Rabbi Jonathan Morgenstern
Young Israel of Scarsdale, NY
Mar 14, 2014
Rabbi Jonathan Morgenstern grew up in Monsey, New York, where he attended the Adolph Schreiber Hebrew Academy of Rockland (ASHAR) elementary school and Yeshiva University’s MTA High School for boys. He was raised by his parents in a traditional Modern Orthodox Home, learning Talmud in the morning and playing hockey at night. It was during these formative years that Rabbi Morgenstern began thinking about a career in Jewish education and the rabbinate. He envisioned a movement infused with passion and populated with rabbinic leaders able to cultivate personal, lasting relationships with their constituents.
Motivated by this vision, Rabbi Morgenstern spent a year and a half at Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim in the Old City of Jerusalem. He then attended Yeshiva University, where he earned his B.A. in Economics in 1999. Rabbi Morgenstern began his rabbinic studies and training at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of YU and completed his training in 2002, receiving his Semicha from Beit Midrash LeTalmud, an affiliate of Lander College in Queens, NY. Concurrent with his semicha studies, Rabbi Morgenstern attended a Masters Program in General & Addictions Counseling at Pace University, and earned his M.S. in Counseling in 2004.
Before assuming the role as the full-time Rabbi of the Young Israel of Scarsdale, Rabbi Morgenstern taught Judaic Studies for 7 years at the Westchester Hebrew High School in Mamaroneck, NY from 1999-2006. During his time there, he also served as the school’s spiritual and mental health counselor, hockey coach, and softball coach. Rabbi Morgenstern then became Dean of Students for 2 years. He is very proud of his affiliation with the Yatzkan Orthodox Teen Rehab Center when it was in Mt. Vernon, NY. While Rabbi Morgenstern was working in Jewish Education, he was also very much involved rabbinic and communal leadership roles – especially at the Young Israel of Scarsdale.
Rabbi Morgenstern began his tenure at the Young Israel of Scarsdale in 2000, as the Synagogue’s first Rabbinic Intern. He served as Rabbinic Intern for 2 years, after which he became the Synagogue’s first Assistant Rabbi, a position that he held until 2008. During that time, Rabbi Morgenstern was blessed to receive invaluable guidance and training from Rabbi Jacob S. Rubenstein z”l. Rabbi Rubenstein, until his untimely and tragic death, was and will always be a master teacher, cherished mentor, and beloved friend to Rabbi Morgenstern. Rabbi Rubenstein transmitted so much wisdom to Rabbi Morgenstern, that “Reb Jonathan”, as he was affectionately referred to by Rabbi Rubenstein, is undoubtedly the better for it.
Rabbi Morgenstern lives his life and leads by the guiding principles of emet – truth, and ahava – love. He prides himself on always trying to be sincere and compassionate in his dealings with others. He believes that if you give Jews love, sincerity, warmth and support, then nurturing Jewish communities will grow, and that if we are honest with ourselves, our love for God and His Torah and mitzvot will flourish. It is with these beliefs, along with a constant drive to create engaging and dynamic religious experiences and programs for all members of the community, that Rabbi Morgenstern seeks to lead his shul community.
Rabbi Morgenstern is a devoted family man; he married his high school sweetheart, Jordana, in 1998. They live in Scarsdale with their 4 children, Simon, Ayden, Ella, and Jacob.