Rabbi Michael Bleicher
Rabbi Bleicher has served as the rabbi of the Elmora Hills Minyan, a tight-knit and welcoming kehilah in Union, NJ since 2014. A musmach of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, he previously served as the Assistant Rabbi at Congregation AABJ&D in West Orange, NJ and as the Rabbinic intern of the Great Neck Synagogue in Great Neck, NY. He graduated magna cum laude from Queens College with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and is proud to have worked on behalf of the Orthodox Jewish community in the Orthodox Union's Washington, D.C. office before ascending to Capitol Hill as a staff member in the U.S. Senate. Rabbi Bleicher received a Masters in Social Work from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work and is currently a licensed psychotherapist and outreach coordinator for Project S.A.R.A.H., a program that offers domestic violence and sexual abuse prevention programs to the Jewish community and a comprehensive array of services for victims and survivors of abuse throughout the State of New Jersey.
Rabbi Bleicher and his wife, Yael (Butler), are the proud parents of two daughters and a son and enjoy being able to learn with and grow from the shul's members and guests each and every day. Rabbi Bleicher loves sharing the beauty of Torah with men, women and children alike and strives to transmit the Torah's timeless values and ethics in a way that is inspires others to deepen their commitment to Torah, mitzvos, yiddishkeit and the State of Israel. Yael is the driving force behind innovative youth and women's programming though as a clinical dietitian she's also renowned for her passion in serving mouth-watering healthful foods when hosting a multitude of guests on Shabbos and Yom Tov. The Bleichers enjoy playing with their girls, photography and adding to their shot glass collection from new places they've visited.
Contact Rabbi Bleicher via email at RabbiBleicher@ElmoraHillsMinyan.org.
"New Era Begins at Elizabeth, NJ Community's Elmora Hills Minyan" - Matzav.com, 9/2/2014
‘From Capitol Hill to Elmora Hills’ is one good way to describe Rabbi Michael Bleicher’s journey to the rabbinate. The onetime U.S. Senate staffer is undertaking an entirely different role now, as the exciting and dynamic new leader of the Elizabeth community’s Elmora Hills Minyan, located on the border between Union Township and the city of Elizabeth in Union County.
The Bleicher family - Rabbi Michael and Rebbetzin Yael Bleicher, and their daughters, Meira, 3, and Tamar, 1 - were warmly welcomed to shul on their first weekend with the congregation, August 29-30, 2014 (Shabbos Parshas Shoftim). “We look forward to the Rabbi and Rebbetzin inspiring growth within us as individuals, within our shul, and within our community,” said Elmora Hills Minyan President Shlomo Lieberman. “I believe the Bleichers’ unique energy will help make the Elizabeth community a brighter spot on the tri-state area’s Jewish map.”
Rabbi Bleicher is a proud alumnus of the Jewish Educational Center’s Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy (RTMA), and glad to be back in Elizabeth. “It’s so exciting to bring my daughter Meira through the very same hallways I used to walk through myself, as I developed into a ben Torah (Torah scholar) during my formative high school years at RTMA,” he said. “It was the JEC community that fostered and encouraged my pursuit of a life dedicated to rigorous Torah study, while also supporting my interest in politics and improving the state of the broader Jewish community. The warm welcome we’ve received has only heightened our optimism for how much more we can achieve as a community.”
Rabbi and Rebbetzin Bleicher purchased a home down the block from their new congregation and moved in over the summer. Before his election as rabbi of the Elmora Hills Minyan, Rabbi Bleicher served for several years as a beloved assistant rabbi at Congregation Ahawas Achim Bnei Jacob & David in West Orange, NJ. Prior to that, he was rabbinic intern at the Great Neck Synagogue for two years.
Rabbi Bleicher received a Masters in Social Work (MSW) from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University earlier this year. He recently accepted a position with Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Passaic- Clifton, where he will offer psychotherapy for individuals, couples and families. Additionally, he will serve as the outreach coordinator for Project S.A.R.A.H, the organization’s program dedicated to providing services to victims of domestic violence, abuse and stalking in the Jewish community, while also offering prevention programs for camps, rabbis, schools, synagogues and the general public.
Rabbi Bleicher’s inclination toward public service, which began as a 10th grader at RTMA, first led him to care for some of the world’s most vulnerable individuals. While a student at Queens College - where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, earned magna cum laude honors and graduated with a degree in political science - he worked for the Orthodox Union’s Yachad-National Jewish Council for Disabilities, coordinating large weekend retreats and the organization’s first Birthright Israel trip for individuals with disabilities, in addition to serving as an Ohel-Bais Ezra respite counselor for a 14-year-old boy with autism. With his selection by OU Advocacy (formerly the Institute for Public Affairs) as its inaugural Legislative Fellow in Washington, D.C., young Michael Bleicher segued into the world of politics. He went on to work as an aide to a prominent US senator and for the US Senate Republican Conference, as well as on the presidential campaign of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Over time, a decision to more narrowly focus his community service on a single community led to ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). During that time, the future Rabbi Bleicher (pronounced bly’shur), a Staten Island native, first met Yael Butler, a Stern College for Women graduate from Queens, and they married. Yael Bleicher now holds a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and serves as a pediatric dietician at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. She anticipates playing an active role in the Elizabeth community.
“I am excited to start this next chapter in our lives at the Elmora Hills Minyan,” Rebbetzin Bleicher said. “I look forward to exploring new opportunities with the community as we work together to create more enriching, inspiring and fun programming for the whole family.”