Rabbi Claudio Kupchik became the Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth El of Cedarhurst in 2017.
Rabbi Kupchik was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While completing medical studies at the University of Buenos Aires Medical School, he determined that Jewish studies and serving the Jewish people was truly his calling and his first love. He studied at the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano in Buenos Aires, the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical School in Latin America, where he was ordained in 1990. Upon coming to the US, he continued his studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in NY achieving an MA in Talmud and Rabbinics. During that time he was honored as a Professor Saul Lieberman Graduate Fellow. He just recently was awarded an honorary doctorate from JTS for 25 years of service in the pulpit.
Rabbi Kupchik has served congregations in Staten Island, St. Catherines, Ontario, Leonia, NJ and Peekskill, NY. For the past 8 years he has served as the Rabbi of Temple Beth El of Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn. Rabbi Kupchik has also filled a number of educational leadership positions including those at the Solomon Schechter High School of Buenos Aires, East Bergen NJ Regional High School and the Brandeis School here in Lawrence.
Throughout his rabbinical career, Rabbi Kupchik has initiated many innovative programs including the “Rabbi’s Rovers” – a group that combined prayer and singing with nature walks; an interfaith/interracial group promoting friendship and cooperation called “Project Dialogue;” and a Shabbat experience geared to nursery school age children entitled “Shabbateeny.” Rabbi Kupchik also implemented a program called “Spark-Heartaction” that included teenagers and adults in Jewish learning at the synagogue combined with visitations to residents of the NYS Veterans Nursing Home in Montrose, NY where he also served as Chaplain.
Temple Beth El of Manhattan Beach was very badly damaged during Superstorm Sandy, as were the homes of many of his congregants. In the immediate aftermath of the storm Rabbi Kupchik undertook extraordinary efforts to reach out and help individual congregants as well as brining the community together. Even with the extensive damage, he quickly turned the synagogue into a safe haven and a gathering spot for the community to come back together for support and spiritual renewal during a very trying time.
Rabbi Kupchik resides in Woodmere with his wife Ann-Rebecca Laschever. They have two boys, Jacob and Simon.