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.

This past weekend, Rabbi Litwak spoke both on Friday night and Saturday morning about the events of Charlottesvile.  On Sunday, he brought words of support and connection to the congregation of New Birth Baptist Church.  Feel free to contact Rabbi Litwak for a copy of his words. This morning, Rabbi Litwak was invited to be on WMBM Radio as part of their Tuesday Talk show.  His remarks begin about one minute into this recording:



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.


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.


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. 

Tue, November 21 2017 3 Kislev 5778