About Us

Since 2004, Meor and Olami has been working on college campuses to inspire, educate and empower young Jews — the future leadership of the Jewish community.  In 2015, a brave group of educators, young lay leaders, and donors came together to form Meor Manhattan and take it to the next level.

 

Since then, working out of the Jewish Enrichment Center in Greenwich Village, Meor Manhattan has been building and cultivating a vibrant community of Jewish young professionals that is changing Jewish life in the heart of New York City, and is moving the needle for the future of the Jewish people.

MEET THE TEAM

Our STaff

Rabbi Shmuel Lynn Founder & Executive Director
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Rabbi Shmuel Lynn
Founder & Executive Director

Meor Manhattan started as one of Rabbi Lynn’s visions of what could be. After over a decade at the helm of one of Meor’s first and most vibrant campuses, he realized that if Meor did not evolve to galvanize its thousands of alumni that were living in NYC, it would be missing a historic opportunity to impact American Jewry. For years, Rabbi Lynn would make trips up from Philly to keep his former students from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) connected to what had turned them onto Judaism in college. The time had come to help this network become the thriving community it is today. Under his guidance and inspired by his out-of-any-box-you’ve-ever-encountered creativity, we have built a full ecosystem of communal learning opportunities and social meeting points for young Jews of New York to mature and become the young leaders that we need to lead the way forward. 

Rabbi Lynn served for 12 years as Executive Director of Meor at Penn, where he continues to teach regularly. The Maimonides Leaders Fellowship, his flagship program there, is now available at more than 50 campuses throughout North America. The Israel and Poland trips he pioneered in his early years at Penn have become national entities, receiving generous support from foundations and Israeli government initiatives with thousands of alumni.

Before coming to Penn, Rabbi Lynn lived in Israel for nine years. He studied Torah, Jewish philosophy, and Talmudic law at the renowned Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, the largest yeshiva in Israel.  Not having taken the most typical track to the Mir Yeshiva, Rabbi Lynn first graduated from Duke University, and then went on to the Tisch Film School at NYU, later spending several years working as a writer in Los Angeles. He was born in New York City, and is happy to be back, but he grew up in sunny Palm Beach, Florida. 

He is the husband of Ruthi Lynn, a parenting specialist and founder of Aliyt, a Jewish Family Support Organization for Women. Mrs. Lynn is a graduate of Cambridge University in the U.K., where she earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Oriental studies. Rabbi and Mrs. Lynn, who first met in Israel, are the parents of eight children.

Zahava Roth Chief Operating Officer
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Zahava Roth
Chief Operating Officer
Rabbi Avi Blachman Director of Education
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Rabbi Avi Blachman
Director of Education

Rabbi Blachman was born and raised in Jerusalem. He studied at the famed Chevron Yeshiva and went on from there to study under Rabbi Yitzchak Berkowitz in the prominent Jerusalem Kollel, which trains rabbis who serve all over the globe. Aside from his yeshiva studies, he undertook several business endeavors, one of which involved founding his own ice cream company in Israel.

He moved to New York City to be part of the team at Meor Manhattan, and lives on the Upper West Side with his wife Rivka and two children. He hosts lively Shabbos meals with 20+ guests which is talked about far and wide. Additionally, he founded the Manhattan Learning Lounge men’s learning program to inspire and help guys break into the exhilarating study of the Talmud.

Rabbi Mendy Brukirer Director of Outreach
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Rabbi Mendy Brukirer
Director of Outreach

Growing up in the New York area, Mendy is descended from more than 20 generations of rabbis. He studied in the Harvard of the Yeshiva world, Brisk, and received rabbinic ordination as well as a first rabbinic degree from the Jerusalem Kollel. He has previously worked as an editor and is a qualified shochet (ritual slaughterer) as well!

Mendy was head of the Oorah Jerusalem Chillzone, a program dedicated to providing a family experience for American University students spending a gap year in Jerusalem. Mendy was the Director of Aish Essex in Northeast London creating programs for young Jews, preparing young couples for their weddings and the Brukirer home has become legendary as a hub for people in the area and beyond.

Faigy Blumstein Senior Educator
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Faigy Blumstein
Senior Educator

Faigy has been working with the JEC Meor Manhattan for 10 years now! Although born and bred in Brooklyn, she is currently a “Real House Wife” of Long Island. She is married to the entrepreneur, Elimelech Blumstein and has a boatload of kids (5 to be exact). She spent 4 years living in Israel while attending College abroad. After receiving her Masters in Psychology, she works as a school psychologist for the Board of Education. She teaches Wednesday evenings at Meor in City and host’s her very own “Faigy Show”. Faigy is known as a “Mystic Millenial” and teaches Chassidus to the masses. Along with learning one on one with students, she spends time with Brides and teaches them the secrets behind the beauty of a Jewish Marriage.  Her favourite things are manicures, skiing, starbucks and a good hashtag every now and then! She prides herself on trying out new recipes and loves hosting for Shabbat.

Rabbi Ashi Gluck Educator
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Rabbi Ashi Gluck
Educator

Rabbi Ashi Gluck is from NY and after many years of study in Israel he received his rabbinic ordination from the Jerusalem Kollel. He was the outreach director and educational director at Congregation Rodfei Sholom in San Antonio, Texas as well as the NCSY San Antonio City Director.  Following his years down south, Ashi moved back to NY to join the business world. Realizing that his true passion is inspiring Jews to the beauty of Judaism, he left the financial world to join the incredible staff at Olami Manhattan. It takes less than ten minutes to realize that Ashi is a most warm and caring person whose enthusiasm for life and wisdom is contagious. Ashi enjoys biking, and recently completed a 118 mile Bike-a-thon to raise money for children with cancer. The inside story on Ashi is that his all time favorite pastime is being a morning barista for his lovely wife, Brach. They live with their 4 adorable kids in Clifton, New Jersey.

Margaux Betesh Educator
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Margaux Betesh
Educator
Margaux Betesh was born and raised in Deal, NJ. She grew up in a pretty traditional Syrian home, but as a child spent a large part of her summers in Bar Harbor, Maine. This is where her enthusiasm for all things adventurous and outdoors were fostered. After highschool she spent the year in Israel, learning at Midreshet Tehillah on the Neve Campus in Har Nof.
Margaux got her start in Jewish education as a Madricha in Israel for Jinternships in the summer of 2018 and has been active in working with students from all backgrounds and levels since! She gained a lot more experience working and traveling with students as a madricha for Yehudi of Miami with college students and young professionals on many of their educational trips abroad.
Her passions include: traveling, music, and reading. She is passionate about learning about different cultures and food around the world! She has worked professionally in cooking and baking and loves art and photography as well.
Margaux is excited to be involved with Meor Manhattan and to be meeting you all.
Goldie Sion Educator
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Goldie Sion
Educator

Goldie was born in Caracas, Venezuela and moved to Miami, Florida at age 4. Judaism has always played a crucial role in her life, however the true start of her journey began after High School when she decided to do a gap year program called Bar Ilan XP in Israel – an experience that shaped her into who she is today and the person that she strives to be. There and then she realized that Judaic studies were to become a priority for her and decided to attend Stern College for Women, as well as Midreshet Rachel V’Chaya and Neve Yerushalayim. Specifically at Neve, she was able to further strengthen that connection that first sparked in Israel. It is where she was able to grow as a person and learn what it means to live a Torah based life. More than that, everything she learned there, she was able to apply when experiencing one of life’s challenges, and was able to overcome it with God’s help, not only by bettering herself but also by learning how to help those around her. Ever since then, she has found a passion in helping others see for themselves the beauty and greatness that she sees when it comes to God, the Torah, and Judaism and how to live a truly happy life!

Elana Kovalev Director of Events & Programs
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Elana Kovalev
Director of Events & Programs

Elana is a native New Yorker. She embarked upon her journey at Meor Manhattan by attending a Poland Trip as the grandaughter of Holocaust survivors and the rest is history (which is appropriate, given her love of history).  Elana received her degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Communication Design with a background in Fine and Applied Arts. She then moved on to the prestigious Starr Restaurant Group where she honed her hospitality and signature event style. 

After a decade, Elana left the restaurant world to join the Jewish nonprofit world where she uses her hospitality sensitivities to make people feel at home in the Jewish community. She brings her design and artistic vision to Meor Manhattan, and is fueled by her love of the Jewish People to curate beautiful events and programs.  In her spare time, she can be found S.C.U.B.A. diving, hiking, or exploring New York on bicycles alongside her husband Alex.

Malka Diamond Marketing Manager
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Malka Diamond
Marketing Manager

Malka was born and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts. Coming to New York for college, she graduated with a degree in Strategic Design and Management from Parsons: The New School of Design – right around the corner from the JEC!

Malka has previous experience doing marketing in both the fashion and food industry, and is excited to now have the opportunity to combine her love of Judaism with her marketing vision and skills. A certified pastry chef, Malka loves to bake and create beautiful desserts. She can also be found hiking, biking, playing tennis, cooking, and crafting in her spare time.

Batsheva Dardick Events and Programs Director of NYC Expansion
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Batsheva Dardick
Events and Programs Director of NYC Expansion

Born and raised in London, Batsheva brings enthusiasm, energy, and over 10 years of experience in events and project management. In particular, Batsheva spent 5 years running young professional events and regular programming at the Jewish Learning Exchange in London (JLE), as well as five years in education. Batsheva is passionate about inspiring young Jews to the richness of their heritage through beautiful, thoughtful and evocative design that awakens their senses and imagination. She defines success as how much a program positively enriches people’s day to day lives. In the past five years, in her spare time, Batsheva has established a thriving party planning business, and enjoys the opportunity to orchestrate people’s celebratory occasions on a regular basis!

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