Rabbi Valerie Cohen
Welcome to Temple Emanuel Sinai. Our Jewish synagogue home in Worcester, Massachusetts is not only warm and welcoming, it is our extended Jewish Family.
When my family arrived here in the summer of 2014, we were looking for a new Jewish home and family. A warm community was essential, since we are uprooted Southerners who experienced a real winter for the first time. Along with my husband Jonathan and my children Gabriel and Marisa, we have all found what we needed at Temple Emanuel Sinai.
I grew up in North and Central Florida, received my Bachelors in Public Relations at the University of Florida (Go Gators!), and after I was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, I spent my first 15 years as a rabbi in Memphis, Tennessee and Jackson, Mississippi. I never imagined myself in New England.
My presence here is b’sheirt – meant to be – for myself, my family, and for my partnership with this community. I am humbled to be guiding the congregation through our growing years after a successful integration process. I love teaching and learning with adults and children who are hungry for Jewish education. And I am excited to create innovative and accessible avenues for worship and spirituality through the vision of our members.
Most of all, I am inspired by the people I meet in who have built our Temple Emanuel Sinai community and assure its vibrancy. Through baby namings and b’nai mitzvah, weddings and funerals, casual conversations and serious talks at hospital bedsides, I am honored to be invited in people’s lives. Most of all, I am lifted by the laughter and smiles we share together as, in all these ways, we building meaningful relationships with each other, with ourselves, and with God.
Come by and get to know us. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cantor Rachel Reef-Simpson
B’ruchim Haba’im to Temple Emanuel Sinai!
I am Cantor Rachel Reef-Simpson and I am privileged to serve as both Cantor and Family Engagement Coordinator at TES. I work as clergy partner with Rabbi Valerie in all aspects of Temple life, including planning and co-leading all services and life cycle events. I oversee and provide support to our Torah readers and lay service leaders. I am also the B’nai Mitzvah coordinator, tutoring and connecting with our B’nai Mitzvah students and overseeing the entire B’nai Mitzvah journey for our families.
With my expertise in music/theatre, I enjoy directing the TES Choir and our Tefillah Band “The Shabbatunes” and producing our annual Purim Shpiel. I connect with our youngest to oldest children, leading Tot Shabbat programs, coordinating our class tefilah services, and teaching in both the Religious School and Hebrew High. In my role as Family Engagement Coordinator, I plan social, educational and entertaining experiences throughout the year, providing connection and community. My goal is to connect people to their Judaism through Jewish liturgical music, meaningful worship experiences and making Jewish connections.
I received my investiture as a Cantor in May 2016 at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR in New York. I also received a Cantorial Arts Certificate at Hebrew College in Newton in 2007. I have been serving congregations as Cantorial Soloist for 16 years in the Greater Boston area. I am thrilled to be a part of our warm and caring TES community.