Congregation Agudat Achim

Meet Our Professional Team

Director of Facilities and Operations

Iyal Basen, a descendant of the Lieberman family who helped establish Albany’s Jewish community, brings a passion for efficiency and a global perspective to their role as Director of Facilities and Operations at Agudat Achim. With an MA in International Relations from NYU and travels to 16 countries, Iyal is fluent in Hebrew, Spanish, French, and Arabic. Their meticulous approach, honed through experience in the tech industry ensures the smooth operation of our facilities. Iyal’s passion for music composition, performance, and theatre fuels their creativity, both in and out of the office. When not working, you might find them composing their next song or working on a theatrical production. To contact Iyal, call (518) 393-9211 or email the office at 

Director of Member Engagement and Communications

Darrell Tyler was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and moved about extensively until his family finally settled in Denver, Colorado. He earned a B.F.A in theater from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and subsequently pursued a career in film and television. After that industry collapsed in the state, he managed a personnel agency that provided chefs to institutional food service providers. After several years in business, Darrell returned to the University of Colorado where he earned an M.A. in Education. He taught Middle and High School English in the suburbs of Denver for 27 years and specialized in teaching gifted students. He retired and relocated to New York. In his spare time, he enjoys lifting weights, cooking, riding motorcycles, visiting art museums, looking at videos of chinchillas eating carrots, and playing hot licks on his Les Paul. To contact Darrell, please call the office directly at (518) 393-9211 or email them at

Director of Education 

Jack Mintzer joined CAA as Director of Education and Programming in 2003. Since that time, he has administered all aspects of the Agudat Achim Religious School, youth activities, adult education, publicity, membership recruitment, and programming. He previously served for three years as the Education Director for Congregation Shaara T’fille in Saratoga Springs, where he is a lifelong resident.

Jack holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Western New England College and a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education from the College of Saint Rose. He is also NYS-certified as a public school educator for Pre-K–7 and is a member of the Jewish Educators Assembly. 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) 393-9211 or email him at


Leslie Chotkowski joins our staff as bookkeeper. We are delighted to have her. You can contact Leslie through the main office at (518)393-9211 or email her at

Custodian, Kitchen, and Everything In-Between

Tyson Williams brings a multitude of skills and talents to our facility and to our synagogue family. Tyson oversees all aspects of our building; repairing and tending to each area with the utmost care. He has been with our congregation for nine years.  “He calls himself the man of the building.”

Tyson is a lifelong resident of Albany, New York. He is known for his accomplishments in athletics at Albany High School where he played baseball, basketball, and football. Today he cherishes his son’s legacy as he spends precious time with his grandson and granddaughter. They are the lights of his life. Tyson can be reached through the office at (518)393-9211.