Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff

Originally from London, England, Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff graduated with honors in political science from Manchester University. After working for MTV in news production, and winning the national competition ‘Jewish Stand-Up Comedian’ of the Year, Rabbi Hajioff traveled to study in Israel and then Monsey to receive his rabbinical smicha ordination from Yeshiva Ohr Somayach.

Rabbi Hajioff was the educational director of Birthright Israel Alumni in Manhattan, New York. He has been instrumental in implementing programs for Birthright Israel and has led nearly thirty trips to Israel, Poland and Prague for hundreds of young professionals. Rabbi Hajioff is on the full time faculty of Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University.

His very popular credited courses include courses on Jewish Philosophy, Mashiach, Jewish holidays, Shabbat and many others. He received the "Professor of the Year" award in Judaic Studies from the senior year students at Stern.

His very popular book "Jew Got Questions" was a best seller and his follow up "Will Jew Marry Me?" Is online at and in stores now. His newest book "The Future - The Jewish Messiah, Israel and the End of Days" will be out fall 2017.

Rabbi Hajioff lives in Wesley Hills with his wife Anita, and their five children

Previous years Scholars

Ami Horowitz

Ami Horowitz is an irreverent media personality. Ami is currently an on-air contributor for Fox News, creating satirical videos and expert analysis on a variety of topics, his videos have been seen over a hundred million times around the world. 

Ami released the feature documentary U.N. Me, which he produced, directed and starred in. U.N. Me was one of the most talked about documentaries in recent years and was released theatrically and broadcast on television in 15 countries.

Ami has appeared on Fox News, Access Hollywood, CNN, NBC Nightly News, Morning Joe, the BBC, NPR, Russia Today, CSPAN among many others national television programs.



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Ambassador Hillel Neuman

Ambassador Hillel Neuman

Ambassador Newman currently serves as Israel's Council General the US, Hillel has previously served as the Israeli ambassador to the Republics of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan,

Ambassador Newman has been an Israeli diplomat for the past 20 years. He earned a doctorate in Jewish history and Judaic studies from Israel’s Bar-Ilan University and mastered ancient Greek to research the history of Israel during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. In the mid-1980s, he served as a medic in the Israel Defense Forces during the Lebanon War. As a diplomat, he has served as the Israeli ambassador to the Republics of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, where his list of assignments included the preservation of Jewish cemeteries and “facilitation” of a supply of matzo and kosher wine for Passover.

For the past two years, Newman has served as a special policy adviser to Israeli Foreign Ministry Director Yuval Rotem, himself a former consul general in Los Angeles from 1999-2004.  

As both an activist and a researcher, Newman was at the forefront of countering running attacks on the Jewish practices of circumcision and shechitah (ritual slaughtering). Today, he said, “Both Jewish life and identity are in jeopardy. There are the direct murderous attacks at synagogues in Pittsburgh and San Diego and the internal threats of assimilation and lack of Jewish education.”

A press release from the Foreign Ministry notes that Newman “has gathered extensive experience in professional advocacy, public speaking, networking, new media connectivity and the cultivation of both formal and informal contacts. … [He is] passionate about the preservation of global Jewish identity and the safety and security of the State of Israel.”



Dani Wassner 

Dani was born and raised in Sydney, Australia where he was an active member of the Jewish community, serving frequently as a lecturer and communal spokesperson on issues related to Israel and the Jewish People.


With degrees in political science, history and law, Dani moved to Israel in 1995. He has since worked in Israeli legal practice, and later led the effort to encourage foreign businesspeople to invest in Israeli companies at the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Dani also worked for seven years as a senior account executive at the Jerusalem offices of Ruder Finn Inc., one of the world’s largest public relations firms.


Since 2008, Dani has served as the director of Israeli government relations at The Jewish Federations of North America.


In Israel, Dani has been involved in a number of political, educational, social and social-action groups, and also serves as a reserve soldier in the IDF’s Spokespersons Unit. Today he lives in the city of Bet Shemesh with his wife and four children

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Rabbi Eliyahu Askarinam

Rabbi Eliyahu Askarinam was born & raised in New York.  Founder & Headmaster of Yeshivat Knesset Yisroel in Great Neck, he also serves as the officiating Rabbi in Hollis Hills' Congregation Shaarei Zion.  Known as a masterful orator, we are honored to the Rav run our Sephardic program.