Rabbi Benzion Klatzko
The conceptual founder of Shabbat.com, Rabbi Klatzko brings over two decades of visionary leadership, staunch support of Israel, and Jewish activism to the project.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Rabbi Klatzko received his rabbinic ordination from the prestigious Mir Yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York. At the Mir, he was known for his exceptional diligence in his studies and sterling character traits- both of which garnered him the respect and admiration of the famed Dean of the Yeshiva, the world-famous sage, Rabbi Shmuel Berenbaum, ZTL. After completing his studies, Rabbi Klatzko accepted an offer to serve as Rabbi of the historic Agudath Israel synagogue of Brooklyn, New York. After seven years of galvanizing the community towards greater levels of Jewish living and expression, he began a three year stint as the Rabbi of a distinguished congregation in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.
In what at the time was perceived as a bold move, 1999 saw the Klatzko family move to California so that he could accept the position of Campus Rabbi at UCLA. As a hands-on and loveable ambassador for the Jewish faith, he reconnected literally thousands of young Jewish men and women to their heritage. He also made an impressive splash in the broader Jewish community, earning the moniker “The Hollywood Rabbi.” Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars and producers,including cast and staff from Friends Malcolm in the Middle, Third Rock From the Sun, and Directors and Vice Presidents of Sony, Disney, and Warner Brothers, became regulars at his popular monthly class on Jewish thought.
Beyond transforming lives at UCLA, Rabbi Klatzko’s activities touched-off a revolution that profoundly changed the landscape of North American Jewry. Almost overnight, dozens of young rabbis throughout the country moved their families to campuses with high Jewish populations in an effort to reach out to the unaffiliated and curious. To this day, hundreds of young rabbis seek out Rabbi Klatzko's sagacious advice in an effort to glean some of his wisdom and experience. He currently serves as a National Director of College Outreach and in that capacity oversees and promotes Jewish education and continuity throughout North America. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Yeshiva University and lectures at over 50 different North American colleges and universities each year.
A person of indefatigable energy, Rabbi Klatzko is also a successful author, cantor, music producer, and Mohel. A noted Judaica art collector, Rabbi Klatzko is the founder of Simcha Art Gallery in Monsey, New York. His eclectic accomplishments have even earned him the admiration of the United States Congress, where he was honored during a live session of House of Representatives as a “distinguished gentleman making a difference to his community.”
Rabbi Klatzko and his family currently live in Monsey, New York, where hosting 50 or more people for Shabbos in the norm. He has been at the frontier of improving Jewish communal life in the United States for over two decades and is an invaluable addition to the Shabbat.com team.
Rabbi Yehudah Koblick
Rabbi Yehudah Koblick is a co-founder of Shabbat.com. As the lead developer, Rabbi Koblick oversees all technical operations and is responsible for the development of its core technology and infrastructure. He was formerly a software engineer and consultant to the Elfnet project and worked for Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories.
Rabbi Koblick holds a bachelor’s degree in information systems from Pace University. He received his rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Bezalel Rudinsky and is a longstanding member of the Kollel at Yeshivas Ohr Reuven. He is also the director of Yeshiva Hockey, an ice hockey organization for kids. Currently he is the founder of Tribex Technology, a new software company.
Lavi Needleman, a Monsey, N.Y. businessman, heard of Rabbi Benzion Klatzko’s visionary dream and was inspired to assist him in getting this unique website off the ground and running! Lavi is a Tree Surgeon & Landscape Designer by day, and in his free time, he continues the innovative educational methods that he started implementing in Israel 20 years ago.
After attending Yeshiva University, Lavi spent two years in Israel involved in forming an innovative pilot program at Ohr Someach Israel. This afternoon learning program paired up religious, but not motivated students with Baalei Teshuva who were weak in textual skills but brimming with enthusiasm, thus creating a win/win situation both for those being tutored and for those doing the tutoring.
After returning to the U.S., Lavi learned in Yeshivas Mir in Brooklyn and developed a close relationship with Rav Avigdor Miller who lived right next door. In 1995, he and his wife Peshie were members of the kollel in Boca Raton which was the community's successful tryout of a fulltime Kollel. Always looking for unique ways to make a difference, Lavi joined the staff at Camp Moodis where he bonded with and influenced amazing personalities from NASA and other high visibility professionals who were looking for higher meaning in life.
Three years ago Lavi became one of the original Monsey Partners in Project Inspire. In conjunction with this, Lavi’s out of the box thinking and entrepreneurial spirit led him to develop his own motivational e-group as well as a website which provides people short one page original essays that he authored on major important topics, especially in the field of science and Judaism.
Seeing a great void of healthy alternatives, (other than the current baseball and basketball groups) for the religious children in Rockland County, Lavi joined with Rabbi Yehudah Koblick, a co-founder and software developer for this website, and together, they created Yeshiva Hockey Inc, one of the largest sports programs in Monsey where the boys start off each clinic with a Dvar Torah from Coach Yehudah!
To round out his interests, Lavi is a devoted husband and father of five, an accomplished ice hockey player, and the self appointed president of the PAPWESBTTIC (People Against People Who Eat Sushi Because They Think It’s Cool). When not in the office designing landscapes, he can be found hundreds of feet up in the air as he rappels down the Adirondack Mountains, aiming to keep himself both focused and fit. However, the real brick & mortar of Lavi’s day is the nightly class he attends and gives in Jewish Law at Yeshivas Ohr Reuven.
Lavi hopes you find this website inspirational as well as useful tool for Jews the world over, to connect!
As a Systems Architect for Shabbat.com, Reuven Koblick brings several years of technical experience to the table. Mr. Koblick worked for the prestigious Bell Laboratories where he was the Project manager for Unix System V. He also developed Unix to run on Intel and Motorola processors in addition to other innovations for Unix and networking. Reuven Koblick was an active participant in the commercialization of the World Wide Web. He has participated in several standards committees including the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) and WWW Consortium. At Mitsubishi Electric, Mr. Koblick was involved in several large scale commercial projects including the development of a network storage backup system which was sold to Veritas (now Symantec) and became their flagship product. He founded Formcentric, an infrastructure tool, and used it to develop several Web Apps.
In addition to English, Reuven Koblick speaks fluent French, Spanish, German, Hebrew, Yiddish, and some Japanese. He is an accomplished flamenco guitarist, playing professionally in Spain. Also, a professional ski patrolman, accomplished pilot, and has fought several forest fires with the Crested Butte Hotshots fire team.
He lived for several years in Spain and France and obtained a Masters degree in computer science at the University of Paris.
Reuven Koblick was a student at Yeshivas Netzach Israel in Jerusalem and studied under the illustrious Torah giant, Harov Israel Gustman, as well as Rabbi Moshe Lipke.
Currently he resides in the Boston area and works for Harvard University
Leah Steinmetz manages the Shabbat.com office. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Leah is a very passionate and motivated person who really wants to better the world in any way possible. After spending a year and a half in Jerusalem “soul searching”, her yearning to contribute to the world have just become stronger. Leah has been close with the Klatzko family for years. She then joined the Shabbat.com team utilizing her strengths and sincere love for the Jewish people to reach out to Jews all over the world.
Her love for exploration and trying new things lead her to developing passions and expertise in genres of dance, swimming and horseback riding. She looks at everyday as an opportunity to improve and educate herself. She is an aspiring psychologist aiming to specialize in human rights advocacy and dismantling cults.
User Interface Architect
Yakov Vershubsky brings his years of experience as a User Interface Architect to shabbat.com in order to ensure that the site is intuitive, easy to use, and attractive, so as to make it accessible and inviting to as many users as possible.
As a User Interface Designer & User Experience Consultant for big firms such as Microsoft, LexisNexis, ESPN and other Fortune 500 companies, he gained extensive knowledge and hands-on experience in areas such as Internet marketing, search engine optimization, GUI planning & design, Web 2.0 design & development, landing page design & optimization, and branding and identity. Additionally, Yakov is highly regarded as the industry leader in an area called Design to Convert.
Yakov was born in Russia and moved to the United States as a child. He has spent the last ten years of his life traveling to far flung countries, adding languages to his ever growing list while joining and contributing to various Jewish communities around the globe. As a teenager, he spent 2 years volunteering as a full time Big Brother at a Jewish orphanage in Russia. Now he gives back by volunteering for various worthy causes such as shabbat.com, working with youth-at-risk, and by visiting Jewish inmates at various prisons around New York. Currently Yakov works as a UI architect at HugeMedium and does freelance consulting on the side.
Shmuel has been advising Shabbat.com throughout its growth by keeping an eye on users needs and input, ensuring we have the best in user experience. His contributions include advancing our users security preferences and designing the functionality behind the dating portion of the site. Shmuel excels at making ideas happen and converts many concepts into reality, such as IlluminateTheWorld.com (a project of Shabbat.com).
With an emphasis on business process reengineering, Shmuel helps businesses design and integrate custom software solutions to maximize their efficiency. He operates as a translator between end users/businesses and the programmers/designers who build the software.
Shmuel volunteers with Aish Jerusalem and it's world renowned affiliated speakers on updating key presentations about Judaism; keeping them relevant and engaging to new generations. Shmuel moonlights as an EMT and frequently operates as a mentor/counselor on college Israel trips.
Adviser and Supporter
Howard S. Jonas is the founder of IDT Corp. This generous philanthropist funds a range of Jewish causes across the ideological spectrum, and has made major investments in Israel as well.
Jonas founded IDT Corp. in August 1990 and has served as Chairman of the Board since its inception.
Jonas has also served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of IDT Telecom, Inc. since December 1999 and as a director of IDT Capital, Inc. since September 2004. Jonas served as Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of IDT Entertainment, Inc. from November 2004 until August 2006. Since August 2006, Jonas has been a director of Starz Media Holdings, LLC, Starz Media, LLC and Starz Foreign Holdings, LLC, each of which is an affiliate of the Company. Jonas is also the founder and has been President of Jonas Publishing since its inception in 1979. Jonas was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Net2Phone from October 2001 to October 2004, the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Net2Phone from October 2004 to June 2006, and has served as the Chairman since June 2006.
Howard Jonas received a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University in 1978.
In 2006, Jonas published his second book: 'I'm Not the Boss, I Just Work Here'
Richard Goldstein is the principal of Goldstein and Associates Realty, Inc., a commercial real estate brokerage firm based in White Plains in Westchester County. He attended the Bronx High School of Science, Brandeis University, and the MBA program of New York University. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Home at Rockleigh, located in Rockleigh NJ. He is also active in an initiative to combat Israel bias and anti-Semitism working with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. He assists the Jewish Education Program of Westchester, Rabbinical Seminary of America in Kew Gardens Hills and is on the advisory board of Shabbat.com.