Meet Our Religious Leader, Daniel Kertzner
United Brothers Synagogue welcomes Daniel Kertzner as our new spiritual leader, effective August 2016. Daniel, a native of Bay Shore, in Long Island, looks forward to getting to know better all of United Brothers’ congregants and reinforcing the synagogue’s communal connections, which make it such a welcoming environment for Jews of all backgrounds, all affiliations. He believes strongly all who might find their way to United Brothers Synagogue in search of a spiritual home are welcome.
Since 2002, Daniel has been a member of Temple Beth-El, the Reform synagogue in Providence, where he has served on the board of trustees and chaired the Social Action Committee. In addition, he has helped lead High Holiday prayers and alternative Yom Kippur services and is a long-time member of the synagogue’s volunteer choir.
Daniel’s decades-long spiritual journey of discovery led him to Temple Beth-El. Growing up in a fairly assimilated family, he began getting more engaged with Judaism as a college student. During his 20s and 30s, he came to see, through his personal explorations, Chabad and some chaverot, the richness and meaning embodied in our Jewish rituals and liturgical prayers, celebrations and songs. His background in storytelling and passion for singing led Daniel to learn more about prayers and the structure of services, so he immersed himself in expanding his knowledge of Hebrew and in learning more about liturgy.
Although not an ordained rabbi, Daniel’s journey of exploration has deepened his appreciation for our traditions’ richness and the enormous value of being able to worship, celebrate and study with a strong community. He believes that our ancient traditions’ teachings resonate even today for so many of us who seek to live meaningful lives. A life-long learner, he recently served as a spiritual leader for two B’nei Mitzvot.
As senior philanthropic advisor for funding partnerships at the Rhode Island Foundation, Daniel finds deep satisfaction in working toward tikkun olam and trying to make Rhode Island a better place. He works with the Foundation’s donors and other philanthropists around the state to determine how to best pool combined resources to realize the greatest impact for the greatest good. Before joining the Foundation in 2007 as a grant program officer, he worked for the Massachusetts Cultural Council where he oversaw local cultural programming from 2000-2007. Daniel holds a B.A. in organizational behavior and management from Brown University.