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Clergy and Staff

Clergy

Murray Ezring, Rabbi, ext. 217
Rabbi  Murray Ezring was born in Rock Island, Illinois. He received his bachelor's degree in history and the teaching of Social Studies, with minor concentrations in Psychology and Hebrew language. Following his graduation from college, Rabbi Ezring attended the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City, where he earned his MA and ordination as Rabbi.

Rabbi Ezring served as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Oheb Shalom in South Orange, NJ and then for 10 years as Rabbi at Temple Beth El in Ocean Township, NJ. Rabbi Ezring and his family then moved to Boca Raton, FL, where he served for 6 years as Rabbi of B'nai Torah Congregation. Following that, for more than 25 years, he was the Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel of Charlotte, NC, before retiring in 2019.

Knowing he could still give other congregations the benefit of his wide experience, Rabbi Ezring undertook intensive training with the Rabbinical Assembly, joining a small cadre of Conservative rabbis who specialize in helping congregations during times of transition. He served two years are Rabbi of Congregation Beth El of Norfolk, VA, and then for one year in Maitland, FL at Congregation Ohev Shalom. 

We are delighted to welcome Rabbi Ezring and his wife Barbara to Owings Mills, and to the Beth Israel community.

Benjamin Matis, Cantor, ext. 206
Cantor Benjamin Matis is thrilled to call Baltimore home once again, and especially to be part of the Beth Israel family.

Born and raised in the New York suburbs, Cantor Matis always wanted to be the Jewish Pavarotti, he says, but "apparently God had other plans for him."  
 
After graduating from Peabody Conservatory of Music, Cantor Matis attended the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He earned an MA in Music History at Queens College, and finally his cantorial degree at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.  
 
Cantor Matis has had an international career on and off the pulpit for nearly 25 years. He has been a soloist for the Cantors Assembly Convention concerts on a number of occasions, and was most recently Cantorial soloist with the Krakow Philharmonic in Krakow, Poland. He is an ardent advocate and interpreter of the traditional cantorial art, and a lover of the songs of Yiddish Theater. 
 
A respected scholar of Polish Jewish History, Cantor Matis has written three academic articles, two of which related to prayerbook reforms, and a third pertaining to the history of the Cantorate in Poland from 1923. He was also co-editor of Volume 32 of Polin on Jews and Music Making in the Polish Lands. He is also an avid collector of rare European prayerbooks. 

What Cantor Matis loves most, however, is the personal contact and connection he makes with people, whether on the pulpit or off.  He loves teaching children and adults, as well as celebrating with his congregants at a simcha, or providing them comfort at a time of sorrow or tribulation. This is what Cantor Matis feels he was truly called to do, and his voice helps him to get there.
 
Cantor Matis is married to Stefanie Matis and is the father of two children, Jacob (age 22) and Star (age 16).
 

Jay R. Goldstein, Rabbi Emeritus, ext. 209
Rabbi Jay R. Goldstein was the spiritual leader of Beth Israel from 1996 to June 2022, and now serves as Rabbi Emeritus. Born and raised in Chicago, Rabbi Goldstein attended the University of Wisconsin and received his master's degree, ordination and honorary Doctor of Divinity at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Prior to coming to Baltimore, he served as Rabbi for 12 years at Temple B’nai Abraham in Meriden, Connecticut and as the community Hospital Chaplaincy chair as well.

Rabbi Goldstein is a past President of the Baltimore Board of Rabbis and has served on the Chancellor's cabinet of the Jewish Theological Seminary and the executive committee of the International Rabbinical Assembly. Rabbi Goldstein has been involved on many of the Boards in our local Jewish Community, including  Jewish Community Services (JCS), the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore (JCC), the Center for Jewish Education (CJE),  and lots of other wonderful community acronyms that keep changing.

Rabbi Goldstein has three grown children, David (Nina), Josh, and Shira, who give him only nachas, and two beautiful grandchildren, Mo and Melia. His wife Cindy is the Executive Director of The Darrell Friedman Institute for Professional Development, a division of Na’aleh: The Hub for Leadership Learning.

Administrative and EDUCATION Staff

Valerie Thaler, Synagogue Director, ext. 208
Valerie Thaler joined Beth Israel Congregation in October 2019. She previously served as Temple Administrator of Har Sinai Congregation up until its merger with Temple Oheb Shalom in the fall of 2019. She brings to Beth Israel considerable background in outreach and engagement, community building, educational programming as well as a passion for Jewish history.

Valerie grew up in Norristown, Pennsylvania, just northwest of Philadelphia. After graduating from Yale University with a B.A. in American Studies, Valerie decided to pursue a career in the Jewish professional world. A recipient of a Wexner Graduate Fellowship in Jewish Education, Valerie earned a master’s degree in Jewish Communal Service/Education and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. From 1998 to 2000, Valerie worked for the Jewish Federation for Greater New Haven as Director of Special Programs, where she directed the Holocaust Education/Prejudice Reduction Program, designed curriculum for the local Hebrew High School, MAKOM, and ran MIDRASHA, an adult learning program involving several area synagogues.

Valerie returned to Yale in 2000 to pursue a Ph.D. in Jewish History. Her dissertation focused on American Jewish identity in the post-World War II era, using Jewish institutions in Philadelphia as case studies for understanding broader communal trends.

After completion of her doctoral studies in 2008, Valerie moved to Maryland to work at Baltimore Hebrew University as Assistant Professor of American Jewish Studies. She taught graduate-level courses in American Jewish History and Contemporary Jewish Life. After BHU’s merger with Towson University in 2009, Valerie joined the College of Liberal Arts at Towson University, where she worked until 2014 teaching undergraduate and graduate students. Since then she has taught Jewish history at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School; worked at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, and in several contract writing positions both inside and outside the Jewish community.

Valerie's husband, Alex, teaches science at Krieger Schechter Day School, and her daughter Sabrina is in eleventh grade at Eastern Technical High School. In her spare time, Valerie loves spending time with her family and their dog Peanut and cat Cece, visiting extended family out of town, singing, and dabbling in various crafts.

Becca Rosenfelt, Assistant Director, ext. 225
Becca has a bachelor of arts degree in Advertising and Marketing from Ithaca College in New York. She has served as United Synagogue Youth (USY) advisor for Beth Israel since 2010 before becoming Program Coordinator/USY Advisor. Under her guidance, Beth Israel won the Seaboard Region USY Chapter of the Year award for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years. Before coming to Beth Israel, Becca held other roles in the community, working for both the Jewish Times and the Baltimore Zionist District.

 

Rick Rosen,  Director of Beth Israel Community Learning Lab, ext. 215
Rick has been an educator for over 25 years. Rick holds a degree in both Jewish Education and Jewish Studies from Touro College in Israel. He is also certified in Early Childhood Education. He started his career at the JCC of Park Heights as an educator back in 1997 as well as being the Director of the preschool camp for a couple of years.  While Rick was teaching at the JCC he worked alongside the CJE to develop a Hebrew immersion preschool program as well. Rick also provided Bar and Bat Mitzvah instruction for those needing alternative educational support for many years. He continued to teach over the years at several other Preschools and Hebrew schools in Maryland. Currently, he works in Special Education within the Howard County Public School System. He has a true passion for teaching, and leading our young learners. He constantly strives to create a Jewish community of engaged learning in a nurturing, positive, fun environment. Rick currently lives in Reisterstown with his wife Jodi and they have four children who are 28, 27,15 and 14 years old. 

Ann Friedman, Clergy Administrative Assistant, ext. 210
Ann is a lifelong Baltimorean with a long-time connection to Beth Israel. During the Liberty Road days, she was married at Beth Israel, and both of her children celebrated their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs here. After completing a certification course, Ann became an assistant at Beth Israel Preschool.

Ann spent some time teaching Preschool, and eventually became Assistant Director for a Child Care Center. She returned to Beth Israel in 2000 as the Administrative Assistant to the Clergy. Ann currently lives in Pikesville, and has six grandchildren.

Judy Schnidman, Administrative Coordinator, ext. 201

Esther Goldfeiz, Accounting Manager, ext. 205
Esther Goldfeiz has served as Beth Israel’s Accounting Manager since 2007. She previously served as Beth Jacob Congregation’s Accounting Manager, until their merger with Beth Tfiloh. She resides in Pikesville, and is married with four children and three grandchildren.

Sarah Eckard, Chaverim (Bonim and Machar) Advisor
Jacob Rosenbaum, Kadima Advisor

 

 

 

 

Mr. Lawrence Dorsey, Head Custodian 

 

 

 

 

Shleimut (Wellness) Staff

Sarah Shapiro LCSW-C, Social Worker, ext. 263
Sarah Shapiro was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. A graduate of Park School and Yale University, she received her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Community Planning.

Since 2005, Ms. Shapiro has served as Beth Israel’s Shleimut Social Work Consultant, providing short-term counseling and information and referral services as well as educational programming to congregants and school families. Ms. Shapiro also works as the In-House Social Worker for Beth El Congregation and The Soul Center, where she provides short-term counseling services and facilitates a monthly caregiver support group that is open to the community.

From 1998 to 2017, Ms. Shapiro was employed by Jewish Community Services (JCS) to provide consultation services to a variety of local Jewish day schools during the school year and to Camp Louise (through Summer 2005) during the summer months.

Prior to joining the staff of JCS, Ms. Shapiro worked first as a Program Officer in the area of Health and Human Services for the Abell Foundation and then for the Baltimore County Department of Social Services as a School-Based Social Worker at Milbrook Elementary School. Ms. Shapiro was the founding board president of Art with a Heart and continues to be an active ex-officio board member. This non-profit organization brings visual arts classes to underserved communities in and around Baltimore.
 

Sheri Stern, Congregational Nurse, ext. 264
Sheri Stern has enjoyed the privilege of being a Registered Nurse for 45 years. A master’s-prepared Adult Nurse Practitioner and a Psych-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, she has taught Nursing at several universities, and facilitated small and large group workshops throughout the United States. Over the past decade, she has been drawn to Complementary Integrative Health practices for healing the mind, body and spirit. Her most humbling career position was the one she retired from several years ago: Nurse Practitioner for the VA’s Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program. Volunteering has always been an important chosen path in her life, including as a Nurse with the Maryland National Guard, the Maryland Medical Reserve Corp, and the Red Cross - both in crises as well as peacetime endeavors. Sheri looks forward to continuing that path by nurturing current Beth Israel relationships as well as forging new ones as our Shleimut Nurse.

Harry Baumohl, Shleimut Attorney,  ext. 265.
A lifelong Baltimorean, Harry is committed to the community he calls home. His legal knowledge and expertise have won Harry many accolades and awards. He has practiced law continuously since 1982. Harry is known as a passionate advocate for his clients. His compassion and common-sense advocacy have earned him the trust and integrity which he enjoys in the legal community. 

Harry is always willing to get involved. He had the privilege of serving as President of Beth Israel Congregation from 2013-2015. He is a “Designated Hitter” for the Baltimore Orioles, serving as a sales ambassador for the hometown team. He volunteers his time and expertise to CHANA, assisting victims of domestic violence and with HIAS, assisting immigrants seeking lawful status. He previously served on the Board of CHAI Lifeline, helping families cope with pediatric illness, trauma and loss.

Married to Randee Baumohl, Harry is the proud father of Ryan and Michael Baumohl.

Wed, October 5 2022 10 Tishrei 5783