Director of Jewish Family Life & Culture
Karina Zilberman, Director of Jewish Family Life and Culture for the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at 92nd Street Y, has been educating and entertaining through music since her earliest days as a singer in her native Buenos Aires, where she created the famous Argentinian Hebrew vocal group Chavaia. She joined 92Y in 2007 to develop a Jewish community of families with young children, now known as the 92Y Shababa™ community. Starting with Shababa Fridays – a Shabbat preparation gathering for young children and their grownups featuring music, puppets and dance – Shababa serves more than 300 families and has expanded to Saturdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Jewish family experiences like Shababa Challah Bakery, Pajama Havdalah, and the Shababa Mamas singing group. Karina leads 92Y’s High Holidays Family services, a Passover Family Seder, the community service-oriented International Mitzvah Day and conducts Jewish life cycle events such as baby namings. She also leads workshops for educators and clergy in New York and Israel on topics like creating meaningful intergenerational Jewish experiences.
Prior to joining 92Y, Karina served as cantorial soloist & clergy at Temple Israel of Greater Miami; she also taught music at the Greenfield Day School in Miami and Temple Judea in Coral Gables. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, her family belonged to the city’s Temple Bet-El, led then by the late Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer, who later helped transform New York City’s B’nai Jeshurun into a nationally recognized synagogue.
Karina is trained in cantorial singing as well as musical theater, and she sings in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ladino, Hebrew and Yiddish. She has released four CDs including Sera Una Noche (1998), Karina Zilberman (2000); Drawing Close (2005), produced by Temple Israel’s musical director Dr. Alan Mason; and two Shababa recordings – 92Y Shababa™ with Karina (2008) and 92Y Shababaland (2012), featuring favorites from her 92Y Friday and Saturday Family Jewish experiences.