Scholars and Staff
Rabbi Levi Langer, Rosh Kollel
Rabbi Levi Langer grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Yeshiva Ner Israel and Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood where he received his rabbinic ordination and was a three- time winner of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture award for Talmudic analysis . While in Lakewood he delivered advanced lectures in Talmud and Shulchan Aruch to kollel scholars, as well as in-depth classes on Nach to advanced students. Since moving to Pittsburgh twenty years ago he has led the beis hamedrash study program, keeping it spirited and erudite, and has served as the address for people with all sorts of Torah questions -- from practical halacha to Tanach and Gemara to the more arcane reaches of the Torah spectrum. He has delivered classes in the Kollel and elsewhere to both men and women on halacha, Nach, Jewish thought, prayer, Jewish figures in history, contemporary issues and many other topics. He has lectured in hospitals to physicians on medical ethics and is a co-author of a medical ethics paper for the American Thoracic Society.
Elky Langer, a native Detroiter, is a longtime administrator at Hillel Academy and has been a teacher, writer and editor for many years. She is a Google Certified Coach and a personal financial coach for Mesila. She has lectured in person and remotely at Kollel women events and for other organizations. She volunteers at the mikvah in various capacities and at other communal institutions
Rabbi Langer can be contacted at LLanger@kollelpgh.org.
Rabbi Doniel Schon, Associate Rosh Kollel
Rabbi Schon was born and raised in Queens, NY. He studied in the Yeshiva Gedolah of Greater Washington, the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem and Beth Medrash Gavoha in Lakewood, NJ and received Yoreh Yoreh ordination from the Yeshiva Gedolah of Greater Washington. He subsequently joined the Cincinnati Community Kollel, where in addition to a full schedule of learning and teaching, developed many programs and initiatives to engage Jews of all ages and backgrounds. Upon leaving Cincinnati, Rabbi Schon founded the Ohr Torah Community Outreach Kollel in Rochester, NY. Rabbi Schon has a special interest in areas where technology, medicine and science intersect with Jewish law, and has studied and lectured extensively on these cutting edge topics. Since moving to Pittsburgh, Rabbi Schon has coordinated the Kollel's community learning initiatives and has worked diligently to keep the Kollel's finances on an even keel. Rabbi Schon's wife, Dina Schon (nee Blumberg) grew up in Monsey, NY. She holds a degree in accounting from Touro College and currently serves as as tteh Kollel's book keeper as well as programming assistant.
Rabbi Schon can be contacted at DSchon@kollelpgh.org.
Rabbi Binyomin Bauman
Rabbi Binyomin Bauman grew up in Teaneck, NJ. He attended Yeshiva Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (Breuer’s) and then went on to Yeshiva Gedolah Kesser Torah in Monsey, where he developed a very close relationship with the Rosh Hayeshiva, Harav Dovid Fishman. He then learned in the Mir Yeshiva in Yerushalayim before continuing his studies in Lakewood, NJ. Rabbi Bauman produces the weekly Torah Tidbits email and has led the very popular Father and Son learning program. His wife Nechama Leah (Cahn) was raised in Washington Heights, NY. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and works as a Medicaid planner for nursing homes.
Rabbi Mordechai Jaffa
Rabbi Mordechai Jaffa was born and raised in Lakewood, NJ, where he attended high school at Mesivta Keren Hatorah. He continued his studies in Yeshivas Zichron Moshe in South Fallsburg, NY, where he developed a connection with the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel. He then attended the Mir Yeshiva in Israel, and then returned to Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ. Among the varied areas of study he has pursued, Rabbi Jaffa has focused on intriguing contemporary halachic topics, such as the different customs in tying the knots of the tefillin and writing the letters in the Torah scroll.
His wife, Chedva Jaffa, neé Silver, was born and raised in Pittsburgh. She is in the process of obtaining her Masters degree in Social Work through Louisiana State University, and she has joined the Kollel Women’s programming staff. She looks forward to being involved in Mother and Daughter Learning and other projects.
Rabbi Moshe Gans
Rabbi Moshe Gans was born and raised in Scranton, PA. He studied in Yeshivas Beis Moshe in Scranton (The Scranton Yeshiva), Rabbi Tzvi Kaplan’s Yeshivas Kodoshim in Eretz Yisroel and in Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ. Among his many areas of study, Rabbi Gans has focused extensively on learning the complex laws related to observing Shabbos, delivering a number of lectures as well as writing on related topics. His wife, Tamar Gans, neé Geisler, was raised in Lakewood, NJ. She holds a Masters degree in special education from Daemen College in Amherst, NY. She has worked as a preschool teacher at Stars preschool program in Lakewood. In Pittsburgh, she has joined the Kollel Women’s programming staff, as well as working at Hillel Academy as a Judaic Studies teacher for their early childhood program.
Rabbi Moshe Chait
Moshe Chait grew up in the Kew Gardens Hills neighborhood of Queens, New York. He attended Mesivta Ateres Yaakov, then spent 5 years in Israel studying in Yeshivas Ohr Yerushalayim, Mercaz Hatorah, and Yeshivas Mir Yerushalayim. He is married to Shifra, née Zuckier, from Teaneck, NJ, and they have two children. Prior to coming here he was a member of Beth Medrash Govoha Kollel in Lakewood, NJ.
Moshe enjoys learning Halacha in depth, and he heads the Kollel's popular Father and Son learning program. He also enjoys playing sports. His wife Shifra is a Pharmacist for CVS Pharmacy.
Rabbi Chananel Shapiro
Rabbi Chananel Y. Shapiro was born and raised in Monsey, NY. His studies began in Yeshivas Ohel Torah in Monsey. He moved to Edison Yeshiva—”RJJ”—for 12th grade, as well as his Beis Medrash studies. He subsequently joined Rabbi Dovid Soloveitchik’s yeshiva in Yerushalayim, and eventually joined the Lakewood Beth Medrash Gavoha 2014. Aside from being both a skilled educator and Jewish scholar, he also enjoys a variety of sports, including baseball and basketball. His wife Rivky (Margereten) hails from Cleveland, OH. She holds a Masters in Speech-Language Pathology from West Kentucky University, and works as a speech therapist.
Rabbi Akiva Grossberg
Rabbi Grossberg comes from Staten Island, NY. After learning in the Mir Yeshivah in Brooklyn, he learned in Eretz Yisroel under Harav Dovid Soloveitchik and Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ. Rabbi Grossberg joined the Kollel in July 2002 and has been teaching at Hillel Academy since 2009.The Kollel is very fortunate to have Rabbi Grossberg join the afternoon and night seder. His wife Mimi (Fiddle) teaches middle and high school girls at Hillel Academy and leads the GO in the middle school.
Rabbi Avrohom Weisswasser
Rabbi Avrohom (Avremel) Weisswasser, a native of Toronto, learned in Yeshivah Ohr HaMeir of Peekskill, NY throughout his high school and Beis Medrash years. He studied in Eretz Yisroel where he attended Torah lectures by HaRav Dovid Feinstein and R’ Zev Kaplan, followed by a year in Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood. After his marriage, he moved back to Yerushalayim and continued learning for another five years until joining the Pittsburgh Kollel in 2013. Rabbi Weisswasser enjoys running the Shabbos afternoon Mishnayos program, which he founded. Rabbi Weisswasser teaches in Hillel Academy in the morning and joins the Kollel in the afternoon. His wife Sarah Leah (Lover) is from Detroit and teaches at Hillel Academy in the girl’s middle and high school.