Rabbi Sholom and Aksana Jensen
Rabbi Sholom Jensen has been an integral part of our Great Neck Synagogue family and community as Youth Director of GNS for thirty years. We pay tribute to Rabbi Jensen and Aksana for the many years of dedication as they will be making Aliya this summer.
Rabbi Jensen grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in an unaffiliated family. The spark of Yiddishkeit was ignited when he began attending Chaim Berlin Yeshiva at age ten. The rest is history. Rabbi Jensen continued his Yeshiva education in Scranton, Pa, followed by five years of study in Israel. Before returning to the U.S., he studied in the Mirrer Yeshiva and subsequently guided students at Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim.
In 1991 Rabbi Jensen embarked on his teaching career at Great Neck Synagogue and the North Shore Hebrew Academy. Still today, he teaches Talmud, Mishna, and Dinim to students grades 6-8. In 2001, he was named Director of Admissions at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School. His fine teaching skills have extended to the Mashadi Jewish Center of Great Neck where he teaches students in a variety of Jewish subjects.
His greatest source of accomplishment is the GNS Youth Program. Under his leadership the Youth Program has grown exponentially. The program goal is to develop an appreciation of Torah and Torah values, the importance of community, and to instill a sense of responsibility and reward for hard work to its members. Many past members have gone on to share their talents learned in the GNS Youth Program in college Hillel Houses. They inspire others to participate in Chesed and Tzedakah initiatives. Graduates of the Youth Program are always at the forefront as they motivate others to join in Shabbat and Chagim celebrations.
The camaraderie between rabbis, congregants, and our youth is second to none. The highlights are many...The Youth Minyan, Junior Minyan, and Yamim Noraim Minyan. The High School Cholent Kiddish attracts our young adults, and creates forums for good learning, dialogue, and FUN. Holidays are celebrated throughout the year such as the annual Sukkah Hop, Simchat Torah and Chanukah luncheons, and of course the legendary GNS Purim Shpiel.
Rabbi Jensen’s strong ties to Israel have inspired him to lead several “Missions” including running supplies to those families in the North impacted by the war in Lebanon. In summer 2003, Rabbi Jensen briefed the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Anan, and Under Secretary General, Shashi Theroor, upon his return from Gaza.
Aksana Jensen, the Rabbi’s lovely wife, has traveled a fascinating journey. Aksana was born in Russia and lived in Israel before emigrating to the U.S. Aksana’s first career was in corporate finance which gave way to her passion for all things “health and beauty.” She attended Touro College and attended the prestigious Christine Valmy International School for Aesthetics. Aksana is a well respected aesthetician.
Together with Rabbi Jensen, Aksana enjoys hosting Oneg Shabbatons, and Youth Luncheons partnering with their dear friends Zehava and Dr. Mike Atlas in all youth programming.
The Jensens delight in their accomplished children. Shani, Chaya Sara, Moshe, Avi and David served as group leaders in the GNS youth program and Jonah and Shai have benefitted from all youth programs and sorely miss these programs due to Covid. How proud this wonderful family is of David who served in the IDF.
The Jensens will take suitcases packed with cherished memories as they travel home to Israel. Their vitality, enthusiasm and devotion to all at the Great Neck Synagogue will be with us always. We will miss this very unique family.
Bracha and Hatzlacha!!