Michael A. White, Senior Rabbi
Rabbi Michael A. White became Temple Sinai's fourth Senior Rabbi in July of 1997. Born and raised in Schenectady, New York, Rabbi White received his undergraduate education in psychology at Brandeis University. His Masters in Hebrew literature and Rabbinic Ordination were awarded by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York where he was the recipient of numerous academic awards. Following his ordination Rabbi White pursued doctoral studies in religion and social ethics at the University of Southern California. Since his ordination Rabbi White has served Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, California and Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles, California.
Rabbi White is founder of the East Williston-Roslyn Community Coalition for Drug Free Youth; he is a member of the President's Advisory Board of the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the State University of New York-College at Old Westbury Foundation Board. Rabbi White also serves the Reform Movement in many capacities. He is the Vice-Chair of the National Joint Commission on Social Action, Chair of the Central Conference of the American Rabbis Justice and Peace Committee and is a member of the Editorial Board of the CCAR Journal where he has published articles on contemporary Jewish decision making. He also serves on the President's Advisory Council for the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Recently Rabbi White was Chair of the CCAR Ad Hoc Committee on Human Sexuality and Co-Chair of the Rabbinic Council of the Association of Reform Zionists of America.
He is married to Rebecca Katz-White, an attorney. They are the proud parents of David and Talia.
Rabbi Alexander M. Kress
Rabbi Kress grew up outside of Philadelphia and was inspired to join the rabbinate through his life changing experiences at Camp Harlam and NFTY. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, Rabbi Kress attended Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, CA where he received his rabbinic ordination in May, 2017. While serving as a Rabbinic intern at Stephen Wise Temple in Los Angeles, CA, Rabbi Kress delivered inspiring divrei torah (sermons), taught interesting Torah studies, mentored B’nai Mitzvah students, and led t’filot (prayer services) and family programs for Religious School families. He is a wonderful listener and compassionate clergy member. As a spiritual care intern at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA, he provided invaluable guidance to families of all faiths and backgrounds. Rabbi Kress’ love for music led him to become a DJ, MC and founder of a mobile entertainment company. He feels that there are many parallels between DJ’s and Rabbis. “Both craft communal experiences that serve as sanctuaries from the trials of the world... and mix the traditional with the contemporary to synthesize something fresh and exciting,” expressed Rabbi Kress. Rabbi Kress brings his energy and impressive experience as an educator and spiritual care-giver to Temple Sinai.
Rabbi Kress is married to his wife Michal and they have a daughter, Aria.
Cantor Sergei Schwartz
Cantor Sergei Schwartz joined Temple Sinai in July 2012. He was born in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine and has been singing since the age of six. Despite the religious prohibitions and restrictions imposed on all Jews in the former Soviet Union, Jewish music was always a part of Cantor Schwartz’ life. After graduation in 1990 from the Glinka College of Music in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine with a major in Choral Conducting, he and his family immigrated to Israel, where he was immediately accepted into the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music. He graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor's degree in Choral Conducting. Soon after coming to Jerusalem, Cantor Schwartz joined the Jerusalem Great Synagogue Choir where he absorbed an ever deepening love of cantorial music. While there, Cantor Schwartz studied cantorial art with famous Conductor and Cantor, Elli Jaffe, and with world renowned Cantor Naftali Herstik, Chief Cantor of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue. In 1996 Cantor Sergei Schwartz was accepted to the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, from which he successfully graduated with a Master of Sacred Music Degree and Ordination as Cantor in May of 2000. Upon graduation he accepted a full time position as cantor at Temple Beth Sholom in New City, New York. Cantor Schwartz has been honored to serve on the Board of the American Conference of Cantors and served as the ACC liaison to the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Four years ago he joined the faculty of the School of Sacred Music at the HebrewUnionCollege – Jewish Institute of Religion. Cantor Sergei Schwartz has appeared at concert halls across Europe, Israel and the United States.
He is married to Cantor Elena Schwartz, and they have two sons, Ziv and Lior. Click here for music at Temple Sinai.
Cantor-Educator Elena Schwartz - Director of Education
It is with great excitement that we welcome Cantor Elena Schwartz to our Temple Sinai family as the Director of Education. A talented educator and singer, she was born in the Ukraine, grew up in the former Soviet Union and came to the United States by way of Israel.
In 1990, she made aliyah to Israel. It was there that she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and Education at the Rubin Academy of Music & Dance in Jerusalem. She earned a Master's degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2002. She also received her Cantorial training and obtained a second Master's Degree by graduating from the School of Sacred Music and was invested as a Cantor in 2006.
Cantor Schwartz has dedicated her career to sharing with her community the highest levels of Jewish Education and Cantorial Art. She comes to Temple Sinai with over thirteen years of experience in Reform Jewish Education. Previously she served as Assistant Cantor at Temple Emanu-El in Westfield, NJ and as the Cantor and Director of Torah School for Monroe Temple Beth-El, Monroe, NY. In 2012, Cantor Schwartz produced a celebratory congregational CD “Prayer of the Heart”.
Cantor Schwartz is a member of the American Conference of Cantors, National Association of Temple Educators and Cantors Assembly.
She is married to Cantor Sergei Schwartz. They have two children, Ziv and Lior. Click here for music at Temple Sinai.
Rabbi Norman Kahan z"l (of blessed memory)
Rabbi Norman Kahan, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Sinai, where he served as senior Rabbi for eighteen years. Following his retirement, Rabbi Kahan agreed to become to the Founding Director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations Small Congregations Department.In addition to preparing programmatic and educational material for synagogues with a membership of less than 250, Rabbi Kahan travelled over 600,000 miles visiting some 260 congregations in the United States and Canada to determine how the national organization might better serve them as well as offering advice and counsel.
Among his honors, Rabbi Kahan was elected president of the New York Board of Rabbis in 1982. It is the oldest and largest representative rabbinic organization in the world. He has also served as the president of the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion Rabbinic Alumni Assocation and for eight years was a member of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors. In addition, Rabbi Norman Kahan is the former national co-chairman of the State of Israel Bonds Rabbinic Cabinet and served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the former Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York.
Cantor Andrew Edison
Cantor Andrew Edison is the Cantor Emeritus of Temple Sinai after serving for 19 years as its Cantor. Previously he has served Temple B'nai Shalom in East Brunswick, New Jersey. He is a former president of the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion - School of Sacred Music Alumni Association. He currently serves on its faculty where he teaches and coaches future cantors. He is a certified principal, supervisor of music and teacher of music in the State of New Jersey. He is the winner of the Cantor Norman Summers Prize and the Cantor Norman Belink Prize for Excellence in his studies at Hebrew Union College. He possesses a BA degree from Montclair State College, a BSM Degree from the Hebrew Union College and a MS in Education from Monmouth College.
Cantor Edison is married to wife Annette and has two children, Barry and Scott.