Rabbi Barry Schlesinger
A former leader of the Masorti-Conservative movement in Israel, Rabbi Barry Schlesinger, known as Rav Barry grew up in Englewood, New Jersey. He made Aliyah in 1972 at the age of 19.
Rav Barry recieved a BA in Community Social Work from Bar Ilan University and, after serving as Director of Community Centers in Safed and Jerusalem, he studied to become a Masorti-Conservative Rabbi in Jerusalem's Schechter Rabbinical School. He was ordained in 2001.
Rav Barry has served as spiritual leader of Kehilat Moreshet Avraham in East Talpiot, Congregation Beth Sholom in Teaneck, and AGUDATH Israel in Ottawa, Canada. He also served two terms as President of the Israeli branch of the Conservative Movement's International Rabbinical Assembly (from 2006-2010).
Rav Barry is married to Shira. They have six children and eight grandchildren.
Rabbi Daniel Wolpe
Hailing from a family of distinguished Rabbis, Rabbi Wolpe is honored to serve as Interim Rabbi at Congregations of Shaare Shamayim, after spending five and a half years as Associate Rabbi. His spiritual leadership is anchored in its warmth and welcoming acceptance of all. His engaging sermons reflect his passion for storytelling and life long learning. Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, he has served synagogues in Boca Raton, and Orlando, Florida, Oak Park, Michigan, and Albany, NY.
Rabbi Wolpe served on Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's Committee for Faith Based Programming, and was selected to speak at this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Ceremony in Philadelphia. He has also served on the cabinet of JNF, and as President of the Greater Orlando Board of Rabbis.
A noted teacher, Rabbi Wolpe has taught every age group from preschool to college to adult education. In addition, Rabbi Wolpe is an accomplished playwright whose plays have been produced in Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Albany, and Jerusalem.
Cantor Don Samuels
A gifted cantor, Cantor Samuels inspires his congregants, imbuing in them the ability to listen and awakening a compassionate understanding that we all have the desire to be heard. His liturgical music embodies his own personal compassion and joy.
As our ambassador of goodwill, Cantor Samuels has served the congregants of Shaare Shamayim since 1980, conducting Shiva visits, making hospital calls, and leading our daily minyans. His dedication to serve all of our congregants, through the best and worst of our lives, is a testament to a good and noble man.
Don Samuels was educated in Canada, his original home, at the University of Toronto where he received a degree in English Literature. He then pursued a career in choral conducting and music teaching, bringing theater and Shakespearean music to the schools. In 1974, Don and his wife, Sylvia, opted to change their lifestyle. Don enrolled at Yeshiva University to study at the Cantorial Training Institute and the James Strait School of General Jewish Studies.
Don and his wife, Sylvia, are blessed with two children, and 13 grandchildren.
Cantor Michael Bitton
Born in Israel to a traditional Moroccan family, Cantor Bitton comes from a long line of musicians. As a young man, his love of the synagogue, Shabbat, and holidays led him to Yeshiva University where he attended the cantorial program with an emphasis on Ashkenazi liturgy.
Cantor Bitton brings a combination of upbeat, inspirational Ashkenazi and Sephardic tunes to our modern Conservative Egalitarian Shabbat and High Holiday services. Cantor Bitton also assists our Bar and Bat Mitzvah candidates with their preparation in the Egalitarian service.
Cantor Bitton and his wife, Lisa, have two daughters, Abigail and Rachel. He enjoys spending time with his family and cooking together. He plays the guitar, likes to exercise, play basketball, racquetball, soccer, and swim.
Rabbi Emeritas Arnold H. Feldman
Rabbi Feldman was a driving force in making our synagogue the outstanding Jewish house of worship for the Northeast Philadelphia community. He guided the growth and expansion of our synagogue center and supervised the building of our entire educational complex. He held the position of Vice President of the Board of Rabbis of Philadelphia, and was a founder of "The Bridge," a drug rehabilitation center for the youth of our area.
Rabbi Feldman and his wife, Carole, are blessed with four children and nine grandchildren.