Senior Rabbi Annie Tucker
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Rabbi Annie Tucker brings her love of teaching, writing, and community building to Temple Israel Center where she serves as spiritual leader, overseeing the religious and educational arms of our synagogue. Other areas of focus include pastoral and bereavement support, member engagement and outreach, inclusion efforts, and organizational change. She enjoys working with individuals across the age span and is always free for a cup of coffee or a brisk walk!
Rabbi Tucker graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania where she majored in Psychology and Jewish Studies. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, she earned a master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2001 and continued on in the Seminary’s rabbinical program where she was ordained in 2006 with a concentration in Pastoral Counseling. At graduation, Rabbi Tucker received the Bernard & Sydell Citron Scholastic Prize awarded to the outstanding graduating student of the Rabbinical School. She was also granted the Lamport Prize in Homiletics.
From 2006-2013, Tucker served as Associate Rabbi of The Jewish Center, a Conservative congregation in Princeton, NJ, where she was integrally involved in the synagogue’s education and youth community, serving as lead professional on their religious school change initiative for which she earned an Ateret Kavod award for innovation. She was also known for creating dynamic programming including an annual confirmation class service mission to New Orleans and women’s trips to Israel, Eastern Europe, and Jewish Spain.
Most recently Tucker was Senior Rabbi at Beth Hillel Bnai Emunah in Wilmette, IL where she introduced new opportunities for adult learning, developed initiatives to engage children and families, and deepened the community’s commitment to Disability, Keruv (Interfaith), and LGBTQ inclusion as well as social justice efforts. She also developed a Young Professionals Group for those in their 20’s and 30’s.
Rabbi Tucker serves on the Executive Council and Joint Placement Commission of the Rabbinical Assembly and on the JTS Alumni Advisory Board.
Rabbi Ari Isenberg
Rabbi Ari Isenberg joined the leadership team at Temple Israel Center as Associate Rabbi in 2015 and was named Rabbi in 2018. His passion for the pulpit emerged at an early age in his hometown of Montreal, Quebec.
Rabbi Isenberg has dedicated his rabbinate to three main pillars: pastoral work, community building, and creating innovative worship and ritual experiences. As a part of this work, Rabbi Isenberg collaborated with and guided a team of lay leaders who developed the Temple Israel Center’s Hesed Circle, which supports congregants in their time of need. With the purpose of bringing different TIC constituencies together, Rabbi Isenberg creates a variety of Jewish learning opportunities that focus on strengthening community, such as “Dor l’Dor,” an intergenerational program in which our oldest members interact with our preschoolers. Moving outside of the synagogue’s four walls, Rabbi Isenberg is known for leading “Torah on Tap,” a popular, informal evening of learning at a local bar. In addition, he has championed innovative models of worship to expand the options for celebrating B’nai Mitzvah, including customization that meets the diverse needs of our youth.
Passionate about supporting Israel, Rabbi Isenberg is dedicated to inspiring the community to learn about and advocate for Israel. As such, he instituted and leads the Temple Israel Center’s delegation to AIPAC’s Annual Policy Conference. He also enjoys teaching classes about Israeli arts. music and culture.
From 2005-2015, Rabbi Isenberg served Shaar Shalom Congregation, in Halifax, Canada, first as its cantor, then spiritual leader, and ultimately as its senior rabbi. While in Halifax, he was appointed to the position of Associate Chaplain of Dalhousie University and sat on the Executive Committee of the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus. Rabbi Isenberg was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary with a Masters in Sacred Music. While studying at JTS, he was named Tanenbaum Fellow of Beth Tzedec (Toronto), Leffell Fellow of AIPAC, and Rabbinic Intern-in-Residence of Masorti France and the Jerusalem Open House.
Rabbi Isenberg is a newlywed! Together, he and his wife, Gila, love to travel, cook, root for the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, and host Temple Israel Center members and friends for Shabbat dinners in their home.
Cantor Shoshi Levin Goldberg
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My mission is to meet people where they are and to walk alongside others as they develop their Jewish lives. I use a participatory style of prayer and music that brings people together and makes Judaism accessible to people from different backgrounds. I love empowering others to lead davening and read Torah or Haftarah. At my core, I am an educator and a lifelong learner. I believe in whole-family education, and I am passionate about working with B’nai Mitzvah and teens because my most formative Jewish experiences were during my teenage years. It is a blessing to serve as a source of spiritual support for individuals and families in both their happiest and toughest moments.
Cantor Shoshi Levin Goldberg has a Masters degree in Sacred Music from the Jewish Theological Seminary and will be ordained as a rabbi this May. In addition to Shabbat, hagim and other hazzan responsibilities, she is actively involved in assisting with our schools, youth and b’nai mitzvah families. She has had a wide range of cantorial and educational experience including at B’nai Jeshurun, Shaare Zedek, Mechon Hadar, Camp Ramah Nyack and Westchester Jewish Center.
Ariana Capptauber is a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. As part of her rabbinic studies, she is working towards a Masters degree in Midrash and a certificate in Clinical Pastoral Education. At Temple Israel Center, Ariana teaches a bi-monthly women’s torah group, and she teaches teens in the Havurat Torah Hebrew High School. Ariana loves to learn about and discuss liturgy; she co-taught a series of classes with Cantor Shoshi Levin Goldberg on the siddur called “Tefillah Lab.” Ariana is also an avid practitioner of Jewish meditation and leads a monthly Contemplative service on Shabbat morning. In her spare time, Ariana loves to write creatively, and she is currently working on a fiction project of modern midrash.
Ariana is passionate about social justice and spent a year as a fellow in Avodah: the Jewish Service Corps, working on a campaign against gun-violence in Brooklyn. Last year Ariana did a unit of prison chaplaincy, serving as a chaplain on Rikers Island. Ariana grew up in Potomac, Maryland where she attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. She later attended Tufts University in Boston, where she received a B.A. in English and Peace and Justice Studies.
Mitchell Blank is a rabbinical student at the Academy for Jewish Religion and is moving towards the completion of his studies and ordination. A passionate Torah reader and teacher, Mitchell takes great joy in teaching chanting to students of all ages. Mitchell teaches a weekly class on Parashat Hashavuah, has taught the books of Ruth and Esther as well as a class on meditation and Jewish spirituality in the Havurat Torah Hebrew School.
Mitchell and his family have been Temple Israel Center members for the past 50 years. He feels strongly that it is a privilege to be serving as a Rabbinic Intern in his longtime spiritual home. In addition to his internship at Temple Israel Center, since 2015 Mitchell has been working with Seivah: Jewish Life Beyond Memory, an organization that nourishes and cultivates the spiritual needs of those suffering with dementia.
Rabbi Emeritus Gordon Tucker
Rabbi Gordon Tucker served as the Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel Center from 1994 – 2018 and is currently the Senior Rabbi Emeritus. During his tenure, Rabbi Tucker worked to strengthen three primary areas of Jewish life: education for all ages, the spirituality of worship, and the obligation to reach out to the less fortunate. Launched in 2018, The Rabbi Gordon Tucker Fund for Jewish Learning, Thought and Culture was established to honor Rabbi Tucker for his renowned reputation for Jewish learning and scholarship and to secure his legacy for the future.
Currently, Rabbi Tucker is a Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. He is the author of numerous articles on a wide range of subjects in Jewish thought, and published a translation with commentary (entitled “Heavenly Torah”) on Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s major three-volume Hebrew work on rabbinic theology. In 2018, Rabbi Tucker published a commentary on Pirkei Avot, in collaboration with Rabbi Tamar Elad Appelbaum, titled Pirkei Avot Lev Shalem: The Wisdom of Our Sages, edited by Martin S. Cohen.
A native of New York City, he holds the A.B. degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Princeton University. He was ordained a Rabbi in 1975 by The Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTSA). Rabbi Tucker joined the faculty of JTSA in 1976 and has taught there continuously ever since. He is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Jewish Philosophy. From 1984 to 1992, he was Dean of the Rabbinical School at JTSA, in which capacity he directed the training of more than 200 rabbis.
He is a member (and former Chairman) of the Board of the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel, and served on the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly from 1982 to 2007. While on a leave of absence from JTSA beginning in 1979, Rabbi Tucker served as a White House Fellow in the office of United States Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti.
Cantor Emeritus Jacob Ben-Zion Mendelson
Cantor Mendelson served as the Cantor at Temple Israel Center from 1986 until he retired in 2014 and is currently Cantor Emeritus. For more than 25 years, Cantor Mendelson enriched our community with his beautiful Hazzanut.
Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, he witnessed the dwindling days of the Golden Age of Hazzanut. Now, as both an international performer and one of the leading cantorial masters of today, he is passing on his art to a new generation of cantors. For over 25 years he has taught at the Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music, and the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Cantor Mendelson has the unique honor of receiving honorary doctorates from the Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College.
Cantor Mendelson is a graduate of the Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music and the American Opera Center at the Juilliard School. He is the composer of Weekday Mincha and Maariv and Improvisations on Shabbat Shacharit published by the Cantors Assembly, the organization in which he served as president in 2003 and 2004.
He created the role of Shabtai Tz’vi in the world premiere of Richard Teitelbaum’s Scenes From Tz’vi held at both Bard College and La Biennale in Venice. After a Carnegie Hall concert, the New York Times raved: “Mendelson’s performance was magical….emotionally unguarded.” In January 2006, he sang the memorial prayer at the United Nations General Assembly, on the occasion of the first international day to Commemorate Victims of the Holocaust.
Cantor Mendelson’s discography includes Cantorial Recitatives by Legendary Masters, The Birthday of the World Part I and Part II, A Taste of Eternity, narrated by Leonard Nimoy, Jewish Music and More, recorded with his wife, cantor Fredda Mendelson, Hazonos, called “…jazz album of the year” by Wired Magazine, recorded with Frank London and his son, Daniel Mendelson, and most recently, Further definitions of the Days of Awe, with the Afro Semitic Experience, also featuring his son Daniel.
Cantor Emeritus William Wolff
Cantor Emeritus William Wolff served our community for 25 years, from 1954 – 1979.