Rabbi Samansky comes to Stephen Wise from Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge, California, where she has run the religious school and youth programming for four years, and Los Angeles’ Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, where she has been a member of the faculty for the past 13 years. She was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2009.
Rabbi Tracy J. Kaplowitz, Ph.D., is our inaugural Marilyn G. and Joseph B. Schwartz Israel Fellow. She came to Stephen Wise from JWB Jewish Chaplains Council, which ensures the quality of Jewish life for Jews in the U.S. military and the Veterans Administration. An experienced spiritual leader and educator, Rabbi Kaplowitz served as a reserve chaplain in the U.S. Air Force and on the professional staff of both the Schechter School of Long Island and the Jewish Education Project. She was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and earned her doctorate in the sociology of education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Rabbi Kaplowitz is a member of both the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Rabbinical Assembly.
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch is the senior rabbi of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City. With a fiery voice, a listening heart and a brilliant mind, Rabbi Hirsch articulates a clear vision for the survival and success of American Judaism while tending compassionately to the needs of his growing congregation.
Internationally recognized for his leadership in Jewish affairs, Rabbi Hirsch is frequently cited in the media. In 2018, The Jerusalem Post named him among “The 50 Most Influential Jews of the Year.” City & State praised him as “the borough’s most influential voice” for Manhattan’s more than 300,000 Jews and The New York Observer named him among “New York’s Most Influential Religious Leaders.”
The son of Rabbi Richard G. Hirsch z’’l and Bella Hirsch z’’l, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch grew up in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area before moving to Israel for his high school years. From 1977 to 1980, he served as a tank commander in the Israel Defense Forces.
Rabbi Hirsch earned his LL.B Honors law degree from the London School of Economics and is a member of the New York State Bar. He received his ordination at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, where he was granted numerous awards for academic excellence.
Prior to his arrival at Stephen Wise, he served for 12 years as executive director of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA), the Israel arm of the North American Reform movement.
Rabbi Hirsch has served on numerous boards of national and international bodies, including the Jewish Agency for Israel, the World Zionist Organization, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He is currently an officer of the New York Board of Rabbis, and a member of the Partnership of Faith, an interfaith body of New York religious leaders, and New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ Black-Jewish Clergy Roundtable.
An accomplished teacher and public speaker, Rabbi Hirsch is also the co-author of the acclaimed “One People Two Worlds: A Reform Rabbi and an Orthodox Rabbi Explore the Issues that Divide Them” and the host of the bi-weekly podcast “In These Times with Rabbi Ammi Hirsch.”
Rabbi Hirsch can be reached at (212) 877-4050, ext. 226, or by emailing his assistant, Irit Losar, at email@example.com.
Irit was born and raised in Tel Aviv. After completing her service in the Israel Defense Forces, she earned her bachelor’s in degree in economics and business administration and management from Tel Aviv University. Irit moved to the U.S. with her husband and worked as an executive administrative assistant to international tech start-up CEOs, then took a break from working to raise her two children. Before joining Stephen Wise in 2020, she worked in the membership office of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades.
Cantor Singer’s magnificent voice, vibrant spirit and warm presence enrich our congregation’s spiritual, educational and communal experiences.
Cantor Daniel Singer has served Stephen Wise Free Synagogue since July of 2006 as the third cantor in the history of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue. Formerly serving the pulpits of Temple Shaaray Tefila in Manhattan, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights Synagogue,Temple Adas Israel of Sag Harbor, and Temple Beth El of Bloomfield Hills Michigan, he brings great enthusiasm and energy both on the pulpit and as an administrator of many enriching and exciting music programs and concerts.
Drawing on a wide-ranging knowledge of Jewish music, Cantor Singer is as comfortable singing an 18th-century classical liturgical repertoire or leading the congregation in traditional Hasidic or Sephardic melodies as he is performing Jewish pop acapella with SIX13 or singing roles with the Yiddish Theater or opera. “A singing community” is one of Cantor Singer’s major goals, and together with Rabbi Hirsch has implemented a revolutionary model of worship for the congregation that has earned accolades from Jewish professionals and congregants of diverse religious backgrounds and demographics. If he is in the building, you will probably hear him singing — in the offices, corridors, and stairways, as well as the sanctuary. He has participated in numerous recording projects and has been recognized for the publications of his original compositions through Transcontinental Music Publications.
Cantor Singer majored in music and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin in Superior, and holds Masters’ degrees in vocal performance from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and in sacred music from the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion School of Sacred Music in Jerusalem and Manhattan. Before entering the cantorate, he was Voice Department Chair Opera Workshop Director, and Head Start Coordinator at the Flint School for the Performing Arts. Resident artist with the Toledo Opera and other regional and international vocal arts programs including the Israel Vocal Arts and Brevard Music Center. Today, he continues his professional development through advanced coursework in arts administration at New York University and affiliation and participation in the American Conference of Cantors and Cantor’s Assembly, also continuing to participate in numerous cantorial concerts, oratorio, and recitals throughout the country and abroad.
Rabbi Samantha Natov grew up in Dundas, Ontario. She holds a bachelor’s from McGill University and a master’s in musicology and ethnomusicology from the University of Virginia. Following her time as a cantorial soloist in Toronto, Rabbi Natov came to New York to earn her degree in sacred music from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. After working as a cantor at congregations in New Jersey and Brooklyn, she decided to become a rabbi. Rabbi Natov was ordained by HUC-JIR in 2015 and joined Stephen Wise Free Synagogue a few months later in July 2015.
As associate rabbi at Stephen Wise, she oversees the congregation’s adult education programming and social justice work.