Clergy & Staff

Rabbi LitwakRabbi 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 FalahCantor 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
 


Rabbi Ralph P KingsleyRabbi Emeritus Ralph P. Kingsley 

Rabbi Ralph P. Kingsley came to Temple Sinai in 1967 after having served as an Air Force Chaplain and as the Rabbi of the Garden City Jewish Center in Long Island. Under his leadership, until his retirement in 1998, Temple Sinai grew from 150 families who had just purchased what had been the old Greynolds Park Stables on the banks of the Oleta River, to becoming a major Reform Congregation. It is noted not only for its joyful worship style but for its Liberal Jewish Day School which extends from Early Childhood through eighth grade.

During the years of his rabbinate, Rabbi Kingsley guided Temple Sinai in its move from its Classical Reform beginnings back to the warmth and richness of the tradition. At retirement, in honor of his thirty one years of devoted service, the award- winning synagogue building was named after him.

While doing all of the things that rabbis customarily do, Rabbi Kingsley found time to be active with the Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami (twice president), the Greater Miami Jewish Federation (the first rabbi to serve as an elected board member), and by extension, the Rabbinic Cabinet of the UJA. He had leadership roles on the national and local boards of the American Jewish Congress, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis serving on its Ethics Committee and as chair of the Soviet Jewry Committee. For fun, he ran five marathons. Today, he walks and bikes instead.

During retirement Rabbi Kingsley has served several congregations part time and occasionally conducts services and teaches Torah at Temple Sinai. He has also written a Memoir: MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, which will be available through Amazon soon. Summers continue to be spent with his “beautiful beloved Brenda” in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. And whenever possible, time is spent with their two sons, Evan (Dara) and Jonathan (Wendy) and their four grandchildren: Ava, Elizabeth, Julia and Max.


Cantor ShulkesCantor Emeritus Irving Shulkes 

In his home and Yeshiva environment, Cantor Irving Shulkes has always been close to the Jewish Musical Idiom. Following his graduation from Brooklyn College, he taught speech at Boys High in Brooklyn. In the army, during the Korean War, he served as an English Instructor to Puerto Rican soldiers. His specialty was “Survival English.” He also conducted Services at the Synagogue in San Juan, thirty miles away.

It was during this period that the idea of serving Jewish congregational life was strengthened. Completing his studies at the Hebrew Union College in New York, he was invested as Cantor-Educator. Subsequently, he earned his M.A. in music from Teachers College, Columbia University, with a specialty in choral conducting. Cantor Shulkes served congregations in Floral Park, New York and Teaneck, New Jersey, before finding his future home with Temple Sinai in 1970.

An active member in his profession, Cantor Shulkes was elected to the executive board of The American Conference of Cantors. He served as a board member, Convention Chairman, Treasurer and later Vice President until his move to Florida. After a short time, he was elected President of the Cantors Association of Greater Miami. In June of 1998, after 28 years of service to Temple Sinai and 23 impressive and highly successful Annual Spring Music Festivals, he become Cantor Emeritus. On March 14, 2000, Cantor Shulkes was awarded an honorary Doctorate at the Hebrew Union College in New York City in recognition of his dynamic contribution to Jewish life. In 2008, he was awarded a Lifetime of Service Award in recognition of his 50th anniversary in the Cantorate.

Cantor Shulkes is married to Joanne. They have two children, Ron (Sara) and Heather (Chris) and are proud grandparents of Nate, Bennett and Ethan with more to come. Since his retirement, Cantor Shulkes has been officiating at services aboard cruise ships and, with Joanne, have traveled widely to many parts of the world.
 

Senior Staff

SUSAN WARECH 2Susan Warech – Director of Administration
Susan 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.
 


RONIT FELSZER 3Ronit Felszer – Director of Admissions and Financial Aid
A graduate of the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Ronit is well known to many in the Sinai community, having spent the last 12 years as both a teacher and a parent at JSA. She and her husband have three children; their two daughters and son are alumni of JSA. She has experienced the full range of successful Jewish parenting from JSA (including our ESOL and enrichment programs), to American Hebrew Academy, and then on to Barnard College of Columbia University. With her early childhood teaching background, her parental experiences, her earlier business career in public relations and customer service, and her fluency in multiple languages, Ronit is the ideal professional to lead our admissions and financial aid department.


Tirza Dalkoff – K – 8 Principal
Mrs. Dalkoff has been at Jacobson Sinai Academy for 31 years, beginning as a Teacher and then becoming Principal 16 years ago. She is Florida certified in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and also as a Reading Specialist. She also has a CAJE Hebrew Teacher's license. 


 


Judy Mendelsohn

Judy Mendelsohn – ECE Principal
Mrs. Mendelsohn has been the Early Childhood Principal at Jacobson Sinai Academy since 1994.

She was born in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario where she attended school, married, raised her two children, and worked, for many years, as an elementary school teacher. In 1987, she moved to Miami where they have lived ever since. She was the Principal of a private Jewish day school for several years in South Miami before joining the Temple Sinai family as Director of the early childhood center. She holds an elementary school teaching degree, which qualifies her to teach K – 8, and a Master’s degree in Pre-K Primary Education with a major in Supervision and Leadership. She also holds an Advanced Director Credential.
 


Chantal Severe Chantal Severe– Accounting and Bookkeeping Coordinator

Chantal is responsible for leading all aspects of accounting, bookkeeping, and financial reporting across our entire campus operation, including managing accounts payable and receivables and also ensuring the development and implementation of robust financial and internal controls.

Prior to joining us here at Sinai, Chantal has served for 25 years in multiple functions in Finance and Administration with expertise in non-profit and healthcare organizations; she has worked with different non-profit entities like Jewish Family and Children Services / Jewish Family Services of Miami / Jewish Community Services, Unidad of Miami and hospitals. She is experienced in all aspects of financial management including profit and loss, budgets and variances, cost allocations and reconciliations, payables, receivables, accounting and control.

Chantal holds a Master of Business Administration degree, a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Chantal also speaks three languages. She is a Certified Denial Recovery Specialist (CDRS), HIPAA Certified through American Society of Professional Education. She is a member of Golden Key Honor Society, AHIMA and AAPC. She is active in a variety of civic and cultural organizations including The State of Florida Department of Elder Affairs (SHINE Program: 1993-2011) – The Association of Exchange and Development Activities & Partnership (Board member: 2000-present), and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation (Super Sunday Event: 1988-2008). Outside of professional interests, she travels widely, participates in her two children’s activities, and enjoys being with her family.
 


YOHANA RODRIGUEZ 2Yohana Rodriguez – Payroll and Human Resources Coordinator

Yohana is responsible for leading all aspects across the life-cycle of human resources management and people-related processes across our entire campus, including recruiting and interviewing, hiring and orientation, safety and risk management (in coordination with Ron Givon and the Security team), employee relations and development, benefits and compensation, and payroll. Yohana will also partner with our new bookkeeper once that position is filled, supporting the overall accounting and reporting function and the development of robust financial and internal controls.

Prior to joining us here at Sinai, Yohana served as Corporate Human Resources and Payroll Coordinator for World Emblem International (WEI) as well as in several human resources management roles at Techno Coatings, Inc. (TCI). Yohana also has previous international work experience at Pepsi Cola & Hit de Venezuela, Coca Cola & Hit de Venezuela, and Panamco Venezuela S.A. Yohana holds educational degrees from Institute Pre-Universitario Vocacional de Ciencias Exactas in Cuba, University of Havana in Cuba, and University Simon Bolivar in Venezuela.
 


OFRA MOROfra Mor – Religious School Director
Ofra was born and educated in Israel (Bar Ilan and Tel Aviv University) and then received an MSW from FIU. Most recently, she received a MA in Jewish Studies and Education from Siegal College. She has been a teacher at Hillel Day School since 1999. Since 2006, she has served as the Second Language Department Coordinator and over the past couple of years, she has been a New Teacher Mentor and Coach. She has also served as a school consultant for other schools.

She is a strong, yet calm leader. Her references spoke about her as a team player, a wonderful colleague, and a positive and reliable professional. 
 


Ron GivonRon Givon – Director of Security

Ron Givon’s long and successful career in anti-terrorism began in an Israeli Defense Force Combat Unit. Ron was then transferred to the Ministry of Defense of the State of Israel where he served as an Officer & Intelligence Analyst. He was later employed as the Security Manager for ELAL Airlines at Miami International Airport. Ron’s leadership skills in managing critical situations on a daily basis, and uncanny ability to identify and then swiftly act upon potential threats, enabled him to provide the highest level of security for which the airline is known and earned him respect at all levels. Over the years Ron’s expertise has been widely recognized as a consultant for US organizations and institutes for whom he assessed potential threats and developed effective security and defense systems.
Ron says: “It is an absolute honor and a pleasure to be chosen to direct the security operations at Jacobson Sinai Academy and Temple Sinai. There is nothing more important in life than our children. I humbly accept the responsibility, and will use my training and expertise in the field of anti-terrorism, security and supervision to the best of my ability to maintain a safe environment for all who are welcomed.”
 


VERONICA EVELSONVeronica Evelson – Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Veronica is our Marketing and Communications responsible for our weekly Sinai Scene, our monthly print publication Mosaic, our weekly Shabbat Handouts, and manages our social media and web site. Veronica has a wealth of experience in digital, social and print media, art direction, graphic design, illustration, and advertising for the non-profit and profit world. She holds degrees in Social Communications and Advertising from the Universidad Del Salvador and a degree in Art Direction from AAAP (Asociacion Argentina de Agencias de Publicidad).

Veronica and her husband, Martin have two sons, Federico and Manuel, both of them students at Jacobson Sinai Academy.

Monday, May 29 2017 4 Sivan 5777