Qabbalat Shabbat: Friday, 6:00 p.m. Torah Study: Saturday, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Weekday Minyan: 6:15 p.m.

Featured Members

Jeanne Blasberg

Describe yourself in 3 words: Determined, adventuresome, curious.

Describe TI in 3 words: Welcoming, spiritual, evolving.

What is your focus outside of synagogue life?
My focus these days has been the publication of my debut, EDEN:A Novel. (May 2, ’17 She Writes Press) It took me a long time to complete, but I couldn’t be happier with the result. It is a family saga, and opens with the 75-year-old matriarch of a family preparing to introduce the daughter she gave up for adoption to her relatives as they convene in their summer home for the 4th of July weekend. The story is told from multiple points of view with the present and past interwoven to disclose 100 years of family history and the secret struggles of four generations of women. EDEN has multiple references to the Book of Genesis. I like to describe it as a modern day creation story.

What TI committees, clubs, etc. have you been involved in, if any? 
I have been a faithful member of the Modern Midrash study group for the past 12 years. My learning and writings in that class with Elaine Zecher provided much of the inspiration for my novel.

What do you value about the TI community?
The emphasis on education and learning.

Jennifer Grella

Describe yourself in 3 words: Straightforward, funny, thoughtful.

Describe TI in 3 words: Inclusive, progressive, intelligent.

What do you value about the TI community?
Its tremendous accessibility to a diverse populace, regardless of faith tradition, sexual orientation, race, political leaning, family structure, or socio-economic situation. I am proud to be a member of a community which doesn’t just “talk the talk” but “walks the walk.”

Describe your involvement in TI. 
My husband (who was raised Catholic) and I joined TI in 1997 after taking a fantastic Interfaith Marriage class from Rabbi Ruth Alpers. Although we were married in our native New York, both of our sons had their namings and became Bar Mitzvahs at Temple Israel – they both also attended what used to be called “Tiny Tiny Tot Shabbat” there. We have been around long enough to witness a few changings-of-the-guard of the religious school leadership and several clergy comings and goings, as well as Qabbalat Shabbat in the Atrium and the transformation of the Levy Auditorium. Perhaps most importantly for our family: we had the great fortune to be part of the amazing family trip to Israel in 2010 led by Rabbi Zecher and Uri Feinberg.

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life? 
Family, expanding my own horizons (travel, reading, the arts, following my curiosity wherever it leads), friends.

Leon Glicksman

Judila and leon 2
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Husband, father, academic.

Describe TI in 3 words:
Diverse, intense, open-minded.

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life?
After five decades of marriage my primary focus is more than ever on my life with my wife, we enjoy museums, second hand books stores, antiques, symphony, our grandchildren, and just being together. My teaching and research at MIT always offers exciting new challenges. Right now, we are working on new housing for slum dwellers in India that provides protection from the harsh summers without the use of air conditioning.

What TI committees, clubs, etc. have you been involved in, if any?
Joan Rachlin (Chair of the Green Team) has recruited me to work on the Green Team. We are working with the Building and Grounds Committee to improve the energy efficiency of the Temple Israel building and reduce our carbon footprint. For example, using an infrared camera we were able to identify exterior windows with severe air leakage.

What do you value about the TI community?
As a relatively new member, I have been impressed with the breadth of diversity and wide range of interests and talents of the people I have met so far.

Chuck Silverston

chuck silverston

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Relentless, driven, adventurous. 

Describe TI in 3 words. 
Community, Social Justice, Spiritual.

What do you value most about the TI community? 
TI really strives to build a community inwardly focused on Judaism and outwardly focused on Social Justice.

What TI committees, if any, are you involved in? 
Previously served on the Elementary Education Committee.

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life? 
Family, Work (Real Estate), Boston sports teams, traveling.

Helene & David Bailen

Bailens
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Finding it difficult to describe ourselves in three words, we asked our 10-year-old twin granddaughters how they would describe us! “Nana is kind, helpful and friendly and Papa is nice, caring and smart.”

Describe TI in 3 words.
Learning, prayer, and community.

What do you value most about the TI community?
We value our relationship with the clergy, the Temple’s intellectual vigor and the fact our son, Laurence Bailen, and daughter-in-law, Jennifer Weber, are involved in T.I. life and their children – our grandchildren – attend the religious school.

What TI committees or programs, if any, have you been involved in?
Helene creates the Sukkah in the sanctuary every year. She is a former trustee and former member of the Nominating Committee. In 1995 she curated the exhibit “Mazel Tov: 140 Years of Weddings at Temple Israel” for the T.I. Wyner Museum. She also wrote and produced an accompanying video. When Rabbi Friedman became the Senior Rabbi she curated the exhibit “The History of Temple Israel Rabbis.” David was on the Adult Ed. Committee for many years and served as Chairman of the Music Committee. He wrote “A History of Jewish Doctors at Temple Israel in the 19th Century.” He led two bus tours for the Temple to Boston, Roxbury and Dorchester about the “History of Jewish Boston.” Except for vacations, he has attended every Saturday morning study group since 1978! He also attends TILLI. Both of us received the “Nadiv Lev Award” from the Temple.

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life?
Helene is a Gallery Instructor at the Museum of Fine Arts, a flower arranger and enjoys cooking. David, a retired physician, takes courses in the Evergreen program at Boston University, the JCC and at TILLI. He also exercises 5 days a week at the JCC. Most of all, both of us value time spent with our grandchildren and family.

Gabe Hodgkin

Describe yourself in 3 words: Doing my best

Describe TI in 3 words: Committed, caring community

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life?
I am currently a junior at Harvard, majoring in Social Studies. This year, I spent most of my time outside of classes organizing student support for Democratic campaigns and for the dining hall workers’ strike on campus.

What do you value about the TI community?
My Jewish education at Temple Israel provided me with a moral foundation that informs my organizing work. My experience in RYFTI provided me with some of the foundations to organize effectively. The care and conviction shown by my friends in the TI community continues to inspire me and give me hope.

Joan Rachlin

Describe yourself in 3 words:
Environmentalist, feminist, beachcomber.

Describe TI in 3 words:
Caring, progressive, community.

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life?
I love spending time with my family, friends, and dog. Since retiring last year I have been working to raise awareness about climate change and chairing the Board of the women’s health organization Our Bodies Ourselves. I also have turned my love of listening to the stories of senior citizens into an oral history avocation.

What TI committees, clubs, etc. have you been involved in, if any?
I’m a member of TI Cares (AKA “The Caring Committee”) and the Green Team. I’ve also been part of the Women’s Study Group for 26 years.

What do you value about the TI community?
It’s focus on community building, commitment to social justice, embrace of diversity, spirituality, and the remarkable clergy and congregants I’ve been privileged to meet and work with over the past 27 years.

Andy Goldfarb

Andy Goldfarb

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Energetic, determined, passionate.

Describe TI in 3 words. 
Warm. Welcoming. Whimsical.

What do you value most about the TI community? 
Our family has been members for over 70 years. My dad and both my children had their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs at TI.

What TI committees, if any, have you been involved in? 
No committees. I do regular Torah study.

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life? 
I am trying to make Passover magical, meaningful, and memorable through Breaking Matzo. I love activities with my family. I play a lot of squash and tennis.

B-J Scheff

B-J Scheff

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Family-focused, task-oriented, communally active.

Describe TI in 3 words. 
Inclusive, forward-thinking, diverse.

What do you value most about the TI community? 
Individual members who reflex my commitment to women and children within our community and overseas, individuals who have special needs, and juggling professional, family and community responsibilities.

What TI committees, if any, have you been involved in? 
WRJ/Sisterhood, Board of Trustees, Temple Vice President, Leadership Council member, the First Adult Education Committee (40+ years ago).

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life? 
Taxi service for my Grandchildren, advocacy for affordable housing, and building community within The Commons in Lincoln, the Independent Living community I helped develop and where I now reside.

Rita & Adam Weiner

Rita and Adam Weiner

Describe yourself/ves in 3 words:
Communicative. Involved. Inspired.

Describe TI in 3 words:
Inclusive. Nurturing. Fulfilling.

What do you value most about the TI community?
Our sense of shared responsibility to do right and to do good for others in our own community and far beyond.

What TI committees, if any, have you been involved in?
Rita is a member of the FJECC Board of Directors as well as a room mother for our daughters Sarah and Nina. She also spearheaded the FJECC Outdoor Classroom, from a seed of an idea to a completed project for children to enjoy and learn for generations to come.

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life?
With four-year and three-year old girls, and Rita pregnant with a boy due in April, a big (and immensely satisfying and fun) chunk of our time is focused on raising them to be good kids with strong values, as we schlep them from activity to activity!  We are also deeply committed to the civic and corporate communities, from hospitals to educational institutions to families in need. Rita and I also make sure to have “date night” two times per week; it’s an amazing, fun, and relaxing way to regularly spend meaningful 1-on-1 time together, focused just on each other (even if we do then talk a lot about the kids!).

Suzanne Flax

Suzanne Flax
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Avant-garde, Creative, Empathetic.

Describe TI in 3 words:
Eclectic, Inclusive, Spiritual.

History with TI:
My now 21 year old son, Jacob, has a diagnosis of autism and lived in the Berkshires from the time he was 10 to the time he was 16. Jacob decided he wanted a Bar Mitzvah when he was 12 which seemed impossible given the distance and his disability. We interviewed many temples in the Boston area. I still remember my first meeting with Cantor Einhorn and Rabbi Zecher in the Spring of 2004. They told Marty, Jacob, and me that “We can do this. We have the resources to Bar Mitzvah Jacob.” And they did. It was a beautiful and moving ceremony. My other son, Felix, also attended religious school and is currently in Monday Night School and RYFTI.

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life?:
I am a speech and language pathologist in a private practice that I established 15-years ago through Wellesley Therapeutic Services. Independent of my private practice, I am currently starting my own educational advocacy/consulting business. In my spare time, I read, collage, write short stories, and create picture books for children and adults with disabilities. Most of all, I enjoy spending time with Marty, Jacob, and Felix hiking, biking, travelling, playing board games, and going to the movies.

What TI committees, clubs, etc. have you been involved in, if any?:
TI-Pot for Monday Night Parents, Women of Reform Judaism, TI Book Group, and have volunteered in the past to help Ann Abrams out with the annual Book Fair.

What do you value about the TI community?:
The kindness, intelligence, and support of the clergy, the diversity of the congregation, and the political activism TI supports and engages in. I also appreciate the organization and flexibility of the teen program. Over the span of the last 12 years that we have been members, I have come to appreciate that there is a place for everyone within the TI community.

Michelle Ephraim

Describe your involvement in TI. 
Two of my three children attended the FJECC pre-school. All three enrolled at TI’s religious school their Kindergarten year. My eldest, Ava, graduated from religious school last year, became a Bat Mitzvah with Rabbi Jeremy Morrison officiating, and now attends Monday Night School. My daughter, Amalia, had a great time on the TI youth choir this year. My husband, Marc Rysman, has served as Temple Israel’s Treasurer for two years (and just signed on for another two-year term).

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life? 
Aside from driving my kids around? I’m a tenured English professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, so I spend a lot of time teaching, researching, writing . . . and commuting to Worcester. I’ve got a great position at WPI: I’m the resident Shakespeare scholar, but I also get to teach Creative Writing courses. My Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy class is pretty popular. My latest book, Shakespeare, Not Stirred: Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas, will be available in September. Read it and you’ll be able to whip up a drink like “Kate’s Shrew-driver” or “Prospero’s Dark and Stormy.” It’s a humorous cocktail book with a Shakespearean theme that I co-wrote with my good friend and fellow Shakespeare professor Caroline Bicks (Boston College). Each original cocktail and hors d’oeuvre is inspired by a Shakespeare character’s particular problem or predicament. Whether it’s spousal issues or stressful children or workplace crises, the Bard’s got a lot of relatable “everyday life” material, and what better way to bring that to people than with cocktails? Plus, the book has cool pictures. We are thrilled that it’s being published by Penguin. I designed a new drink for TI’s Stepping Out event this year, which was a lot of fun. I’ll be doing publicity for the book which, for better or for worse, often involves drinking a cocktail. I am also writing a new book (on Shakespeare–surprise!). My daughter’s starting high school. All three kids are busy with their various interests. We’re looking forward to an exciting year for everybody–and making sure we relax and enjoy it all.

Michael Gruenbaum

Describe yourself in 3 words:
Eighty-five years young.

Describe TI in 3 words:
Active, compassionate, worldly.

What do you value most about the TI community?
I have many friends who are members of TI and it’s good to get together with them especially on High Holidays. I find the many activities of the various groups mind-boggling and admirable!

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life?
Until recently I was playing tennis every day, but a health reason put a–I hope temporary–end to that. In its place I wrote and published a book [Somewhere There Is Still a Sun] about my experiences as a teenager living under the Nazi regime in Czechoslovakia. I am now involved in publicizing this book.

David Lowe

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Friendly, concerned citizen.

Describe TI in 3 words.
Big, vibrant community.

What do you value most about the TI community?
I am particularly excited about the newly heightened attention to environmental responsibility and am generally excited about our progressive values, informed congregation, social-justice efforts and commitment to community and education.

What TI committees, if any, have you been involved in? 
Formation of the new Green Team Committee has been an answer to my dream to see congregational commitment to stewardship of our environment and resources we depend upon.

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life?

Reducing climate impact, spending time with family, practicing photography, and working on an educational book project. I am very excited about the Israeli-founded company I began working for this year, called Yeloha, now a Boston startup. Besides my first trip to Israel to meet the founders and rest of the team, this Solar Sharing Network fits my career-long focus on community development, resource conservation, and renewable energy. Yeloha overcomes barriers to growing solar infrastructure and access to solar energy by all.

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Jason Giannetti


Temple Israel member Jason Giannetti has been recently featured in an article in the Brookline TAB for his legal work with those stranded at the airport in the wake of the first, now-defunct immigration ban.

Describe yourself in 3 words: Dedicated, loving, open.

Describe TI in 3 words: Progressive, formidable, nurturing.

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life? Family, friends, and the arts.

What TI committees, clubs, etc. have you been involved in, if any? Little known fact, I used to teach 6th grade at T.I. when I was in divinity school.

What do you value about the TI community? The diversity.

Steven Lipsitt

Steve Silverman

Steven Lipsitt was appointed conductor of A Besere Velt (the premier Yiddish chorus of the Boston Workmen’s Circle) in February 2015. He began his conducting activity in 1977 as director of the Yale Russian Chorus, a men’s chorus dedicated to the folk and sacred music of Russia and other republics of the former Soviet Union. He led the YRC in over 50 concerts annually, including tours of the Soviet Union in 1977 and 1979. He has since served as director of choruses at Haverford College and Boston University, director of the Springfield Symphony Chorus, and guest conductor with Chorus pro Musica, Emmanuel Music, Boston Cecilia, the Phoenix Bach Choir, and the Serendipity Singers (a gospel choir in Norwalk, Connecticut).

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Warm, witty, committed.

Describe TI in 3 words.
Welcoming, stimulating, engaged.

What do you value most about the TI community? 
Clergy, parent-and-children cohorts around my kids (currently ages 15 & 19), music offerings under Cantor Einhorn.

What TI committees, if any, have you been involved in? 
I sat on the Adult Education Committee and L.E.A.G.; Mara sits on the Teed Ed Committee.

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life? 
Family (my wife Mara Krechevsky, children Daria & Caleb; parents Don & Merna; extended), and music (teaching & performing)

Steve Silverman

Steve Silverman

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Hard-working, private, and content.

Describe TI in 3 words. 
Personal, peaceful, and diverse.

What do you value most about the TI community? 
It is a very caring community.

What TI committees, if any, have you been involved in? 
I was on the Board for six years and chaired the Nominating Committee.

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life? 
Family and Work.

Erica Stern

Erica Stern

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Curious, energetic and friendly

Describe TI in 3 words. 
Spiritual home; social justice community; center for learning.

What do you value most about the TI community? 
Jewish values, the clergy, and my experience in the monthly Women’s Midrash meetings.

What TI committees, if any, have you been involved in? 
Sunday’s Bread; Membership Committee; Nominating Committee;  Board of Trustees; Executive Committee; previous Rabbinic Search Committee.

What’s your focus outside of synagogue life? 
Relationships with family and friends

Sanford "Sandy" Greenfield (z"l)

sandy

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Old, retired architect.

Describe TI in 3 words.
Venerable Boston institution.

What do you value most about the TI community?
Rabbinical leadership and diversity of membership.

What TI committees, if any, have you been involved in? 
The Building and Grounds Committee. The existing sanctuary was an auditorium-style seating arrangement. When the time came to select an architectural team for a new sanctuary space that would represent the values and ideals of a modern reform congregation, I wanted to be part of the selection committee. The committee spent many hours visiting architectural firms and their work. The Architects Collaborative was selected after the committee visited several architectural firms in Boston and New York. The design team studied two sites, the current location of what we have today and the parking lot site which is currently the area of the parking garage. The design team convinced the committee that there would be ample room to build the sanctuary space adjacent to the auditorium and create the clever atrium space we have today. The architect also selected the artist Harris Barron to design the iconic arc on the bimah, which, of course, is symbolic of the exodus. As well, Louise Nevelson, who was a friend of Rabbi Gittelsohn, created the sculpture at the Riverway façade, I believe as a gift.