Rabbi David J. Small
Serving as The Emanuel Synagogue’s dynamic, caring, and supportive spiritual leader since 2002, Rabbi Small has over twenty-eight years experience as a rabbi. Excelling in sharing his passion for Jewish life, Jewish values and spirituality, Rabbi Small is gifted in applying Jewish wisdom to contemporary issues. Ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary and with a B.A. from Yale University, Rabbi Small also studied at The Hebrew University, the Shalom Hartman Institute, and holds an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary. A supporter of Jewish camping, Rabbi Small has served as a counselor and lifeguard at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and New England, is a Trustee of Foodshare, and serves on the Connecticut Children Medical Center Ethics Committee. Married to Debbie Chameides for 29 years, they have three grown children and two dogs. An avid animal lover, Rabbi Small also enjoys cycling, reading, vegetarian food, travel and conversation.
CONTACT RABBI SMALL ABOUT: spiritual growth, pastoral support, upcoming simhas, Jewish learning and observance, conversion, Israel, interfaith relations, family issues or any concern or question important to you. Click to Email Rabbi Small, (860) 236-1275 Ext. 115.
Hazzan Moshe Pinchover
Moshe Pinchover’s fluid Torah reading and warm minyan welcome gives him a special place in the heart of the Emanuel congregation. Born in Tiberias and raised in Jerusalem,
Moshe holds degrees in Economics, Accounting, and Jewish Studies from Bar Ilan University. Completing his professional music studies through the Mentorship Program of the Jewish Theological Seminary Cantors Assembly, Moshe was ordained in 2014. Moshe served in the Israeli Defense Forces, and each year leads the community-wide Yom Hazikaron memorial service at the Mandell Jewish Community Center. Besides his weekly Shabbat presence on our bimah, Moshe leads Emanuel’s alternative “Ohel” service on the High Holidays, and also serves as High Holiday cantor for the Hebrew Home and Rehabilitation Center.
CONTACT MR. PINCHOVER REGARDING: Shabbat morning and holiday Aliyahs, reading Torah/Haftarah, Daily minyan support, Yahrzeit plaques, and ritual questions. Click to Email Moshe Pinchover, (860) 236-1275 Ext. 117.
Rabbi Emeritus: Philip Lazowski
Known for his warm smile and depth of soul, Rabbi Lazowski is a beloved figure in the Greater Hartford Jewish community, who initially came to The Emanuel in 2009, serving as our spiritual leader during Rabbi Small’s sabbatical. In 2011, he and his wife Ruth were honored by The Emanuel, at which time Rabbi Lazowski was named Rabbi Emeritus of The Emanuel Synagogue. Ordained by the Academy of Higher Jewish Learning, Rabbi Lazowski began his rabbinic career in 1954 at Hartford’s Congregation Beth Shalom Synagogue, later serving as spiritual leader of Bloomfield’s Beth Hillel Synagogue until 2000. A retired Chaplain for Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, the Hartford Police, and the Connecticut State Senate, Rabbi Lazowski holds a Bachelor of Religious Education from the Teachers Institute of Yeshiva University, a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Brooklyn College and a Master of Science Degree from Yeshiva University’s Graduate School of Education. Awarded a Doctorate of Jewish Literature from the Jewish Teachers Seminary and People’s University, as well as a Doctorate by the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Lazowski has authored and published 14 books. A Holocaust survivor who hid for almost 3 years in the White Russian woods, Rabbi Lazowkski is married to Ruth (Rabinowitz) Lazowski, and has three sons and seven grandchildren.
Cantor Emeritus: Sanford Cohn
Bringing over 30 years experience in chanting, conducting, teaching, composing, and arranging Jewish music, Hazzan Cohn creates an atmosphere of spirited prayer amidst welcoming congregant voices at services. Prior to joining The Emanuel, Hazzan Cohn served at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, as well as synagogues in Silver Spring, Maryland, Whitestone and Port Chester, New York. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Kentucky, Hazzan Cohn received his Bachelor of Sacred Music and Diploma of Hazzan at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, along with awards in composition and musical excellence. A recent recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Music from the Seminary, Hazzan Cohn has served on the Executive Council and chaired the Connecticut Region of the Cantors Assembly. . He and his wife Beth Polebaum have three children.
CONTACT HAZZAN COHN REGARDING: Retiring as full time cantor of The Emanuel on June 30, 2020, Hazzan Cohn continues to tutor B’nai Mitzvah students. Click to Email Hazzan Cohn.
Rabbi Emeritus: Gerald Zelermyer
Rabbi Gerald B. Zelermyer is Rabbi Emeritus of The Emanuel Synagogue, retiring in 2002 after serving for nearly twenty years. Rabbi Zelermyer’s guidance was tested early when a vandal damaged The Emanuel’s facility and several Torah scrolls, requiring burial, cleanup, rebuilding, and consequent fundraising efforts. Rabbi Zelermyer is a graduate of Middlebury College, with an honorary doctorate in divinity from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a certificate in gerontology from St. Joseph’s College. He and his wife Heske have two grown sons, Gideon and Salo.
Executive Director: Kobi Benita
Kobi Benita joined The Emanuel Synagogue as Executive Director on June 1, 2020. A native Israeli, Kobi attained the rank of Captain serving in Special Forces for the IDF. He also served as the Vice Mayor of Ramat Yishay in Israel. He earned his BA from Haifa University and his MBA from the University of Dallas.
A seasoned executive and entrepreneur, Kobi is a leader in the medical device field with 20 years of international experience. He spearheaded new product innovations, start-up enterprises, and expansion into international markets and lead to the growth of existing companies.
Kobi and his family relocated from Israel to West Hartford in 2016. He is married to Simi, who works for the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, and they have two teenaged daughters.
CONTACT KOBI BENITA for all synagogue-related business concerns at 860-236-1275 ext. 112 or by email: email@example.com.
Engagement Coordinator: Josh Cohen
A native of West Hartford, Josh has worked exclusively in the Jewish Community for the last 18 years. Josh grew up at the Mandell JCC, working there in high school and spending his summers at Camp Shalom as a staff member. After serving as Teen Director at the JCC, Josh joined BBYO, where he has served as the Senior Regional Director of the Connecticut Valley Region for the last 14 years. During this time the program has grown from 200 to over 1500 teens.
Josh is known as a Jack of all trades and for thinking outside the box and bringing new and unique program experiences to different communities. He is an avid fisherman, and an award winning chef on the Kosher BBQ circuit.
When Josh, his wife Evelyn and their two kids Jacob and Madelyn are not taking part in Emanuel programs, they can be found at the beach, or spending time with family and friends. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Youth and Family Learning: Barbara Fink
You may know her as Hannah and Mason’s mom, but Barbara Fink is also our Religious School Principal. Barbara holds a Masters in Education from Rutgers University and taught in the NYC public schools for more than 10 years. A former graduate of Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union (now Golda Och Academy) in N.J., Barbara spends summers at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires where she has served as counselor, Rosh Edah (division head), programming director and most recently a Yoetzet, an advisor to counselors, and Roshei Edah. She resides in West Hartford with husband Jonathan and their two children.
For more information about Religious School for your children, special learning needs, and family education, Click to Email Barbara Fink, (860) 233-2774.
Rabbinic Intern: Jessica Dell’Era
Jessica Dell’Era is a third-year rabbinical student at JTS and is thrilled to be joining the Emanuel Synagogue as Student Rabbi this year. A Bay Area native, now living in Manhattan, Jessica studied Dramaturgy at Pomona College before getting her M.A. in Education at UC Berkeley. Starting as a public-school educator teaching Spanish bilingual 4th-6th grades, Jessica then came east for rabbinical school. Working on her Master’s in Sacred Music, Jessica is eager to explore and expand the communal musical experience at the Emanuel.
Her fiancée, Leah Nussbaum, is also a rabbinical student (at Hebrew Union College) and will accompany Jessica to West Hartford some of the time. They are both excited to get to know the Emanuel community and to discover what makes each member unique! To contact Jessica, email her at: jedellera@JTSA.edu
Marketing and Promotions: Joyce Hyde
Originally from Silver Spring Maryland, Joyce has spent most of her life living in Southern California. After becoming a Bat Mitzvah at Temple Ramat Zion in Northridge, CA, Joyce remained active in USY throughout her teen years building lifelong friendships. Joyce holds a BA from UCLA, and brings to The Emanuel years of experience in successfully implementing systems to support growth for a variety membership based organizations. A former VP for the YMCA, as well as previous Area Director for Anytime Fitness in CT, Joyce specializes in strategic planning, P&L management, improved sales and promotions, as well as building a strong team culture in highly diverse, fast paced, customer service based environments. A former Dance and Fitness writer for Examiner.com, Joyce excels in creating engaging content and brand message alignment for multiple digital and social platforms. Strongly committed to her Conservative Jewish roots, Joyce recently earned her Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and is a frequent published contributor to the USHMM History Unfolded Project. Click to Email Joyce Hyde