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Rabbi Lisa Gelber      

Messages from Rabbi Gelber

Rabbi Gelber: The Time is Now: June 21, 2018

Read Rabbi Gelber's Yom Kippur Sermon, Honoring our Past; Building Our Future, here. 

Rabbi Lisa Gelber is thrilled to serve as spiritual leader of the Congregation Habonim Community. Born right here in New York City, Rabbi Gelber grew up in Westchester County and graduated from Amherst College with an AB in Religion, magna cum laude. Since receiving ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), she has served congregations in Mercer Island, Washington and Skokie, Illinois, as well as guiding, coaching and training rabbinical, cantorial and education students in her role as Associate Dean of the Rabbinical School at JTS.

Rabbi Gelber thrives on collaborative work and delights in helping seekers of all ages find their way into Jewish community and practice as they strive to discover, deepen and nurture their Jewish life and identity, individually and as part of sacred community. A relationship builder at heart, Rabbi Gelber loves to learn, sing, and pray with young and old.

Co-editor of A Journey Towards Freedom: a Haggadah for survivors of domestic violence, Rabbi Gelber has lectured nationwide about domestic violence in the Jewish Community, and served on the Board of FaithTrust Institute (formerly Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence). A long distance runner, long time fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through their Team in Training program, and trained spiritual director with certification from the Yedidya Center, Rabbi Gelber uses running as spiritual practice and believes in the power of contemplative practice to strengthen community and family relationships.

Parent to an elementary school aged daughter, Rabbi Gelber's journey to parenthood is featured in the Emmy nominated documentary ALL OF THE ABOVE: Single, Clergy, Mother. 

Contact Rabbi Gelber here to talk about all aspects of Jewish life and living, and to learn how to connect with others in our sacred community. 

To schedule time with Rabbi Gelber, contact Her office number is 212-787-5313.

Cantorial Soloist and Music Educator Jessica Futran Scheinman


Jessica became Cantorial Soloist and Music Educator at Congregation Habonim in July, 2021.

Jessica will be serving as our Shlichat Tzibur, working in collaboration with Rabbi Gelber to lead our community in prayer on Shabbat, at the High Holy Days and for other services.  Among her other responsibilities, Jessica will also continue to prepare our B’nai Mitzvah students, as she has skillfully done for many years, and will be engaged in all aspects of prayer and musical education for our entire community, from our youngest students to participants in our adult education programs.

Starting as a teenager and continuing through her education at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Jessica has trained under the direction of clergy in her local congregations and with our own Cantor Halev after she moved to New York and joined Congregation Habonim in 2013.  In addition to her extensive experience with Jewish liturgy and musical traditions, Jessica also had a professional career in musical theater and opera, including as a member of the company for Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish.

Contact Jessica at Her office number is 212-787-5347 x107.

Cantor Emeritus Bruce Halev


After 38 years at Congregation Habonim, Cantor Halev began serving as Cantor Emeritus in July, 2021. We look forward to his continued involvement with the Habonim community!

A graduate of the School of Sacred Music of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), he also holds MA degrees in Near Eastern Studies and in Jewish Education from New York University, as well as an MSW from Yeshiva University. In 2011 he received a Doctorate of Music, Honoris Causa, from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion for 25 years of service to his synagogue and to the Jewish community.

With an ongoing interest in themes of Jewish spirituality, Cantor Halev completed a two-year program in Spiritual Direction through Lev Shomeah, an organization of Jewish Spiritual Directors. He also has a strong personal interest in Jewish Mysticism and has taught numerous courses on this subject at Congregation Habonim, The Open Center, and at other venues.

Cantor Halev began his professional life in the opera and theater worlds in Europe and Israel before deciding to pursue a career in the cantorate. He is a graduate of the London Opera Center, and also studied in Italy with Tito Gobbi, the great Italian baritone. He sings in four languages and his two favorite operatic roles are Don Giovanni and Rigoletto.

Contact Cantor Halev here.

Find samples of music used for our services, including children's services, here


Sun, June 23 2024 17 Sivan 5784