...Bringing community together for over 90 years.
Roman was born in a small city in central Asia to a Mizrakhi family, whose grandparents served as spiritual leaders in Kudjand and Tashkent. He immigrated to Israel with his family at the age of four, and later attended a religious STEM school, AMIT. Roman arrived in the USA possessing the level of Candidate to Masters in chess at the age of 16 and was admitted to Yeshiva University immediately upon his completion of 11th grade at FHHS, where he attended the Main Yeshiva Program learning with Rabbi Willig and Rav Ben-Haim. His cantorial career began with the Kabbalat Shabbat class with Cantor Goffin Z"L at the Belz school, and later continued with Cantor Malovany and Cantor Freeman. Throughout his studies at YU and The City College, where he pursued BE and ME in Chemical Engineering, Roman served as the Assistant Cantor at the the Bell Park Synagogue and Jackson Heights Jewish Center while concurrently progressing on an opera vocal track with Maestra Zukhra Bayburina from Milan. Although Roman stepped foot in our shul at first in 2008, we welcomed Roman to the Jewish Center of Forest Hills West as a cantor in 2014 where he played an integral role in supporting the needs of our community for the past 8 years. Today Roman resides in Albany, NY and visits JCFHW for services once a month, and High Holidays.
Cantor Edward Smith, a native New Yorker born in the Bronx, realized at an early age he wanted to be a cantor after singing with the cantor of the Mosholu Jewish Center. He studied with many prominent names of the cantorial world and has served as cantor in Los Angeles,Boston,Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, Denver, Montreal and Toronto. In November 1995 he sang at the Eldridge Street synagogue, a national historical landmark and was the first cantor to sing in the sanctuary in over 40 years.
Cantor Smith has a spinto tenor voice, like many well known Italian tenors and even was urged by his teacher to train for the opera but he preferred singing for tefilah - lucky us. We are pleased to host him twice monthly.
Ruven was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan where his great grandfather was a rabbi and a national singer (cantor).
At the age of one, Ruven moved to the city of Tel Aviv in Israel. His family was traditional and embedded Jewish values in him throughout his childhood and teen years.
Ruven attended Ironi Daled high school in Tel Aviv where he majored in Physics, Chemistry, Math and English. At the age of 18, he moved to the United States And started attending the City College of New York where he graduated with a BE and an ME in chemical engineering.
While living in Israel, Ruven attended the weekly lectures by Rabbi Baruch Rosenblum in Bnei Brak, which he listens to live on YouTube to this day.
After the passing of Chief Lord Rabbi Jonatan Sacks, Ruven started learning and reading the books by the Rabbi, and draws inspiration from them.
Ruven is learning gmara and halachot on a weekly basis with his havruta and shares his knowledge with our community on the weekly Torah learning sessions on Saturday mornings.
Ruven started as a part time spiritual leader for our community in 2015, and joined full time as one of our main spiritual leaders half a year later.
Services Led By:
Cantor Roman Yakubov and Ed Smith and Ruben Pinhasov.
Size and Character of Congregation:
100, Non-egalitarian Traditional,
with a Modern Orthodox service.
Every Friday evening, Saturday morning, and on holidays.
What Makes the Congregation Special:
The warm and welcoming atmosphere one feels upon entering our shul.
Most Dedicated Volunteer:
Largest Service Turnout:
On high holy days.
Most Prized Possession:
Our beautiful sanctuary.
Most memorable service:
Every Friday night we have Friday Night Family Service (Erev Shabbat).
Our community has experienced some changes over the last few decades; however, we are proudly expanding and renewing our growth.
Funniest/Strangest Moment During Service:
Previous cantor David Presler's wedding. The cantor had a vegan wedding which included six singing cantors, a dog as a guest and the cantor's father and father-in-law performed the wedding.
Longest Attending Members:
Most Popular Post Service Gathering Spot:
Kiddush lunch every Shabbat after services in the ballroom.
Our Board Members