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.

Music Schedule 2021-2022

As part of our year of musical exploration we are hosting a wide range of guest cantors, cantorial soloists, and – as part of our visiting musicians series – Jewish folk/rock stars throughout the year.

DATE                   TIME                    SOLOIST

Mar 25, 2022      7:30 PM               Josh Shriber

Apr 1, 2022          7:30 PM               Josh Warshawsky

April 8, 2022       6:30 PM               Cantor Shira Nafshi

Apr 15, 2022       N/A                        NO SERVICE – 1st Seder

Apr 22, 2022       7:30 PM               Jodi Blankstein & Adam Dehmer

Apr 29, 2022       7:30 PM               Gitit Shoval

May 6, 2022        7:30 PM               Naomi Less

May 13, 2022      6:30 PM               Gitit Shoval

May 14, 2022      10:30 AM            Cantor Shira Nafshi

May 20, 2022      7:30 PM               Cantor Shira Nafshi

May 21, 2022      10:30 AM            Cantor Shira Nafshi

May 27, 2022      7:30 PM               Rabbi Rebecca Gutterman

Jun 3, 2022          7:30 PM               Cantor Sheila Nesis

Jun 10, 2022        6:30 PM               Rabbi Rebecca Gutterman

Jun 17, 2022        7:30 PM               Cantor Sheila Nesis

Jun 24, 2022        7:30 PM               Cantor Shira Nafshi

Our new full time Music Director and Cantorial Soloist will start on July 1, 2022.

Our Staff

Sean Morgan – Temple Administrator
Christa Benoit – Office Assistant/Campaign Administrator
Steve Contois – Caretaker
Jessica Lamothe – Administrative Assistant
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

Michelle Landry
Renee Malowitz
Mark Waxler
Jesse Caplan

Until June 2023

Germán Chiriboga
Ian Rifkin
Stuart Sadick
Carla Volturo

Core Committees

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

Visiting Musician Series 2021-2022
Naomi Less: May 6-7, 2022

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