Jesse Epstein is a 3rd year rabbinical student at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City (HUC, for short). At HUC, he is one of the Co-Supervisors of the HUC-NY Soup Kitchen, and is a member of Dayenu, his campus’s environmental action group.
Jesse has previously served as the Rabbinic Intern at Northeastern University Hillel and as a Chaplain Intern in Lenox Hill Hospital’s Cardiothoracic ICU, and is extremely excited to be joining the clergy team at Temple Sinai of Saratoga Springs this fall as a Rabbinic Intern.
Jesse’s entrepreneurial pursuits include his role as Founder of Torah and Tourniquets©, a workshop aimed at exploring the role of blood within Jewish tradition, text, and history while equipping participants with the knowledge and skills associated with lifesaving trauma-response techniques (developed through the Be Wise Fellowship at HUC).
Additionally, he has recently become the owner of Shmaltz Brewing Company, a beer-brewing brand aimed at providing community members with a mode and environment for consumption steeped in Jewish ethics, text, and tradition.
Jesse’s Jewish leadership aspirations began in his youth, and were first realized in high school when he was elected President of his NFTY Temple Youth Group: POWTY, and then again in college when he was elected President of Skidmore College Hillel while working towards a BA in Psychology and Religious Studies. Jesse credits his interests in science, particularly in medicine and nature, with a great deal of his spiritual development.
His impressive houseplant collection provides him with a meditative outlet throughout each busy rabbinical school semester, and his former work and volunteer experiences as an Advanced EMT inspire his desire to hold others through difficult and meaningful moments. Jesse is excited about the work he is doing through HUC’s Tisch Fellowship as well as the Jewish Innovation Fellowship at 92NY, and is honored to be the 2022 recipient of the Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce Prize in Human Relations.
He looks forward to the rest of his studies at HUC as he draws ever nearer to his dream of serving others as a rabbi. Until then, when he’s not studying or working, you can find him hiking, dancing and exploring improvised movement, hanging out with dogs, or spending time near large bodies of water.