Come be a part of our effort to build a progressive Jewish spiritual community in Western Queens (LIC, Astoria, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside). Our vision is to transform Jewish people, fellow travelers and the world by creating connections to each other, to the One and to our greater community. We practice ecstatic, musical, and contemplative prayer, mindfulness meditation through a Jewish lens, study of Jewish sources, and social justice work. We are striving to build an open, inclusive community of spiritual seekers, especially for those who may not have found a home in more conventional religious settings. We want to be community composed of Jewish individuals of all ages, fellow travelers, families with kids, interfaith couples, Jews of color, LGBTQ folks, and curious seekers. We are creating a space that honors the inspiration and meaning that so many Jews have found in many eastern spiritual traditions, and our doors are open to those from other faith traditions who find meaning in Judaism.
What does Malkhut (מלכות) mean?
According to the Jewish mystical tradition, Malkhut and Shekhinah are both names for the aspect of Divinity that is most accessible to humanity. It represents our experience of Being unfolding in every moment. Malkhut is also an embracing feminine aspect of Divinity. Our intention is for Malkhut to engender that experience of loving awareness and present-moment unfolding. The name is also a bit of a word play. "Malkhut" comes from the word for sovereignty, or "queenship," thus, a play on the name of our fair borough of Queens!
who are we?
Rabbi Rachel (pronounced Ra-khel רחל ) Goldenberg (Founder) (she/her)
After more than a decade serving wonderful established pulpits, Rabbi Goldenberg moved back to the urban core of New York City to form an open, outreach-driven community around authentic, yet experimental, ecstatic and contemplative Jewish spiritual practices.
Influenced by her training through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, she teaches mindfulness meditation and chant-based prayer in order to open our hearts to one another and to the Divine. She also teaches Torah through the lens of mindfulness. These practices of prayer and study also move us to recognize our own suffering and that of others, and to engage in social justice from a place of compassion.
Rabbi Goldenberg received her ordination from HUC-JIR in New York in 2003 and served as Assistant/Associate rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, TX and Rabbi of CBSRZ in Chester, Connecticut. She has served on the faculty of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and is a graduate of Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Clergy Leadership and Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training programs. She serves on the Rabbinic Council of JFREJ (Jews for Racial and Economic Justice,) has served as co-Chair of T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and is a member of the JStreet Rabbinic Cabinet.
Rabbi Goldenberg and her family happily reside in Jackson Heights, Queens! She is married to Jim Talbott, and they are the parents of two teenagers, Amina and Ziv Goldenberg.
You can find some of Rabbi Goldenberg's sermons and other writings here.
Kris Wettstein (Music Director)
Music at Malkhut is all about intimacy with the divine source of love, life and music happening in real time. This can take many shapes: playful, awe inspiring, messy, austere, ugly, beautiful, pretty much the whole spectrum of experience is fair game. From this intimate core, the music opens out in all directions. Ability levels are irrelevant, connecting is something we all can do. Anyone is welcome to join in!
Kris Wettstein is a musician and teacher interested in the intersection of art, spirituality and activism. He believes that music can be a powerful tool for personal and societal transformation. As a songwriter and musical artist, he has performed in many parts of the United States and internationally. He has been teaching students to play a variety of instruments and sing for over 10 years. Currently, he teaches music at Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in Forest Hills. In December 2017, he completed the Meditation Teacher Training program at The Interdependence Project in Manhattan. He has been collaborating with Rabbi Goldenberg to create musical community at Malkhut since 2016. Kris is a graduate of Walla Walla College, and Rice University, where he obtained his Master’s in piano performance.
Marina Bardash Nebro (Director of Education)
Marina Bardash Nebro (she/her/hers) comes to the Malkhut community with a professional background in non-traditional education, and a life-long personal connection to seeking and strengthening her own Jewish identity. It is her passion to engage with audiences of all ages to foster a love of learning and curiosity, and she is excited to bring her knowledge and skillsets to grow Malkhut’s Youth Institute for Spirituality and Action. Working alongside Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, parents, guardians, and children, her hope is to create a community of life-long spiritual and social justice seekers!
To learn more about our Youth Institute teachers, click HERE.
Alexa Weitzman (Director of Engagement and Advancement)
Alexa Weitzman (she/her) found her spiritual home at Malkhut 5 years ago. Since then, she has led our community in art projects, challah braiding workshops and volunteered on Malkhut's Organizational Development Circle. In that role, she worked closely with Rabbi G, staff, and other volunteer community members to support Malkhut's structural foundation and strategize around fundraising. In early 2022, she officially joined Malkhut's stellar team as Director of Engagement and Advancement where she builds on that framework by designing and implementing fundraising campaigns, develops relationships with donors and secures foundational funding to set up Malkhut for a successful, sustainable future. Alexa also coordinates communications and program logistics, supports Malkhut Mishpacha, and oversees collaborations for the High Holy Days and other holidays throughout the year. Alexa loves to sew and cook and lives in Central Queens with her husband and son.
Emily Herzlin (Rabbinic Intern)
Emily (she/her/hers) is interested in Jewish spirituality, particularly the intersections of mindfulness, meditation, and Judaism. She is a certified mindfulness teacher and has spent the last few years teaching meditation in hospitals in New York City. Like many American Jews searching for engaging spirituality, Emily spent several years studying Buddhism before making her way back to Judaism. Now Emily hopes to help spiritual seekers connect to the powerful practices of mindfulness, compassion, and ethical action within Judaism. Emily cares deeply about social justice and supporting interfaith families. Emily lives in Queens, NY with her spouse, Kris, and is a lay leader with Malkhut. She is the founder and guiding teacher of Mindful Astoria, a local meditation community. She has an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University.
Diana Charlop (Operations Associate)
Diana (pronouns: she/her) is a New York native, born and raised in Great Neck. After returning from Vanderbilt University with double majors in Vocal Performance and Medicine Health and Society, she returned to New York to work in Jewish non-profit and musical spaces. In tandem with her work at Malkhut, she is currently pursuing her Doctorate in School-Community Psychology at Hofstra University. Diana is excited to be a part of the Malkhut Community!