Staff and Officers
The Shul. The People. The Community.
Stony Brook Hebrew Congregation (SBHC) is a warm and inviting community synagogue serving the Orthodox community in Stony Brook and the surrounding areas. We are a diverse bunch: professionals, students, retirees, young families, empty nesters, rationalists and seekers. We are a shul and community where everyone counts.
Rabbi Shlomo Agishtein
Rabbi and Lead Educator
Rabbi Shlomo (Alex) Agishtein was born in Moscow during the waning days of the U.S.S.R. He was fortunate enough to be born to parents whose intellectual and spiritual thirst brought them back to their Jewish heritage despite still living behind the Iron Curtain. Shlomo moved to the United States as a two-year-old immigrant. He grew up in the heart of the yeshiva world, in the then-small town of Lakewood, NJ. Shlomo learned from R’ Elya Svei and R’ Shmuel Kamenetzky at the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia while attending high school and beth medrash, and continued his studies in Israel before heading back to his hometown of Lakewood to pursue rabbinical ordination in Beth Medrash Govoha. The fledging Agishtein family then moved to Monsey where Shlomo joined Kollel Shaar Hashamayim, and focused on intensive Halachic study and rabbinical interning. Shlomo moved to Stony Brook to assume the position of Rabbi at the Stony Brook Hebrew Congregation and to join the Hillel as the Orthodox Rabbinic Fellow. In addition to his Torah studies, Shlomo enjoys the humanities and the classics. He is also interested in the technical and mathematical fields and is pursuing dual degrees in mathematics and computer science at Stony Brook University. Shlomo keeps busy by juggling his Torah teaching, rabbinical duties, his college courses, and his four rambunctious children (the kids have developed very thick skulls). In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and children, cooking, hiking, reading, and boxing.
Dr. Peryl Agishtein
Educator and Counselor
As a child living in New York City, Dr. Peryl Agishtein debated becoming a National Geographic photojournalist or a librarian (preferably for the library from Beauty and the Beast). She was ultimately inspired to become a scientist and a psychologist by her parents, Rabbi and Mrs. Jacob Grossman, who imbued her with two key values of intellectual curiosity and a passion to help others. Her interest in biology and in the puzzle of assessment led her to pursue a specialization in neuropsychology, while her interests in interpersonal dynamics attracted her to attachment research. As the co-founder and owner of a psychology practice based in Cedarhurst, Peryl specializes in neurosychological assessment as well as attachment-based emotion-focused couples therapy. Peryl also accepted a position in the Pediatric Neuropsychology Department at St. Charles Hospital. Peryl spent many summers and winter breaks engaging in Jewish education and outreach in Russia, California, North Carolina, Colorado, and Jerusalem’s Old City. She learned in Israel for two years post-high school, with a focus in her second year, in Moreshet Seminary, on the fundamentals of Jewish education and outreach. She is thrilled to once again have the opportunity to teach Torah as part of the SBHC staff and as an EMET SBU educator, and is currently teaching and learning with a number of community members and students. She runs two weekly learning series (one focused on gender in Judaism, and one focused on the fundamentals of prayer) and is always happy to learn one-on-one or just meet for coffee with anyone who’d like to learn more. Peryl spends her free time with her husband and three children, and loves to hike, travel, photograph, and play piano whenever she has the opportunity. She tries not to psychoanalyze her children too much.
Dr. Helmut Strey
Dr. Helmut Strey, who hails from Munich, is a biophysicist. When he and his wife (Dr. Lily Mujica-Parodi, an associate professor in computational neurodiagnostics at Stony Brook) were both offered positions at Stony Brook University in 2003, they initially considered commuting in from various neighboring Jewish communities. However, they fell in love with the Stony Brook Jewish community and with the beautiful area, and decided that they wanted to raise their family in Stony Brook. They have been an integral part of the SBHC family ever since. Helmut holds dual positions as the Director of the Laboratory for Micro- and Nanotechnologies (www.streylab.com) and Associate Professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Stony Brook University. As part of his research, he develops micro- and nanotechnologies for applications in basic and applied research. He received the Dillon medal for research in Polymer Physics from the American Physical Society in 2003. Helmut has been the president of SBHC for the past several years. He and his wife have raised their three children, as well as chickens and an assortment of other pets, in the heart of the Stony Brook community. Helmut recently converted to Bayesianism and is passionate about making things, soccer, and table tennis.
Dr. David Ebin
Founder and Vice President
Dr. David Ebin is a native of Los Angeles. However, he traveled to the East Coast for his education, receiving his Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Harvard and his Ph.D. in
mathematics from MIT. Dr. Ebin accepted a professorship at Stony Brook University in 1969 and served as the Chairman of the Math Department from 2004 to 2009. In addition to his love of mathematics, Dr. Ebin has been involved with fostering the growth of the Jewish community for most of his tenure at Stony Brook. He served as the local chairperson for the UJA and worked with others to found a Jewish high school in Suffolk County. However, his labor of love over the years has been the Stony Brook Hebrew Congregation. Together with Dr. Paul Poppers and Dr. Thomas Netzel, z”l, Dr. Ebin established this congregation in 1981 in response to a growing need in the Stony Brook community. He and his wife Barbara have been the warm, loving, and tremendously dedicated backbone of the SBHC community since its founding. David met and married his wife Barbara while at Stony Brook, where they raised four children and now are the grandparents of ten. The Stony Brook Hebrew Congregation has provided the religious community foundation for their four children and a second home for many of the grandchildren as well.
Marketing and Development Coordinator
Chaya brings her city roots with her to Stony Brook, having grown up in Manhattan's Lower East Side. She graduated cum laude from Touro College in 2015, with a Bachelor's degree in business management, a concentration in marketing, and a minor in visual arts. She completed BFA-level coursework at New York School of Interior Design and is currently a full-time law student at St. John's University School of Law. Chaya joins the Stony Brook medical community as a longtime hospital volunteer with an interest in pursuing a career in health law, representing facilities and physicians in medical-legal areas. Her previous professional experience includes working in the human resources department of the OU, serving as a recruitment specialist for healthcare professionals, and handling claims in the insurance field. Chaya first became involved in SBHC as a volunteer teacher for the women's weekly Torah class in 2018. She then served as an educator and mentor for Stony Brook University's EMET Fellowship program, accompanying Dr. Agishtein and SBU students on EMET's inter-university heritage tour in Europe in the summer of 2019. She has been privileged to spend Shabbat at SBHC multiple times and maintains close ties with SBU students. She currently lives in Queens, enjoys painting, and is an Islanders fan.