Binyamin Lehrfield, Senior Rabbi
Baron Hirsch Congregation welcomed Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Binyamin Lehrfield, his wife, Orit, and their son, Shaya, in August of 2016. Rabbi Lehrfield most recently served as the Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth Abraham-Jacob (CBAJ) in Albany, New York. During his tenure in Albany, CBAJ experienced tremendous growth in all facets of synagogue life. Through innovative family programming, creative synagogue initiatives, and his energy and passion for Jewish communal life, Rabbi Lehrfield helped transform the Albany Jewish community.
Rabbi Lehrfield was an active member of the broader Jewish community as well. He sat on the board of the Hebrew Academy of the Capital District, the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, and the Albany JCC. Rabbi Lehrfield also served as a board member and former officer of the Capital District Board of Rabbis, and served as the Rav HaMachshir of the Bnos Israel Community Mikvah.
Rabbi Lehrfield received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He has a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Psychology from Yeshiva University, and an MBA in Finance and Organizational Development from Baruch College. Rabbi Lehrfield is also in the final stages of completing his M.A. in Jewish Education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education.
Originally from Chicago, Rabbi Lehrfield has worked throughout North America, Israel, as well as the UK in numerous leadership positions in the Jewish community. He has served as the Assistant Rabbi at the illustrious Park East Synagogue in Manhattan as well as an Assistant Rabbi at the Bronfman Center at NYU. In addition, Rabbi Lehrfield spent three years working at Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future where he focused on teaching leadership while inspiring teens and college students from different communities. Developing and infusing these unique programs with a love of Torah, while engaging a wide range of community members, students, and graduates have helped form the foundation for Rabbi Lehrfield’s Rabbinic approach.
In addition to his enthusiasm for Jewish communal life, Rabbi Lehrfield is passionate about playing and watching sports, staying on top of new technology, and hearing a good joke. Rabbi Lehrfield is also a staunch supporter of Israel and visits regularly, often spending time in Maale Adumim where his parents currently live.
In November 2010 Rabbi Lehrfield married his wonderful wife Orit Kabasso. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Adolescent Education from Brooklyn College, Orit completed her Masters in Literacy Education at SUNY Albany. Most recently, Orit taught English at Albany Public High School.
Ricky Kampf, Cantor
Cantor Ricky Kampf has been associated with Baron Hirsch since 1989. In his first years, he served the congregation as the assistant Shalich Tzibur and Executive Director. He received his cantorial degree from the Belz School of Jewish Music, and currently serves as the congregation’s Cantor.
Cantor Ricky’s melodious voice is a highlight of all of our Shabbat and holiday services. His Kabbalat Shabbat service every Friday night fills the synagogue with excitement and energy, and his holiday work with both our Men’s and Boys’ Choirs make the High Holy Days very meaningful. He also is a master Bar Mitzvah teacher, who has taught Torah reading and davening to countless boys throughout the city.
David Fleischhacker, Executive Director
David Fleischhacker was appointed to the position of Executive Director in August 2003. He received his M.B.A from Baruch College in New York, and his B.S. from Yeshiva University. A native Memphian, Mr. Fleischhacker has many fond memories of Baron Hirsch, especially of the years he attended Camp Darom. Starting as a camper at a young age, he grew to serve the camp in many different capacities, including being its Director for several seasons.
Prior to his return to Memphis, Mr. Fleischhacker was a lay leader of Congregation Etz Chaim of Kew Gardens Hills, one of the fastest growing young Orthodox shuls in the area. He served as an officer for eight years, and was President during the campaign and construction of the synagogue’s facilities. Along with his wife, Chany, the Fleischhackers were honored twice by Congregation Etz Chaim. They were the Guests of Honor at the synagogue’s annual Journal Dinner in 1996, and were honored again with a special award at the Journal Dinner in June 2003.
Mary Trotz, Congregation President
Mary Trotz became president of Baron Hirsch Congregation in January 2020. She had previously served as 1st Vice President, as well as several other positions on the congregation’s board over the last eight years. Most recently, Mary was instrumental in chairing the ATID campaign which is nearing its $5 million goal.
Mary has been an active member of the Memphis community for many years. She was the first Jewish President of the Junior League of Memphis. She has served on numerous boards and chaired fundraisers for organizations such as Facing History and Ourselves, The Levitt Shell, Children’s Museum of Memphis and West Tennessee Hunter Jumper Association. She is married to Corey Trotz and they have two daughters. Mary graduated from Vanderbilt University and from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt.
Uri Pilichowski, Program Director
Rabbi Uri Pilichowski grew up in Fair Lawn, New Jersey with Rabbi Benjamin Yudin and Rabbi Saul Zucker as his mentors and teachers. He attended Yavneh Academy day school and Frisch High School. Rabbi Pilichowski studied in Mevaseret Zion for eight years, earning a Bachelor of Talmudic Law and Rabbinic Ordination. While living in Israel, he taught and mentored gap year students.
Rabbi Pilichowski then moved to Beverly Hills, CA to become the Assistant Rabbi of the famed Beth Jacob Congregation. While at Beth Jacob, he partnered with Rabbi Steven Weil to increase Synagogue membership to over 700 families and created a national model for teen and youth departments. Rabbi Pilichowski was then blessed to spend three years in Boca Raton, Florida where he was the Rosh Beit Midrash and Gap Year advisor. He also served on the rabbinic staff at The Boca Raton Synagogue, focusing on the teen department.
An Israeli citizen and former member of the Israel Civil Defense, Rabbi Pilichowski prided himself with his involvement with the Pro-Israel community in America. He created the first teen pro-Israel group in the country that taught students to advocate in Congress for a stronger US-Israel relationship. His students gained a national reputation that has even reached the White House. Rabbi Pilichowski continues to teach his students from Israel via Zoom.
In July 2014, in the midst of Operation Protective Edge, Rabbi Pilichowski moved his family to Israel. He is also the director of Israel Advocacy for Southern NCSY and teaches high school students Talmud, Bible and Israel Advocacy via Zoom to schools around America. Rabbi Pilichowski also founded and directs “Crossing the Line.” American students studying in Israel are taken to Judea and Samaria with Crossing the Line and shown that Israelis have every right to live and govern “Yesha” and treat Palestinian Arabs fairly and with all human rights.
Rabbi Pilichowski also enjoys writing and speaking; he is the author of three books, a book on time management, on the weekly Torah portion and on the Jewish festivals. He has been a scholar in residence in synagogues across America, from Richmond, VA to Santa Barbara, CA. Rabbi Pilichowski is happily married to Aliza and has six wonderful children in Mitzpe Yericho.
Rafael G. Grossman, Senior Rabbi Emeritus
Rabbi Grossman served Baron Hirsch and the Memphis community for more than a quarter of a century. He led the congregation through a difficult transition from its edifice on Vollintine in mid-town Memphis to the eventual construction of the present magnificent synagogue. The Rabbi established programs for people of all ages which included the South’s only sleep-away camp under Orthodox auspices, Camp Darom; the Southern Traditional singles, with its national weekend celebration; the adult education program which offers more than twenty classes per week, most taught by the Rabbi and highlighted with varied lectures featuring foremost lecturers and scholars in World Jewry. In 1998, the Rabbi established the annual Conference on Medical Ethics. Rabbi’s weekly lectures on Israel cover numerous religious subjects thereby establishing Baron Hirsch as the synagogue with one of the most extensive programs of Torah learning in the South. Rabbi Grossman’s leadership for the sale of Israel Bonds has afforded Baron Hirsch the distinct honor of selling more bonds per capita than any other congregation in the United States. His last pilgrimage to Israel raised the number of those joining him throughout the years to more than eight hundred.
Rabbi Grossman was the first Rabbi outside the New York area to be elected President of the Rabbinical Council of America. He now serves as Honorary President and chairman of the Rabbinical Council International. He is the author of Binah: The Modern Quest for Torah Understanding, a six-part series with Volumes II and III soon to appear. His scholarly papers have appeared in numerous journals and volumes, and his weekly column, “Thinking Aloud,” in the JEWISH PRESS and on numerous websites is now read by approximately 500,000 people, making him today’s most read Jewish columnist in the world. In December 1998, Rabbi Grossman was elected Chairman of the board for the Religious Zionist of America.