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Clergy and Staff

Clergy

Jay R. Goldstein, Rabbi, ext. 209, Rabbi Goldstein is on Sabbatical from December 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021.
Rabbi Jay R. Goldstein has been the spiritual leader of Beth Israel for the past 24 years. Born and raised in Chicago, he attended the University of Wisconsin and received his master's, ordination and honorary Doctorate 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, CT 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.

Most importantly, after 34 years in the pulpit, and ten more before that as a Cantor for the HHD, he still loves what he does and looks forward to each day of service to members of our shul and the Jewish people. Rabbi Goldstein has three grown children, David, Josh, and Shira, who give him only nachas. 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.

Jen Rolnick, Cantor, ext. 206
Cantor Jennifer Rolnick has been at Beth Israel Congregation since 2017. Cantor Rolnick grew up in Sugar Land, Texas and was inspired as a child by the Jewish music she heard at home and learned in her synagogue's youth choir.  She studied classical voice and piano at the University of Miami, Frost School of Music and received her Masters degree in Sacred Music from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Cantor Rolnick lived in Israel for a year as part of her studies where she davened at the Kotel with the Women of the Wall, sang at Masada with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and studied Yiddish in Tel Aviv at the Tel Aviv University Naomi Prawar Kadar Yiddish Summer Institute.   The following year, she was nominated to be a student delegate and attended the 2016 World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem.

Cantor Rolnick has served for four years as Hazzan for the High Holidays at Congregation Shaar HaShalom in Houston, Texas and for two years as the student cantor of Congregation Beth El in New London, Connecticut where she was chosen to sing for the Connecticut State Assembly 37th Annual Holocaust Rememberance Ceremony.  She most recently served as cantorial intern for Congregation Ansche Chesed and assistant conductor for the Shirei Chesed Community Chorus in New York City.  

Administrative Staff

Valerie Thaler, Synagogue Director, ext. 208
Valerie Thaler is new to Beth Israel Congregation as of October 2019. She comes to us from Har Sinai Congregation, where she served as Temple Administrator up until its merger with Temple Oheb Shalom this past fall. She brings to Beth Israel considerable background in outreach and engagement, community building and 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 pursued an M.A. in Jewish Communal Service/Education and Judaic Studies at Brandeis. 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, a new 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 Philadelphia Jewish institutions 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 and drama at Krieger Schechter Day School and her daughter Sabrina is in eighth grade at Franklin Middle School. In her spare time, Valerie loves spending time with family and their dog Peanut, visiting extended family out of town, singing and dabbling in various crafts.

 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.

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 Rohan, Administrative Coordinator ext. 201

 

 

 

Education Staff

Rabbi Ariel Platt, Director of Education and Engagement, ext. 215 
Rabbi Ariel Platt graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2015 with a Masters in Jewish Thought (Philosophy and Theology). Rabbi Platt began her professional career by serving as the Director of Congregational Learning for Congregation Agudas Achim in San Antonio, Texas. Upon returning to Baltimore, Rabbi Platt felt compelled to create a unique position, Jewish Connection Coordinator. This role allowed Rabbi Platt to engage with people of all ages throughout the greater Baltimore Jewish community through original individualized programming and through many different organizations. In addition, she created meaningful moments for individuals and families alike through performing lifecycle events such as baby namings, B’nei Mitzvah, weddings, and funerals. Rabbi Platt lives in Owings Mills with her husband, David and daughter, Hailey.


Sherry Caplan, Preschool Director, ext. 218 
Sherry Caplan became Director of the Joseph and Corinne Schwartz Preschool at Beth Israel in 2018, after having served as a teacher there since 2002. Before that, her three children attended Beth Israel’s Preschool. She is passionate about the school, its philosophy and the journey ahead. The staff and families at the preschool make every day a special one. 
Sherry received a Bachelor’s degree from Towson University and continues to engage in professional development, including membership in a Community of Practice at the Center for Jewish Education.

 

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

 

 

Marcy Snow, Bonim and Machar Advisor
Marcy Snow is a resident of Reisterstown. She has been a teacher in the Beth Israel Preschool for 17 years. She has been a youth advisor for Machar and Bonim for 15 years. She especially enjoys seeing her preschool children join in Beth Israel Youth activities.

Jacob Rosenbaum, Kadima Advisor

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 Masters 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 and continues to be an active ex-officio board member of Art with a Heart, a non-profit organization bringing visual arts classes to underserved communities in and around Baltimore.
 

Sheri Stern, Congregational Nurse, ext. 264
Sheri Stern has have enjoyed the privilege of being a Registered Nurse for 45 years. A Master’s-prepared Adult Nurse Practitioner {NP} & 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 mind-body and spirit. Her most humbling career position was the one she retired from several years ago:  the VA’s Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program NP. 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, & the Red Cross - both in crises as well as peacetime-endeavors. Sheri looks forward to continuing that path by nurturing our current Beth Israel relationships as well as forging new ones as your Shleimut Nurse (virtually for awhile, & eventually together again!).

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.
 

Thu, December 3 2020 17 Kislev 5781