Rabbi Howard Zack
Rabbi Howard Zack has been the Spiritual Leader of Congregation Torat Emet since its inception in September 2001. His passion for people and community and his keen insight into communal endeavors have made him a vital part of the Columbus Jewish landscape and have endeared him into the hearts of all those who know him.
Rabbi Zack’s warm and welcoming manner and his concern for those around him makes everyone he is with feel special. He is highly regarded for his involvement in many aspects of the Columbus Jewish community and he is often called upon by people from outside the synagogue for advice, spiritual guidance, and assistance in their various endeavors.
In addition to building and fostering our growing congregation, Rabbi Zack is also a driving force in the ongoing work and development of many local and national Jewish organizations. Rabbi Zack serves as a mentor to many young Orthodox Rabbis in the field. He has served as President of the Columbus Board of Rabbis, as well as on various committees for the Columbus Jewish Federation, the Wexner Graduate Fellows program, Columbus Torah Academy, Yeshiva University, Rabbinical Council of America, Orthodox Union, and the Executive Committee of the Rabbinic Cabinet at United Jewish Communities.
Rabbi Zack’s shiurim cover classical Jewish texts, modern Jewish philosophy, Jewish bioethics and contemporary Halacha. His style allows him to illuminate Jewish sources and text with contemporary issues, presenting information in an unbiased manner and giving people the tools to come to their own conclusions. He has taught and lectured at various institutions for the past 20 years, including University of California at Berkley, and the OU Biannual Convention, where he delivered the keynote address.
Rabbi Zack became the rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation of Oakland in 1985, following a post-rabbinic fellowship in Israel. During his 16 years in Oakland he founded the Gan Mah Tov preschool and Oakland Hebrew Day School and developed a number of other community institutions.
Main Street is proud that Rabbi Howard Zack, his wife Linda, and their three children, Etana, Shifra and Meira, have chosen to make Columbus, Ohio and the Main Street Synagogue, their home.
Rabbi Joel Epstein
Rabbi Epstein has served as Religious Director and Co-coordinator of Bar and Bat Mitzvah programs since the shul began in 2001. Rabbi Epstein also teaches high school Talmud at Columbus Torah Academy and has been on the faculty for 16 years . Prior to Torah Emet synagogue’s inception Rabbi Epstein was Religious Director at Congregation Agudas Achim in Columbus for 15 years.
Rabbi Epstein lives in Bexley with his wife, Janice. They are the proud parents of Rabbi Shaul Epstein, Sarah Epstein Barth, and David Epstein. They have 7 grandchildren.
Liz Kalef, MSW
Liz Kalef has been part of the Torat Emet staff since the shul’s inception, and was named full-time Executive Director in 2007. Liz earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work in 1992. After creating and building the unique program “B’nai B’rith Hillel of Central Ohio,” which offered a Jewish experience and leadership development opportunities to Jewish students at Denison University, Kenyon College, and Ohio Wesleyan University, she moved on to work as Program Director of the Ohio State University Hillel. Following her work at Hillel, Liz served as Project Manager and Assistant Vice President at a healthcare survey research company, and then as Executive Director of Agudas Achim Synagogue.
Liz, her husband, Jeremy, and their children Max, Rose, and Neil are proud to be part of the Torat Emet family.
Rabbi Effy Unterman
Director of Education and Outreach
Rabbi Effy Unterman is the newest member on staff at Congregation Torat Emet, where he serves as the Director of Education and Outreach, overseeing the educational platform and programs of the synagogue, and working to cultivate a warm and welcoming atmosphere to strengthen the synagogue’s community. Prior to joining Torat Emet, he and his wife, Rivkie, lived in New York, where Rabbi Unterman served as the Jewish Education Specialist for the Kingsbay YM-YWHA, teaching young students from the Hebrew Language Academy charter school, and collaborating with senior educators from across the country to develop an innovative after school curriculum. He also taught in the Frisch School in Paramus, New Jersey, and in other primary and secondary educational settings. Rabbi Unterman received a Wexner Graduate Fellowship for Jewish leadership and academic achievement in his work at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Education and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.
Within a year of moving to Columbus, the Untermans gave birth to their first child, Refael. The whole community is excited to welcome their growing family.