Rabbi Bini Maryles of North Woodmere Joins OU as Director of Department of Synagogue Services

25 Sep 2007


Ever since Rabbi Bini Maryles, former spiritual leader of the Young Israel of North Woodmere, joined the Orthodox Union in July as the new director of the Pepa and Rabbi Joseph Karasick Department of Synagogue Services, the phone has not stopped ringing. OU communities across North America call daily with questions on Jewish law, fundraising, membership, conflict resolution, contracts, and other congregational issues.

Rabbi Maryles is able to help these communities by drawing on his wealth of Torah knowledge, experience as a synagogue rabbi, and business acumen. He received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, following which he served as Assistant Rabbi at Young Israel of Holliswood in Queens before coming to North Woodmere in 2004. He also holds a B.S. in accounting from YU’s Sy Syms School of Business.

Rabbi Maryles and his wife, Naomi, reside in North Woodmere, with their children Avigayil, JJ and Orly.

The Department of Synagogue Services serves the many hundreds of OU member synagogues across North America. It provides innovative programs and services targeted at specific communal needs, and acts as a conduit for synagogues to utilize the experience of other OU departments.

OU President Stephen J. Savitsky of Hewlett declared, “Rabbi Maryles has a great deal of drive and has demonstrated the ability to take on increasing responsibilities. As someone who also lives in the Five Towns, I was able to see him in action in North Woodmere. I know that he did a very fine job.”

Mr. Savitsky added that an important aspect of Rabbi Maryles’ responsibilities will be to develop a closer connection between member synagogues and the OU.

“We are fortunate to have Rabbi Maryles with his extensive background in synagogue life,” stated Stanley Weinstein, Chair of the OU Commission on Synagogue Services. “He will work together with his staff and lay leadership to make the OU Synagogue Services Department the premier source for Orthodox synagogues to coordinate programs and services that are vital to them and to their individual members.”

“We take pride in all the efforts of the Department of Synagogue Services in reinforcing the faith of those already committed and in attracting those still distant from Judaism,” Mr. Weinstein said.

Rabbi Maryles’ experience as a pulpit rabbi will be extremely helpful. At Young Israel of North Woodmere, on OU member congregation, he dealt with many communal concerns ranging from family illness and death to synagogue maintenance and fundraising. “One of the key aspects to the Department of Synagogue Services is to understand what goes on in the synagogue behind the scenes. I’ve been there; I know what it’s like,” Rabbi Maryles declared. Until the end of August he continued in his pulpit position while acclimating himself to his role at the OU.

In his position, Rabbi Maryles will closely with the OU Executive Vice President, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, himself a veteran of many years as a pulpit rabbi. Rabbi Weinreb commented, “Others will cite Rabbi Maryles’ pulpit experience, which is thorough; his erudition, which is impressive; or his personality, which is warm and welcoming. But what I find most important is his ability to dream and to articulate his vision. I look forward to working closely with him and to do everything in my power to help him make his dream come true.”

In his new role, Rabbi Maryles plans to work closely with OU synagogues to improve upon and expand their range of programming and activities. Currently, the rabbi and his staff are building a foundation for the department and are actively reaching out to communities to understand their needs and how to serve them better — in other words, to strengthen their connections with the OU.

“This position is a great opportunity as it falls in line with what I am trying to accomplish — to serve Jewish communities across the continent,” Rabbi Maryles said.

A top priority for the department is helping small Jewish communities grow. To accomplish this, the OU is developing the Orthodox Communities Network (OCN), an interactive website with information on each community featuring local synagogues, including a link to their websites and information on current happenings; eruv updates; school and mikvah directories; as well as the availability of kosher food. In a tour coordinated by the department, Mr. Savitsky, the OU President, will visit communities coast to coast to focus on their unique needs and on how the OU can assist them. Rabbi Maryles also has a substantial travel schedule in mind.

“A meaningful synagogue experience is critical, especially for children. We want them to be excited and enthusiastic about Judaism and the Torah way of life,” Rabbi Maryles said. Accordingly, to enhance the synagogue experience for children of all ages, the department is issuing an OU Synagogue Youth Programs CD-ROM with Shabbat programming, including prayer services, the weekly Torah portion, stories and questions.

“The OU office is always available to our communities,” Rabbi Maryles said. “We want to know what is on their minds and what they would like us to do for them.”

Synagogues interested in joining the OU synagogue network and sharing in the many benefits offered by the OU may contact 212-613-8366.

To interview Rabbi Maryles, contact Stephen Steiner, Director of Public Relations, 212-613-8318 or at steiners@ou.org.