Today is March 19, 2018 -
Rabbi-Cantor Serebro-Litvak was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and was exposed to Synagogue music and Yiddish repertoire at a early age. She made aliya to Israel in 1990 with her whole family where she pursued musical education at the Musical Academy of Tel Aviv University. During that time she sang in numerous concerts throughout the country, had a leading role in the play “A Hosn in Shtetl” in Yiddish theatre, and sang in the Tel Aviv Philharmonic Choir.
In 1997 after graduation from the Musical Academy in Tel Aviv, she came to the United States. She continued her studies for a Masters degree from the Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary and was the first woman from the former Soviet Union to graduate from JTS. Rabbi-Cantor Inna Serebro-Litvak performed at concerts in various Temples in the New York and New Jersey area, and led High Holiday services at Anshei Emeth in Chicago with Cantor Alberto Mizrahi. In addition, she participated in the recordings of the Milken Archive of Jewish Music, and her solo can be heard on one of the CDs from that collection.
From July 2002 through June 2005, Inna Serebro-Litvak served as cantor at Temple B’nai Or in Morristown New Jersey. She is married to Anatoly (Tony) Litvak, who works as a AvePoint and they have two young daughters named Emily and Abigail. In July 2005, she joined the professional staff at Temple Beth Am. Rabbi Inna Serebro-Litvak received her ordination and Master degree in Jewish Sutdies from AJR (Academy of Jewish Religion) on May 12, 2016.
Rabbi Estelle Gottman Mills recently received her honorary doctorate for twenty-five years of service as a rabbi. Most of those twenty years were spent serving as the rabbi of Congregation Kol Chadash in the Cleveland suburb of Solon, and as the rabbi of Congregation Kol Am in the St. Louis suburb of Ballwin. Under her leadership, these congregations experienced significant growth in membership and in their religious schools. She has most recently served as the director of NNJJA (Northern New Jersey Jewish Academy) a consortium educational program serving five congregations in Bergen County, New Jersey. While working for NNJJA, she also served as the rabbi for the High Holy Days at Temple Shalom in Danville, Virginia.
Rabbi Mills has been recognized for her innovative and cutting edge programming. She was the recipient of the prestigious Legacy Heritage Innovator Grant and the Union for Reform Judaism has recognized her creative and innovative programming by awarding her an Incubator Grant for her Family Education Program: “Exciting Destinations, Jewish Explorations” and a Belin Award for her Membership Program: “No Regrets Membership” which our Gift of Membership program is modeled after.
Her rabbinate has always included very active and ongoing involvement with the school and young families of the congregations she has served. A gifted educator, she passionately believes that strong, high quality Jewish educational opportunities and programming for all ages from seniors to the youngest learners are essential to strengthening and growing today’s congregations. For her, the response to declining involvement in congregational life is not watering down content; rather the answer is to make these experiences valuable, meaningful and accessible. She believes Judaism can coexist and enhance competing secular activities, but only if Jewish programming is innovative, creative, exciting and flexible enough to be compelling to today’s Jewish individuals and families. She recognizes that we are living in a time of great innovation in almost every area of life, and Jewish institutions must embrace these innovations to attract today’s families. She has been recognized and led workshops for her use of “Public Space Judaism”, using outside public venues for activities that then bring the unaffiliated into the congregation.
Rabbi Mills was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 1992, and holds a B.A. with honors in Jewish History from University of Michigan. Rabbi Mills lives in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. She and her husband, Rabbi Steven Mills are the proud parents of three children, Rafi, a 2015 Lehigh University graduate currently working at a government nuclear facility in Schenectady NY, Sivan, a 2017 University of Pennsylvania graduate who works for Aetna Insurance in Philadelphia and Noa, a student and soccer player at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Rabbi Emeritus Joel E. Soffin served as the spiritual leader of Temple Shalom for twenty-seven years from 1979 to his retirement in June of 2006. Before entering rabbinical school, he pursued a PhD in economics. He was ordained in 1976 at HUC-JIR and served as an Assistant Rabbi at Temple Beth Israel in West Hartford, CT before taking the pulpit in Succasunna.
Rabbi Soffin has a passion for social action and Tikkun Olam projects, combined with a search for spirituality and holiness in life. In addition to serving as a member of the Commission on Social Action of the Reform Movement for 15 years, he had undertaken many projects with the congregation of Temple Shalom including founding Shalom Ethiopia and The Million Quarter Project. Rabbi Soffin was also the creator of the Reform Movement’s Adult Mitzvah Corps which has traveled to locations in Kentucky, New Jersey, Vermont, Tennessee, Louisiana and Jerusalem.
As Rabbi Emeritus, Rabbi Soffin enjoys sharing his creative and challenging teaching style with our members. Rabbi Emeritus Soffin resides in New York City with his wife, Sandy, a computer analyst.
Temple Shalom is blessed to have a talented team of cantors and a songleader who share their musical talents from our bimah and their educational talents with our children.
Our Shabbat Song Leader, Religious School Music Teacher and Junior Choir Director, Chris Mason, is a graduate of the Music Education program at William Paterson University of New Jersey where he majored in classical saxophone and minored in classical voice. He has significant work experience as a songleader in religious schools and in worship settings, as well as experience working with choirs specializing in Jewish Choral Music. Chris has spent summers as a songleader at URJ Crane Lake Camp.