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Rabbi Steven Dworken Z''L Fund

This newly established fund, in memory of Rabbi Dworken, will ensure that membership is affordable to all. Monies will be set aside to cover the membership fees of needy families, building on Rabbi Dworken's legacy of community and achdut.

About Rabbi Dworken


The Jewish world knew Rabbi Dr. Steven Dworken z”l as the influential Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical College of America, as the respected Director of Rabbinical Services for the Max Stern Division of Rabbinical Studies, and as the revered Yeshiva University’s Dean of the Center for the Jewish Future. His many devoted semicha students at RIETS knew his sound advice as head of Rabbinical Placement, relying on him for mediating both contracts and conundrums. We, at Anshe Chesed, however, knew even more.


We knew the rabbi whose passionate drashas evoked strong emotions in our hearts, the one whom so many of us, individually, considered a close friend. We knew the Rabbinical candidate who, during his interview with our search committee, insisted on unpacking a plastic fold-up sleeve of family photos that reached to the ground. We knew the man so respected by the non-Jewish Linden mayor that the mayor once advised a Jewish man new to the area, “Go to MY synagogue with Rabbi Dworken.”


Perhaps Rabbi Dworken’s children said it best in the moving anthology of drashot they created in their father’s memory. They reminded us that his middle name was Mordechai, described in Megillah Esther 10:3 as being one who “sought the good of his people.” They cite the explanation by Beis HaLevi—“Mordechai did not wait until people came to him for help. Rather he would seek them out and try to discern their needs.” As his family remembers, “There was nothing our father enjoyed more than seeking out the ‘tov’ and ‘simcha’ for others.” For 23 years our beloved Rabbi Dworken walked with us. In times of celebration, he shared our joy—in times of sorrow, our tears. He accompanied us on life’s journey, always encouraging us to ascend the ladder of Jewish observance through Torah study and acts of kindness—and always with warmth and humor. He was a man of wisdom and grace, of joyfulness and compassion. More than we ever thought possible, he enabled us all to become truly ANSHE CHESED.

Mon, July 22 2024 16 Tammuz 5784