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
A fourth generation cantor, Cantor Katchko-Gray has served our congregation since l999. She previously served Congregation Beth El in Norwalk and The Conservative Synagogue of Westport – a milestone achievement for a woman cantor.
“Cantor Debbie” is enthusiastic and passionate about integrating music in all aspects of Jewish life and culture. She is most proud of her role in Shir Shalom’s musical activities: Adult Choir, Talented Teens, Music Shabbat Series, Ruach Shabbat and the many professional musical friendships that enhance the spiritual life of our congregation.
A graduate of Boston University School of Education, her studies with Prof. Elie Wiesel were most influential. Elie Wiesel said of her, “Listen to her. Debbie will enable you to hear and feel the exquisite beauty of Jewish melodies that must never be forgotten.”
Her recordings include A Musical Reunion: Kalisz to California, Hanukkah Songs of Light and Hope, A Suite Shabbat (with the Tourmaline String Quartet), Shabbat Jam (with our Talented Teens), Kindersongs, Jewish Soul, Passover Seder Songs, Katchko: Three Generatons of Cantorial Art, and A Sacred Spirit. Her songbook, Katchko, is used at the Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Deborah is an active member of The Women Cantors’ Network, Cantors Assembly and American Conference of Cantors, Ridgefield Clergy Association, Jewish Women International – Clergy Task Force and a co-founder of Kesher-Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework. She enjoys teaching the art of Jewish Huck embroidery, using Swedish weaving techniques to create heirloom tallitot.
Deborah has four sons, has raised six sons and welcomed one grandson with her husband, Dr. F. Scott Gray.
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.
Jane Emmer, Early Childhood Center (ECC) Director, has been an educator for over 25 years. Jane holds both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Education. Prior to accepting the position as Director of our ECC, Jane founded and directed South Salem Enrichment, where she still runs a private tutoring program and college counseling business. Jane sat on the Board of the URJ camps Eisner and Crane Lake. She currently lives in South Salem and New York City with her husband, Stu. She has been an active member of the Jewish community for 20 years. Jane has two sons, Andrew and Matthew, and a step-daughter, Miranda.
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.
Paul Amerling Trustee Gale Berman Trustee Josh Blum Vice President Lynn Broder Co-President Robyn Cohen Trustee Michael Gitlitz Trustee Vlad Gogish Trustee Terry Henry Trustee Larry Hoffman Trustee Steve Landzberg Trustee Robi Margolis Trustee Adam Rubinfeld Trustee Suzanne Sunday Vice President Karen Taylor Chief Financial Officer Matt Teich Trustee Alan Waldman Secretary Emily Wein Trustee Hal Wolkin Co-President
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