Meet the Clergy
Rabbi Ronald J. Shulman
Rabbi Ron Shulman’s warm nature and thoughtful insights inspire his vision of Chizuk Amuno Congregation as a sacred community. On the bimah, in the classroom, in his study, and throughout our community, Rabbi Shulman encourages us to find personal meaning through Jewish celebration, exploration, and participation in our synagogue community. The rabbi’s sensitivity in finding the most joyful words of celebration or the most gentle words of comfort is a gift that touches us all. His sermons provoke our thoughts and speak to our hearts.
Ron Shulman came to Chizuk Amuno in July 2004 to serve as our congregation’s seventh Senior Rabbi. He graduated from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. in 1978 and was ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York in May 1983. In May 2010, JTS conferred upon Rabbi Shulman an honorary Doctorate of Divinity for his years of service to Conservative Judaism and the Jewish people. Rabbi Shulman also holds a Master of Arts degree in Teaching from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. Teaching is his forte, and his skills reach out to all age groups within the congregation and beyond.
Rabbi Shulman is the author of original prayers and reflections, Jewish educational curricula, newspaper Torah columns, and other writings. He also writes a blog for this website.
Prior to coming to Chizuk Amuno Congregation, Rabbi Shulman served for 21 years as the rabbi of Congregation Ner Tamid of South Bay in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Rabbi Shulman and Congregation Ner Tamid were chosen as pilot participants in a project for revitalizing the American synagogue known as Synagogue 2000. In Rancho Palos Verdes, Rabbi Shulman helped to found the Dawn Unity Group, an assembly of clergy and lay leaders devoted to inter-religious dialogue and understanding. Rabbi Shulman taught courses in Homiletics and Bible for 16 years as a Lecturer in Professional Rabbinic Studies at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and the Fingerhut School of Education of the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.
Rabbi Shulman is a past president of the Baltimore Jewish Council and served as Co-Chairman of the Commission for a Socially Just Community of THE ASSOCIATED, Jewish Federation of Baltimore. Rabbi Shulman is also a past president of the Pacific Southwest Region of the Rabbinical Assembly. He is a member of the Chancellor’s Rabbinic Cabinet at JTS.
Rabbi Shulman was born in Chicago, Ill. and raised in Encino, Calif. He and his wife, Robin, were members of the educational and religious staff of Camp Ramah in Ojai, Calif, for more than 20 years. They are the proud parents of Heidi and Felicia.
Rabbi Deborah Wechsler
Rabbi Wechsler has touched the lives of many members of our community through her intellect, warmth, compassion and commitment to the ideals of Conservative Judaism. As the first woman to serve as rabbi of Chizuk Amuno Congregation, her impact and accomplishments are demonstrated in our successful b’nei mitzvah, adult learning programs, gemilut hasadim efforts, and many learning and life cycle experiences.
Since coming to Chizuk Amuno in July 1999 she has taught classes in all of the schools of the congregation on Bible, Talmud, Halakha (Jewish Law), and Rabbinics. She serves as Rav Ha Makhshir of the congregation, supervising kashrut, and oversees its Gemilut Hasadim (social action) activities.
Her communal work includes service on the Grant Review Committee for the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Fund of The Associated, and the Teacher Certification group of the Center for Jewish Education. She has published sermons and opinion articles in The American Rabbi, The Orchard, The Forward, and the New York Jewish Week. Debi received her rabbinic ordination, as well as an M.A., from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City.
Hazzan Emanuel C. Perlman
Emanuel Perlman, lyric tenor, composer, lecturer, recording artist and therapist is beginning his 18th year as the Hazzan of the historic Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Baltimore, Maryland. Hazzan Perlman has concertized extensively throughout the United States. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Music and Voice from Rhode Island College and a Masters Degree in Psychiatric Social Work from Yeshiva University. Emanuel also attended the Cantors Institute at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Emanuel has studied voice with the eminent Prof. William Riley in New York City since 1998. He studied voice and opera for ten years with the late Kurt Baum, known as the “generic tenor” of the Metropolitan Opera. Perlman was called “a combination Caruso and Mel Torme” by Larry King.
Hazzan Perlman is a member of The Cantors Perlman 5 consisting of his retired father and brothers who are all cantors. He has an original healing CD called "Spiritual Ambrosia" on Arabesque Records and a more recent recording entitled “Face to Face.” In 2004, Cantor Perlman sang with his cantorial family for two weeks throughout Israel. He also co-led a mission to Israel with his cantorial brothers in July 2008, where he and his brothers performed in honor of Israel’s 60th anniversary. Also in 2004, he premiered an original composition Achein Yeish with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at a concert that raised $750,000 for Meir Panim (soup kitchens) in Israel.
Hazzan Perlman sang the tenor solo in Handel’s "Israel in Egypt" with the Handel Choir at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore as well as the tenor role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Maryland Jewish Chorale Society. He has also portrayed Christopher Columbus and the Pharoah Akhenaten at the University of Maryland Clinical Pathological Conferences at Davidge Hall. In November and December 2006, he lectured on The Aleppo Codex at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. In February 2007 and February 2009, Cantor Perlman performed throughout Cuba for the Jewish community. On January 6, 2010 Cantor Perlman performed an original show entitled “A Life of Coincidences” at the Players Club in New York City. On April 15, 2010 Cantor Perlman sang at the Capitol Rotunda for the U.S. National Day of Remembrance Ceremony sponsored by the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. In 2010 Hazzan Perlman was presented with his communities (Pikesville, Maryland) "Volunteer of the Year Award."
He served for the past five years as the cantorial representative for the Conservative Movement of Judaism’s Committee on Jewish Laws and Standards. In 2012 Hazzan Perlman presented a musical lecture/discussion along with the esteemed Conductor/Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Maestra Marin Alsap. In June 2013 he received an Honorary Doctorate in Music at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. In November 2013 Hazzan Perlman concertized in Hebrew at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Along with John Kiehl, co-founder and co-owner of the Academy/Grammy Award winning SoundTrack Studios located in New York and Boston and his eminent Voice Teacher Professor William Riley (voice teacher to Celine Dion, Faith Hill, and many others) he is an app conceptualizer and developer. Soon he will have recorded and made available in app format the entire Jewish yearly liturgical services. In addition to his musical and cantorial activities, he has been a psychiatric social worker, field instructor, social work supervisor and team coordinator at the Long Island Jewish Hillside Hospital in Queens, N.Y.
He has been married to Janice Jotkowitz for 38 years. They are the proud parents of Steven and Deborah, Benjamin and Bethany, and Marc.
Click here to see a video of Hazzan Perlman performing at the Capital Rotunda.
Click here to see a video of Cantors 5 on PBS.
Rabbi Joel H. Zaiman
Rabbi Zaiman was ordained at Jewish Theological Seminary in 1962, where he also received an MHL. He came to Chizuk Amuno Congregation in 1980 after serving as Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Providence, R.I., for eleven years. He has published articles in various journals and contributed chapters to books co-authored by Professor Jacob Neusner. Among the many organizations Rabbi Zaiman chaired and co-chaired are United Synagogue Commission on Jewish Education, Institute of Christian and Jewish Studies, and the Baltimore Jewish Council. Most recently, Rabbi Zaiman received a Doctor of Divinity Honoris Causa from St. Mary’s Seminary and University.
During his tenure, Rabbi Zaiman emphasized the importance of learning, thereby earning Chizuk Amuno the title of the Education Synagogue. He helped to found Krieger Schechter Day School in 1981. In 1996, Chizuk Amuno established the Stulman Center for Adult Learning. In 1997, the congregation introduced the first Florence Melton Adult Mini-School to be located at a synagogue. In his commitment to quality learning for all ages, Rabbi Zaiman brought a full time rabbi to Chizuk to direct the religious school and create a rich, diverse program for teens.
A dedicated scholar, Rabbi Zaiman is passionate about learning and teaching Torah. He has devoted his professional life to sharing the beauty and wisdom that come from study and viewing life through a Jewish lens.