Rabbi Lisa Eiduson joined Congregation B'nai Torah on July 1, 2015 after serving as Rabbi/Educator at Temple Beth Avodah in Newton for the previous 12 years.
Rabbi Eiduson believes that the synagogue should be a warm and welcoming place for all who wish to enter. Her rabbinic philosophy is built on the foundation that simply gathering Jewish knowledge is not enough. Rather, we are called to find joy and meaning in participating in the life of the synagogue.
Rabbi Eiduson believes in the benefits of collaborative leadership which she will bring to all dimensions of Congregation B'nai Torah. She will guide worship and ritual, provide leadership and innovative programming within the Hebrew School and adult learning, give spiritual guidance in times of need, work with lay leadership to help grow our thriving community, and create meaningful connections with members of our CBT family.
A native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, Rabbi Eiduson received her BA in Religion and Jewish Studies in 1986 from Boston University where she studied with Elie Wiesel. Following rabbinic ordination in 1992 from HUC-JIR in Cincinnati, Rabbi Eiduson went on to serve Reform congregations in Cincinnati, Ohio, Buffalo, New York and Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to her synagogue work, Rabbi Eiduson taught at the college level for eight years as an Adjunct Faculty member at Xavier University in Cincinnati and at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is currently working on a dissertation in the area of Organizational Leadership as part of a doctoral program she is pursuing at Northeastern University.
Rabbi Eiduson enjoys reading, gardening and music, and perhaps most of all, spending time at the ocean with her husband, Rabbi Joe Eiduson, their daughters, Rosie and Carly, and their two Labrador Retrievers, Maggie and Mason.
Rabbi Eiduson can be reached at [email protected].
Cantorial Soloist David Smerling has been using his beautiful baritone voice, guitar playing, and warm personality to engage and energize congregants of all ages throughout eastern Massachusetts for over twenty years.
David possesses a strong voice and range, a large repetoire of songs that he can perform in both traditional and modern melodies, and outstanding musicianship. He is able to connect with congregants of all ages and backgrounds due to his open and kind heart, interpersonal warmth, and generous spirit.
Prior to joining Congregation B'nai Torah, David served as Cantorial Soloist at Congregation Shalom in Chelmsford for seventeen years. He has also been the principal baritone soloist for the high holidays at his home congregation, Temple Isaiah of Lexington, for twenty years, and he has been featured as a musical prayer leader as part of the t'filah band at both the National and New England URJ biennials.
David can be reached at [email protected].
We are very pleased to welcome Youth Educator Ariel Glantz to the CBT community!
One of Ariel's most unique passions is her desire to engage teens through social justice and hands-on social action projects and initiatives. At CBT, Ariel is committed to working to find ways to offer social justice experiences for all students in grades 6-12, with particular emphasis on enriching the 'mitzvah' component of our B'nai Mitzvah experience for individual students and families.
Ariel will also work closely with Rabbi Eiduson to re-design our middle and high school offerings to include a variety of informal and interactive programs that will extend beyond the classroom and will strengthen the sense of community among our students. The goal is to engage a greater number of students following Bar and Bat Mitzvah and to keep them involved in a variety of dynamic Jewish leadership initiatives throughout their high school years.
Ariel grew up in Irvington, New York, where she was an active participant in her Reform synagogue's local youth group as well as its regional NFTY leadership programming. Following high school, Ariel attended Tufts University where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development and went on to receive her Master's Degree in Child Development with a focus on adolescence.
Ariel was still an undergraduate at Tufts when she began a five-year tenure as the Youth Educator at Temple Beth Avodah in Newton, where she worked with Rabbi Eiduson as part of the educational staff. Ariel quickly built an imaginative and active high school youth group at TBA, with students active in local and regional NFTY programming and events. Ariel helped to create unique teen retreats, travel opportunities, regional conclaves, and compelling social and informal educational programming for middle and high school students.
Ariel can be reached at [email protected].
Orna Sonnenschein tutors Congregation B'nai Torah's b'nai mitzvah students in preparation for becoming a bar or bat mitzvah. Orna is a gifted tutor whose enthusiasm, genuine warmth, and positive approach brings out the best in her students. Along with being an outstanding tutor, Orna is also a seasoned Jewish educator with over fifteen years of teaching, tutoring, and administrative experience. Prior to joining Congregation B'nai Torah, Orna served as Director of Elementary Education at Temple Israel of Boston.
Orna can be reached at [email protected].
Rabbi Heilman has served Congregation B'nai Torah with great dedication, warmth and spirit for the past 20 years. We are grateful for his service and so glad that he will continue to be a vital part of our congregation as Rabbi Emeritus.
Born in Israel in 1949, Rabbi Heilman moved to the United States with his family in 1961. Trained in classical music and learning piano from an early age, he studied at UCLA and SMU, earning a Bachelor of Music and an Artist Diploma in piano performance from SMU in 1971 and 1973 respectively. In 1973, Rabbi Heilman rejoined his family in Israel. Between 1973 and 1977 he concertized in Israel and abroad and made several solo, chamber and concerto recordings for the Israel Broadcasting Authority. During that period he also fulfilled his military duty, serving as a medic in Zahal, the Israel Defense Force.
Rabbi Heilman returned to the United States in 1977 to continue his musical studies and to further his career as a pianist. He received a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1979. In 1980, he married Sally Finestone, then a rabbinic student at Hebrew Union College. Rabbi Heilman's and Rabbi Finestone's two children, Hannah and Yoni, were born in 1982 and 1986 respectively.
Rabbi Heilman was accepted into the rabbinic program at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City in 1995 from where he received his Master of Arts in Hebrew Literature in 1997 and was ordained as a Rabbi in 1998.
Rabbi Heilman served as Rabbinic Leader of Congregation B'nai Torah between 1995 and 1998 and as CBT's first full-time Rabbi until 2015. A dynamic leader, he had a significant impact on all aspects of congregational life from guiding our worship and ritual, to involvement in the Hebrew School and adult learning, providing spiritual guidance in times of need, and officiating at literally hundreds of b'nai mitzvahs for a whole generation of children and their families.
Rabbi Heilman can be reached at [email protected].
Robin Berman has been the Temple Administrator since January, 2016 and a member of the congregation for 19 years. Robin grew up on Long Island and received her Jewish education at Midway Jewish Center, a conservative synagogue in Plainview. As Temple Administrator, Robin wears many hats, overseeing all of CBT’s daily operations, and Member Services, Facilities and Maintenance, Human Resources, Finance and Accounting and Events and Operations.
Robin has a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from SUNY at Albany and then spent the first part of her career in the Hospitality industry working for a Hotel Management company. She then pursued an MBA in Accounting from the Rutgers University School of Management and worked for Price Waterhouse and the Citibank Private Bank.
Robin has served on the Board of Congregation B’nai Torah for many years and in many capacities, culminating with 3 years as President. In her current role as Administrator, Robin finds working with Rabbi Eiduson and interacting with fellow congregants extremely energizing and rewarding.
When she isn’t at CBT, Robin continues to work as a principal in The Camp Experts and Teen Summers, an advisory service that helps parents find summer programs for their children.