Rabbi – Suzanne Singer
Rabbi Singer joined Temple Beth El (TBE) as Rabbi and Educator in February of 2008. As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, she is keenly aware of the need to make our world a better place. She currently serves as a member of the Reform movement’s Commission on Social Action and, previously, as a commissioner for the City of Riverside’s Human Relations Commission. She has led advocacy efforts through local interfaith organizations; succeeded in helping pass alternative to jail and aid-in-dying legislation; developed significant relationships with local, state and national legislators; and secured funding for and organized trips to Sacramento and Washington, DC for Confirmation students to learn about the legislative process and to engage in lobbying through the Reform movement’s L’Taken seminars. She was named a Riverside “Champion of Justice” in 2010 and a Riverside “Woman of Distinction” in 2015. Her essays have been published in The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, the CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, and in two CCAR Press collections.
Before coming to Riverside, Rabbi Singer served at Temple Sinai in Oakland, CA. She also served both as Director of the Introduction to Judaism Program for the Pacific Southwest Council of the Union for Reform Judaism, and as Coordinator of a leadership initiative at Hebrew Union College’s (HUC) Los Angeles campus.
Rabbi Singer grew up in New York City and attended the Lycée Francais de New York from elementary through high school. She holds three Masters Degrees: a Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters and a Masters of Arts in Judaic Studies from Hebrew Union College (HUC); and a Masters in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also earned a Bachelors Degree in Comparative Literature. Rabbi Singer was ordained by HUC in 2003.
Prior to attending HUC, Rabbi Singer spent twenty years as a television producer and programming executive, primarily for national public television (PBS) and primarily in news and public affairs. As executive producer of a national documentary series, POV, she won two national Emmy awards. She also co-created and produced a national preschool series, The Puzzle Place, designed to help children respect and appreciate diversity. Rabbi Singer is married to actor/acting teacher Jordan Lund. She is also the aunt of seven nieces and nephews with whom she is very close.
Read sermons and articles: https://tberiv.org/Rabbi-Singers-Corner
Cantor Emeritus – Robert Sirotnik
Dr. Robert Sirotnik (who prefers Cantor Bob) has been the cantor at Temple Beth El since 1971, and practicing as a cantor since 1969.
He received his cantorial training from famed cantors Philip Moddel and William Sharlin. Though officially responsible for music at TBE, Bob and his wife Barbara are at least as renowned for their immeasurable depth of caring. Dr. Sirotnik is also TBE’s choir director and a well respected dentist in our community.
Senior Administrator – Elise Haton
“X-New Yorker, X-Valley Girl, X-cellent people person and always ready to help you,” she says.Elise Haton was born in Bronx, New York and moved to the San Fernando Valley when she was 13. She attended Cal State University Northridge where she majored in Business.
She worked for Wells Fargo Bank for 17 years and was a Vice President at the Beverly Hills Branch. Since moving to Riverside she volunteered on the then named Riverside General Hospital Foundation Board and was chair of some committees for the “Festival of Trees” which is a yearly event run by the board of the hospital foundation. The proceeds of this fundraiser go to the neo-natal ward for purchasing equipment to better serve their little patients.”
Elise has been Temple Administrator since 1999 and recently received her “Senior” status in Temple Administration from the National Association of Temple Administrators. She is responsible for all administrative functions.
Her hobby is bicycle riding. One of her favorite things about being Jewish is working at Temple Beth El and watching our Jewish children grow into young adults who embrace Judaism.
Educator and Associate Administrator – Andrea McNellis
Andrea McNellis recently graduated from HUC-JIR with Masters degrees in Jewish Education and Jewish Nonprofit Management. Andrea is passionate about Jewish education and synagogue life. She focused her research in the last year on prayer, spirituality, and well-being and is excited to bring what she’s learned in and outside of the classroom to her work at TBE.
Andrea is an experienced religious school teacher and administrator. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, swimming, and live music. Andrea is looking forward to joining the TBE professional team, contributing to and learning from everyone in this wonderful community.
M’Lamedet – Carolee Jaspan
For more than 25 years, Carolee Jaspan has taken every Bar & Bat Mitzvah student under her wing with knowledge, love, caring, and grace. At TBE, we do the bakery jingle a little differently: ” Nobody doesn’t like Ca-ro-lee “
Carolee comes to us from Ware, Massachusetts where she attended Brandeis University. Her curriculum included science and Jewish studies. She relocated to Riverside in 1965. In 1981, she was asked by the rabbi of Temple Beth El to volunteer as the M’lamedet and teach the B’Mitzvah students their Torah and Haftorah portions and prayers. Carolee is a pied piper with children. They are enthusiastic and drawn to her. She states that ” it is the most wonderful volunteer job I have ever had.” Our B’Mitzvah program is more than comprehensive than most as the children do the entire Friday and Saturday Shabbat Services in addition to their Torah and Haftorah portions. Temple Beth El is very lucky to have her.
Temple Secretary – Diane Eskritt
Besides being the “voice of TBE,’ Diane also runs the Weiss Judaica Gift Shop at the Temple.
Clergy Assistant – Susan Tenenbaum
It’s an exciting time at TBE and I’m so glad to be a small part of it.
No matter how busy life at Temple becomes, the office staff is always here for you! Fight On!