Adam Baldachin, Rabbi
Rabbi Baldachin joined Shaarei Tikvah in July 2016, drawn by the community’s energy and warmth.
He previously served as the rabbi of Montebello Jewish Center in Rockland County. There, he founded the Rockland Clergy for Social Justice, a group of Jewish, Christian and Muslim clerics advocating for fair and equitable education for the public school students of East Ramapo, a district controlled by an ultra-Orthodox school board.
Rabbi Baldachin has also served communities as close as Riverdale, NY and Frederick, MD, and as far as Israel and Uganda. In Uganda he worked with the Abayudaya, the local Jewish Community, teaching Hebrew, leading services, and helping to build sustainable businesses.
A native of New Providence, NJ, Rabbi Baldachin earned his undergraduate degree from the Joint Program of Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. He then completed his Rabbinical Degree with an M.A. in Midrash at the Seminary, where he received the prestigious Gladstein Fellowship in Entrepreneurial Rabbinic Leadership. He also completed extensive training in community organizing with JOIN for Justice and in pastoral care, interning as a chaplain at Self Help with Holocaust survivors.
Rabbi Baldachin is married to Maital Friedman, a native of White Plains who is Program Director for Repair the World. The couple have three young children.
Contact Rabbi Baldachin via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through the synagogue office.
Read an interview with Rabbi Baldachin.
Gerald Cohen, Cantor
Gerald Cohen is a cantor, teacher and composer whose life and work are infused with his love of music, Judaism and family. He has been the Cantor at Shaarei Tikvah (and one of its predecessor congregations) since 1987 and adds a rich musical dimension to our community, with annual concerts and the introduction of his beautiful new melodies for traditional prayers. Cantor Cohen also serves on the faculty of the H.L. Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary and has taught so many in our own community as they learn to read Torah, Haftorah and lead prayer. He received his B.A. in music from Yale University, and his doctorate in music composition from Columbia University.
Cantor Cohen has earned distinction as a composer of both concert and liturgical music. His compositions are published by Oxford University Press and Transcontinental Music Publications. A CD of his compositions, entitled “Generations,” is on the Composers Recordings, Inc. label, and includes solo vocal music sung by the composer (including his well-known setting of Psalm 23); Vhigadta Lvincha, a Passover cantata for children’s or adult chorus; and several works of chamber music.
Contact Cantor Cohen via email (email@example.com) or through the synagogue office.
Sara Birnbaum, Educational Director
Sara Birnbaum brings an extensive background in Jewish Education to Shaarei Tikvah, with more than 16 years experience in synagogue schools, Jewish camps and United Synagogue Youth. Throughout her career, Sara has focused on strengthening community and building relationships among the school, synagogue and all congregants.
Sara most recently served as the Education Director for Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Montclair, NJ. At Shomrei, Sara led the religious school, facilitated the teen programs, spearheaded bi-monthly family Shabbat services and fostered outreach to the larger synagogue community. Sara’s time at Shomrei Emunah was marked by introducing a multitude of creative and artistic programs to the shul. Additionally, she designed and taught a preschool Hebrew program to ensure outreach to the preschool community.
Sara received her Master’s in Social Work from Yeshiva University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Family Studies from Hofstra University. From 2000 through 2010, Sara served as a community Licensed Social Worker in Boston, MA working in the Jewish Community with elders, young adults, children and families. Sara believes that life-long learning is essential to nourishing the Jewish neshama (soul); she embarked on part-time rabbinical training at The Academy for Jewish Religion.
Sara’s passion for teaching our youth stems from her classroom time both as a student and teacher at Temple Beth Torah in Massachusetts where years ago, she fell in love with working with her kindergarten students. During this time, she became active in her local USY chapter, serving as president and also participating in Nativ, a gap year program. Each of these experiences created the early foundation for her thirst for Jewish knowledge and the desire to share Jewish learning with others.
Sara and her husband Daniel enjoy spending their free time with their four young children. They live in Scarsdale, having moved to Westchester seven years ago from Boston.
Contact Sara via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through the synagogue office.
Robin Goldberg, Administrator
Robin Goldberg joined Shaarei Tikvah as our new Administrator in September of 2016. Robin graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A. in sociology and a minor in musical theater. For the past 18 years, she has worked in marketing, sales, and fundraising in healthcare, the diamond industry and luxury goods. Robin brings extensive experience in marketing and communications to Shaarei Tikvah. She also has an affinity for synagogue life – Robin has been deeply involved at her shul, Temple Israel of Northern Westchester, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees and sings in Hallel B’Shir, their adult choir. Robin has always felt that synagogues should feel like a second home, and says: “I’m thrilled to have this wonderful opportunity to work at Shaarei Tikvah. Everyone has given me such a warm welcome!”
Robin lives in Ossining with her husband Ron, and their two sons.
Jennifer Duffy, Bookkeeper
Dvora Feuerwerker, Administrative Assistant
Dvora Feuerwerker joined the staff of Shaarei Tikvah as Administrative Assistant in June, 2014. She resides in Greenburgh and is a member of Temple Israel Center of White Plains. She has two adult children who live and work nearby.
Dvora was born in Israel and at the age of seven emigrated to the U.S. with her parents and younger sister. She earned a B.S. (Health Sciences) degree from Hunter College (CUNY) and worked as a medical technologist, first at Elmhurst General Hospital in Queens and then at IBM after moving to Westchester. After the company closed its laboratory facility, she made a career change to Information Technology. She retired two years ago and is very pleased to have the opportunity to continue to contribute her skills in the community.
Contact Dvora via email (email@example.com) or at 914-472-2013, x302.
Leon Vallejo, Head Custodian
Sarah Doar, Media and Communications Coordinator
Sarah Doar has been working in Westchester/Putnam synagogues for the past 4 years. She currently teaches Hebrew in New Rochelle, Pelham and Somers, and also works part time as a Hebrew/B’nei Mitzvah tutor. Sarah has an Associates degree in Communication and Media Arts from Westchester Community College and a B.A. in Professional Studies in New Media from Fordham University. This is her first year working as Shaarei Tikvah’s Media and Communications Coordinator. In her spare time Sarah enjoys reading, watching movies, working out and travelling.