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Rabbi Guy Austrian

Headshot of Rabbi Guy AustrianRabbi Guy Austrian joined the Fort Tryon Jewish Center as its rabbi and spiritual leader in January 2013.

Rabbi Austrian entered the rabbinate to build communities of compassion and mitzvah observance that integrate deep prayer, serious Torah learning, authentic emotions of joy and grief, and a sacred aspiration for social change. Along the way, he has prayed in a Southern accent as rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Mississippi. He has celebrated Jewish families of every kind as a Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinic Intern at NYC’s Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the world’s largest synagogue serving LGBTQ Jews, their friends and families.

After immigrating with his parents from Israel as a child, Guy grew up in the Cleveland area.  Aware of differences in language and culture from a young age, he devoted his early career to helping Jews build partnerships with diverse communities to achieve shared goals. In Chicago, he put together a Jewish-Muslim arts café series and convened Chicago’s first iftar meal in a synagogue sukkah, as a community organizer for the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. In NYC, he organized religious voices in support of social services, marriage equality, and affordable housing, as director of social justice for Congregation B’nai Jeshurun.

Guy completed his studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary with rabbinic ordination in 2013. Recognizing that Jewish prayer can be the most difficult and confounding — yet potentially transformative — of Judaism’s spiritual practices, he also earned an M.A. in Liturgy. At JTS, he received the four-year Neubauer Fellowship and numerous honors including the Einhorn Award in Hebrew, the Rosenberg Award in Jewish Thought, and the Citron Scholastic Prize. He earned a B.A. (summa cum laude) in English from Princeton University in 1996.

As a community rabbi, he proudly participates in local organizations including the Upper Manhattan Interfaith Leaders Coalition.

Guy lives in Washington Heights with his family. He speaks Hebrew and Spanish and is happy to chat with neighbors in either (or both). You can probably find him turning various local cafés into his “office,” or out on the playground with his kids.

You are welcome to get in touch by e-mailing


Sass Brown, Student Clergy Intern

headshot of Eliana Kissner

Sass Brown (they/them) is a fourth-year rabbinical student at JTS. Before moving to the city for school, Sass grew up in Raleigh, NC, where they worked with the local Jewish community as a camp songleader, preschool music teacher, and programs coordinator for their synagogue, day camp, and youth groups. Sass also completed an MFA in poetry writing, and taught college English for a couple years. Sass loves to cook, play board games, and read fantasy/sci-fi novels. Their newest project is (slowly) learning to roller skate. Sass lives with their partner, Sari-Rose, and their one-year-old kiddo, Henya. 

Feel free to reach out to Sass by e-mail at

Mon, May 20 2024 12 Iyyar 5784