Aish hires director of programming


There will be a new face at Aish HaTorah St. Louis by the end of this month. Aish announced last week that after a two-year search it has hired Rabbi Yosef David as director of programming. Rabbi David, originally from Lakewood, New Jersey, comes to St. Louis after serving for the past 6 years in Memphis as the executive director of the Torah Education Association of Memphis (TEAM).

Before Memphis, he worked in education and community outreach at the Cincinnati Kollel.

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Rabbi Elazar Grunberger, director of Aish HaTorah St. Louis, said Rabbi David’s work will focus on programming, outreach and education. He will expand the scope of the regular classes and the Shabbat learner’s services and Friday night themed dinners at the Aish “Firehouse” facility on Woods Mill Road in Chesterfield, Grunberger said.

In addition, Rabbi David will oversee development of the Aish Sunday School for children and adults.

“We’re very excited to welcome Rabbi David to our Aish family and to the St. Louis community. We’re fortunate to have him with his many years of experience. His successful background will benefit our programs along with so many individuals and families,” Grunberger said.

“We were looking for a very responsible educator who is detail-oriented with programming and is just a great people person,” Grunberger said.

“Rabbi David brings a personal touch along with his rabbinic ability and his professional skills,” he said. “Altogether, it will add a real value to our organization.”

Grunberger said Aish was “very fortunate” in finding two philanthropists whose contributions will fully fund the position for two years.

Grunberger said the philanthropists asked him how they could help the organization.

“I said that Aish continues to grow with more families attending our programs and our center and that we have a small staff of two full-time rabbis and one part-time rabbi, which is not enough to adequately attend to the needs of our programming as well as be of service to individuals and families,” Grunberger recalled. “So therefore to have a person living in Chesterfield, right around the corner from the Firehouse who will be teaching and helping us with our programming, would make a big difference.”

“They [the philanthropists] said ‘You got it,’ and gave us a two-year commitment, ” Grunberger said.

Grunberger said that Chesterfield, where Aish is located, is an important spot in the St. Louis area for working in outreach to Jews, because approximately 20,000 Jews live there, about half of whom are unaffiliated, and many of whom are marginally affiliated.

Rabbi David will help Aish reach out to Jewish families in order to fulfill its mission to “inspire and empower Jews of all backgrounds to explore their heritage,” he said.

Rabbi David moves to St. Louis with his wife, Mimi, and his five children: Yoni, 11; Rochel, 9; Ahuva, 7, and Shira, 1. The Davids were involved in a number of organizations and institutions in the Memphis Jewish community, including the Jewish Federation of Memphis, the Jewish Community Center, BBYO, and area synagogues.

Mimi David was active in education, teaching on the elementary, high school and adult levels, and seven years ago she founded Camp Shemesh A Torah day camp, which has grown to an enrollment of 80 children.

Rabbi David will begin his work at Aish St. Louis on Aug. 22, and there will be an event to welcome the new rabbi on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 28 at the Gloria & Rubin Feldman Aish HaTorah West Center, “The Firehouse,” at 457 N.Woods Mill Road. For more information, contact Aish at 314-862-AISH (2474) or email [email protected].