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.
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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 feels so fortunate to have participated in the lives and life cycles of our families over the course of so many years. He 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 faculties of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College and has taught so many in our own community as they learn to read Torah, Haftorah and lead prayer.
As a composer, he has been praised for his “linguistic fluidity and melodic gift” (Gramophone Magazine) and has earned critical accolades for his chamber, choral, opera, solo vocal, and sacred music.His opera, Steal a Pencil for Me, received its world premiere production by Opera Colorado in January 2018. The opera, based on the true concentration camp love story of Shaarei Tikvah members Jaap and Ina Polak, was first performed in semi-staged form at Shaarei Tikvah in 2013. Voyagers, a quintet celebrating the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Voyager spacecraft, received its premiere in 2017 at New York’s Hayden Planetarium, performed by clarinetist Vasko Dukovski and the Cassatt String Quartet with live astrovisualizations.
Cohen’s best-known work, his “shimmering setting” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) of Psalm 23, has received thousands of performances from synagogues and churches to Carnegie Hall and the Vatican. He received his B.A. in music from Yale University, and his doctorate in music composition from Columbia University. Recognition of Cohen’s body of work includes commissioning grants from Meet the Composer, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and American Composers Forum. www.geraldcohenmusic.com
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Rachel Mann, Education Director
Rachel Mann, a passionate Jewish Educator, joined the Shaarei Tikvah team in July 2018
For the past ten years, Rachel has taught humanities at Carmel Academy in Greenwich, CT, worked at Camp Ramah in Nyack, served as a Youth Director in Westchester, and tutored countless students for b’nei mitzvah. Her philosophy on Jewish education can be summed up as follows: “To meet each child where they are and reach their mind, body, and soul to encourage a Jewish journey of curiosity and life-long learning.”
After working in the field of education for several years, Rachel began her graduate studies at Teachers College, Columbia University where she earned a degree in Curriculum and Teaching. For her Master’s thesis, she researched and designed a curriculum that integrates Jewish values in the General Studies curriculum.
Rachel and her husband Dan currently live in Stamford, CT with their dog, Pepper.
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Jennifer Duffy, Bookkeeper
Valentin Ceron, Custodian/Catering
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