Rabbi Irwin Zeplowitz
Rabbi Irwin Zeplowitz (also known as “Rabbi Z”) was born in Niagara Falls, New York. Following his schooling at the University of Toronto, he studied at Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Jerusalem, Los Angeles and Cincinnati, where he was ordained as a rabbi in 1984. After spending five years as a rabbi in the Chicago area, Rabbi Zeplowitz went to Hamilton, Ontario in 1989 to serve as the Rabbi of Temple Anshe Sholom, Canada’s oldest Reform congregation. In July 2003 he assumed the position of Senior Rabbi at The Community Synagogue in Port Washington, New York as part of a completely new clergy “team”.
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Rabbi Sam Pollak
I am honored and thrilled to be joining The Community Synagogue as your newest rabbi. I come to Port Washington from Cincinnati, Ohio, which is both my hometown and the location of my rabbinical studies. In Cincinnati and beyond, Jewish life has anchored my identity—growing up in an intergenerational havurah, spending many summers at the Reform Movement’s regional camp, and participating in the Hillel community during my undergraduate years at The Ohio State University—and now I am eager to continue learning, praying, and growing at The Community Synagogue. I also enjoy reading, cooking, yoga, and singing, especially when I can discuss or share those activities with others. Joining me in Port Washington will be my soon-to-be husband, Ari Abelman, and we are grateful to be welcomed into the community. I look forward to introducing myself in person and getting to know you soon!
Rabbi Danny Burkeman
Rabbi Burkeman (or “Rabbi Danny”, as he prefers to be called) was born and raised in London, England, where as a child he was an active member at West London Synagogue and a leader in the Reform Jewish-Zionist youth movement. Before attending university, Rabbi Danny spent a year in Israel where he attended The Institute for Youth Leaders from Abroad (the title is catchier in Hebrew, he assures us) and volunteered on Kibbutz Lotan (a Reform kibbutzim) near Eilat.
He is married to Micol Zimmerman Burkeman, the Director of NFTY, and is the very proud father of Gabriella Liat.
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Cantor Claire Franco
Contrary to popular belief, Cantor Claire Franco did not always know that she wanted to be a cantor. In fact, it happened quite by accident. Although she played piano, sang and performed in theater throughout her life, she studied finance and English literature at Florida State University and the University of South Florida. A chance encounter with a religious school educator, some music teaching and a Friday night service led her to her calling and more literally to the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) first in Jerusalem and then in New York. It was there that she realized that this profession would allow her to combine all of the things that she loved: music, teaching, Judaism and interacting with people.
But her proudest and most important accomplishments are her happy marriage to Alan and their three girls; Lael, Eden and Emory.
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