Our leadership team at Ben Porat Yosef is guided by the mission and hashkafa of the school to provide an outstanding education within a warm and nurturing environment. It is our goal to instill in our children a love of Torah, mitzvot and Eretz Yisrael and to strengthen their minds and souls so that they may grow to become active members and contributors to klal Yisrael as well as the broader society.


headofschool_headshot Rabbi Dr. Steven Lorch, Interim Head of School, is the former founding Head of School of the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan, which he led for 20 years. Under his leadership, the school quickly developed a reputation for excellence in teaching and learning, effective governance, a wholesome moral tone, innovative Jewish Studies curriculum, and confident, accomplished, and self-motivated graduates. In particular, its thoughtful approach to t’filah (prayer) education is widely admired and emulated.

Prior to establishing Schechter Manhattan, Dr. Lorch headed the Hartman High School in Jerusalem, Israel, Mount Scopus Memorial College, an elementary and high school located in Melbourne, Australia, and the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy (formerly Akiba Hebrew Academy) in suburban Philadelphia.

A student of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Dr. Lorch received rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy, summa cum laude, from Rutgers College and his master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His Ph.D. in religion and education is from Columbia University, where his dissertation was entitled The Convergence of Jewish and Western Culture as Exemplified Through Music: Some Educational Consequences. Dr. Lorch is a recipient of the prestigious Jerusalem Prize for Jewish Education in the Diaspora, awarded by then-President of the State of Israel Chaim Herzog.

Dr. Lorch has long been committed to mentoring and collaborating with colleagues throughout the field. In Philadelphia he was president of the board of trustees of Advancement for Delaware Valley Independent Schools, in Australia he was the founding chairperson of the Association of Principals of Jewish Schools of Australasia, and in Israel he was on the faculty of the Senior Educators Program and of the National Center for Staff Development. In 1998, Dr. Lorch was a founding mentor in the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI), a training program for new and aspiring Jewish day school heads from around the country. Over the years, he has helped train over 75 day school leaders, including 15 DSLTI fellows whom he has mentored personally. Dr. Lorch also helped pioneer the use of protocols and critical friends groups within the community of Jewish day school leaders, a professional development approach that is now widespread. Dr. Lorch is the immediate past President of the Board of Directors of the Schechter Day School Network.

Music has always been a central interest of Dr. Lorch’s. He has sung in the Zamir Chorale since the age of 16. He is currently President of the Board of Directors of the Zamir Choral Foundation, which is the parent organization of not only the Zamir Chorale, but also HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir, and the North American Jewish Choral Festival.

Dr. Lorch resides in New York City on the Upper East Side.

He can be contacted at

Rebecca Hirschfield, General Studies Principal, a professional in Jewish Day Schools for close to 25 years, completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and her masters, in Learning Disabilities, at Teacher’s College of Columbia University.   She has many years of teaching experience at Manhattan Day School and SAR Academy, and has worked with students ranging in age from first through eighth grades in math, science, and the humanities.   She was the founding director of the Inclusion Program at SAR, an innovative full-time special education program for students with language based learning disabilities, the first of its kind in a dual language school.   Most recently, she served as the associate principal for general studies in the middle school at SAR, where she led the implementation of their one-to-one iPad program.  Becky lives in Riverdale, with her husband, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, and their three daughters. She can be contacted at

Jessica Kohn, Early Childhood Director and Associate Principal, is an education professional with over two decades of experience in early childhood programs at Jewish day schools. Morah Jessica, as she is affectionately known at BPY, is an active member of every teaching team and develops a personal relationship with every student and family in our early childhood program. She infuses her warmth, energy, limitless creativity, and commitment to the children of Ben Porat Yosef into each classroom. As a founding educator of BPY, Morah Jessica was instrumental in implementing her vision of a child-centered, individualized and differentiated education. Morah Jessica earned her BA in Early Childhood Education from Stern College for Women and her M.Ed in Reading from William Paterson University. As a certified reading specialist, Morah Jessica has created an early childhood program rich with early literacy experiences. The children eagerly await her weekly storytime visits. Morah Jessica can be contacted at

Elana Cohn, Director of Special Services and 1st and 2nd Grade Coordinator, who holds a Masters degree in Special Education and is trained in multi-sensory reading and reading assessments, has over ten years of experience in the field of special education. She has taught in kindergarten through eighth grade, in a variety of subjects, and in varied special education settings, including self-contained, inclusion model, and resource classes. At BPY, she has been leading the Learning Center and support services staff since 2007. Her main focus has been to ensure that each individual student’s needs are met, partnering with parents, the Bergen County Special Services Team, and outside professionals. She meets with all students who apply to the elementary grades as part of the admissions process and in her role as director of grades 1 & 2, is engaged in all aspects of those grades. Morah Elana enjoys working with the wonderful BPY teachers as a mentor through the Jewish New Teacher Project, and as a supervisor, provide the best experience for each of their students.Morah Elana can be contacted at

Ruth Roth, Director of Admissions and PR, brings to her position an extensive background in marketing and sales, including, most recently, the position of Vice President of Marketing at a national managed healthcare company. Ruth was also President of the Frisch Parents Association for four years, during which time she created and implemented innovative programs for students that continue to be successful. She was also involved in structuring and coordinating many Open House programs at Frisch which helped to introduce the school to prospective families. Ruth is responsible for developing and implementing activities and programs designed to attract families to Ben Porat Yosef.  She can be contacted at

Rachel Weiss, Director of Development, works closely with BPY’s lay leadership and administration to build a sustainable culture of philanthropy among BPY parents, grandparents, and friends. Rachel oversees strategic planning and implementation for fundraising campaigns designed to support BPY’s continued growth and educational innovation, including the Achdut Annual Campaign which supports BPY’s annual operating budget, tuition assistance, and numerous special programs, as well as the Shorashim Capital Campaign which raises funds to invest in our permanent home through select campus improvement projects. Her professional background includes national recruitment, marketing, and programming focused positions for Birthright Israel North America, as well as development and lay leadership management supervisory roles at The Museum of Jewish Heritage and AIPAC. Rachel also has a significant background in pro-Israel advocacy and politics. She graduated magna cum laude from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Ethics, History, and Public Policy. Rachel is a proud BPY parent and lives with her two children in Fair Lawn, NJ. She looks forward to speaking with you and can be contacted at