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Rabbi Kevin Bernstein, '07

Rabbi Kevin Bernstein

Rabbi Kevin Bernstein’s path to RRC was definitely the road less traveled. He studied veterinary medicine, received a master’s degree in virology and immunology, and then worked for a company developing vaccines. Later, he and his family moved to Israel, where he did consulting work in his field.

When he moved back to the United States, he decided to change career paths and become a rabbi, largely because he wanted to continue his learning. With a hint of self-effacement, he says that one of his most intellectually challenging pursuits before coming to RRC was memorizing the muscles of a cat. At RRC, he found himself immersed in something more challenging: studying the literature of Maimonides and other medieval philosophers with students who have advanced degrees in philosophy and literature.

After becoming a rabbi, Bernstein served as the education director at Germantown Jewish Centre in Philadelphia. In 2013, he returned to RRC, this time as an assistant director of development.

Bernstein also performs ritual circumcisions as a mohel. He says he enjoys bringing meaning to a tradition that can cause anxiety for parents who find themselves questioning its purpose. “Sometimes I don’t think people feel very strongly or feel really good about why they are doing this,” he says. 

“Clearly, the most important thing that people want in a mohel is to be good technically -- that the mohel knows what he’s doing and that he’s done quite a few of them so that the health and welfare of their child is not going to be harmed.”