim executive director since then.
“I see this as an extension of my rabbinate,” says the rabbi, a Bronx native and Park Slope resident who was ordained by Hebrew Union College, a way to reach out to “people of all ages and backgrounds – a primary value of my rabbinate.”
Rabbi Epstein, 36, will begin at the Y in January.
Her congregation’s reaction to Superstorm Sandy a year ago, in which they opened up the building to feed people of all faith from the Greater New York area, was as a highlight of her time working with Rabbi Andy Bachman on the Beth Elohim staff, Rabbi Epstein said.
At the 14th Street Y, an East Village institution in which some 25,000 people participate in programming each year, Rabbi Epstein said she will work “to bring a love of Jewish tradition that is inclusive.”