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Rabbi Manes Kogan was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He holds a degree in Psychology from The University of Buenos Aires, as well as a Masters in Jewish Education from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and received his rabbinical ordination from the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano, the Conservative Seminary in Buenos Aires. Rabbi Kogan was an Adjunct Instructor in the Religious and Judaic Programs at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, teaching courses in Rabbinical Literature, Jewish Thought and Holocaust. Rabbi Kogan served as the spiritual leader of Beth Israel Congregation in Roanoke, Virginia, before joining Hillcrest. He lives with his wife, Silvia, and his three children, Daniela, Ilan, and Abigail.

Cantor Rachel Black is a Student Cantor and is in her fourth year of cantorial studies at the H.L. Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Prior to cantorial school, Rachel served synagogues in the Kansas City region as a cantorial soloist, composer, and religious school director. She has traveled the world, singing at commemorations and special events, most notably at the House of Representatives, the Knesset, the National Press Club, and Temple Israel of the City of New York. As a young child, Rachel’s family lived in Jerusalem, and later moved to Rockville, Maryland, where she studied for her bat mitzvah under Cantor Mike Stein at Congregation B’nai Tzedek and began formal voice lessons with Cantor Susan Berkson. Rachel earned her Bachelor of Music in Performance from Berklee College of Music, focusing on her vocal training and songwriting. Rachel has composed original music for Yom HaShoah, baby naming ceremonies, Yizkor, and Selichot themes. Her critically-acclaimed song “Edyka” has been featured in publications around the world such as the Kansas City Star, the Miami Herald, U.S. News and World Report, the Jerusalem Post, and the Times of Israel. She says, “My Jewish life, family history, and deep connection to prayer through song carry me through my daily life, defining me, and shaping my role in my family.”

In the fall of 2020, Rachel took a big step in her cantorial journey by beginning her studies at JTS remotely. As a result, Rachel’s love of nusach, tefillah, and the Jewish community have only deepened. In the summer of 2022, Rachel relocated to New York to attend classes in-person. When not davening or studying, Rachel enjoys exploring New York with her husband, Eric, and four-year old daughter, Cora. Please join us to give Student Cantor Rachel, Eric, and Cora a warm Hillcrest Jewish Center welcome!

Cantor Emeritus Moti Fuchs z"l had been singing and acting since he was a young boy. He was the star performer in the first religious musical review in Israel. He came to America to begin his highly successful cantorial career and was associated with prominent synagogues in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. The Jewish Press described Cantor Fuchs as being "best known for his charismatic personality and vocal style ... he possessed the unique ability to sing straight from his heart with all his neshama."

Though Cantor Fuchs z"l is no longer with us, we cherish him dearly for all the invaluable contributions he made to the Hillcrest Jewish Center community and beyond. Our memories with Cantor Fuchs z"l continue to light up our lives, bring smiles to our faces, and uplift our souls, ensuring that his legacy remains eternally vibrant within our hearts.


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