Rabbi Avi Friedman
Rabbi Avi Friedman has been our Rabbi at COS-SJCC since 2005. A native of Detroit, Rabbi Friedman completed his undergraduate work at the University of Michigan in 1991, received a Master of Hebrew Letters in May 1993 from the University of Judaism, Los Angeles California, and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, in 1997.
Prior to coming to COS-SJCC, Rabbi Friedman served as Assistant Rabbi at the Ahavath Achim Congregation in Atlanta, Georgia, and as Senior Rabbi at the Tree of Life Congregation, a progressive 550-member Conservative congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Rabbi Friedman has also been an instructor at a number of community high schools, as well as at the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School in Pittsburgh.
Since his arrival at COS-SJCC, Rabbi Friedman has become an important presence in the Summit community, through outreach programs and as a member of the Summit Interfaith Clergy Council.
Rabbi Friedman and his wife, Jodi, are proud parents of Gabi, Jonah, Jessica and Ilana.
On Martin Luther King, Jr day, 2011, Rabbi Friedman was one of three recipients of a "Keeper of the Dream" award, given by the organization Shaping Summit Together to Summit residents who honor the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Click video below to meet Rabbi Friedman:
Cantor Dr. Janet Ilene Roth
Cantor Roth came to the congregation in 1991. Since her arrival, the quality and variety of the musical experience, both during services, and on special occasions, has increased significantly. Cantor Roth participates in all aspects of congregational life including conducting services, directing the adult and children's choirs, teaching adult education and religious school students, and preparing children for bar/bat mitzvah. She continues to create artistic and musical programs that explore the vast range of the Jewish cultural experience. Keen on congregational participation during services and cultural programming, she has organized a Torah chanting and davening program that nurtures the knowledge and mastery of Jewish liturgical skills.
Cantor Roth received her undergraduate degree in Near Eastern Languages and Literature from Indiana University at Bloomington, a Master of Arts in Music from North Texas State University and a degree in Sacred Music with the Diploma of Hazzan from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York. She also received an honorary Doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2022. Cantor Roth lives with her family in Summit, New Jersey.
A message from the Cantor:
I have been fortunate to be able to take my greatest loves--Judaism and Music--and combine them into a fulfilling career as Cantor here at COS-SJCC. Being Cantor of COS-SJCC involves much more than just singing at services. I find myself immersed in so many aspects of synagogue life, including adult and children's choirs, religious school, b'nai mitzvah education, adult education, hospital visitations, cultural programs, concerts, family services, nursery school, the Interfaith Council, and life cycle events, to name a few.
I believe in upholding and maintaining our beautiful musical tradition, yet, at the same time, I like to look at current trends in Jewish music and prayer for possible ideas on how to integrate the spiritual and cultural aspects of Judaism even more creatively. Music is my path through the liturgy and to the divine. When I look at the text of a prayer-even one that is not sung-I hear music...for me it is the music that illuminates the text and fills me with emotion as we worship together. Through my singing I try to share my vision and emotion with the congregation.
I believe that our religious services have something for everyone...davening, chanting, melody, harmony, time to pray silently, time to listen, time to burst out into song...and even, occasionally, a little hazzanut--the art of interpretive expression of the liturgy. We encourage our members to participate in services by singing together, by chanting Torah, by leading from the bimah, by listening actively, and by being part of the process by which we seek to enhance our communal worship even further.
I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact me by email or phone at 908-273-8130.
Rabbi Emeritus William B. Horn
Rabbi William B. Horn has been with our congregation since 1962. He has a Bachelor of Science from NYU, a Master of Science in Counseling and Psychology from Yeshiva University, and rabbinical ordination, a graduate degree in Hebrew literature and an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the Jewish Theological Seminary. In addition, Rabbi Horn has studied at the Institute for Analytic Psychotherapy and the Post Graduate Center for Mental Health.
He serves as chaplain for the Summit Police Department and at Overlook Hospital in Summit. He is a former lecturer in Practical Rabbinics and Homiletics at the Jewish Theological Seminary and has held various posts in United Synagogue and in the Rabbinical Assembly. He is former President of the Summit Ministerial Association and has served on the Board of Trustees of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Union and Essex Counties.
Rabbi Horn is married to the former Dena Mendelowitz, formerly the principal of the elementary division of the Solomon Schechter School of New Jersey. Currently she is the Director of Synagogue Services for the JEA of Metrowest. They have three children. Hadassah, wife of Rabbi Randy Mark of the Shomrei Torah Congregation in Wayne, NJ, is a specialist in early childhood education. The first graduate of the Solomon Schechter day school to receive an MA at the Jewish Theological Seminary and return to SSDS as a teacher, she is now Associate Regional Youth Director of the Hagalil USY/Kadima. Hadassah and Randy have four children: Avi, Penina, Raffi and Danit. Ora, married to Rabbi Joseph Prouser, is Dean of the Academy for Jewish Religion. Ora and Joseph have three children: Shira, Eitan and Ayel. Moshe is an attorney in a New York City law firm. Moshe and his wife Leslie have two daughters: Ayelet and Talia.
Early Childhood Director
Allison Tankel joins COS-SJCC as the director of our Early Learning Center, supervising our program for children 3 months through 6 years old, and a staff of head and assistant teachers. Allison began her career as a Kindergarten teacher working in New York. Once she began raising her three boys as a stay-at-home mom, she continued to teach religious school and early intervention. She spent many summers as a division head in the youngest division at a local day camp. Her most recent position was director of the preschool in a neighboring community. Allison currently lives in Warren with her husband and their three boys Josh, Matt and Ben -- and their daughter, golden retriever Scarlet Knight. Allison enjoy exercising, reading, reality TV, traveling, and cooking!
Early Childhood Asst Director
Hi! I'm Amy Weinstock. I love being part of the Congregation Ohr Shalom Family and the many hats I wear as Assistant Director of the ELC, Summer Fun Director and as part of the JLC administrative team.
Believe it or not, I started my professional life in pharmaceutical marketing and realized after a few years that I should be doing what I love, working with children. I returned to grad school and received my Masters Degree from Bank Street College of Education and learned that Early Childhood was my calling and the Jewish sector was where I was meant to be.
I have taught 2 year olds, 3's, Mommy and Me, Tot Shabbat and Kindergarten Enrichment. I have simultaneously taught religious school and been an assistant to the director of a preschool. I was also Assistant Director at Gesher Summer Camp for 11 years until it closed.
I live in Randolph with my husband Eric, daughter Beryn (Senior at the University of Michigan, GO BLUE!) and our Havanese, Gracie. My family means the world to me! In my spare time I am the Co-President of my synagogue. I love spending time with my family and friends, traveling, movies, binge watching tv shows, reading and being creative.
"By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others." I am fortunate to do so every day. I look forward to inspiring your children and seeing their excitement as they learn something for the first time.
Director of Education, Jewish Learning Center
Meredith has deep roots in New Jersey, having grown up in East Brunswick. She comes to our community with a number of different experiences as a Jewish education leader at several congregations in the Greater New York area.
Most recently, she was the Director of Youth and Family Education at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield. Meredith received her Master of Art’s Degree in Jewish Educational Leadership from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. Previously, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Professional and Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. Meredith also has experience leading services and teaching B’nai Mitzvah lessons. When she’s not busy running a school, Meredith is a big fan of the arts, including music, literature, theater and movies. She loves history and she is a long-time book club member.
Lauren Levine started working in the synagogue office December 2018. She previously worked in Human Resources for the corporate offices of Lord & Taylor and then Saks Fifth Avenue before moving to New Jersey. Lauren and her husband Dan have 2 young boys, Elliot and Cole. She enjoys trying new restaurants, reading and spending lots of time with family and friends. She is thrilled to be a part of the COS-SJCC family.