Our Rabbi Emeritus was born in Vienna, Austria into a traditional Jewish family with strong Zionist ideals. After graduating from Brooklyn College in 1944, he entered the Jewish Theological Seminary where he was ordained as Rabbi in 1948.
When Rabbi and his beloved Miriam, whom he’d met and married at the Seminary, arrived in Westchester in 1953, they found a congregation that was seven years old. It had great spirit and admirable values; what it lacked was adequate facilities. Although he had no experience in real estate or commerce, Rabbi Bornstein learned enough from members who were knowledgeable in these fields to perform a few "miracles." He approached the largest land developer in the area and convinced him that a synagogue was a necessary part of the community. The developer donated the two parcels on Manchester Ave. where B'nai Tikvah stood for so many years.
As well as being the spiritual leader, Rabbi Bornstein served as school principal, educator, and Israeli Bond Fundraiser at BTC. Rabbi Bornstein extended his activities beyond the confines of the Synagogue, becoming a force for good throughout the Jewish and secular communities. He served on the board of directors of the Jewish Federation Council, as president of the West Coast branch of the Rabbinical Assembly, president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, president of the Clergy Association of Westchester, and as a board member of Daniel Freeman Hospital. For 25 consecutive years Rabbi Bornstein was an instructor at the University of Judaism. One of the courses he taught, "An Introduction to Judaism for Non-Jews," continues to be one of the most successful courses at the University and has added thousands of men and women to the ranks of the Jewish people.
When B’nai Tikvah and Congregation Tifereth Jacob merged in 2007, the newly created Congregation Tikvat Jacob was fortunate to have Rabbi Bornstein become our first Rabbi Emeritus. CTJ celebrated Rabbi Bornstein’s 90th birthday at a joyous luncheon in March 2009.