With much energy and enthusiasm, Rabbi Joseph Robinson is spearheading the Riverdale Jewish Community Partnership (RJCP) by organizing events and programming that will interest a broad base of the Riverdale community. Robinson was recently hired as the director of community engagement at the Riverdale Y, and jumped in head first by organizing powerful and meaningful community programs such as the Riverdale observance of Yom Hazikaron and celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut, followed by a Lag B’Omer festive event. In addition, the 10th Annual Riverdale Run on May 6 boasted almost 600 people, with 27 teams, as more than $40,000 was raised to provide scholarships to families in need, daily lunches for seniors and funds for the teen’s performing arts program at the Riverdale Y.
As the organizing institution of RJCP, the Riverdale Y has a mission to bring together diverse parts of the community through programs, services and events. As a non-denominational organization that serves Jews of all backgrounds and levels of connection to Judaism, the Riverdale Y is “a low barrier of entry to Jewish life and uniquely positioned to be the convener of the Jewish community. RJCP is poised to grow and strengthen this collaboration, reinforcing the model that the Jewish community can work together to reach out to more Jews, regardless of their level of connection to the Jewish community, and significantly increase the impact on individual Jews and the Jewish collective,” explained Robinson. There are currently 18 Riverdale Jewish communal institutions participating in the RJCP, including synagogues, minyanim, day schools, seminaries and community organizations.
Robinson hails from California and studied rabbinics at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, followed by ordination from The Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, located at the American Jewish University in California. Robinson’s goal, when he became a rabbi, was to “walk hand in hand with partners.” He envisions a path where people have the opportunity to grow and learn. In his work at various days schools and Jewish summer camps, he learned about navigating the needs of diverse populations and finding common ground to build greatness together.
The Robinsons were living and working in Birmingham, Alabama, when Robinson’s wife, Emily Hausman, was hired to run her own early childhood center at the Riverdale Y. The family, which includes three children, Ruth, Liam and Ben-Ami, came Riverdale,where Robinson interviewed for and accepted his current position as director of community engagement and is grateful to the amazing team he joined at the Y, where he works with community leaders and laity in advancing engagement within the Jewish community of Riverdale.
To learn more about the Riverdale Y, please visit www.RiverdaleY.org or call 347-913-4432. The Riverdale calendar of events can be viewed at www.riverdaleY.org/events/2018-05-24, or use https://www.riverdaley.org/riverdale-jewish-community-partnership/ to connect to the RJCP. The Riverdale Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue in the Bronx.
By Yvette Finkelstein