We are affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the association of Conservative congregations in North America.
Rabbi Moses A. Birnbaum, D.D. became spiritual leader of the Jewish Center of Kew Gardens Hills on January 1, 2009. His tenure, so far, has been marked by innovative programming, informative teaching and devoted engagement with our community, especially on a pastoral level.
Before joining us, Rabbi Birnbaum had been rabbi of the Plainview Jewish Center since August 1994 where he enjoyed his trademark “Stump the Rabbi” sessions with religious school students and adults. As a result of his involvement as a community leader, Rabbi Birnbaum succeeded in making the Plainview Jewish Center a pre-eminent venue for area events celebrating Israel Independence Day, commemorating the Holocaust and promoting inter-religious dialogue.
Rabbi Birnbaum served as the associate executive vice-president and director of chaplaincy services for the New York Board of Rabbis and currently serves as volunteer chaplain to the New York State Jewish Court Officers’ Shomrim Society. He served as a commissioner on the Nassau County Human Rights Commission. He is a past president of the Long Island Board of Rabbis having been, for many years, an officer and its inter-religious chair. He is also an officer of the New York Board of Rabbis. He has been an activist for Israel and is also very involved in interreligious dialogue locally, nationally and internationally. He participated in the successful American Jewish struggle for Soviet Jewry from its inception in the early 1960’s..
Rabbi Birnbaum is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1999. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Jewish communal service from Brandeis University and was granted a Doctor of Divinity degree (honoris causa) in 2001 from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He was graduated as a Bachelor of Arts from Queens College of the City University of New York and is a graduate of Yeshiva University High School and the Yeshiva of Central Queens. He has also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, NYC; Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA, and the University of Vilnius, Lithuania.
Rabbi Birnbaum is the author of “The Redefinition of the Role of Rabbi in Colonial and 19th Century America”. He has written and spoken extensively on inter religious affairs, Jewish bio-medical ethics and food history. In 2000, he experienced his “twenty minutes of fame” by officiating at the wedding of his congregants, Peter and Melanie Ginsberg, on NBC’s Today show. The event was seen by an estimated 8,000,000 viewers, arguably making it the Jewish wedding with the largest number of “guests” in history.