Meet the Nefts
Rabbi Shmuel and his wife Esther Neft, serve as the directors of the Jewish Russian Community Centre (JRCC) Rockford, located at 18 Rockford Rd. in North York.
Rabbi Shmuel grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to a Russian-speaking Jewish family He studied in Jerusalem, Israel, Morristown, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, New York. As a student, he spent his vacation time traveling to different Jewish communities, volunteering to help the local Jewish communities. He was a counselor for two years in "Camp Yeka", a summer camp for Jewish boys in Ukraine. Aside from that he spent time in various Ukrainian communities, among them the communities in and around Zhitomir and Kherson. He also traveled many times to assist the Jewish community in Kazakhstan, traveling all over the country to help already established Jewish communities, as well as to visiting small towns and villages, sometimes hours away from the closest Jewish community to perform outreach work for the local Jews.
Esther Neft grew up and lived her whole life in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, a bourgeoning Jewish community in Eastern Ukraine. She studied in the local Jewish school, as well as Best Chana Seminary. Aside from that, she attended seminary in New York's Machon L'Yahadus. Esther spent two years directing youth programs, among them large summer camps, for Shiurey Torah Lubavitch, Ukraine's premier Jewish youth organization. In addition to co-directing JRCC Rockford, Esther directs the JRCC Daycare, located a few blocks away.
The Nefts were married on November 28, 2017, or 10 Kislev 5778. Together they have two amazing sons, Menachem and Levi.
In the past two decades, along with the awesome growth of the Community - today counting approximately 15,000 families in the GTA - local branches of the JRCC have opened up throughout the GTA in order to better serve the entire community.
In January 2019, the Nefts moved from New York City to Toronto in order to serve the local Russian-speaking Jewish community, based out of JRCC's original location, 18 Rockford. They are committed to serving the needs of, as well as uplifting the local community.