Founded in 1927, the Van Cortlandt Jewish Center (VCJC) initially was housed in a street level room of an apartment building. In 1947, the Center moved into a converted mansion at 3997 Gouverneur Avenue, where it remained for 18 years. In 1965, VCJC moved into its own newly constructed building at 3880 Sedgwick Avenue, its current home.
The VCJC is a modern Orthodox synagogue affiliated with the Orthodox Union (OU)
The VCJC is a modern Orthodox synagogue that welcomes congregants at all levels of observance. We offer daily morning services, both weekdays and Shabbat. Because of weather, work schedules and other considerations, evening services are held only on some evenings.
Serving the Broader Community
The VCJC has become a center for the entire Van Cortlandt community. During the week (Monday through Friday), the first floor houses the Van Cortlandt Senior Center, a program funded by the NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA.) and operated by the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA.) For more information go to….
The second and third floors are being used by Mosholu Montefiore Community Center for a preschool for children. (For more information go to …).
The VCJC has an active Sisterhood, which engages in a variety of social and fundraising activities. Monthly meetings are held and new members are welcome – For more information go here.
Up until several years ago, the Center had also been the home of the Van Cortlandt Maccabean Post #107 of the Jewish War Veterans. Also up until a few years ago the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY hosted a youth group for Middle and High School students here (two of our attendees won a trip to Israel through this program!)
In the recent past, the VCJC had initiated several successful programs. Once a week during the school year Beginners Hebrew Reading and Jewish History courses were offered, sponsored by the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP.) We hope to offer these, plus other programs in the future, and welcome comments and suggestions.
Sponsored by NJOP and enjoyed by many are our annual Shabbat Across America and Passover Across America programs. We also offer hot lunches and dinners in our beautifully decorated Succah during the Fall High Holiday season, Israeli Independence Shabbas lunch, and free Chanukah and Purim parties.
We have six lectures a year, usually January to June of various topics of interest to the community. In addition to topics on Judaism, recent lectures have included an update on the Jerome Park Reservoir project and Senator Jeff Klein talking about his trip to Cuba with Governor Cuomo.
We run an annual High School Essay contest for Holocaust Memorial Day, awarding cash prizes to our top three winners. This year (2015) we received 50 essays to review! We host a commemorative evening with a guest lecturer, survivor candle-lighting ceremony and the reading of the winning essays by their authors.
The VCJC building serves as host to many community service meetings and is available for rental for (Kosher catered) events.
Rabbi David Borenstein
Rabbi David Borenstein has served as the dynamic spiritual leader of the Van Cortlandt Jewish Center, Bronx, NY, since 2009.
Raised in Far Rockaway, NY he graduated from Yeshiva Derech Ayson Mesivta. Rabbi Borenstein continued his studies at Yeshivas Kol Torah in Israel under the leadership of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ob”m. Subsequently, he studied under Rabbi Reuven Feinstein at Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem/Staten Island where he was privileged to hear lectures from Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ob”m. He then studied at Yeshiva Torah Vadaath under Rabbi Yisroel Belsky and Rabbi Avraham Yaakov Pam, ob”m from who he received Semicha (rabbinical ordination).
Concurrently, Rabbi Borenstein studied at Brooklyn College and Audrey Cohen College. He earned his Masters of Social Work degree from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work in 1993.
Rabbi Borenstein served as assistant to Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, director of the outreach program of Agudath Israel called Chizuk: The Torah Link. He also worked at Ohel Community Adult Residence where he led Shabbos programs and Passover seders for highly functioning emotionally disturbed adults for close to twenty years.
From 1992 until 2010, Rabbi Borenstein supervised and coordinated community and social services programs at Graenum Berger Bronx Jewish Federation Service Center, an affiliate of the Riverdale YM-YWHA, UJA-Federation agencies, including providing extensive help to Holocaust survivors. At that time, the Rabbi was a recipient of the Leeder Family Foundation award for outstanding social work to the Jewish Community.
At the synagogue, Rabbi Borenstein writes a column for the shul’s monthly bulletin, “The Center Light,” culled from his many inspirational sermons and classes. He also leads High Holiday services, Festival meals, special events and Passover seders, besides officiating at weddings and other life cycle events.
The Rabbi is approachable, patient, learned and understanding, and welcomes visitors to the shul for any and all occasions. The Rabbi encourages congregants to explore a variety of interests in Torah learning. Towards that end, he established a Judaica library in our shul. In June 2014, the Rabbi was honored by the shul for five years of dedicated service to our community.
We wish the Rabbi and his family much success and good health as he continues, please G-d, to nurture, lead and guide our congregation for many years to come.