Since 1976, Rabbi Lewis Mintz has served as religious leader of our Congregation,having been involved in nearly every aspect of our dramatic growth and development in that time.
He studied at Brandeis University, concentrating in Near Eastern and Judaic studies and received a Masters Degree in counseling from Antioch University. He began his studies in rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary and was ordained rabbi by the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York. Founded over 50 years ago, the Academy has been at the forefront of pluralistic rabbinic training, whose graduates serve in Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and independent congregations throughout the country. During the 1990’s Rabbi Mintz served for eight years on the Academy’s Board of Trustees and, at its Ordination Ceremony in 2003, he was honored with the Academy’s Alumnus of the Year Award.
Rabbi Mintz brings to his efforts over 40 years’ experience in Jewish education and community work, including having previously served as Chaplain to Jewish students at Wellesley College and at Bentley College. In December 2007, a gala celebration was held at CBE honoring Lewis and Naomi for over three decades of dedicated service to our Congregation and community.
In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, his involvement in Congregational programming, our Religious School and adult education, Rabbi Mintz enjoys serving the Congregation and the broader community as a resource person regarding all matters of Jewish interest. Rabbi Mintz may be reached via email at email@example.com
Cantor Sarra Spierer
Cantor Sarra Allegra Spierer joined Congregation Beth Elohim in August of 2007 as our first Pastoral Associate and Cantor. She works with Rabbi Mintz to lead our community in prayer, learning, celebrating simchas and other life cycle events, and collaborates throughout the year with our CBE choir.
Cantor Spierer comes to CBE from the Jewish community of Manchester, NH. Her love and appreciation of Jewish music and prayer was kindled when she was a young girl, singing and participating in Shabbat services at Temple Israel.She sang with the Jewish teen choir, Kol Rinah (directed by Cantor Charles Osborne), and later joined the Zamir Chorale of Boston (directed by Dr. Joshua Jacobson), where she was inspired by and met many of her future teachers and mentors. In 2000, while she was an undergraduate at Boston University, she studied with Rabbi Jacob Rosner and served as the High Holiday cantorial soloist at her home synagogue in Manchester. On the bimah that New Year, she made the decision to pursue Jewish studies and become a cantor.
Cantor Spierer was ordained as cantor in June, 2007 by the Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts. She is a member of the first graduating class of Hebrew College’s Cantor-Educator Program, a course of study that emphasizes the growing role of cantors as pastoral leaders and educators (as well as prayer leaders) within their communities. She also earned a Master’s degree in Jewish education and completed an intensive training program in Clinical Pastoral Education at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.< The first two years of her cantorial studies were at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.
At CBE, Cantor Spierer leads many Shabbat and holiday services with Rabbi Mintz, serves our community in a pastoral role, works closely with B’nai Mitzvah children and their families, and teaches classes in Adult Education. She especially enjoys creating opportunity for congregational participation and spirit during services, helping B’nai Mitzvah children develop their strengths and gain confidence as they prepare, and collaborating with Judy Kramer (CBE’s choir director) and the members of our wonderful choir. She is an active participant in interfaith learning and a practitioner of meditation, especially as a form of healing and prayer. Cantor Spierer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education Director Leann Shamash
Leann Shamash was born in Medford. She participated in the Young Judaea's Year Course in Israel after graduating from high school which helped form and nurture a lifelong commitment to Judaism and Israel. After returning from Israel, Leann returned to Massachusetts and studied at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst where she received a BS in Plant and Soil Science with a minor in Judaic Studies.
Leann taught kindergarten at the Merrimack Valley Hebrew Academy in Lowell for thirteen years, where she also taught music. Leann returned to school for her Master’s degree to Brandeis University where she attended the Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service, with a concentration in Jewish education. She was the Director of Education at Temple Sinai in Brookline for six years before becoming the Education Director in Acton. During summer vacations Leann has worked for ten years at Camp Yavneh in New Hampshire where she happily directs the CIT play each summer. Leann is married to Hooshang and they have four children, Zohar, Eytan, Aviv and Orry. Leann Shamash can be reached via email at email@example.com