Rabbi Naftali Portnoy
Youth Struggling with their Religious or Chassidic Upbringing
Rabbi Naftali Portnoy is Co- Director of the Jewish Heritage Center of Queens and Long Island, a highly regarded Kiruv organization which has dramatically impacted the lives of more than 20,000 Jews. Rabbi Portnoy has a deep grasp of p’sak halacha and has conferred extensively with G’dolei Poskim in both America and Eretz Yisrael on varied and delicate matters of halacha. With a special knack for relating to those who feel disenfranchised from religion, he became extensively involved in recent years with children from Observant and Chassidic backgrounds who find themselves alienated from their roots. Rabbi Portnoy created a new and vibrant division of the Jewish Heritage Center to address the needs of these youth in pain. Based in a new state-of- the-art Drop in Center on the edge of Boro Park at 1225 39th Street in Brooklyn, the “1225” Division services hundreds of youth from mostly Chassidic background. In Queens, Rabbi Portnoy and the JHC developed several successful initiatives where hundreds of mainstream yeshiva high school boys have found programs geared to deepening their connection to Torah and their own self-worth, thereby lessening the risk of disaffection with Torah life.