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Our clergy & staff

Temple Israel's clergy, staff and board are here to help make sure everything is in place for a great experience.  Photos, bios, office hours and contact information for our clergy and staff are below to make connecting easy.  Always feel free to call the Temple Office at 914.271.4705 if you have any trouble finding what you need. Please note that office hours are subject to change.

Clergy Office Hours:
Tuesday - Sunday 
Our clergy are available to meet with you by appointment, with weekend and evening appointments available. Their individual contact information can be found below.

Staff Office Hours:
Monday - Friday:  10:00 AM - 3:00 PM or by appointment, Email Temple Administrator, Matt Mansfield.

Center for Jewish Learning
Please contact Rabbi Wendy Pein or Elizabeth DiPippo for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Facilities:
Tuesday - Friday, Sunday: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

clergy bios & contact

RABBI JENNIFER JAECH (She/Her)

rabbi@tinw.org
914.271.4705 x132

Rabbi Jennifer Jaech became the Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Northern Westchester in 2006. She is an insightful leader and gifted educator who interprets the complexity of contemporary American life through the prism of our Jewish history and traditions.  She enjoys teaching children and adults, both within our synagogue and in the broader community.

Rabbi Jaech is active in interfaith work in the community with an emphasis on social justice.   She is a former Co-Chair of Reform Jewish Voice of New York State and served on the Union for Reform Judaism’s Commission on Social Action and the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ Committee on Justice, Peace and Civil Liberties.

Rabbi Jaech co-authored a recently published book: He’s All I Have:  Nurturing a Young Child through the Loss of a Loved One. She also published an essay in the Reform Jewish Quarterly (Winter 2011) entitled: “Don’t let that Horse Bite You:  Rabbinical Lessons Learned in the Riding Ring” and two articles about Temple Israel’s 2018 congregational civil rights journey in The Forward. A child’s book entitled An Accidental Angel is currently in production.

Rabbi Jaech previously served as Assistant Rabbi, Temple Educator, and Rabbinic Intern at Temple Israel. She received her MA in Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2002 and was ordained rabbi in 2003. While at HUC-JIR, she earned thirteen academic prizes in several disciplines, including history, liturgy, human relations and Hebrew. She completed her undergraduate education at The Evergreen State College, earning a BA with a concentration in American Studies in 1985.   Prior to coming to Temple Israel, Rabbi Jaech worked in higher education administration, government relations, and politics.

Rabbi Jaech lives with her husband, S. David Sperling, in Peekskill, NY.  Her grown son, Isaac Meyer, teaches high school in Seattle, WA.  Rabbi Jaech’s interests outside the Jewish community include horses, hiking, and Seahawks football.  Read Rabbi Jennifer Jaech's blog for more insight into her perspective or read some of her High Holy Day Sermons from prior years to see what she has been contemplating over time.

RABBI Wendy Pein

rabbipein@tinw.org
914.271.4705 x126

Rabbi Wendy Pein serves as Temple Israel's Director of Congregational Learning and oversees the curriculum and faculty of Temple Israel's Center for Jewish Learning, Temple tot programs and adult education programs.  Rabbi Pein has over twenty years of rabbinical experience, having served as the senior rabbi of Adat Chaverim in Plano, TX and as a congregational rabbi for nine years in Westchester, NY.

Rabbi Pein received her Executive M.A. in Jewish educational leadership through Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2020 and her honorary doctorate of divinity in 2022. She has served as the co-chair of WATE, the Westchester Association of Temple Educators since 2019.  She has published numerous online blogs and book reviews for Reform Jewish Quarterly .Rabbi Pein is passionate about Jewish education and revealing how Judaism is relevant and meaningful to our modern lives. She resides in Harrison, NY with her family and lives by the maxim to “keep growing and learning.” Read more on her thoughts, ideas and perspectives in Rabbi Pein's Blog.

Cantor Hayley Kobilinsky

cantorhayley@tinw.org

Cantor Hayley Kobilinsky is delighted to be joining the Temple Israel of Northern Westchester community.  Cantor Kobilinsky plays multiple instruments, though you will most often see her with a guitar in hand as she sings. She loves weaving together Jewish music from all eras, regions, and traditions, and is very much looking forward to making music with Temple Israel's musical team. 

After receiving a B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University while also attending The Juilliard School of Music, Cantor Kobilinsky decided to combine her love for music and Judaism by becoming a Cantor. She received a Master of Sacred Music degree followed by Ordination as a Cantor from Hebrew Union College in 2005. Cantor Kobilinsky formerly served as Student Cantor of East End Temple in New York City (2002-2005), and Cantor of Congregation B‘nai Yisrael in Westchester (2005-2019). She also served as an adjunct professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and the President of Kol Hazzanim, Westchester's Cantors' organization. Cantor Kobilinsky has been the Spiritual Leader of Chavurat Tikvah of Mid-Westchester, a small congregation of 25 families, since 2019. 

Over her career Cantor Kobilinsky has taught and officiated for approximately 600 bar and bat mitzvah students.  Cantor Kobilinsky is a polyglot who has studied 5 foreign languages including Yiddish, and is also a Soferet STaM (a scribe who can write and repair Torah scrolls, megillot, etc.). She has even performed repairs on one of Temple Israel's own Torah scrolls! Cantor Kobilinsky has lived in Bedford Hills for 17 years, with her husband, Benjamin Poserow and their son, Samuel, who will become bar mitzvah this year.

RABBI/CANTOR DAN SKLAR

cantordan@tinw.org
Rabbi/Cantor Dan Sklar is looking forward to working alongside the talented clergy and staff at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester and getting to know the community.  He was ordained as Cantor from the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in 2006 and was ordained from HUC as a rabbi in 2008. After ordination, Rabbi/Cantor Sklar went on to serve Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY (2006-2012) and Temple Israel in Westport (2012-2020). He currently serves as a chaplain with Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County, CT and he has been the music director for musicals at Bedford Middle School in Westport, CT.

Rabbi/Cantor Sklar grew up in Northbrook, IL and earned a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory in 1994. After college, he lived and worked in New York City – first as a secretary for director Hal Prince and then as an actor. His theatrical credits include two and a half years in the Broadway tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Lefou). More recently, he had an opportunity to appear in an Equity production of the Jewish-themed musical Falsettoland (Marvin) with his son Ari (Jason) at Music Theatre Connecticut for which they both won a 2022 Connecticut Critics Circle award. Rabbi/Cantor Sklar’s creative pursuits include writing, music composition and digital content creation resulting in a mention on the list of Kveller's Best Purim Parodies of 2022. He was a Hebrew consultant for the Coen brothers’ film, A Serious Man, and a rabbinic consultant on an episode of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Rabbi/Cantor Sklar self-published his first book entitled Sh*tshow: A Memoir and 2020 Mixtape, a memoir, playlist and reflections on the pandemic in 2020.

Rabbi/Cantor Sklar is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the American Conference of Cantors.  His wife, Rabbi/Cantor Shirah Sklar is the senior rabbi at Temple Shalom in Norwalk, CT. The Sklars live in Westport with their sons Ari, Isaac and Jonah.

RABBI EMERITA, HELENE FERRIS

rheleneferris@gmail.com

Rabbi Ferris is the first second-career female rabbi in Judaism.  Rabbi Ferris was ordained by the Reform Jewish seminary Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1981, and worked as an associate rabbi for Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York from 1981 until 1991.  From 1991 until her retirement in 2006 Ferris was the rabbi at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester.

Among her most well-known activities, on December 1, 1988, Ferris helped prepare a prayer service and read from the Torah at the Western Wall, along with over 70 other Jewish women. This was the first time in history Jewish women prayed together and read from the Torah together at the Western Wall.  Rabbi Ferris is a board member of the International Committee for Women of the Wall (ICWOW), which is a group working to give women the right to pray at the Western Wall, which is now illegal.

Rabbi Ferris supports the inclusion of lesbian and gay Jews in religious life. In 1986 she organized a conference on lesbian and gay Jews in New York City.  In 1989 she presided over a same-sex wedding ceremony for Ileen Kaufman and Jan Catalfumo; few rabbis would officiate such a ceremony in those days.

In 2007 Letty Cottin Pogrebin chose her as one of "The Other Fifty Top Rabbis in America."  She has written for Reform Judaism magazine and her Letter to the Editor, Female Prisoners and #MeToo was published in The New York Times in 2018.

S. DAVID SPERLING
SCHOLAR IN RESIDENCE

davidsperling1@me.com

Dr. S. David Sperling serves as Professor of Bible and holds the Rabbi Julian Morgenstern Chair in Bible at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Among his scholarly interests are the religion of ancient Israel, the history of modern Jewish biblical scholarship and comparative Semitic languages.

Dr. Sperling earned his BA at Brooklyn College, was ordained at The Jewish Theological Seminary, and holds a Ph.D. in Ancient Semitic Languages from Columbia University. He is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

Before coming to HUC-JIR, Dr. Sperling taught at SUNY-Stony Brook and then at Barnard College. He has served as visiting professor at New York University, Syracuse University, The College of William and Mary, and The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Among his publications are the books, Ve-Eileh Divrei David: Essays in Semitics, Hebrew Bible and History of Biblical Scholarship, Students of the Covenant (a history of modern Jewish biblical scholarship in America) and The Original Torah: The Political Intent of the Bible’s Writers (visit here for more information). He was the editor of the Bible division of the revised Encyclopaedia Judaica (2007) to which he contributed some 145 articles. Dr. Sperling also served as consulting editor to The Haftarah Commentary by Rabbi Gunther Plaut and Rabbi Chaim Stern, as well as to the new URJ Torah Commentary. His current project is a book on the Hallel Psalms (Psalm 113-118).

Dr. Sperling is married to Rabbi Jennifer Jaech, Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Northern Westchester.

Melanie Appelbaum
Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations

Melanie comes to Temple Israel of Northern Westchester with 30 years of marketing experience.  Melanie has an MBA in Marketing from NYU Stern School of Business and a BA in Psychology from Brandeis.  She is a results-driven, highly organized, persistent and detail-oriented marketing professional as well. She has corporate and not-for-profit experience in designing, implementing and analyzing direct and indirect marketing campaigns.

Prior to coming to Temple Israel, Melanie has worked in the corporate world at American Express developing their first “Find me a Card” website which helped guide people towards the right card for them.  Since that time, she has worked as a consultant for small businesses looking to boost their online presence and has also built websites for a number of small businesses in different industries.  For the past 9 years, Melanie was Marketing & Communications Director at Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont & Emanu-El. 

Melanie is the mother of 4 children and lives in southern Westchester with her husband of 28 years.

Elizabeth Dipippo
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Elizabeth serves as our Administrative Assistant, supporting Temple Israel of Northern Westchester’s educational programming while also fulfilling broader administrative needs. She enjoys being creative through artmaking and writing and loves to read and learn. In 2018 she earned a master’s degree in Museum Administration, having returned to graduate school two decades after receiving her BA in Anthropology. While studying in Mexico during her undergraduate years, she participated in excavations in cooperation with the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH) and a highly respected American archaeologist from the University at Albany, New York. Her more recent historical projects involved collaborations with various organizations including Eldridge Street Synagogue, American Museum of Natural History and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History as well as at many Westchester based institutions namely, the Hudson River Museum, Westchester County Historical Society and a New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation site. A native New Yorker, she feels at home and so welcomed here at the Temple and is grateful to be a new part of a thoughtful and genuine community.

Ryan Aleman
Maintenance

Ryan Aleman joins us as an essential part of our maintenance crew. He is a 2007 graduate of Lakeland High School and a Veteran of the Marine Corps. He lives in Verplanck with his wife Katelyn, father-in-law Emmett and their dog Nahla. He is very excited to have joined our community and to learn more about the Jewish faith, culture and traditions. 

EDDIE PLEASANT
CHOIR DIRECTOR

Edward Pleasantbaritone, is recognized as one of the most versatile performers of his generation.  Critically acclaimed in both opera and musical theater, he has distinguished himself as a gifted actor with brilliant comic timing and a luscious baritone voice.  Eddie first came to Temple Israel in 1991 and he has been a fixture during the High Holidays at Temple Israel ever since.  He first served as bass soloist in the professional quartet and then in 2008 he was asked to take the helm of the adult choir Hallel B’Shir.  Along with his duties with the adult choir, Eddie enjoys working other vocal ensembles at Temple Israel, namely the Glee Club and Selah.  Eddie particularly enjoys his time with the Brotherhood Choir every year as well.  He is proud to have been named an honorary member of this fine group of brothers.  

DINA PRUZHANSKY
ACCOMPANIST AND COMPOSER IN RESIDENCE

Our accompanist Dina Pruzhansky is a NYC based, award-winning composer, pianist, and educator. Born in the former USSR and Israeli-raised, Ms. Pruzhansky enjoys a diverse international career in various genres, ranging from classical to musical theater and from liturgy to cabaret. As a composer-performer, she has been featured in many of New York's renowned music venues, such as Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, Bargemusic, Le Poisson Rouge, Symphony Space, The Kosciuszko Foundation, YIVO, Opera America Center, and others. Her music has been broadcast on WQXR in an exclusive 'Young Artist' program with the renowned host Robert Sherman. Following the successful premiere of her original Hebrew opera SHULAMIT  in 2014, additional production was enabled by popular demand in 2016. The opera was also presented in part at the Aspen Music Festival 2019. An alumna of the BMI Advanced Musical Theater Workshop, Ms.Pruzhansky was nominated for the Fred Ebb Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre writing and was selected as a finalist for the 2019 NY Musical Theater festival with her musical for children CENTRAL PARK. She has served as a liturgy composer-in-residence at Temple Israel and Temple Shalom, Dallas. A passionate educator, Ms. Pruzhansky is the author of the ‘I Can Play Chopin’ series — a collection of easy piano arrangements for beginners. She currently serves as a faculty member at the 92nd Street Y School of Music, NYC.

Thu, June 20 2024 14 Sivan 5784