Clergy & Staff

Rabbi Jodie Siff

“We are born for the community.” – Josephus
It is Rabbi Jodie’s life’s mission to guide individuals to create meaning through a Jewish lens, within the context of community. Jodie works with the synagogue’s children beginning in the Gan Shalom nursery school and reaching into the senior adult community. At the core of her work is creating and implementing inter-generational experiences that inspire meaningful connections. A Registered Yoga Teacher, RYT® 200, Jodie brings in Shabbat with congregants of all ages with Shabbat Yoga.

Jodie is an active member of local Interfaith Clergy associations where they engage in interfaith study, social action, and worship. A mentor through the Elaine Breslow Institute at Beit T’Shuvah, she works to support Jewish professionals and individuals who are yearning to create sacred space and build sacred relationships in their work as in their lives. Jodie embraces and expounds the concept, you don’t have to be an addict to be in recovery and she works to help others create a daily practice of reflection and integration.

Rabbi Jodie Siff grew up right here at RSNS, and she has been serving the RSNS community as their Rabbi for 23 years. Jodie graduated from Lehigh University and then continued her studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Jodie and her husband Peter are the proud parents of four young adults.

Cantor Eric Schulmiller

“Rabbi Eleazer taught: a person should bend like a reed, and not be rigid like a cedar.” – B. Talmud, Taanit 20

Cantor Eric is passionate about social justice, creating meaning through music, and helping learners of all ages connect to their Judaism through imagination, a sense of commitment to community, and the desire to make new friends and lifelong memories! An avid Star Wars fan, Eric is a disciple of both Yoda and Rabbi Eleazar.

Cantor Eric is a regular contributor to the Jewish Daily Forward, where he writes about the intersection of Judaism and pop culture. He has also written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate, and humor pieces for The New Yorker. Eric earned his bachelor’s of music in Jazz Piano from the University of Miami and has played with his own jazz group at NYC jazz clubs such as the renowned Knitting Factory. A member of the American Conference of Cantors, Eric was ordained in 1999 with a master’s degree in Sacred Music from the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion.  His commissioned musical settings of liturgical music have been performed at synagogues throughout New York including Temple Emanuel and Temple Rodef Sholom of Manhattan. 

Eric has served as cantor at RSNS since 1999, and also oversees the synagogue teen program, including the youth group, Kesher Hadash, and the program for teenage boys, “Bro’s Hodesh.”

Eric and his wife Sarah live in Port Washington and are happily kept on their toes by their two teenage sons and two cats.

Read more from Cantor Eric in the Cantor’s Corner.

Rabbi Lee Friedlander

“In the normal experience of Jewish life, belonging takes precedence over believing…” – Mordecai M. Kaplan

Connecting people to one another and to the culture and history, and the folkways and customs of the Jewish People has been the guiding light for Rabbi Lee Friedlander’s rabbinate.

For him belonging is Judaism’s first principle.  He understands that despite differences in observance and belief, what has kept Jews together throughout the millennia is their sense of fellowship with and responsibility for one another.  Rabbi Lee fosters that spirit of community in all his work while bringing the fulness of Jewish expression – art, music, poetry – to every service and seminar.  He feels fortunate to have brought people together in these ways at the Reconstructionist Synagogue since 1981.

Rabbi Lee is a native Philadelphian, who grew up in a secular Jewish home but was educated in an Orthodox day school.  These contrasting experiences have informed his ‘wide-tent’ approach to Jewish life.  He is an early graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (’75).  He has served the Movement as the “Readings” editor of the Reconstructionist Prayerbook series, and as president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.  It was during his tenure that the Reconstructionist movement fully enfranchised gay, lesbian, and transgender Jews in all Jewish ritual and liturgical practices including marriage – the first Jewish denominational movement to do so, and more than twenty years before it was sanctioned by the Supreme Court.

Rabbi Lee is the father of two daughters and two sons-in-law, and the grandfather to two grandchildren.

Liza Wilson, Executive Director

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” – Bible, Leviticus 19:18

Liza Wilson has long-term ties to the community. Through the years, she has spent countless hours at Gan Shalom and has gotten to know the RSNS community and its customs.

Liza is a graduate of Queens College with a B.A. in Psychology, and an A.S. in Paralegal Studies from Broward College.

Through her personal experiences and job achievements, she has gained valuable lessons in administration and aided in solving legal issues for multiple clients which will help her fulfill her duties as your new Executive Director.

She has volunteered for organizations such as AILA, United Way of Broward County, MissionUnited, and Habitat for Humanity.

Liza is a mother to three children. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and her family. She is eager to work and serve the RSNS community.

Rebecca Hirschwerk, Director of Congregational Education

“One glorious chain of love, of giving and receiving, unites all creatures.” – Samson Raphael Hirsch

Rebecca is thrilled to step into the position of Director of Congregational Education having served on the faculty of our Synagogue School since 2007. She believes that creating a sense of belonging- to one another and to the Jewish people – is central to everything that happens at RSNS and is the foundation for meaningful Jewish living.  It is developed over time, in community, where we celebrate who we are as individuals and together look to our sacred texts, our stories, and our history for what they can teach us about leading lives that are based on compassion. She sees her mission as supporting students, families, and adults on their Jewish journeys with love, acceptance, and joy.

Rebecca began her work at RSNS creating the Media Center, in which students explore their Jewish identities through the lens of art. In addition, Rebecca has been the 6th-grade teacher alongside Cantor Eric and Rabbi Lee, investigating the stories of the Torah, experiencing the Hebrew language, and building community. She has led adult programming during the RSNS High Holiday Services and is a founding member of our Shabbat Band.

From 2007-2022 Rebecca was also the Manager of School Programs for the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor. She holds a BA in Judaic and Near Easter Studies from Oberlin College and a master’s in Education from Bank Street College.

Adrienne Rosen, Nursery School Director

“Only the learning that is enjoyed will be learned well.” – Judah ha-Nasi, Talmud

In the twenty years Adrienne has been an educator, her goal for each experience has been “How can I make this memorable?” Through her projects, field trips, and experiential learning initiatives, Adrienne loves engaging learners of all ages, abilities, and interests in content that helps them grow as individuals and understand their place in our evolving world.

Adrienne has a Master’s Degree in Art History from Queens College, a certificate in teaching English as a foreign language from Columbia University, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Secondary Education from Indiana University. Adrienne has extensive experience in teaching in synagogue schools and Jewish Youth Programs. She has also designed and facilitated family learning for Shabbat services.

Adrienne’s connection to the RSNS Community began as a synagogue school teacher and then continued when her two children attended and graduated from Gan Shalom Nursery School. Adrienne loves that the RSNS community leads with love and acceptance and is a sacred space where all are welcome. After being a class parent, Parent Liaison to all of Gan Shalom, and on the Gan Shalom Educational Advisory committee, it is with great excitement and joy that she steps into the Director’s role at Gan Shalom.

Shahrzad Gadi, Adminstrative Assistant

“The best minister is the human heart; the best teacher is time; the best book is the world; the best friend is god.” – Yiddish folk saying

I have been in this profession for 20+ years, and a part of this community for more than 2, working with both congregants and children. I have always found children to be extremely therapeutic and helpful in my own soul searching. I continually hope to be an asset to this community and help out in any way that I can. 

Ira Eisenstein z”l Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Ira Eisenstein (November 26, 1906 – June 28, 2001) founded Reconstructionist Judaism, along with Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, his teacher and, later, father-in-law through his marriage to Judith Kaplan, over a period of time spanning from the late 1920s to the 1940s. Reconstructionist Judaism formally became a distinct denomination within Judaism with the foundation of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1968, where he was the founding president.

A native of Manhattan, New York, Rabbi Eisenstein held a bachelor’s degree and a doctoral degree from Columbia University. In 1931, he was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he first met and married Judith Kaplan Eisenstein, daughter of founder Mordecai Kaplan.

After his ordination, Rabbi Eisenstein became an associate rabbi and then rabbi of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, the first Reconstructionist congregation, which Kaplan founded in 1922. He also served as a religious leader of the Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago, as well as the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore.

A former president of the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly of America, Rabbi Eisenstein served as president of the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation from 1959 to 1970. From 1935 to 1981, he was editor of The Reconstructionist, the movement’s magazine.”

Maintenance Staff

Eustace “Daniel” Tathum

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” – Bible, Proverbs 22:6

Oscar Hernandez

“Small children interfere with your sleep, big children your life.” – Yiddish Proverb