Ben Goldberg, 31, ‘Family Practice’ Rabbi


The Jewish Week’s annual 36 Under 36 honors young leaders, entrepreneurs and change-makers who are making a difference in the life of Jewish New York. For the full list of this year’s “36ers,” click here.

What do you do?

I am the rabbi of Congregation KTI in Port Chester, New York. I think of myself as having a family practice rabbinate. I work with people of all ages, from young children to seniors, and do a little bit of everything: life-cycle events, teaching, strategic planning and community leadership, and wider community involvement. Last spring, I orchestrated a county-wide Jewish memorial service for those who died during the pandemic. I also spoke at Port Chester’s Black Lives Matter rally in June 2020, bringing a Jewish point-of-view on racial justice to the large, and largely non-Jewish, crowd there. I also serve on the Westchester County LGBT+ Advisory Board, the Village of Rye Brook Police Reform Collaborative Committee, and the Westchester Board of Rabbis’ 2040 Project, where we try to envision what the community will look like 19 years from now.

What’s a fun fact about you?

My identical twin brother, Ethan Levin Goldberg, is the cantor of the Westchester Jewish Center 15 minutes southwest in Mamaroneck. His wife, my sister-in-law Rabbi Shoshi Levin Goldberg, is the cantor of Temple Israel Center 15 minutes west in White Plains. My sister Sarah Goldberg is a youth professional at a large Conservative synagogue in Houston. My parents are on the boards of various Conservative movement organizations. We didn’t have a family meeting to decide that this is what we’d all spend our time doing, but somehow it happened anyway.

Was there a formative Jewish experience that influenced your life path?

I spent 15 summers participating in or staffing various Ramah programs. Ramah introduced me to Jewish living as a comprehensive way of life and as a set of symbols, teachings and rituals for understanding my most profound experiences.

In one sentence, what was your best experience as a Jewish New Yorker?

My entire courtship with my now husband Daniel took place in New York City, including proposing to one another under the gaze of the Statue of Liberty on Governors Island.

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