Released Time Volunteer Returns to Community as Shliach for Youth

After volunteering in Rego Park, Queens as a teacher for the Released Time program, Rabbi Yaakov (JZ) Horvitz has now moved there on shlichus with his wife Breina, joining the team led by Rabbi Eli and Shulamis Blokh, to cater to the community’s youth.

By reporter

A volunteer teacher’s dedication to his students has turned into a life’s mission.

Born in Texas and raised in North Miami, Florida, Rabbi Yaakov (JZ) Horvitz‘s connection with Rego Park began as bochur when he would visit the area every Wednesday as a volunteer teacher for the Released Time Program, learning with Jewish children in the local public school system.

As his students grew older and graduated elementary school, Rabbi Horvitz felt the need to keep in touch with them and keep up their connection to Yiddishkeit. He organized programs for them whenever he had a chance over the years, and continued to do so after his marriage in 5776 to Breina Borenstein from Bologna, Italy.

When Rabbi Yaakov and Breina were looking for a location to settle on shlichus, they explored different options in Asia and America, and eventually came to the realization that the spot best suited for them was much closer to home. The shluchim to Rego Park, Rabbi Eli and Shulamis Blokh, were looking for a couple to join their shlichus to focus on the Jewish youth in the neighborhood, and everything fell into place.

Rabbi Yaakov and Breina began running programs for middle school and high school children, (separate programs for boys and girls), and a Hebrew school. This past year, due to covid, they were especially successful in convincing a number of parents to transfer their children to a Jewish school and to send their children to a Jewish summer camp.

One campaign that Rabbi Horvitz is particularly proud of is the mezuza campaign that they ran last year. 50 bochurim came for merkaz shlichus, visiting 1000 families in Rego Park and the surrounding neighborhoods that are under Rabbi Blokh’s care, such as Middle Village, Jackson Heights and Corona, Queens. “The bochurim are my secret to success,” Rabbi Horvitz proudly told

After 5 years of working under Chabad of Rego Park running teen events, youth programs, mitzvah campaigns while not living in the area, Rabbi Yaakov (JZ) and Breina Horvitz are now moving to Rego Park, Queens to join the team at Chabad of Rego Park.

“We’ve been working on moving for 3 years already,” Rabbi Horvitz shared, “with the kavana that moshiach will be here way before we got there. There were all types of meniyos viikuvim, from within and without, but Boruch Hashem, we finally made it. “

Their plans for the future include starting a Hebrew School, Teen Lounge, Shabbos meals for teens, youth holiday events and prayers, weekly Sunday school for elementary school kids, evening get-togethers, classes, farbrengens and more.

Help support their shlichus by donating at

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