What We Do…
The Department of CommunityEngagement provides vision, leadership, and programmatic support to Orthodox communities and congregations throughout North America. Our goal is to strengthen our communities, member congregations, and their constituencies, by providing religious, educational, social, and cultural programming on relevant and timely issues that impact upon the lives of individuals and families. We are readily available to provide an array of programming, design and promotional services to implement cohesive and successful programs or give support and guidance to help communities present their own events.
For a complete list of programs offered: Click Here!
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Who We Are…
Rabbi Judah Isaacs
Director, Department of Community Engagement
Rabbi Judah Isaacs is the Director of Community Engagement. In this capacity, he oversees the Orthodox Union work with synagogues, communities and day schools throughout North America to enhance Orthodox Jewish life. Rabbi Isaacs focuses on professional and lay leadership within synagogues, providing guidance and best practices.
Prior to joining the Orthodox Union, Rabbi Isaacs was the Director of Day School Leadership and Sustainability at the Jewish Education Project. For over twelve years, he served as the Director of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit’s Alliance for Jewish Education. He also is a past President of the Young Israel of Oak Park, where he also served as Chair of the Rabbinic Search Committee and Youth Committee Chair. Rabbi Isaacs holds a MSW from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work of Yeshiva University.
Rabbi Frank Buchweitz
Director, Community Services & Special Projects
As Director of Community Services and Special Projects, Frank has initiated innovative educational programs in the areas of community, synagogue, and adult education for member synagogues. These include local and national educational programs such as Positive Jewish Parenting, Positive Jewish Marriage, missions and conventions to Israel, adult education speakers for communities and synagogues, employment workshops, Kinus Teshuvah pulpit exchanges during the Yomin Naarayim, etc. In addition, social, recreational, cultural, and Chesed programs have been implemented for the singles population.
Rebbetzin Judi Steinig
Associate Director, Community Services
Prior to her position at the Orthodox Union, Judi was the Director of Programming for the National Council of Young Israel, where she provided resources and assistance for branch synagogues and sisterhoods in addition to coordinating programming for singles, women, families and rebbetzins. She has lectured in many venues regarding navigating the dating process for singles and parents as well as on various other women’s and parenting issues. She is also an Adjunct Professor for Bellevue University where she teaches in the College for Professional Studies. She graduated from Douglass College, Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics. She holds a Master’s Degree in Leadership from Bellevue University and certificates in Non-for-Profit Management from Touro College, Desktop Publishing from Queens College and Life Coaching from Bellevue University. She and her husband, Rabbi Sholom Steinig, of the Young Israel of Bayside, have four children and three grandchildren.
Associate Director, Synagogue Services
Yehuda Friedman works with Synagogue Presidents, Boards and Executive Directors throughout North America to strengthen synagogue life by providing professional development resources. Prior to joining the OU, Yehuda was an associate at a major investment bank. He holds a BS in marketing and Management from Touro College. Yehuda and his wife Lori enjoy chasing and trying to keep up with their toddler, Ethan. Follow Yehuda on Twitter! @YehudaJFriedman
Manager, Programs & Special Projects, Department of Community Engagement
Hannah Farkas serves as the Program Manager of Community Engagement at the Orthodox Union. Community Engagement provides vision, leadership and programmatic support to Orthodox communities and congregations throughout North America. Hannah works closely with the Directors of Community Services and Engagement to provide religious, educational, social, and cultural programming on relevant and timely issues that impact upon the lives of families and individuals.
Hannah began her tenure at the OU as the Program Associate. Before joining the Orthodox Union, Hannah was employed by the Rutgers University Foundation where she raised funds for scholarships, fellowships, athletics, and research and received a B.A. from Rutgers University. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration at Baruch College and a Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work.
Community Engagement Associate, Department of Community Engagement
Meira Albert, LMSW serves as the Community Engagement Associate of the Orthodox Union’s Karasick Department of Synagogue Services. A major aspect of her portfolio is coordinating the Youth Professionals Network, a network of over 300 Synagogue Youth Professionals all over North America. The Synagogue Services Department provides resources, guidance, and expertise to Synagogue Youth Professionals and Youth Committees. The Orthodox Union is committed to the growth and sustainability of the North American Jewish community. We accomplish this through listening, problem-solving, and providing for our synagogues.
Before joining the Orthodox Union, Meira graduated from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work with a Masters of Social Work.
Administrative Assistant, Department of Community Engagement
As Administrative Assistant for the OU Department of Community Engagement, Adina coordinates various programming and support for the department’s work with synagogues and communities across North America.
Adina initiated and organized several fundraising events for various organizations before joining the OU, and graduated from the Lander College for Women with a B.A. in Psychology.