Rabbi Manny Viñas
Rabbi Rigoberto Emmanuel (“Manny”) Viñas grew up in a traditional Sephardic home of Cuban Jewish parents who came to America after the Cuban Revolution in 1960. He was born and raised in Miami, Florida and attended local Yeshivot in preparation for a Rabbinic career. In 1989, Rabbi Viñas moved to New York to continue his studies at Touro College where he received a B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) in Psychology and Social Sciences from Touro College and a Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW-CSW), with honors in psycho-dynamics from Hunter College. Rabbi Viñas completed his training as a scribe with ordination (kabala in sofrut) at Yeshiva University and has received “Yoreh Yoreh” ordination from both Kollel Agudath Achim and Yeshivah VeKollel Zichron Hizkiahu Yoel of Boro Park Brooklyn, New York.
In April of 2003, Rabbi Viñas accepted the position of Rabbi at the Lincoln Park Jewish Center (LPJC) in Yonkers, NY. Rabbi Viñas has dedicated his career to serving diverse Jewish communities by bringing Klal Yisrael (all Jews) together regardless of denomination, form of practice, race, ethnicity, or any other difference. He currently resides in Lincoln Park, Yonkers, with his wife Erica, a Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator in a private practice, and their three daughters.
El Centro de Estudios Judíos "Torat Emet"
In January 2000, Rabbi Viñas founded El Centro de Estudios Judíos “Torat Emet”, a Spanish-language Jewish education and spirituality center for Latin American Jews who live in the New York area, in response to a growing need among Latino Jews for a place to congregate, socialize and pray together in a way that reflected their cultural and linguistic background. El Centro’s first programs were launched at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale (HIR) in the Bronx, with the support of Senior Rabbi Avi Weiss. Rabbi Viñas was then awarded a Joshua Venture Fellowship to assist him in the development and professionalization of El Centro’s activities. In 2003, El Centro received four years of funding from UJA-Federation’s Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal to support its work and the development of “TORAH TROPICAL”, a quarterly national Spanish-language Jewish newspaper that began circulation during Chanukah 2003.
El Centro’s mission is to provide all who are interested with spiritually enriching experiences from which they can learn and grow within a warm and welcoming environment. Members include Jews of Ashkenazic and Sephardic heritage, as well as Jews of converso (anusim marrano) background, whose secret practices of Jewish customs while formally practicing Catholicism eventually led them to the process of returning to Judaism. El Centro seeks to inspire others in the Jewish world to re-examine and reconnect with their Judaism and infuse their religious life with enthusiasm and joy.