As part of its initiative to reach out to Jewish communities across the United States, the OU’s Department of Synagogue and Community Services has announced the appointment of Rabbi Avi Heller as its regional director for New Jersey and Rockland County, New York. In his new role, he will work with synagogues and communities in these areas.
“There is an incredibly thriving synagogue community in New Jersey as well as in Rockland County, and I hope to bring together, grow and leverage this network of shuls to strengthen them individually and as a whole,” says Rabbi Heller.
Originally from Denver, Rabbi Heller has served for the past six years as the Director of Education for the Manhattan Jewish Experience (MJE), an outreach program for young professionals. Rabbi Heller and his wife, Shira, served as the Torah educators at the Harriet & Heshe Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) program at Boston University. Rabbi Heller has also served as the Director of the Boca Raton Community Kollel and the Rabbi of the Boca Raton Synagogue West and was the Bronfman Fellow at Hillel International.
“By virtue of his extensive experience, Rabbi Heller certainly understands the demands, needs and challenges of synagogue rabbinic and lay leaders,” says Rabbi Judah Isaacs, Director of Community Engagement. “His work will enhance the crucial role of the shul as the gateway to the broad range of OU programs and services. As our ‘man on the ground,’ Rabbi Heller will be able to forge robust relationships with the Jewish communities in the region.”
Rabbi Heller received his BA in international relations and affairs from Boston University and rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He also completed his MA in Bible from Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel School of Graduate Studies. The Hellers live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with their three children.