Hebrew Institute of Riverdale

The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale is an Open Orthodox synagogue in the residential Riverdale neighborhood of New York City. The congregation was founded in 1971 and has been led by Rabbi Avi Weiss since 1973,[1] although he announced in October 2014 that he will be stepping down from his position as rabbi in July 2015.[2] He has since assumed the role as Rabbi in Residence and Rabbi Steven Exler assumed the role of Senior Rabbi.[3]

Hebrew Institute of Riverdale
The Bayit
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusSynagogue
LeadershipRabbi Avi Weiss (until July 2015)
Location3700 Henry Hudson Parkway
Riverdale (The Bronx), New York
United States
Completed1980 (current building)

The congregation is known for its pioneering of women's participation in prayer and Torah study.[1][4]

The synagogue introduced one Friday night "the first woman to lead this service in an established Orthodox synagogue in front of a mixed congregation."[5]


The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale was founded in 1971 in a boiler room of the Whitehall Building off the Henry Hudson Parkway by thirty-five families, former members of the Hebrew Institute of University Heights in the Bronx who had moved to Riverdale.[1] In 1973, Avi Weiss, who had finished his training at Yeshiva University a few years earlier, became the synagogue's rabbi. The congregation met at the Whitehall apartment building in the early years, before constructing a permanent building in 1980.[1]

The Hebrew Institute became known for its activism in the campaign to free Soviet Jewry and in defense of Israel.

The congregation has grown to 850 families, and has served as a platform for Weiss's rabbinical advocacy.[6] The Jerusalem Post has called the Hebrew Institute “a training ground for young Modern Orthodox rabbis who go on to take over congregations of their own.”[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Olitzky, Kerry M.; Raphael, Marc Lee. The American Synagogue: A Historical Dictionary and Sourcebook, Greenwood Press, 1996, pp. 223-224. online
  2. ^ Rabbi Avi Weiss to step down as rabbi of Hebrew Institute of Riverdale Archived 2014-10-18 at archive.today
  3. ^ "Staff Bios". www.thebayit.org. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  4. ^ Weiss, Avi. Women at Prayer: A Halakhic Analysis of Women's Prayer Groups, KTAV Publishing House, 2001 p. xii.
  5. ^ Sarah Breger (March 8, 2013). "Do 1 Rabba, 2 Rabbis and 1 Yeshiva = a New Denomination?". Moment (magazine).
  6. ^ Pogrebin, Abigail (July 11, 2010). "The Rabbi and the Rabba". nymag.com. Retrieved April 14, 2011.
  7. ^ Jerusalem Post, May 24, 2002.