Rabbi, Staff, and Leadership
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 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 into people’s lives. Most of all, I am lifted by the laughter and smiles we share together as, in all these ways, we are building meaningful relationships with each other, with ourselves, and with God.
Come by and get to know us.
Visiting Cantor: Jonathan Kohan
We are thrilled to welcome Cantor Jonathan Kohan to Temple Emanuel Sinai for three months this fall, including the High Holy Days season. Cantor Jonathan has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Buenos Aires, and studied at the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary “Marshall T. Meyer” where he graduated as both Cantor and a Jewish Studies Professor. Currently, he is both a Rabbinical Student and is head of the Seminary’s Beit Asaf Cantorial Institute. Along with his Cantorial position at TES, he will be a Visiting Scholar at Clark University’s Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
For more information about Cantor Jonathan and his visit to TES from Aug 18-Nov 3, 2021, see here.
Sean Morgan – Business Manager
Christa Benoit – Office Assistant/Campaign Administrator
Steve Contois – Caretaker
Talia Mugg – Religious School Director
Board of Directors
Paula Selvitella – President
Debra Shear – 1st Vice President
Deborah Bunker – 2nd Vice President
Jonah Cuker – Treasurer
Ellen Levitt – Secretary
Until June 2022
Until June 2023
Allan Shriber – Finance
David Persky – Fundraising/Endowments
Karen Thomsen and Merilee Freeman – Leadership/Nominating
Patti Gould – Lifelong Learning
TBD – Membership
Dan Margolis and Yael Savage – Social Action
Karen Kagan – Worship
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