Congregation Agudat Achim

Over 120 years of commitment to Conservative Judaism


Congregation Agudat Achim in Niskayuna is excited to announce the appointment of Rabbi Rafi Spitzer as its new spiritual leader commencing on August 1. Rabbi Spitzer, who grew up in Sharon, MA, was ordained as a rabbi and teacher by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In addition to ordination, he earned a Masters of Arts degree in Judaic Studies and received a Certificate in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Rabbi Spitzer holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Boston University.

Rabbi Spitzer comes to Agudat Achim with a wealth of experience which includes serving as a hospice chaplain with the Manhattan Jewish Health System at the Isabella Geriatric Center in Washington Heights and at the Block and Zicklin Hospice residences in the Bronx. Recently, he was a student rabbi with the Fitzgerald Hebrew Congregation in Fitzgerald, GA and served as a rabbinic intern at the United Synagogue of Hoboken, NJ. Rabbi Spitzer learned Talmud and Jewish Law intensively at the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Nishma Summer Beit Midrash and spent many summers at Camp Ramah in New England as a counselor and ultimately as a Rosh Edah.

During his Seminary year in Israel, Rabbi Spitzer was a fellow with Encounter, and an intern at Hod VeHadar, a Masorti synagogue in Kfar Saba. Before pursuing the rabbinate, he worked as a youth educator and community projects specialist at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, MA, and trained as a mikvah guide at Mayyim Hayyim in Newton, MA.

Rabbi Spitzer, his wife Rachael Besser and daughter Ellie will reside in Niskayuna. We welcome the Spitzer family into our community. A formal installation ceremony will be announced later in the fall.

Rabbi Spitzer is inviting congregants to make an appointment to get to know him individually in his office or at a convenient offsite location. You can reach Rabbi Spitzer at (518) 393-9211 or by emailing

Executive Director

Josh Cooper-Ginsburg is thrilled to join Congregation Agudat Achim's administrative staff, effective December 2, 2019. He comes to Agudat Achim with a wealth of experience in relationship management, customer service, and support in a variety of industries including Jewish community events and other non-profit organizations.

Most recently, in a position of leadership at the New York State of Health contact center, Josh's ability to brighten the day of those around him and improving upon daily processes of the call center staff were among his top priorities. He hopes to bring the same feelings of togetherness and community to the congregation at Agudat Achim and continue its mission of inclusiveness and brotherhood.

Josh is responsible for the overall management of the congregation and implementation of policies. He holds a Master of Science degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University at Albany, SUNY. Josh and his husband, Eric, live in Schenectady with their Westie terrier, Shea. You may occasionally see them at shul after Hebrew school, when Shea loves to greet the kids on their way out.

Josh can be reached at 518-393-9211 or by email at

Director of Education and Programming

Jack Mintzer has been with Agudat Achim for sixteen years after serving for three years as the Education Director for Congregation Shaara T'fille in Saratoga Springs, where he is a life long resident. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Western New England College and is a graduate of the College of Saint Rose, where he received his Master of Science in Elementary Education. He is also NYS certified as a public school educator for grades PreK - 7 and is a member of the Jewish Educator's Assembly. His duties include the administration of all aspects of the Agudat Achim Religious School, Youth Director, Adult Education, publicity, membership recruitment, programming and webmaster. Jack is a firm believer in having an "open door policy" and prospective and current families are always welcome to meet with him and observe positive Jewish education in action. To meet with Jack please call the School office directly at 518-381-8983 or email him at