Congregation Agudat Achim

Over 120 years of commitment to Conservative Judaism

Clergy, Staff, and Board of Trustees

Rabbi Rafi Spitzer

Rabbi Rafi Spitzer has served as Spiritual Leader of Congregation Agudat Achim since August 1, 2019. Rabbi Spitzer grew up in Sharon, MA, and was ordained as a rabbi and teacher by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In addition to ordination, he earned a Master 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 has served 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 and his partner Rachael Besser, reside in Niskayuna with their children, Ellie and Jonah.

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) 348-9478 or by emailing During the COVID-19 crisis, you can also schedule a pastoral care appointment with Rabbi Spitzer at

Executive Director, Joshua Cooper-Ginsburg

Josh Cooper-Ginsburg has served as Executive Director of Congregation Agudat Achim since December 1, 2019. He has over a decade of experience in relationship management, customer service, and support in various industries including Jewish community simchas and other non-profit organizations' events.

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 can be reached at with any questions, concerns, requests, or suggestions on how to improve our community and our congregation.

Director of Education and Programming, Jack Mintzer

Jack Mintzer has nearly twenty years experience as Director of Education and Programming at Agudat Achim, after having served for three years as the Education Director for Congregation Shaara T'fille in Saratoga Springs, where he is a life-long resident.

Jack holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Western New England College. Jack is a graduate of the College of Saint Rose, where he received his Master of Science degree in Elementary Education. He is also NYS certified as a public-school educator for grades PreK - 7 and is a member of the Jewish Educators' Assembly. His duties include administering all aspects of the Agudat Achim Religious School, youth activities, 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

Board of Trustees


Jackie Rowen, President

Steve Schmidt, Programming Vice President/Holiday Co-Chair

Jeff Shapiro, Youth Vice President

Neal Shapiro, Treasurer

D'vora Chana, Secretary

Board Members and Committee Chairs

Gary Reich, Adult Education Committee Co-Chair

Rob Fox, Adult Education Committee Co-Chair

Kaitlin Spektor, Membership Committee Chair

Hillary Fink, Ways & Means Chair

Ken Carpenter, Cemetery Chair/Personnel Chair/Investments Chair, Past President

Howard Wohl, Building and Grounds Committee Chair

Rise' Routenberg, As You Like It Catering Representative

Deborah Friedson, Arts & Beautification Committee Chair

Joe Shiang, Ritual Committee Chair/Holiday Co-Chair

Susan Sharfstein, Youth Commissioner