Leadership & Staff

Solomon Hoffman, Rabbinical Leader

Solomon Hoffman is excited to be stepping into the rabbinic leader role at Mishkan Ha’am! He is currently a rabbinical student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where he received the Mehlman Jewish Music Award and Socolow Writing Prize. He grew up in Port Washington, NY attending the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore (RSNS). Since 2014, he has been an educator there, pioneering new curriculum on social justice, Jewish values, prayer and Torah for learners 2-90+. He has also served as their musical director, arranging for congregant musicians, leading the choir and composing new prayer settings. Solomon has composed and arranged music for a variety of theater, cabaret and dance projects and is the founder of The Songwriter’s Orchestra, an innovative 12-piece chamber orchestra that accompanies award-winning songwriters and Broadway performers. He served on the volunteer leadership team for the NY chapter of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice for three years, and seeks to create projects that fuse the arts and activism. Solomon graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University with majors in music and psychology, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He is currently completing a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) through Mount Sinai Hospital.

Rabbi Solomon can be reached at: rabbiatmishkanhaam@gmail.com

Rabbi Lori Feldstein-Gardner, Education Director

Rabbi Lori Feldstein-Gardner was born and raised in New York. She was very active in her home congregation, Riverdale Temple. It was there at age 16 that she decided that she wanted to be a rabbi. She found Reconstructionist Judaism at age 18 while attending Mount Holyoke College. She was a member of Reconstructionist congregation Jewish Community of Amherst (Amherst, MA). Rabbi Lori studied Theatre Arts and History with a concentration in Russian history and the Cold War in college. It was at that time that she was trained in the Eastern European art of clowning as well as in stand-up comedy. While in her first year of college, Rabbi Lori heard about the formation of Reconstructionist Congregation Mishkan Ha’am in Riverdale and wished it had been founded just a few years earlier!

After college, Rabbi Lori attended the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences where she became a School Library Media Specialist. Rabbi Lori loved working with the lower school children at The Hewitt School in Manhattan. While living in New York, Rabbi Lori was a member of Reconstructionist congregation West End Synagogue. Rabbi Lori has a deep love for the beauty and art of picture books and loves nothing more than working with children. However, as a secular teacher she was unable to explore spirituality with children and she returned to her childhood dream of becoming a rabbi.

Rabbi Lori studied at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) as well as the Conservative Yeshivah (Jerusalem). While she was a student at RRC, Rabbi Lori served as the Education Director at Reconstructionist Congregation Kol Tzedek in West Philadelphia and as Rabbinic Intern at the Hillel at West Chester University in West Chester, PA. After she graduated from RRC, Rabbi Lori was blessed to serve as the Rabbi/Educator at Temple Beth Rishon in Wyckoff, NJ (an unaffiliated congregation) and as Rabbi Educator at Reconstructionist Congregation Society for the Advancement of Judaism.

Rabbi Lori lives in Riverdale with her wife, Tracy, their daughter, Josie, and their two cats, Willow and Cedar. Rabbi Lori can be reached at: mishkanhaam.shearim@gmail.com

Officers

Amanda Ascher & Danielle Levine, Co-Presidents
Tobie Stanger, Vice President
Joey Parnes, Treasurer
David Saphra, Secretary
Eric Zamore, Chair, Parent Education Committee

Our leadership can be reached at: mishkanhaam@gmail.com

Steering Committee

Mishkan Ha’am’s policy, financial, and programming decisions are guided by a Steering Committee, comprised of officers and any member who chooses to participate. Steering Committee meetings take place monthly, generally on the first Monday of the month. Please join us!

Check the Calendar for meeting dates and locations.

Committees

Have a great idea for a program? Interested in shaping a holiday observance? Willing to schlep chairs? The active committees below would welcome your participation in helping to create Mishkan Ha’am’s community! Contact us at mishkanhaam.org if you’d like to get involved or want more information.

Mishkan Ha’am Committees

Congregational Education
Plan and coordinate adult study programs in conjunction with the rabbi (Beit Midrash topics, holiday study sessions, etc.), as well as a Jewish/Israel Book Club.

Creative Havdalah-Plus
Plan and execute special programs over the course of the year, usually to occur on Saturday evening in conjunction with Havdalah (end of Shabbat), including, for example, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day).

General Holidays
Plan with rabbi, or find community “point person” to plan with rabbi, programs for Jewish holidays other than the High Holidays, including, for example, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Hanukkah, and Passover.

Spiritual Practice
Plan and set balanced schedule of services for various segments of community, and collaborate with rabbinic leader on ways to enrich services, including alternative services such as chanting, meditation, labyrinth walk, or hiking services.

She’arim/Gateways Education Committee (Hebrew School)
Coordinate with and provide assistance to Education Director. Set policy and oversee curriculum development and hiring of teachers for She’arim. Develop programming for pre-school children.

Sunshine Committee
Establish and maintain communication with members of our community who need help, and find those who can help, including in times of personal loss. Currently chaired by David Saphra.

Teen
Work with Rabbi and teens to develop programs for post-B’nai Mitzvah teens.

Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World)
Plan and coordinate tzedakah (charity or justice) projects for the community at large and with She’arim/Gateways Hebrew School on Tzedakah projects.

Fundraising
Plan and pursue fundraising strategies, events, and activities throughout the year.

Membership/Outreach
Reach out to potential members by publicizing and sharing information about MH’s programs, activities, and principles.

Music
Plan, prepare, and perform for services and events.

High Holiday Logistics
Plan and execute logistics of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services and events.

Set Up
Coordinate setting up the space in preparation for services.

Calendar Coordinators
Coordinate the calendar, and perform certain administrative responsibilities in connection with the programs created by various committees.

Finance
Oversee congregation’s finances and budget.

Rabbinic Liaison
Coordinate with Rabbi on ritual issues and community feedback. Lead rabbinic search process.

Website Redesign
Redesign and Update our Website