Established in 1917 as one of the first Jewish community centers in New York City, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (“the Y”) is a thriving and visionary not-for-profit human services organization in Northern Manhattan. We welcome people of diverse ethnicities and all ages, from pre-school to older adults, into the Y family with a wide range of educational, recreational and social services and programs that focus on improving the quality of their lives. With a long and distinguished history, the Y is a multi-service community center that is well known for its nurturing environment and non-judgmental philosophy.

SPARK Team Members


Martin Yafe is the Chief Program Officer of the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood, the area with the greatest rate of Jewish growth in NY. Born and raised in Argentina, Martin developed his initial tools as a Jewish community leader in the fields of education, chazzanut, and preventive security. He continued his Jewish professional journey in Sydney (Australia) where he served as Director of Youth Education and cantor for Emanuel Synagogue, and as educational consultant for the Jewish Board of Deputies of NSW. Martin then settled in New York, where he worked as an Executive Planner for UJA-Federation supporting Jewish Life in NY, Israel, and globally He later joined the leadership of the Y where he currently oversees all youth and young adult programs, as well as the Jewish Life department. During this period, Martin also worked as a consultant for the JCRC of NY in the field of Israel education. Martin is a graduate cum laude from IDC-Herzliya in Security Studies, holds a B.A. in International Relations, and studied at Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires. Proud of his multifaceted connection to Jewish identity, Martin's main hobby is traveling the world.

Martin Yafe

Team Leader


She received her Bachelor of Science at the University of Arizona concentrating in child development and counseling. During her studies, she embarked on a multicultural experience called Semester at Sea. She traveled to 12 different countries doing field experiments that focused on the multifaceted stigma of special needs. Her curiosity regarding human challenges continued and she pursued a master’s degree in School Counseling. After graduation, she received a grant through the Israeli Ministry of Education as an English Teaching Fellow in Be'er Sheva, Israel. Rebecca is also the Teen Director at Camp Twelve Trails and the Teen Coordinator at the YM & YWHA in Washington Heights and Inwood.

Rebecca Schonberg


As Jewish Life and Enrichment Manager, Rabbi Ezra is responsible for infusing Jewish life throughout the Y in a wide range of activities including Jewish holidays, our summer camp and our after school, and for the management and successful execution of the Y's Sunday Enrichment programs. Having spent over 25 years in five different Jewish overnight camps Ezra brings expertise in experiential Jewish education and the feel of camp wherever he goes. Through the intentional use of music, rituals, and the creation of camp traditions, Ezra brings important Jewish sensibilities to the Y and camp teams. He is also proud of being a co-founder of Ukulele Shabbat, a weekly song session for 0-2 year olds and their caretakers.

Ezra Weinberg