With a deep dedication to Jewish faith and culture, Rabbi Sarah Hronsky – “Rabbi Sarah” –enthusiastically embraces her role as Senior Rabbi for Temple Beth Hillel. Rabbi Sarah joined Temple Beth Hillel in July 2003 following her ordination at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC) of Los Angeles in 2003. While at HUC, she earned two masters degrees: one in Hebrew Letters and the other in Jewish Communal Service. A major focus of her rabbinic studies was the Jewish tradition’s view of persons with disabilities. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where her family was very active in a small congregation. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia, with a bachelor of science in secondary education.
Rabbi Sarah works extensively with the Board and staff of the congregation to ensure a thriving Reform Jewish community in the East San Fernando Valley. She brings energy and creativity to the vast programming of Temple Beth Hillel. Her rabbinate is filled with teaching, counseling, liturgical exploration, and leadership. She enthusiastically sings with the children and assists in the development of our Temple’s successful preschool and parent and me programs, teaches and leads prayer in our Religious School and Elementary Day School, and provides enriching instruction throughout our Adult Education Program. Rabbi Sarah is most honored to work directly with families in the congregation through their joyous moments and their most difficult times. She is proud to have played a significant role in the physical transformation and renovation of our Temple building ensuring for the future of the congregation. In addition, Rabbi Sarah has served on the Board of the Board of Rabbis of California for 9 years. She currently serves as Vice President, in the past she has served as Treasurer, Secretary, member at large, chaired the Annual High Holy Day Conference several times and chaired the Funeral Practices Committee for a few years. She enjoys meaningfully participating in Jewish Community and Interfaith events throughout the greater Los Angeles area representing both Temple Beth Hillel and the Board of Rabbis. She proudly engages in social action work and maintains a close tie to the North Hollywood Food Pantry. Rabbi Sarah helps build bridges through Interfaith activities, such as partnering in educational and religious experiences with Muslims for Progressive Values and serving in a leadership role on the council of the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders. She has previously served on the Board of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis.
Rabbi Sarah is married to Yuri Hronsky, who is currently the Head of School at Ilan Ramon Day School. They are the proud parents of four children: daughters Chana Zoe, Eden Sivan and Josie Lily, and son Ryan Benjamin.
RABBI KEARA STEIN
DIRECTOR OF CONGREGATIONAL LEARNING
As Director of Congregational Learning, Rabbi Stein is an integral member of the senior professional staff and is responsible for the operation of the Religious School, adult and family education, and oversight of Judaic and Hebrew curriculum and instruction in the Elementary School. Additionally, Rabbi Stein performs rabbinic duties and provide support for programs within our congregation.
Rabbi Stein was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Prior to that, she received her Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters, completed a Rabbinic Student Interdenominational Program and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies with a minor in music from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.
Before joining TBH, Rabbi Stein worked in Development at the Jewish Community Center in Silverlake. Additionally, she has served as Rabbi for Temple Beth Solomon of the Deaf and Director of InterfaithFamily Los Angeles where she provided counseling and teaching to couples, individuals, and families relating to religion, tradition and lifecycle events.
Rabbi Stein brings to TBH an extensive background working with individuals and families to have positive Jewish experiences and has specific expertise working with interfaith families to navigate religious and family challenges, and as a hospital chaplain.
Rabbi Stein is married to Jason Stein and is the proud parent of JT, Elliot, and Nora.
Rabbi Jim Kaufman – known as “Rabbi Jim” – has made his life at Temple Beth Hillel. He came to our shul as a youngster and subsequently became Bar Mitzvah and was later confirmed. He worked here as a music and Bar/Bat Mitzvah teacher. He received a Bachelor of Art degree in Sociology at California State University, Northridge and was ordained a rabbi by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1973.
Rabbi Jim has served Temple Beth Hillel as a rabbi since his ordination. He retired in June of 2010. Though his daily presence is missed, he is still involved in many religious and social programs at Temple Beth Hillel and in the greater Los Angeles Jewish community.
Rabbi Jim is married to Sue Kaufman, who also grew up at Temple Beth Hillel. They have five children, Joshua, Seth, Asher, Noah and Daniella. Rabbi Jim savors the opportunity to help individuals find satisfaction, support and meaning in their lives.
Cantor Emeritus Alan Weiner served Temple Beth Hillel from 1994 to 2008. He helped hundreds of students prepare for bar and bat mitzvah and conducted the synagogue choirs and musicians.
A native of Van Nuys, Cantor Alan holds a B.A. in Music from Stanford University and an MFA in Choral Music from the California Institute of the Arts, and pursued doctoral study at USC. He was invested as Cantor by the School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. He is the past chair of the American Conference of Cantors Pacific Southwest Region and past vice-president of the National Conference. His compositions and arrangements are used in synagogues around the country. His song “Make a Noise,” written for TBH, is now included in the Reform movement’s Social Action Songbook.
He and his wife, Amy Simon-Weiner, are proud parents of Hallie, Benjamin, and Brina.
Cantor Samuel Brown came to Temple Beth Hillel in 1958. He was hired as the Cantor and we knew he had a beautiful inspiring voice. We quickly came to know that he had a compassionate heart and a caring soul. Cantor Sam trained in those days 70 to 80 bar and bat mitzvah children a year as well as leading adult and children’s choirs. The Temple asked him to become a leader in the Religious School, so Cantor Sam worked and achieved a Masters in Jewish Education from the Hebrew Union College. Cantor Sam was a singer and a Jewish educator.
But the synagogue needed to experience his pastoral side and so he in addition to his cantorial responsibilities spent time visiting Temple members who were in need, whether at home or in the hospital. He became Cantor emeritus in 1989 and continued to join us on the pulpit during the High Holiday time and whenever he was called upon. He died in (forgot the year..but Nolan should have it in the yahrtzeit system.
A great Cantor, an even greater human being. His voice and his values echo still at TBH.
OUR MUSICAL TEAM
SARAH ZERBIB BERDA – Cantor
Cantor Sarah, also known as Cantor ZB, is an LA native who grew up immersed in synagogue music and life. She received her undergraduate degree from UCLA in 2010, and her Masters in Jewish Sacred Music and Ordination as a Cantor from The Academy for Jewish Religion-California in 2015. Cantor Sarah has served as a High Holy Day Cantor for the Claremont Colleges Hillel and the Santa Monica Synagogue. Cantor Sarah also has a depth of experience with b’nai mitzvah tutoring and preparation, including group classes, one on one lessons, independent students, leading b’nai mitzvah services, preparing High Holy day Torah chanters, coordinating b’nai mitzvah program and logistics for a large synagogue. In addition, Cantor Sarah has performed around Los Angeles in her one woman show, “A Bissele of This, A Bissele of That,” as a guest cantor in multiple synagogues, in several cantorial concerts, in the documentary, “100 Voices: A Journey Home,” and many other professional concerts. Cantor Sarah can be reached through her email email@example.com or through the Temple office 818 763 9148 ext. 106.
RABBI LILY BLUM – Rabbi / Cantor
Rabbi Cantor Lily Blum has always possessed a deep-rooted passion for Jewish music and text. Rabbi Cantor Blum was ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion, CA as a Cantor in 2016 and again as a Rabbi in 2018. She graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in Jewish Studies with a focus in Sacred Music and minors in Music, History, and Hebrew. She is very proud of her work on both of her theses on music as therapy (2016) and a biblical examination of grief and bereavement (2018).
Rabbi Cantor Blum lives in Tarzana with her husband, Phil and their 4-legged furry baby, Indy.
JUSTIN STEIN – Songleader
Justin Stein grew up playing music in his family band, “The Rolling Steins.” He has a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Arts from California State University, Northridge, where he was section leader in the Northridge Singers, and won the 2003 Eistedfodd Choir of the World competition. Since then, he has performed at Disney Hall, Carnegie Hall, The Grammy Museum, and many other venues big and small.
As a vocalist, bassist, and guitarist, Justin has shared the stage and recorded albums with various musical artists and producers, such as Diane Reeves, Don Was, Theodore Bikel, Peter Yarrow, Tom Paxton, Arlo Guthrie, and Oscar-winning composer Yuval Ron.
Justin resides with his wife, Paige and their daughter Hayley in Reseda, California
DANIEL STRAUSS – Songleader
Daniel Strauss has been songleading since he was 16 years old at Capital Camps in Pennsylvania.
He loves leading services and working at the religious school, but tot Shabbat services are his absolute favorite.
Daniel enjoys all kinds of Jewish music and is so happy he and his family are a part of the TBH community!
LEAH FINKELSTEIN – Songleader
Leah Finkelstein is part of Temple Beth Hillel musical team.
LEE TRIFFON – Music Teacher
Lee Triffon is an Israeli singer, music professional and children specialist. Her music class’s overall goal is to share ideas and concepts that engage and develop a love and appreciation for music. She incorporate the jewish values and education by including various songs and activities in Hebrew, special lessons for the Hagim, shabbat etc… She is the founder of an early music education program called Music Lilies.
“It is a great joy and privilege for me to guide the kiddos in finding their unique gifts, interests and develop their self expression through our music classes.”