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ECDP Annual Dinner - March 31, 2024


Bracha Rutner & Josh Muskat

Guests of Honor



Jennifer & Eric Bienenfeld

Guests of Honor


Bracha Rutner and Josh Muskat are both involved in Eitz Chayim. Bracha is the Chair of the Adult Education Committee and Josh is a Gabbai for the main minyan and is on the Board of the Shul. Bracha and Josh are also the proud parents of Ezra, Adira, Shai, and Aden whom they have raised for the past 18 years in West Hempstead. Throughout their time in West Hempstead, they have both been actively involved in Eitz Chayim, as well as many of the schools in the extended West Hempstead community. 

Bracha is the passionate Head of School at Central/YUHSG, where she also teaches Gemara and Halacha. She hopes to inspire her students to share in her love for Torah, Halacha, and dedication to the Jewish community and Israel. Bracha also serves as the Yoetzet Halakha at the Kemp Mill Synagogue in Silver Spring, MD, combining her passion for helping others with her commitment to Halacha. As a graduate of Stern College and Nishmat’s Keren Ariel Women’s Halakhic Institute in Jerusalem, with a Master’s degree in Education Administration from St. John’s University and having completed graduate work in Talmud from Hebrew University, she is devoted to educating the next generation of young women. As education is a value in her life, she serves as the Chair of the Adult Education Committee at Eitz Chayim. 

Josh grew up in Thornhill, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. He attended Ner Israel Yeshiva College, followed by Sha’alvim and Yeshiva University. Josh attended Bar Ilan University, earning his MBA, and has been working in the risk management field for the last 20 years. Josh began serving on the Board of Eitz Chayim as the ombudsman, and then during Covid-19, offered to serve as Gabbai for the main sanctuary so that the Shul could resume indoor services. He has continued in his role as Gabbai since that time. Besides helping many people open the Aron, (which is more complicated than you may have thought), Josh encourages high school students to lain megillot over Yom Tov, enabling them to feel connected to davening and to the Shul. He is also on the Shul’s House Committee and most importantly, is a cheerleader for his wife and kids. 

We are thankful for all that Bracha and Josh do for Eitz Chayim and are proud to recognize them as Guests of Honor.

Jen and Eric met as undergraduates at NYU and got married in 2006. After seven years in Forest Hills, when it was time to decide on a long-term home, they quickly decided on West Hempstead. They moved into the neighborhood in 2013 and are proud to raise their children – Julia, Ethan, Andrew, and Molly – in this wonderful community and Shul.

Eric grew up in Merrick and has always felt at home in West Hempstead, having attended HANC from K-12th grade. It is a particular honor for Eric to raise a 2nd generation HANC family. Since he joined Eitz Chayim, Eric has been an active leader in many facets of Shul life. He serves on the Shul Board, the Building Expansion Committee, and the Building Fundraising Committee, and he was on the Rabbinic Search Committee. Eric also helps with leining on Shabbat mornings, and he hosts the Annual Men’s BBQ in the Bienenfeld backyard. Eric works as a legal recruiter. 

Jen grew up in Lawrence and attended HAFTR before getting her BS and MS in nutrition from NYU. Jen is head dietitian at Holliswood Center, a rehab facility in Queens. Since joining Eitz Chayim, Jen has been very active in our Sisterhood. She has planned many Sisterhood events and has hosted a number of events in her home, including the bake sale and Chanukah Boutique. Jen is also a member of the Eitz Chayim Youth Committee, and she assists with meals for new families and cooks for the Chesed Committee.

We are thankful for all that Jen and Eric do for Eitz Chayim and are proud to honor them as Guests of Honor.

Thu, July 25 2024 19 Tammuz 5784