Rabbi David Levy Reiner began serving our congregation in July 2013, and was drawn to this community by his perception that our members are hungry for Judaism: spirituality, learning, and Jewish communal engagement.
Prior to arriving in Ridgefield, Rabbi Reiner served Temple Beth-El in Geneva, NY and as Hillel Campus Rabbi at the University of Rochester. Rabbi Reiner has led multiple groups of college students to Israel, and directed the prestigious Machon Kaplan summer internship program at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, DC for two years.
Rabbi Reiner was ordained and earned a Master’s Degree in Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio, following the completion of five years of study and a thesis exploring Jewish-Christian dialogue. A passionate advocate for social justice, Rabbi Reiner was a Rabbi Balfour Brickner Rabbinic Fellow for Social Justice with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and has been through extensive training with Just Congregations.
A cum laude graduate of the University of Rochester, Rabbi Reiner earned highest honors from the Department of Religion and Classics, was awarded a year of post graduate study exploring music in the African-American Community, and spent two summers working on an archeological dig in Tuscany.
An enthusiastic and kindhearted man, Rabbi Reiner is passionate about building our synagogue community, deepening relationships among our members, inspiring the future of Judaism through creative adult and youth educational programs, and developing new and meaningful approaches to Jewish tradition and worship.
Rabbi Reiner lives in Ridgefield, CT with his wife, Ashley, their young son, Samson, and their Puggle (dog), Pancake.
To contact Rabbi Reiner, email: RabbiReiner@OurShirShalom.org
Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray grew up in a distinguished family of cantors. A fourth generation cantor and the second to serve a Conservative congregation, Deborah founded the Women Cantors’ Network in l982 to help share the love of cantorial music she grew up with. At Boston University her studies with Prof. Elie Wiesel z’l’ convinced her that continuing in this family tradition was the best response for Jewish survival.
She is the first recipient of the Debbie Friedman Miriam Award given at the Miriam’s Table Annual Women’s Seder event ( April 2020)
Since 1999, Deborah has served Congregation Shir Shalom of Westchester and Fairfield Counties in Ridgefield, CT and is active in the greater community. Deborah created a Music Shabbat series that brings guest artists on a regular basis enriching the choir and congregational experience in worship., a complete music curriculum for the religious school, Tot Shabbat music, cultural arts including classical concerts, author/luncheons, Huck embroidery of tallitot , and life- cycle involvement have been important parts of her cantorate. Her congregation honored her for her 10th, 13th and 18th years.
Her ten recordings include Passover Seder Songs, Hanukkah Songs of Light and Hope, A Cantorial Reunion- from Kalisz to California, Spirited and Soulful, Kindersongs, Jewish Soul, Shabbat Jam, A Suite Shabbat, and A Sacred Spirit. The Cantors Assembly included her recordings in the Spirit of Israel , Spirit of Hanukkah ,Spirit of the Jewish Wedding, Jewish World,,Jewish Children’s Music, and Spirit of Peace CD series. Her rendition of Jerusalem of Gold was selected for The International Jewish Songbook recording. Her CDs are heard on Jewish radio stations throughout the country and are available at cdbaby.com, oysongs.com and www.cantordebbie.com Her recording and companion songbook, Katchko Three Generations of Cantorial Art is being used at the School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College. It is the first cantorial songbook with guitar chords in a female friendly key!
Cantor Katchko-Gray served on the Executive Council of the Cantors Assembly, and is treasurer of the CT Region Cantors Assembly. She currently serves on the Clergy Task Force of Jewish Women International and is Founder and Past President of the Women Cantors Network. Founded in l982 the WCN has a diverse membership reaching 250 members. She is an Associate Member of the American Conference of Cantors, and served on the Liturgy Task Force. She helped found a chapter of the Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework in Fairfield County. She is an active writer with Lilith Magazine, Forward Scribe Writers, and Primer of CT- Israel Advocacy in Media. She is a blogger for The Times of Israel, and a founding member of Women Fighting AntiSemitism #WMFA. She is also on the Chasing Light Speaker’s Bureau.
Deborah’s story is included in The Invisible Thread- A Portrait of American Jewish Women. She also teaches huck embroidery for making tallitot .The first book of Jewish Huck Embroidery was published in honor of Deborah’s tenth year at Temple Shearith Israel, now Shir Shalom.
She published a book on her Jewish Huck called, Prayerful Creations in 2019. . Deborah is a cellist with the Danbury Symphony Orchestra and the Allegro Chamber Players.
Her story about reuniting with her cousin,Cantor Leopold Szneer, a Holocaust survivor and cantor in Beverly Hills was recorded for National Public Radio’s Yom Hashoah program, April 21, 2009 ”The Story”. The national Jewish tv, JBS has her program, Songs and Stories of Elie Wiesel (2019) in it’s archives.
Her archives of interviews, articles and recordings are now part of the American Jewish Archives as well as the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Two items of Deborah’s are installed permanently in the museum in Feminism and Personal Observance. Her papers on Elie Wiesel are housed at the Mugar Library, Boston University Elie Wiesel Collection.
She is the mother of four sons, David, Aaron , Ezra and Joey, two stepsons Justin and Rannon and two grandchildren Eli and Ella! She is married to Dr. F. Scott Gray, of Somers Orthopedics.
To contact Cantor Katcho-Gray, email CantorDebbie@OurShirShalom.org
Rabbi Jon R. Haddon was invested at the Cantorial School of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and ordained a Rabbi in 1980. He was a Cantor in Rye, NY, and the first director of the School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College.
Rabbi Haddon served Temple Shearith Israel (now Congregation Shir Shalom of Westchester and Fairfield Counties) from 1987-2008. During his 21-year tenure, membership grew from 65 families to nearly 300 families.
He is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the American Federation of Cantors, the Rabbinic Council of The Jewish Federation and the Pastoral Advisory Committee of Danbury Hospital. He is also a former president of the Ridgefield Clergy Association.
Rabbi Haddon is the founder of the WREF radio program, “Moments of Inspiration,” and has written for many local newspapers. His article, “The Need to Teach Goodness,” was published nationwide in Reader’s Digest magazine.
A long-standing member of the Association of Religious Communities, Rabbi Haddon currently facilitates its FVEP (Family Violence Education Program), is an on-call Chaplain at Danbury Hospital, the Danbury Federal Correctional Institute, and a Police Chaplain for the Town of Ridgefield. He is a past President of the Greater Danbury Jewish Federation and is very active in AIPAC and FIDF.
Rabbi Haddon is married to Jean Haddon, the father of three grown children, and proud grandfather of six.
To contact Rabbi Haddon, email: RabbiHaddon@OurShirShalom.org
Our Directors of Education
Leslie Gottlieb, our Director of Education, is in her seventeenth year as Principal of the Religious School at Congregation Shir Shalom. With over thirty years’ experience as an educator, Leslie taught high and middle school English for many years before moving to this area.
Prior to her role as Director at our school, Leslie taught culture and Hebrew for grade three and culture for grade six at Jewish Family Congregation (JFC). She has also worked as Director of the Pound Ridge Day Camp and was a columnist for a local publication.
In addition to running the Religious School, setting curriculum and developing programming, Leslie helps oversee our relationship with the URJ Camps programs. We are pleased to note that our students — ages seven through young adulthood – are highly represented at the URJ camps. She is the facilitator for the Youth Group at Shir Shalom, and also runs and teaches the Student Mentor Program for students in grades nine through twelve.
She has run many adult programs over the years and continues to welcome learning opportunities for all kinds of learners at all ages. She lives with her husband, Larry, in Pound Ridge. Their three children attended our school program through confirmation; two of their children participated in the Mentor Program and Youth Group through grade twelve.
Sarah Denyer, our Early Childhood Center (ECC) Director, has been an early childhood educator for over 25 years.
After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BS in Family and Child Studies, Sarah began her teaching career in Boulder, Colorado where she worked at the Kellogg Child Development Center during their inaugural year.
Sarah helped develop a philosophy and programs at the center in addition to being a headteacher for 5 years. Wanting to be closer to family, she moved back to Westchester County, NY, and continued with her passion for working with young children, first at the Rippowam-Cisqua School and later at the New Canaan Nature Center. Sarah also founded and directed Little Explorers Preschool Enrichment before joining the faculty at the ECC in 2017.
She lives in South Salem, NY with her husband, Nic, and teenaged sons, Kieran and Logan. Sarah loves being a part of the warm, welcoming, and tight-knit community at Congregation Shir Shalom.
The Board of Trustees of Congregation Shir Shalom of Westchester and Fairfield Counties is elected by the membership to oversee all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the synagogue in conformance to current by-laws. Board meetings are held throughout the year, on a monthly basis. The Board consists of 18 trustees, of which 5-7 serve as officers and members of the Executive Committee. Our current Officers and Trustees are listed below.
Michael Bergman Trustee Gale Berman Trustee Josh Blum Trustee Lynn Broder Immediate Past President Michael Gitlitz Trustee Vlad Gogish Trustee Terry Henry Executive Vice President Larry Hoffman President Steve Landzberg Trustee Robi Margolis Trustee Adam Rubinfeld Vice President Marjorie Schiff Trustee Suzanne Sunday Vice President Karen Taylor Chief Financial Officer David Pazer Trustee Alan Waldman Secretary Hal Wolkin Treasurer Michael Zeitz Trustee
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