Rabbi Moshe Brandsdorfer, a graduate of Yeshiva Shor Yoshuv in Lawrence, N.Y., has taken the helm of the Orthodox Union’s Torah Initiatives Department, which oversees a broad array of innovative Torah programming and offers diverse approaches to make Torah study a central part of life for Jewish adults.
Rabbi Brandsdorfer, who previously served as executive director at the Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula, brings more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit management to his new role. As executive director of Torah Initiatives, he will focus on maximizing and expanding existing department programs while seeking to develop new and creative Torah projects.
He will also work to broaden the OU’s Torah websites and mobile apps; form new partnerships; and grow the department’s acclaimed Semichas Chaver Program, an interactive halacha learning program.
“We are very pleased to welcome Rabbi Brandsdorfer to the Orthodox Union as executive director of Torah Initiatives,” Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane said. “Rabbi Brandsdorfer brings with him an array of important assets to further strengthen and grow the department, including a tremendous passion for Jewish learning, creativity and many years of management experience.”
Said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer, “We are thrilled to have someone of the caliber and experience of Rabbi Brandsdorfer leading our Torah Initiatives Department. We have been especially impressed by his passion to creatively increase access to quality Torah resources for the entirety of the Jewish community.”
Orthodox Union Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rabbi Dr. Josh Joseph also welcomed Rabbi Brandsdorfer to his new post. “Rabbi Brandsdorfer is a thoughtful leader with a strong sense of innovation and an inclusive approach. We look forward to celebrating his accomplishments as part of the Orthodox Union family.”
Rabbi Brandsdorfer joins the Orthodox Union with longtime experience in organizational leadership, communal affairs, social services, program management and development. After studying psychology at Brooklyn College, he began his career as a special education teacher at Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom, a school for children with special needs at Yeshiva Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn’s Kensington neighborhood.
He went on to become a program director at Brooklyn’s Harmony Services, an organization that serves people with developmental disabilities. During his six years there, he directed the Kinor Dovid Day Hab rehabilitation program that helped more than 75 clients with special needs. Among his accomplishments there, he founded Camp Kinor Dovid, an inclusive summer camp located in Camp Ma-Na-Vu, in Parksville, N.Y. He went on to serve as director of development at Mesivta Ateres Yaakov in Lawrence, N.Y., where he led annual fundraising efforts and a $4 million capital campaign.
Rabbi Brandsdorfer continued to develop his professional training, receiving administrative and fundraising education at Brooklyn-based Torah Umesorah, a nationwide network of yeshivos and day schools. He also participated in professional development programs at Boston University, Columbia Business School and Notre Dame University, where he learned about nonprofit strategy and made important connections with his classmates and professors.
“I’ve always had a passion for elevating people’s lives through deeper and more passionate Jewish engagement,” Rabbi Brandsdorfer said. “Today, more than ever before, we have the ability to reach and meaningfully engage Jews around the world in Torah learning. The OU Torah team has done an incredible job of this with its many Torah projects, innovative apps, websites and events. I look forward to leading this department to even greater heights.”
Rabbi Brandsdorfer resides in Woodmere with his wife and children.