Rabbi Rebekah Goldman Mag
Rabbi Bekah comes to FVJC-ES from Boston’s Hebrew College where she obtained her Rabbinic Ordination and Master’s Degree in Jewish Education in June of 2016. Rabbi Bekah has extensive experience working with children and teens in religious schools in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Louisiana, as well as URJ camps across the country in Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. While in rabbinical school, she served as the sole rabbi of two congregations in New England, leading Shabbat services, providing pastoral care, and officiating at lifecycle events.
Rabbi Bekah grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, attended Louisiana State University for her undergraduate work, and went on to serve as the Children's Director at the Goldring Woldenberg JCC in Metairie, Louisiana. She is passionate about fostering Jewish life in small towns and encouraging participation in Jewish camping, as her love of Judaism blossomed from her extensive time spent at Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, Mississippi.
While Rabbi Bekah is new to the congregation, her family is not. Rabbi Bekah’s husband, Saul Mag, son of Kathi and Eliot Mag, became Bar Mitzvah on our bima with Rabbi Herman. We are delighted to welcome Rabbi Bekah, Saul, and their daughter Isabela to the FVJC-ES family.
“Saul and I are so excited to raise our family and build our home in FVJC’s warm, welcoming, holy community. I look forward to working with the fantastic team of leadership at FVJC and in partnership with all area clergy to help strengthen our religious communities together.”
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Cantorial Soloist/ Education Director, Marian Kleinman
Our Cantorial Soloist Religious School Principal Marian Gorewitz Kleinman grew up in West Nyack, NY. She is a cantorial student at The Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY (AJR) and holds a Masters in Jewish Studies from Gratz College as well as an MA in Creative Writing from The City College of NY. While at Gratz, she earned a graduate prize for her academic achievement in the field of Liturgy.
Marian was the Principal for seven years at Beth Am Temple in Pearl River, NY and concurrently was the Cantorial Soloist at Congregation Agudas Achim in Livingston Manor, NY. Her background also includes being the religious school principal, choir and music director at Temple of Israel (Wilmington, North Carolina); NY State teaching certification in English and Social Studies; and part-time free-lance journalism. She’s taught at several online colleges and community colleges as well as at public school. She’s written a screenplay and memoir about her mother’s experiences as a member of the Belgian Resistance during the Shoah; she’s earned several awards and fellowships including the 1989 Louis Ginsberg Memorial Fellowship.
Marian is delighted to be at FVJC where she combines her two loves (Jewish education and cantorial music) in one position. She plays guitar and enjoys reading, yoga, baking, music, dance, and art, activities with her family, and gardening. She grew up in Rockland County, NY, where her parents were founding members of Temple Beth Sholom in New City and her mother continues to be active in the Jewish community and in the local Hadassah. Marian lives with her husband Mark and their daughter Rosa in Simsbury.
“Come here, I will show you a new way to the Creator - not through speech, but through song! Let us sing and Heaven will understand us.” - Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
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Rabbi Emeritus Howard Herman
Rabbi Howard Herman retired after his 36th year of service at the Temple. He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1978 at their New York campus. Prior to his ordination as rabbi he studied at both Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem. While living in Israel for 5 years prior to his ordination he also attended Tel Aviv University, was a graduate of Yeshivat Hakotel and the Hartman Institute both of Jerusalem. Rabbi Herman served as Assistant Rabbi at Old York Road Temple Beth Am in Abington, Pennsylvania for two years prior to his appointment as Rabbi of the Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation-Emek Shalom .
In 1980, Rabbi Herman accepted the position of Rabbi at the Farmington Valley Jewish Congregations-Emek Shalom. He also served as the Jewish Chaplain at the USVA Medical Centers in Newington and West Haven, Connecticut. He was an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Ethics in the Connecticut Community College System. Rabbi Herman is the host of “Reflections” his program on WTIC-AM 1080 radio on Sunday mornings. Rabbi Herman is a popular lecturer in the Hartford area, he sits as a member of the Juvenile Review Board in Simsbury and is active in numerous clergy organizations throughout the State of Connecticut..
Cantor Susan Levine, Emerita
Cantor Levine holds a special place in our Temple; as our first Cantor Emerita, she has seen generations of our families through life cycle events, educated our children, inspired us with Jewish music, and counseled us.
During her 32 years with our congregation, Cantor Levine co-led services with Rabbi Herman, conducted our choir, developed and directed our B’nai Mitzvah program, taught music in our Religious School, and brought creative and innovative programming to our congregation in the areas of women’s spirituality, Jewish music, and post-B’nai Mitzvah mentoring and education. She has been a very active representative of FVJC-ES in the Greater Hartford area in the areas of community learning, interfaith activities and programming, and cantorial concerts. She also served as the first woman chair of the Simsbury Clergy Association. In 1999, Cantor Levine was a recipient of the Woman of Valor Award, presented by the Women's Branch of the Greater Hartford Federation. In 2011, Cantor Levine became a member of the Executive Board of the American Conference of Cantors. She also formed a Retired Cantors Network for the American Conference of Cantors.
Cantor Levine is a graduate of the Hartt School of Music with degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education. She received her Cantorial Certification from Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, School of Sacred Music. She has a Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling from St. Joseph College and is a Connecticut Licensed Professional Counselor. Cantor Levine was in private practice with Bethany Pastoral Counseling Services for 15 years. She also spent some time facilitating the JACS (Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others) group at Jewish Family Services in West Hartford.
Cantor Levine has begun a counselling practice in Simsbury and facilitates an employment transitions support group for Jewish Family Services.