Chizuk Amuno Congregation & Schools is pleased to welcome Rabbi Gruenberg as our Senior Rabbi in July 2018. Prior to his appointment, Rabbi Gruenberg served as the Rabbi of Congregation Beth El in Yardly, Pennsylvania for seven years where he was known for his innovative, involvement in the schools, and engagement of young families.
Rabbi Gruenberg is a product of the Conservative Jewish movement as the child of parents who both made their careers in the Conservative Jewish education field in both synagogue and day-school surroundings. He attended a Solomon Schechter day school, Camp Ramah and USY. He also worked for all three of these organizations as well.
In addition to reinvigorating aspects at his former congregation, Rabbi Gruenberg is involved in the community at-large and has held positions of leadership. Rabbi Gruenberg was the president of the Bucks County Board of Rabbis, a member of the national UJC rabbinic cabinet, and Chair of a Rabbinical Assembly committee on rabbinic care for colleagues new to the field. He was selected to participate in the Kellogg School of Rabbinic Management at Northwestern University and has written numerous articles for media sources, the Bucks County Courier Times and the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent.
Rabbi Joshua Gruenberg grew up in Westchester County, NY and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from SUNY Binghamton. He was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary as a Conservative rabbi in 2002 and immediately served as Rabbi-in-Residence and Director of Judaic Studies for a Solomon Schechter elementary and high-school. Rabbi Gruenberg and his wife Elissa moved to Nyack in 2004 where he was the spiritual leader of Congregation Sons of Israel for almost seven years. During their time in Nyack they increased their family with two new members, their son Samuel who is 15 and their daughter Kayla who is 13.
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.
Debi has served Chizuk Amuno Congregation since 1999. She received her rabbinic ordination, as well as an M.A. degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. Prior to becoming a pulpit rabbi at Chizuk Amuno, she served as an educator at the 92nd Street Y also in New York City.
Teaching has been Rabbi Wechsler’s first love and she is indeed, a teacher par excellence. The breadth and depth of her Judaic knowledge might be formidable if not for her warm and accessible teaching style. Through her b’nei mitzvah program and adult learning classes, Debi’s perspective of Judaism through her particular lens has been encouraging and empowering. She is ever mindful of the wisdom, optimism, and even humor, to be gained from our cherished Jewish tradition.
She has published sermons and opinion articles in The American Rabbi, The Orchard, The Forward, and the New York Jewish Week and she is the mother of Rena and Ruben, students in our Krieger Schechter Day School.
Descended from performing vaudevillian grandparents on one side, and off-the-boat Eastern European Orthodox Jews on the other, Cantor Randy Herman seemed destined to integrate the worlds of musical performance and Judaism. After growing up in Grand Rapids, MI, and attending the University of Michigan, he worked as an actor in Chicago where he co-founded a successful avant-garde theater company, before pursuing music full-time. As a pianist/singer/songwriter, he has performed live and in the studio in a wide variety of contexts, both in the US and abroad. His cantorial training includes a year of study in Jerusalem where he sang in the Great Synagogue choir, and a Masters degree/cantorial investiture from the Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC. Cantor Herman has led services and performed concerts for enthusiastic congregations and audiences in synagogues throughout the US, Europe, and Israel. From 2007-2020, he served as the cantor of Bet Torah in Mt. Kisco (Northern Westchester County), NY, considered one of the most vibrant smaller shuls in the Conservative movement. His original Jewish songs can be widely heard in synagogues and on recordings. He and his wife Nicole are the proud parents of Kaya, who turned two in April. Cantor Herman became the cantor of Chizuk Amuno Congregation & Schools in July of 2020.
Rabbi Joel Zaiman came to Chizuk Amuno Congregation in 1980 and served as Senior Rabbi until 2003 when he was elected Rabbi Emeritus until his passing in 2019. Rabbi Zaiman was ordained at Jewish Theological Seminary in 1962, where he also received an MHL. He came to Chizuk Amuno Congregation after serving as Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Providence, R.I. He 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. 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, and the Stulman Center for Adult Learning. In 1996, 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 was passionate about learning and teaching Torah. He devoted his professional life to sharing the beauty and wisdom that come from study and viewing life through a Jewish lens.
Hazzan Emanuel “Manny” C. Perlman was recently elected Hazzan Emeritus of Chizuk Amuno Congregation after faithfully serving the congregation for twenty-one years.
A lyric tenor, composer, lecturer, recording artist, Hazzan Perlman has concertized extensively throughout the world and has studied voice with the eminent Prof. William Riley in New York City and with the late Kurt Baum, known as the “generic tenor” of the Metropolitan Opera. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Music and Voice from Rhode Island College and a Masters Degree in Psychiatric Social Work from Yeshiva University. Hazzan Perlman also attended the Cantors Institute at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Hazzan Perlman was a member of The Cantors Perlman 5 consisting of his late father and three brothers who are all cantors. He has an original healing CD called “Spiritual Ambrosia” on Arabesque Records, a recording entitled “Face to Face” and his most recent recording, “Destination Peace.” He premiered an original composition Achein Yeish with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, sang the tenor solo in Handel’s “Israel in Egypt” with the Handel Choir at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, performed throughout Cuba for the Jewish community and had the tenor role in Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” with the Maryland Jewish Chorale Society.
He has lectured on The Aleppo Codex at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C, performed an original show entitled “A Life of Coincidences” at the Players Club in New York City and sang at the Capitol Rotunda for the U.S. National Day of Remembrance Ceremony sponsored by the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
Hazzan Perlman served for five years as the cantorial representative for the Conservative Movement of Judaism’s Committee on Jewish Laws and Standards and received an Honorary Doctorate in Music at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.
Hazzan Perlman is the Founder and CEO of Destination Peace International Inc. whose mission is to create harmony throughout the world by bringing people together regardless of religious affiliation or cultural differences through music, conflict resolution, peace curriculum and a universal language. He is married to Janice Jotkowitz They are the proud parents of Steven, (Deborah), Benjamin, (Bethany), Marc and the proud Bubby and Zayde of Abner, Muriel and Maximilian.
Lee Sherman joined us as Interim Executive Director in December 2019. Lee and his family have been members of Chizuk Amuno for thirty years and both of his children are graduates of Krieger Schechter Day School and Goldsmith Early Childhood Center. Lee recently retired as the President and CEO of the National Human Services Assembly and National Assembly Business Services, Inc., a wholly owned for-profit subsidiary of the National Assembly which operates PurchasingPoint®. In his role as President & CEO, he led the strategic direction of the organization, with a significant focus on building and maintaining key relationships with funders, members, and partners in the sector.
Lee has more than 25 years of executive-level experience in both the nonprofit and corporate sectors. From 2009 to 2016, Lee served as President and CEO of the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies, a network of over 125 human service providers in the U.S. and Canada. Lee came to AJFCA from Associated Catholic Charities in Baltimore, Maryland, the largest human services agency in the state, where he served as Director of Strategic Development in the Community Services Division.
He has served in various leadership roles in the community over the years, including on the boards of directors of Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, 501C Trust, Jewish Family Services of Central Maryland, Jewish Community Services, the Center for Jewish Education, THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, and the international NGO, Yahel, a service learning program in Israel.
Lee earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in English, both from the University of Virginia, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary.
In 1988, Rabbi Stuart Seltzer was hired as director of Rosenbloom Religious School and also taught Judaic studies and planned special programs and trips for the Krieger Schechter Middle School. In 2000-2001, he served as the Interim Middle School Judaic Head at Krieger Schechter Day School. In 1994, he created Netivon, an intensive Hebrew High School at Chizuk Amuno for our Schechter and Religious School high school students. In 2003-2007, Rabbi Seltzer’s position was expanded to Director of Congregational Learning, during which he introduced inter-generation programming, taught in our adult learning program, and engaged in a collaborative process to create the Hendler Time Line.
During a short break from Chizuk Amuno, from 2007 through 2012, Rabbi Seltzer assumed the position of head of Judaic studies at the Shoshana S. Cardin High School. Having completed 5 summers of intensive training at Lincoln Center Institute for Aesthetic Education, he received a major grant to bring Lincoln Center to Cardin to launch a program of integrating Jewish and general studies with the arts.
In 2012, Rabbi Seltzer returned to Chizuk Amuno to resume the position of Director of Congregational Learning and directing the Rosenbloom Religious School. Tasked to dream about how Non-Day School experiences of Jewish education can respond to the challenges of the 21st century Jewish community, Rabbi Seltzer created Achshav, a leadership program centered around an Israel trip in partnership with Beth El Congregation for religious school graduates, a special needs program, chapel time with the preschool and various artist-in-residence programs. Chizuk Amuno, became and still is Rabbi Seltzer’s laboratory for the many possibilities in Jewish education.
He has served as a senior educator for the New Director’s Institute of United Synagogue where he presented texts which principals could use for inspiration and mentoring their faculty. In 2009, Rabbi Seltzer was the proud recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award.
Although Rabbi Seltzer has served in a variety supervisory and administrative positions, his heart remains in the classroom, the opportunity to teach and learn with students of all ages.
Rabbi Moshe Schwartz has been Head of School at Krieger Schechter Day School since 2015. He previously served as Head of School at the preschool-8th grade Kellman Brown Academy in Voorhees, New Jersey. He holds a BA, cum laude, from Brandeis University and received Rabbinic ordination and an MA in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2007. From 2007-2010, “Rabbi Moshe” as he is known, served as the Director of Jewish Life and Rabbi-in-Residence at the K-12 Schechter Long Island where he was the recipient of the prestigious SREL Fellowship. He is a graduate of the Day School Leadership Training Institute and has completed two programs at the Principal’s Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education: Art of Leadership and Leadership as an Evolving Vision.
Rabbi Moshe served on the advisory board of the Schechter Network and on the board of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools. He has served as vice-chair and chair of decennial accreditations on behalf of the association.
During his tenure at Kellman Brown Academy, the school became the first Jewish day school in the nation to receive the prestigious U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Award having passed not only the requirements of the US Green Building Council for LEED Certification, but also the many curricular requirements necessary to receive this award. KBA was honored by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for this achievement in July 2014.
Rabbi Moshe and his wife Aviva, who works at The Associated, have 3 children; Eliezer, who goes by Elie (7th), Liba (5th) and Rina (3rd). Rabbi Moshe is a lifelong New York Jets and Mets fan but asks that you not hold this against him as he has been searching for more productive franchises to root for.
Michelle Gold has been the director of Goldsmith Early Childhood Center for the past 18 years. Her affiliation with Chizuk Amuno Congregation goes back to 1972. She became a Bat Mitzvah at Chizuk Amuno in 1980. In 1992, Rabbi Zaiman married Michelle Goldner and Kyle Gold. Michelle and Kyle have two boys, Brett (21), and Derek (18), both Krieger Schechter graduates. The Gold’s reside in Clarksville, MD.
Michelle earned her Bachelor degree from University of Maryland, College Park and her Masters in Early Childhood Education from Towson University. She is credentialed by the Maryland State Department of Education and has met the requirements of a Level 6, the highest level of achievement.
Michelle was instrumental in co-creating the interactive Tot Shabbat program which she runs the 2nd and 4thof each month at Chizuk Amuno as well as on the High Holidays.
Dr. Moshe Shualy has served as the Ritual Director of Chizuk Amuno Congregation for nearly 30 years creating community in our daily minyan and serving the religious needs of our congregation and community.
Prior to joining the Chizuk Amuno staff, he served as Educational Director at Beth Israel Religious School, was a member of the Research Staff of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland at Baltimore.
Dr. Shualy earned his BA in Anthropology at the University of Delaware, an MA in Education from Dropsie University, and a PhD in Rabbinic Literature from the Annenberg Research Institute of the University of Pennsylvania.