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Our Clergy 







Rabbi Dennis Ross

RABBI DENNIS S. ROSS is an Intentional Interim Rabbi. He has served congregations in Manhattan, Chappaqua and Albany, New York, Washington, D.C., Potomac, Maryland, and Pittsfield and Worcester, Massachusetts.

Rabbi Ross is author of When a Lie Is Not a Sin: The Hebrew Bible’s Framework for Deciding (Jewish Lights), All Politics Is Religious: Speaking Faith to the Media, Policy Makers and Community (SkyLight Paths), and God in Our Relationships: Spirituality between People from the Teachings of Martin Buber (Jewish Lights). He has written for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Forward, and other publications.

He directs Concerned Clergy for Choice at Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts and he serves on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Advocacy Board.

Rabbi Ross graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School with a specialty in architectural design and drawing, earned a B. A. in Psychology from Queens College of the City University of New York, and an M. A. in Hebrew Literature and rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He is a Licensed Clinical Social worker with the Master of Social Work degree from New York University and the Primary Certificate in Rational-Emotive Therapy from the Albert Ellis Institute. An honorary Doctor of Divinity from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion recognized his advocacy for reproductive rights and stem cell research.

He has taught at Hebrew Union College, Williams College and was an Associate of the Faculty of the University of Massachusetts Medical School where he taught bio-medical ethics. He is a media consultant on religion and the media, and travels frequently to speak about ethics, spiritually, reproductive rights, and church-state separation.

His website is

Read Rabbi Ross's words HERE

Cantor Marina Shemesh

Cantor Marina Shemesh joined Temple Sinai in July 2012. She received her investiture as Hazzan and Master of Sacred Music from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in May 2004. She previously served as cantor at Congregation Mevakshe Derekh in Scarsdale, NY, Congregation Beth Israel in Worcester, MA and Brotherhood Synagogue in NYC. Cantor Shemesh feels fortunate to have found her calling in the vast and beautiful world of Jewish music and loves to share this passion with congregants of all ages, connecting them to our rich spiritual tradition, and liturgical and cultural heritage.

Her work in opera has taken her to major roles with companies including New Israeli Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera Company, and Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv. In addition to her opera work, Cantor Shemesh performed in concerts, recitals, and oratorio with major Israeli orchestras, such as the Rishon-le-Zion, Ashdod, Raanana, and Haifa Technion orchestras.

Cantor Shemesh has received many impressive musical awards and prizes from vocal competitions in Montreal, Bilbao, Athens, and Tel-Aviv. She has been the recipient of many scholarships and awards, such as: America Israel Cultural Foundation, Israel Vocal Arts Institute Foundation (IVAI), Jewish Foundation for Education of Women, and others. Marina taught vocal performance at Clark University in Worcester and currently she teaches voice at her voice studio in Livingston and at the H. L. Miller Cantorial School at JTS.

In addition to Jewish Theological Seminary, she holds a Master's degree in Music and Voice Performance from St. Petersburg State Conservatory and Rubin Academy of Music in Tel-Aviv, where she won first prize in the Academy's Vocal Competition.

Cantor Shemesh responsibilities as a Cantor of Temple Sinai include preparing our students for Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and leading services for Shabbat, the High Holy Days, and the Festivals. She also teaches Cantillation and prayers at the Religious school, Confirmation at the High School as well as leads Shabbat celebrations at the Early Childhood Education Program. She conducts Shir Libeinu Choir and the Temple Sinai Band. Cantor Shemesh directs the Purim Spiels productions and produces annual benefit concert in series “Cantor Shemesh and Friends”. As a member of the clergy team, Cantor Shemesh attends to the pastoral and life cycle needs of our congregants.

Cantor Marina Shemesh is a member of Cantors Assembly and the American Conference of Cantors. She lives in Livingston, NJ with her husband and her two sons Daniel and Elijah.

Here are some musical selections Cantor Shemesh would like to share with you.

Eli, Eli by Naomi Shemer
Ani Ma'amim - I Believe
Avinu Malkeinu by Max Janowski


Rabbi Stuart Gershon, Emeritus

Rabbi Stuart W. Gershon retired after 25 years as the Rabbi of Temple Sinai. Rabbi Gershon was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 1989. Rabbi Gershon possesses two M.A. degrees, one in Jewish Education from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the other in Hebrew Literature from HUC-JIR. He received his B.A. in Judaic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Rabbi Gershon is known for his warmth, caring, and sense of humor. He brings his own unique blend of spirituality and intellectuality to Shabbat and festival services and to Torah study.

At the 12th grade graduation from Temple Sinai High School in May, 2013, one graduating senior said this about Rabbi Gershon:

               "Rabbi, you are wise yet approachable, silly yet responsible, funny yet respectful...You are a tzaddik, a righteous one. You are the most purely good person I have ever known, and your faith is clearly part of the reason why. That is why I kept coming back to services. That's why I kept attending Hebrew High School. Before I was even a Jew in my own right, I knew that if Reform Judaism could produce a man like you, then it was a religion worth believing in."

Rabbi Gershon was a founder and tri-chair of the Darfur Genocide Rescue Committee of Summit from 2007 to 2009. He also served as a founder and co-chair of the New Providence Diversity Committee from 2007 to 2010. Rabbi Gershon was awarded the "Keeper of the Dream" Award by the Martin Luther King Day of Service Committee in 2010. Rabbi Gershon is the author of Kol Nidrei: Its Origin, Development, and Significance.

Rabbi Gershon's Sermons from High Holy Days 5779 - September 2018

Erev Rosh Hashanah: My Hope in Israel Is a Matter of Faith

Rosh Hashanah Day: Why Temple Sinai Matters

Yom Kippur Evening: Your Name is Written on My Heart

Yom Kippur Day: The Good News is You're With Me

Rabbi Peter Kasdan, Emeritus


Cantor Florence Friedman, Emeritus

Cantor Friedman was proud to serve as Temple Sinai’s Cantor from 1999-2012.  Cantor Friedman has a passion for learning and has had a very active retirement including chaplaincy, piano and voice studies, teaching Jewish Mindfulness Meditation, reading avidly, studying with The Institute of Jewish Spirituality, traveling, bicycling and spending time with her husband Loren, 7 grandchildren, extended family and friends.  She currently resides in Lambertville, New Jersey a picturesque town on the Delaware River.

Cantor Friedman currently serves part time as the Jewish Chaplain for Greenwood Hospice and volunteers at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton, New Jersey.  She leads Shabbat morning services monthly at Shir Ami in Newtown, Pa.  Cantor Friedman studies piano at Westminster Conservatory and continues to work on new repertoire with her piano duet partner, Jolene Chou.   They are currently preparing for an upcoming concert in Spring, 2020.  She has served various congregations as Cantor for High Holy Days and last year had an interesting experience Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. Cantor Friedman created Temple Sinai’s Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Group, which still meets monthly, and continues to teach meditation at various synagogues near her home. In January 2019, she lived in Jerusalem and studied at Ulpan Or and has plans for a return trip in January 2020.

Prior to coming to Temple Sinai, she served as Cantor at Temple Emanu-El in Edison, New Jersey from 1986-1999.  She was certified as an Invested Cantor by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion – The School of Sacred Music in 1998 and earned her master’s degree in Education from Rutgers University in 1980. She is a member of the American Conference of Cantors and served as the Chairperson of the Retired Cantors’ Network.  Her continuous studies have included 2 units of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education), both the Cantors’ Cohort and Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training from the Institute of Jewish Spirituality.

Cantor Friedman would love to hear from old and new congregants as well as previous students of Temple Sinai!

Thu, November 14 2019 16 Cheshvan 5780