Rabbi Beni Wajnberg (pronounced Vine-berg) became the rabbi and spiritual guide of Temple Beth Rishon’s congregation in 2018. He prefers to be called simply “Reb Beni” by everyone in the congregation, including his students. This creates a sense of deep and informal familiarity with our spiritual leader and fosters open communication.
Reb Beni’s biggest passions are people and spirituality. His time and energy are dedicated to accompanying congregants through moments of nakhos and tzuros, joy and struggle. Reb Beni uses a balanced combination of Judaism, mindfulness and energetic kindness to guide people as they search for a freshened connection with their purpose in life. He considers it a privilege to have an intimate spiritual connection with each person at Temple Beth Rishon. Reb Beni is committed to inspiring a spiritual renewal and nurturing the relevancy of yiddishkeit for the modern Jew. Environmental preservation is an important issue to our rabbi. His hope is that we will leave the world just as we found it, if not better, for our descendants.
Reb Beni came to Temple Beth Rishon from Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City. Originally from Brazil, he trained at the Seminario Rabinico in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was ordained by the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. He has served as rabbi, rabbinic intern, hospital chaplain, student rabbi and teacher in congregations, hospitals and nursing homes in New York, California, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee, Argentina and Brazil. Reb Beni is a member of the OHALAH (Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal), the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Assembly and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. In addition, Reb Beni is a certified energy healer in the Usui Reiki lineage…Read More
After 22 years as the senior rabbi at Temple Beth Rishon, Dr. Rabbi Kenneth A. Emert retired in June, 2017 to follow other pursuits. Our hearts were saddened to see Rabbi Emert leave his post but we celebrated this milestone with him at a gala send off in his honor, wishing him much luck in the future.
Rabbi Emert brought an extensive educational background to our community. After receiving his undergraduate degree in Hebrew Language and Literature from Queens College, Flushing, New York, Rabbi Emert earned a Master of Arts degree in Hebrew literature from Hebrew Union College where he was also ordained in 1977. In 1982, Rabbi Emert received a Master of Social Work from Yeshiva University and in 1991 earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Jewish-Christian Studies from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary ...Read more
Cantor Faith Steinsnyder, Interim Cantor
Faith Steinsnyder was born in Philadelphia and raised in North Miami Beach by music-loving parents, Jane and Wynne Steinsnyder. She studied in Bloomington, Indiana, and in New York City, becoming one of the first women ordained as a cantor from Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion. She was inspired, encouraged and coached by esteemed Cantors Jacob Mendelson, Israel Goldstein, Ben Belfer, Lawrence Avery, Max Wohlberg, David Koussevitsky and Moshe Ganchoff, "master cantors" who each believed in the expressive power of hazzanut in a woman's voice. Cantor Steinsnyder was the first woman to teach hazzanut (Eastern European Jewish liturgical repertoire) and nusach (traditional prayer modes, melodies and musical formulas) at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York City.
Cantor Steinsnyder has served Reform and Conservative congregations from Maryland to Massachusetts, Long Island to Los Angeles. For the past four years, she was Cantor in Residence at Temple Israel, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her cantorate is defined by commitment to empowering congregational participation and devotion. Generations coming together through music, prayer and Torah has been a priority, from Early Education to Religious School, Hebrew High School to adults of every age. Faith is an enthusiastic, supportive b’nei mitzvah coach and humbly welcomes the opportunity to teach prayer skills and build Torah confidence!...Read more
It is with profound heartbreak and immeasurable pain that we reach out to you with tragic news. Cantor Ilan Mamber suddenly passed away at the age of 70 on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. He was born in B’nei Brak, a suburb of Tel Aviv, Israel, to Arthur and Channa Mamber. As a child, he was a member and soloist in various choirs in the "great Synagogues" of Tel Aviv and its surrounding towns.
Upon his arrival in the United States, Ilan bought a guitar and taught himself to play. In 1979, he received his Master's Degree from Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work and worked in the field of Jewish communal service as a Jewish Center worker from 1977 to 1987. Concurrent to pursuing a career in the Jewish Cantorial field, Ilan became a successful Israeli-American folk singer performing throughout North America. He appeared on Jewish radio and cable television programs and performed at major Jewish art festivals, theaters, university campuses and community centers.
Cantor Mamber served as the cantor at Temple Beth Rishon in Wyckoff, NJ for 31 years, beginning in 1987. During that time, his unique interpretations of prayer and liturgy enriched the lives of every single adult and child congregant. He was the “singing cantor” whose signature guitar was always draped across his chest or poised close by for easy access during Shabbat services, High Holidays services or during the countless hours he spent with the Preschool and Religious School students...Read more
Gonen Arad - Religious School Director
Gonen Arad is honored and thrilled to serve as the Director of Temple Beth Rishon’s Religious School. He feels truly blessed to be the instructional leader of such an awesome community of educators working together to share their love and knowledge of Jewish faith.
Gonen has devoted his life to the field of Jewish education. His formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Jewish Education. One constant in his life has been his varied experience with secular and Jewish organizations that seek to engage people individually and as a group to truly understand and live a faith-filled life. He is passionate about connecting with families and facilitating their connections with Jewish identity. Gonen feels that each new family he encounters adds to his own education and allows him to continue to grow as an educator...Read more
Hillary Posner is honored to serve as the Director of Early Childhood Education at Temple Beth Rishon's Andrew Friedland Early Childhood Learning Center. Having earned her bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University and a master’s in teaching from Iona College, Hillary has devoted more than 20 years to working in education with young children and their families. She is committed to creating a strong, faith-based educational program in our wonderful school where egalitarian values, sound foundational skills and play with a purpose are always in focus...Read more
Jana Schwartz joined Temple Beth Rishon in 2004 as our first full-time Youth Director. Since then, Jana has infused our Youth Group program with such positive energy that the number of children involved has increased six times over! Jana’s infectious smile and philosophy of inclusion have greatly enhanced TBR’s youth activities. The Youth Group student leaders and all participants love the program and activities!
Graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a B.A in Sociology, and a minor in Substance Abuse, Jana taught in the Fort Lee School District, assisting students with Special needs prior to joining our staff. Her experience in teaching children prepared her well for handling the dozens of Youth Group kids who visit her office...Read more