OUR FOUNDING TEAM
RABBI JONATHAN PEARL
Rabbi Jonathan Pearl has specialized, over the past three decades, in visioning and leading the resurgence of historic synagogues, infusing them with renewed life and meaning. He has spearheaded and accomplished this for synagogues in Nassau County, Suffolk County, and most recently, in Queens NY, by originating new programs and refreshing services, and generating new levels of congregational enthusiasm, warmth, growth, and participation.
Presently he is founding Rabbi of the new and exciting chavurah called Ashreynu.
Raised in a rabbinic home, with his formative years lived in Israel, he is an avid and seasoned musician and composer, playing keyboard during services, fusing Israeli and other music with traditional motifs. A beloved spiritual leader, he brings his musical and oratorical talents, warm approach, and passion for Judaism to all he does.Read more
Rabbi Pearl earned his Ph.D. at NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science, and was ordained as a Rabbi at the Academy for Jewish Religion (AJR), the nation’s oldest pluralistic rabbinical seminary. In an historic first, he was ordained at AJR before a beit din composed of a Reform rabbi, a Conservative rabbi, and an Orthodox rabbi.
An award-winning author and nationwide lecturer, Dr. Pearl co-wrote (with his wife Judith) The Chosen Image: Popular TV’s Portrayals of Jewish Themes and Characters, the first-ever book on this topic; founded and directed a national media research group; has written – and been featured in – numerous articles and publications worldwide; and has lectured throughout the country.
Rabbi Pearl is a clergy liaison with the New York City Police Department; a pastoral advisor for numerous Astoria civic and community groups; and is a member of the Board of Governors of the New York Board of Rabbis.
He and his wife Judy are blessed with three accomplished children – Ayelet, Eitan, and Noam.
Rabbi Pearl expends his Rabbinic energy and creativity to lead Jews to a closer and more vital connection with their Judaism, striving to motivate everyone to Jewishly do their best, think deeply, act righteously, and work towards betterment.
With energy and infectious enthusiasm, Rabbi Pearl is thrilled and honored to be spearheading – along with some amazingly talented, strong, creative, Judaically passionate, and deeply dedicated cohorts – this new chavurah, Ashreynu.
Cynthia is a former teacher in the New York City Public School System, and she has contributed to her community through over thirty years of volunteer work, for which she has been widely recognized. As a result of a medical accident, she became blind in 1988, and has continued to read Torah, daven, and participate fully in Jewish life with the use of braille siddurim and other texts in Hebrew and English. She is elated—a favorite word of hers!—to be a part of creating Ashreynu.
Rebbetzin Judy Pearl
Rebbetzin Judy Pearl brings decades of experience in the Jewish nonprofit world to Ashreynu. She served as Assistant Director for the Jewish Educators Assembly for over fifteen years, creating professional and highly customized experiences for Jewish educators around the world.
She has an impressive history of above and beyond volunteer engagement at synagogues around the New York Metropolitan area, from events management to donor relationships to communications, drawing upon her background in journalism. Along with her husband, Rabbi Pearl, she co-wrote The Chosen Image: Popular TV’s Portrayals of Jewish Themes and Characters, and founded and directed a national media research group. She’s even more famous, however, for her unbeatable brisket and her perfect execution of a long standing Jerusalem cholent family recipe.
Stephanie Luxenberg is a Jewish educator and artist with a degree in Creative Writing and Fine Arts. She integrates her diverse professional background in technology, program management, curriculum development, and community engagement to build on all areas of Jewish communal growth.
Stephanie has worked with students of all ages and learning needs, both through individual instruction and in the classroom setting. Her teaching experience includes the Jerusalem School for the Deaf, Hebrew Academy of West Queens, and MASKIT. She has also worked at East Midwood Jewish Center, The Village Temple, Astoria Center of Israel, and is now as part of the founding team of Ashreynu.
Her art practice, Studio Shoshan, draws heavily from Jewish nature, agriculture, and history, and she is passionate about exploring these themes with MASKIT students in the classroom.
Ayelet Pearl is a rabbinic student at the Academy for Jewish Religion and a Master’s candidate in Art History and Museum Studies at the City College of New York, working to explore creative ways of bringing Jewish culture, arts, practice, and history to museums and other cultural spaces.
She has led the MASKIT program for over a decade, and has completed advanced coursework and professional certifications in meeting the needs of all learners, as well as differentiated learning.
She currently works as the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Voelker Orth Museum, a historic house and exhibition space in Flushing. She also serves in a rabbinic capacity at Cedar Crest Senior Living Community.
Ayelet has a certificate in curating from the University of the Arts London, is a member of the Jewish Art Salon, and has written for the visual arts section of the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception. Her art work can be viewed at Av Rimon.
Alexander Borge Parke
Alex Parke is a clarinetist and music educator from São Paulo, Brazil. Alex has been part of various musical projects and has gained renown for his musicality and musical intention. As an ethnomusicology major at Bard College, Alex focuses on the Klezmer style rooted in the tradition of Ashkenazi Jews, while also giving attention to other styles such as Brazilian and European classical music.
He has experience working with Jewish youth groups in Brazil, Israel, and the US.
Alex is also the founder of several active musical groups, including the Bard College Klezmer Club, The Living Shtetl, Tigerdog Zebrafish, Folkloria, Rushevsky Duo, and the São Paulo-based Klezmer Três Rios. Alex’s music can be found here.