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Dr. Rabbi Gershon Zylberman - Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Gersh Zylberman is a native of Melbourne, Australia. Active in synagogue life from a young age, particularly in the musical sphere, Rabbi Zylberman served his home congregation of Temple Beth Israel since his ordination from the LA campus of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in May, 2005 until his return to us in 2010.

As part of his duties in Melbourne, Rabbi Zylberman was the coordinator of the Victorian Union for Progressive Judaism’s Introduction to Judaism program, a member of the Alfred Hospital Ethics Committee, the Zionist Council of Victoria and the B’nai Brith Interfaith Committee, and served on the Board of Governance of the local Reform Day School, The King David School. He also served as an honorary Chaplain in the Victoria Police. At Temple Beth Israel, Rabbi Zylberman developed young adult programming and supervised liturgical and musical transformation, as well as serving on the editorial team for the World Union edition of Mishkan T'filah.

Prior to entering the rabbinate, Rabbi Zylberman graduated (with Honors) from the medical school at Monash University and worked in a variety of specialty areas at The Alfred Hospital, including emergency medicine, palliative care, psychiatry, respiratory medicine, cardiology and endocrinology.

Many at TBY will remember Rabbi Zylberman from the time he served TBY between 2002 and 2005 as a rabbinic intern, alongside his wife, Rabbi Rayna Gevurtz, who served TBY as our first Assistant Rabbi during that time.

As our Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Zylberman is available to provide pastoral support and counseling. He works with couples (including interfaith couples) preparing for marriage, officiates at baby namings, brit milah ceremonies and Bnai Mitzvah.  He is delighted to guide individuals who are exploring a path to conversion to Judaism.  Rabbi Zylberman leads our weekly Shabbat Services and Torah Study and facilitates two other regular learning series: Coffee Talk on Sunday mornings and Wednesdays with the Rabbi. Alongside Rabbi Gevurtz, both lead family-friendly programs such as Mini-Minyan, monthly Family Shabbat Services and are closely involved in our Preschool and Religious School. Rabbi Zylberman engages with those in their 20s and 30s in part through a unique partnership with Moishe House OC.

Rabbi Zylberman is proud to serve on the Board of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis, as a dayan on the Sandra Caplan Community Bet Din of Southern California and as a Mentor in the Leona Aronoff Rabbinic Mentoring Program at HUC –JIR. He has spoken at several area congregations about the World Union for Progressive Judaism and he is passionate about the State of Israel. Rabbi Zylberman is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Southern California Board of Rabbis and is honored to be the President of the Orange County Board of Rabbis.

Rabbis Zylberman and Gevurtz rejoice in their three daughters and their Double-Doodle, Golda.


To make an appointment to meet with a member of our clergy, please email Debbe Katz, Clergy Administrative Assistant at dkatz@tby.org

 

Cantor Jonathan Grant

Cantor Grant is more than just the nationally-recognized leader of the musical program at Temple Bat Yahm.  He is a teacher, spiritual guide for our children, and an integral part of our clergy team.  He is a first-rate, professionally trained singer and conductor, a pupil of the renowned French baritone Martial Singher, and received ordination from Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, completing a rigorous four-year postgraduate course of study in Israel and New York.  Cantor Grant is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of CSUN, and was the recipient of Awards for Cantorial Excellence all four years at Hebrew Union College.

In November 2011, Cantor Grant became one of 20 cantors in the United States to travel to Rome, Italy to perform a historic concert of Jewish music before Vatican leaders as part of the Second Conference on Catholic-Jewish Relations.

Cantor Grant came to TBY in 1994, celebrated his "Bar Mitzvah Year" at TBY in 2007 and “Chai” year in 2012.  He leads our Adult Choir, Junior Choir, oversees the entire B'nai Mitzvah program, teaches music in our Religious School, and assists our Rabbis in performing the many life-cycle events of TBY.

Cantor Grant is proud to serve on the nominations committee for the Executive Board of the American Conference of Cantors - clergy committed to Judaism and Jewish music - www.accantors.org

Jonathan and his wife Sharyn were married in 1998 having met on a blind date set up by TBY congregants!  Jonathan loves to travel, ride his motorcycle, and has an LP record collection of over 4,000 titles!


To make an appointment to meet with a member of our clergy, please email Debbe Katz, Clergy Administrative Assistant at dkatz@tby.org
 

Rabbi Rayna Gevurtz - Associate Rabbi

Rabbi Rayna Gevurtz is originally from Portland, Oregon, where she was raised as an active member of Congregation Beth Israel.  After earning her degree in Psychology from the University of Oregon, Rabbi Gevurtz completed her rabbinic studies in 2001 at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In addition to her time here at Temple Bat Yahm, Rabbi Gevurtz has served congregations in Cincinnati and Melbourne, Australia. During her time in Melbourne, Rabbi Gevurtz was the first Rabbi of the King David School, a Progressive Jewish Day School. Temple Bat Yahm is happy to have Rabbi Gevurtz back as part of the clergy, since she was here as an Assistant Rabbi from 2002-2005.  

At Temple Bat Yahm, Rabbi Gevurtz participates in leading Shabbat and B'nai Mitzvah services, leading Torah Study and other engaging programs with Adult Ed and Women of TBY.

She is married to Rabbi  Zylberman and together they rejoice in their three daughters and their Double-Doodle, Golda.


To make an appointment to meet with a member of our clergy, please email Debbe Katz, Clergy Administrative Assistant at dkatz@tby.org

 

Rabbi Miriam Philips - JCAL Director

Rabbi Miriam Philips enjoys serving as the Director of Youth Education and Family Engagement (also known as the JCAL Director) for Temple Bat Yahm. JCAL, the Jewish Center for Arts and Learning, encapsulates Rabbi Miriam’s learning philosophy: that children learn best in community and through doing. After all, the world - and Judaism - stand on three things: Torah (love of learning and questioning), Avodah (service to God) and G’milut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness). In Judaism, learning and doing are intertwined.

Rabbi Philips grew up in rural Washington State, where her family had to work to be Jewish, and so started her on her path toward the rabbinate. She also spent part of her childhood in  Seal Beach, CA, from which Orange County town her husband Danny also hails. Rabbi Philips attended Brandeis University, where she graduated summa cum laude with a major in History. After college, Rabbi Miriam volunteered in Israel for a year with Project Otzma (sponsored by the Long Beach Federation) and worked for congregations in the San Francisco Bay Area. For rabbinical school, she attended Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC) in Jerusalem and LA. While there she earned her Master’s degree in Education.

Before joining Temple Bat Yahm, Rabbi Philips served as the Director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Emanuel in Andover, MA, for four years. Then she and her family moved to Silicon Valley so she could take a position as Director of Family Learning at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, CA. Rabbi Miriam and her family now consider themselves home in Orange County and at Temple Bat Yahm.

Rabbi Miriam is the proud (and busy) mom of two children. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, gardening, reading and dancing, which have now become family activities. Her blessing for her children is her same wish for all the children (and human beings) at TBY: may you be curious and kind.

     

For more information about JCAL or our b'nai mitzvah program, please email Melissa Seidner, JCAL Administrative Assistant at mseidner@tby.org

Cantor Elisa Waltzman - Associate Cantor

Cantor Waltzman is a member of the American Conference of Cantors. She was ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion in 2009, after earning both her Master of Music and Bachelor of Music Degrees in Vocal Arts from the University of Southern California.

She also studied at the Manhattan School of Music in New York, and has performed at various internationally recognized Music Festivals including three years at the Music Academy of the West, where she studied with acclaimed mezzo-soprano, Marilyn Horne. Additionally, Cantor Waltzman is a graduate of the Orange County School of the Arts Musical Theater Conservatory.

Cantor Waltzman’s childhood was filled with Jewish music sung by her late grandfather, Rabbi Cantor David J. Kane- a Holocaust survivor whose vocal talent as a child secured him a space in a concentration camp children’s choir, ultimately saving him from the gas chambers.

Inspired by her grandfather’s immense passion and deep joy of singing, Cantor Waltzman began her formal vocal training at the age of eleven, and regularly sang cantorial music and liturgy with her grandfather at Temple.

Blending her background, love of various musical styles, knowledge of Hebrew song repertoire, and the musical sounds and styles most enjoyed by her own young children, she released her first studio album Reinvented-Hebrew Songs for Families in 2015.

Formerly a freelance Cantor, she has over ten years of experience working with a wide range of clergy and different congregations.

Her connection to TBY began in 2007, when she was a cantorial student. At that time she was living in Irvine with her husband while he attended medical school at UC Irvine. Cantor Grant hired her as a B’nai Mitzvah instructor, and became a significant mentor.

For the past few years Cantor Grant graciously welcomed Cantor Waltzman to TBY regularly as his substitute, where she had the privilege of leading services with our inspiring Rabbis, and enjoyed meeting the wonderful TBY community.

She is a California native, after living in various parts of the country, Cantor Waltzman is happy to be back singing under the California sun.

As part time clergy, Cantor Waltzman is delighted to have more opportunities to share her voice. She is grateful for TBY, where musical excellence, spirituality, and a welcoming nature are alive.

Along with her husband, Dr. Josh Waltzman, and three daughters, Cantor Waltzman is excited to be part of this community, and have the opportunity to contribute to the songful spirit of TBY!

CLICK HERE to learn how to make Cantor Waltzman's famous challah for your next Shabbat table!


To make an appointment to meet with a member of our clergy, please email Debbe Katz, Clergy Administrative Assistant at dkatz@tby.org
 

Rabbi Mark S. Miller (z"l) - Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Miller served as spiritual leader of TBY for over 35 years, leading the congregation from its small and humble beginnings to its position as one of the premier Reform Jewish synagogues in Southern California. A distinguished scholar and educator, Rabbi Miller had been selected annually by the Daily Pilot newspaper as one of the most influential leaders in Orange County. He received his B.A. in Political Science from American University in Washington, D.C., his M.A. in Hebrew Letters, Rabbinic Ordination and Doctor of Divinity Degree from the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. He served for three years as Associate Rabbi of Temple Sinai in Roslyn Heights, N.Y.  He taught the sole Judaica course at U.C. Irvine for 22 years, taught the Senior Judaica course at Tarbut v’Torah Community Day School for two years, and taught Hebrew Scripture for 7 years at Chapman University. Rabbi Miller is in great demand as a speaker at community events and his column appears in the Daily Pilot newspaper.

Among the many world leaders he has attracted to address the congregation are Yitzchak Rabin, Henry Kissinger, Elie Wiesel, Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak.

Rabbi Miller has a long and illustrious history of contributions to the community and to Israel, serving in such positions as National Rabbinic Adviser to the Young Leadership Cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal; member of the Board of Governors of the College of Judea and Samaria; and President of the Orange County chapter of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. He has been a devoted supporter of Beit Mazor Home for Asthmatic Children in Arad, Israel, and works extensively on behalf of Bikkur Cholim Hospital in Jerusalem.  In addition, he has served as President of the Orange County Board of Rabbis and has led numerous leadership missions to Israel, several in association with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

An avid fan of the Chicago Cubs, Rabbi Miller delivered the invocation at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y. in 2003. He has invoked G-d’s blessings in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.  Rabbi Miller is survived by his wife Wendy and their five children.​

“Over these decades, I have given my heart to this congregation and my heart has been touched on so many occasions, through so many experiences, and by so many people. From the vantage of such longevity with one congregation and community, I am now reaping the rewards of inter-generational sharing in the lives of families. I am naming the children of parents at whose naming ceremonies I once officiated, celebrating the B’nai Mitzvah of young people whose mothers and fathers heard my words of Torah when they themselves were called to the Torah, and I am joining in times of family sorrow as they grieve for members I have long known.  In joy and sadness, on the summit and in the valley, and in all the times and situations in between, together we are engaged in the pursuit of holiness and heritage, belief and learning.”

Rabbi Miller passed away on Thursday, April 5, 2018 after a 15 month battle with cancer. Through that time, he continued to write a weekly Torah Thought and engaged in the TBY community to his fullest ability. 

Zichrono Livracha, may the memory of our beloved Rabbi Miller ever be a blessing.

Wed, October 21 2020 3 Cheshvan 5781