Rabbi Alan E. Litwak assumed the position of Senior Rabbi of our Congregation on July 1, 2002. Rabbi Litwak provides our congregation with a wealth of experience in teaching, pastoral counseling, social justice efforts, youth work, organizational development, and Jewish camping. He is considered to be an engaging and dynamic teacher. His classroom experience spans the entire age spectrum from early childhood, teenagers, college students, and adults. He is highly regarded for his extensive work with young people in youth group, camping, classroom, and worship settings. His rabbinate has been marked by speaking for Jewish issues at the local and state levels, frequent contributions to local Jewish publications, and service as a board member for a number of local and regional organizations. He has also written for national publications of the Reform movement and Torah Aura publishers. Rabbi Litwak was born and raised in Northern California and is a product of the Reform movement. Following his ordination in 1996, he served for six years as a Rabbi at Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany, New York. During his years in rabbinic school, he served congregations in both Southern and Northern California, Long Island, and New York City. He received his B.A. in Religious Studies and Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. When he has the time, Rabbi Litwak loves to cook, is a wine enthusiast, and occasionally dabbles in artistic endeavors. He and his wife, Deborah, have three daughters, Hannah, Naomi, and Yael.
Cantor Norman Cohen Falah is the full-time Cantor at Temple Sinai. Norman was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1973, the son of an Ashkenazi mother and a Sephardic father. Both these traditions bore a strong influence on his upbringing, inspiring him to pursue a lifelong celebration of the two cultures. In his early twenties, Norman ‘heard the call’ and decided to study Hazzanut at the Latin-American Rabbinical Seminary. He also studied guitar and piano at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Buenos Aires. He has taken part in seminars exploring the Torah and musical and pedagogical techniques in Israel. In his early career he was awarded a number of prestigious prizes for composition.|
After serving as Hazzan in Argentina for eight years, in 2003, Norman decided to move to the Netherlands as full-time Chazan at the Liberaal Joodse Gemeente (Liberal Jewish Community) in Amsterdam. During his two-year stay, he organized the first children’s song festival to have taken place in the 60 years since the establishment of the community.
In 2005, Norman was appointed full-time Cantor at Belsize Square Synagogue, London with special responsibilities for B’nei Mitzvah. During the six years of service he mastered the synagogue's German musical tradition of Lewandowski and Sulzer, enriching it with his unique style with Sephardic and Latin-American Hazzanut. He also notated into computer all the music of the synagogue's services bringing its rich musical tradition up-to-date, and creating a digital music library.
As a composer, Norman has written many songs, mostly in his native Spanish. He has also written several liturgical compositions, some of which have been adopted by congregations in Argentina for use in their services.
Now Cantor Cohen Falah’s journey has brought him, along with his wife, Florencia (Flor) to Temple Sinai. A versatile, soulful and energetic performer, Cantor Norman sings in seven languages, in a variety of styles and for all ages. Norman is also very well known for his leyning skills. He is capable of chanting the Torah and the Haftarah in three different nusachot (musical traditions): Eastern European, Western European and Sepharad-Yerushalmi. His Ashkenazi and Sephardic background and training allow him to create a unique spiritual experience at shul, at weddings and at concerts. Cantor Norman has been a tutor at the European Academy for Jewish Liturgy (EAJL), a full member of Cantorlat (the Latin-American Cantors Organization) and an international member of the American Cantors Assembly.
Cantor Norman has just released his new CD, TefiLatina! A Celebration of Jewish Music with a Latin Twist. The CD portrays a wide spectrum of music from Latin American Jewish liturgy to modern Hebrew songs, from Sephardic to Yiddish music, and from boleros to tangos. Visit Cantor Norman’s website: www.cantornorman.com
Nancy Posner comes to Jacobson Sinai Academy from Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, New York, where she served as Head of the Middle School for four years. Nancy will join our team, having served as a teacher in Early Childhood and Elementary settings and with 20 years of experience in educational administration. She has served as Assistant Principal, Division Head, and Principal in a variety of secular and Jewish schools throughout New York, Massachusetts, Florida, and Texas. Nancy holds a Master of Public Administration degree from University of Memphis as well as a Bachelor of Science in Social Studies Education (5-12th grade) from Illinois State University. In her Statement of Philosophy, Nancy shared some standards by which to judge excellent schools.
In her words, "Excellent Jewish schools . . .
• Set high standards.
• Recognize individual differences.
• Are warm and caring.
• Think strategically and plan carefully for the future.
• Convey to parents a deep respect for the profound responsibility entrusted to the faculty.
• Are places where students and faculty work hard, but also have fun and express a real joy in learning and teaching."
We are confident that Nancy is the correct person to continue to nurture these and other attributes at JSA.
Upon accepting the position, Nancy relayed her enthusiasm about joining our community: “I am honored and humbled to be selected as the new Head of School for Jacobson Sinai Academy and become a part of the Temple Sinai family. You have my personal commitment to cherish and preserve the mission of Temple Sinai, as well as work to bring JSA to even greater heights. I look forward to meeting and working with each and every one of you as we journey forward together.”
Susan Warech has been Director of Administration of our congregation since July 1, 2004. Prior to her becoming a member of the staff, Susan spent many years as an active temple partner. She was president
of the Sinai Parent Association and chaired the Jacobson Sinai Academy Day School Commission. Susan was a member of the Board of Trustees for 15 years, 6 of those years as a vice-president. In her prior professional life, Susan served as a professional bookkeeper. Susan was born and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey. She moved to Florida in 1979. Susan has two children, Jonathan and Katie, both graduates of Jacobson Sinai Academy. Susan considers Temple Sinai her home away from home.