Barry Dov Katz began his tenure at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR) in August 1998. At CSAIR he has worked with members to build a vibrant urban synagogue known for its warmth, energy, and programs. “I love the energy in the shul on Shabbat,” says Rabbi Katz. “Seeing senior members sitting next to young parents with kids on their laps, people coming to shul to pray and learn, and a community coming together gives me energy for the whole week.” Innovative programs such as Backyard Davvening (outdoor Friday night services in the summer), MyDrash (an innovative program for middle school students), and Tashlich-On-Hudson (a multigenerational service on Rosh Hashana) are examples of Rabbi Katz's vision for the congregation.
Rabbi Katz is the fifth rabbi to serve the CSAIR since its founding in 1954. During his tenure, CSAIR created new Shabbat programs for young children and families, expanded opportunities for participation in services, built on a tradition of fine adult Jewish learning programs, and renovated the sanctuary to make it a spiritually and physically accessible space. In an average week you can find Rabbi Katz teaching the Book of Exodus to the sixth graders in our Hebrew School; leading a standing-room-only Tuesday morning class for adults; and counseling, encouraging and comforting members of the community. Rabbi Katz maintains contact with CSAIR's Grads through a Facebook page(csairgrads) and a standing offer to meet for a cup of coffee when they
are in the Bronx.
IN THE COMMUNITY
Rabbi Katz served as President of the Riverdale-Kingsbridge-Spuyten Duyvil Clergy Conference and as co-chair of the Bronx Borough President's Jewish-Hispanic Task Force. He works with local rabbis and Jewish institutions on programming that brings together diverse segments of the Jewish community and he helped organize the first Lishmah conference, bringing Jews from across the denominations together for a day of learning in New York City. He serves on the Chancellor's Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and has served on the Board of the Lower Hudson Valley Region of the Rabbinical Assembly.
Rabbi Katz is an Adjunct Lecturer of Professional and Pastoral Skills at the Jewish Theological Seminary where he works with third year students.
He has helped CSAIR forge an identity as a "teaching shul" where rabbinical students serve as interns, learning about congregational life and enriching our community with their passion and skills. Rabbi Katz has extensive experience teaching children and adults of all ages in formal and informal educational settings, including many Jewish summer camps (most recently Camp Ramah in the Berkshires).
BEFORE COMING TO THE BRONX
Before assuming the pulpit at CSAIR, Rabbi Katz served for seven years as the spiritual leader of Congregation Eitz Chaim, a Conservative synagogue in Monroe, NY. Rabbi Katz's educational programs and initiatives to expand membership were recognized with awards from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and grants from several foundations. He taught at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY, and at the Solomon Schechter School in Rockland County. Before coming to Monroe, Rabbi Katz served as student rabbi at Neve Hanna, a home for youngsters from dysfunctional families in Kiryat Gat, Israel. He is a past president of the American Friends of Neve Hanna.
Rabbi Katz received his ordination and Master's Degree in Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, cum laude, and Gratz Hebrew College in Philadelphia. A native of Philadelphia, Rabbi Katz lived in Israel for three years. He was active in and worked for the Zionist Youth Movement, Young Judaea. He has worked as a professional calligrapher in English and Hebrew. Rabbi Katz is married and has three children. Contact the Rabbi at
Cantor Elizabeth Stevens joined the CSAIR staff in 2009. Cantor Stevens is involved in all aspects of congregational life, working with Rabbi Katz to create services that are inclusive and engaging, and full of enthusiastic singing.
Before coming to CSAIR she served as cantor of The Society for the Advancement of Judaism from 2000 – 2009. In addition to leading services on Shabbat and holidays Cantor Stevens taught a range of subjects both in the Hebrew School and to adults, including prayer, Hebrew language and Torah chant. She co-created the ‘B’nei Mitzvah Experience,’ a two year program for families of b’nei mitzvah students that included educational programming and social events.
Cantor Stevens graduated from the H.L. Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2000 with a Masters of Sacred Music and Diploma of Hazzan. While in school, she earned several awards in areas such as composition, pulpit performance, and Judaic excellence. She served as student cantor at Congregation Habonim, at the SAJ, and at Town and Village Synagogue, all in New York City. She also performed regularly with Kolot (Voices), a women’s a cappella trio specializing in a variety of Jewish music. Kolot provided the background music for the documentary film Women of the Wall, which Cantor Stevens also narrated.
Cantor Stevens is a graduate of Binghamton University (S.U.N.Y.) where she began formal voice training and graduated in 1995 with a BA in Judaic Studies. Raised in New York City, she was deeply involved in a diverse range of Jewish communities with a broad spectrum of practices and beliefs. A life long member of SAJ, she attended Ramaz, a Modern Orthodox yeshiva, and Camp Ramah, a Conservative summer camp. For several years, Cantor Stevens has been a soloist for and member of the Zamir Chorale, conducted by Matthew Lazar, which has given her the opportunity to sing a wide range of great Jewish music on the great stages of New York and Israel. She has participated in the North American Jewish Choral Festival every summer since 1998.
Contact the Cantor at
MASON VOIT joined the CSAIR staff in 2003. At CSAIR, he supervises an extensive range of youth and teen educational and social programming, including USY, Kadima, and the Young Children’s Family Program. Mason also serves as the principal of the synagogue’s Hebrew School. Mason organized and participates in a multi-denominational think-tank including many of the Riverdale community’s educators, titled the Riverdale Jewish Educators Network.
Mason comes to CSAIR with extensive experience in teaching and curriculum development. He began his career as a public school social studies teacher in Denver, Colorado. There, he also began teaching classes and creating curricula concerning Israel, Jewish history, and culture at the Community High School of Jewish Studies in Denver.
Mason taught at the Community Synagogue in Rye, N.Y., and served as the Program Coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Region of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization and the Director of the Desert Mountain Region of Young Judaea in Denver. He has worked in several Jewish camps including Camp Tel Yehuda, Camp Young Judaea Midwest in Wisconsin, and with the Young Judaea Year Course in Israel.
Mason earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. He received his teaching certificate and Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Urban Education from the University of Denver. He has studied at the Jerusalem Institute in Israel and at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
Mason, a third generation native of Alabama, is an avid cross-country runner and music lover. He lives in Riverdale with his wife and children, their dog, Shoshi, and goldfish, Dwayne.
Contact Mason at
Eric Nussbaum joined CSAIR as Executive Director in June 2008 after serving as Assistant Executive Director at Temple Israel of Great Neck. Prior to that, Eric spent more than 20 years in management positions in marketing and retail. He has an MBA from New York University and a BA in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Eric is married to Rabbi Fredda Cohen, who serves as a chaplain at Norwalk Hospital and as the Sharfman Westchester Chaplain for the New York Board of Rabbis. They have two children, Daniel, a surgical resident at Duke University, and Sarah, a special education teacher in the South Bronx.
In his free time, Eric enjoys listening to an eclectic variety of music hiking and bike riding, and, depending on the season, watching college basketball and football. Eric and Fredda live in White Plains, New York, where they are members of both Bet Am Shalom Synagogue and Temple Israel of White Plains.
Contact Eric at