Clergy

Rabbi Reuben Israel Abraham

Rabbi Reuben Israel Abraham was born "Robin Scott Jones" in Rockford, Illinois, in 1951.  At the age of 12, he read Herman Wouk's classic This Is My God and began his journey toward becoming a Jew.  Less than a year after earning a B.A. in Economics from Rockford College in 1973, he made orthodox conversion to Judaism.  After a number of years serving in various positions in the professional world, he attended the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) where he was ordained in 1992.  In 2017, RRC awarded Rabbi Abraham the degree of Doctor of Divinty Honoris Causa, in recognition of his service to the Jewish people.

Rabbi Abraham served as the Rabbi of Adath Tikvah-Montefiore in Northeast Philadelphia for 10 years and Congregations of Ner Zedek for nearly 19 years before the synagogue's merger with Congregations of Shaare Shamayim.  He also served as the Congregation of Ner Zedek's Cantor for over 10 years.  In addition to his role serving as synagogue Rabbi, Rabbi Abraham has served as the Rabbi Chaplain in the Pastoral Care Department of Holy Redeemer Health System for over 25 years helping acute and elder care.  Recently, he was added to Holy Redeemer's Home & Hospice care division as a hospice chaplain.

Rabbi Abraham also served in the United States Navy for 25 years.   In addition to his tours of duty as a Navy Supply Corp Officer, his tours of duty as a Navy Jewish Chaplain included volunteer training unit 9393, Chaplain, Supervisor Chaplain, Deputy Group Chaplain and Group Chaplain of Marine Aircraft Group 49, Chaplain of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 772, and Commanding Officer of Navy Reserve Marine Expeditionary Force Religious Unit 109.  Rabbi Abraham was promoted to the rank of Commander in 2010 and retired from the Navy on July 1, 2012.

Email: RabbiAbraham@shaareshamayim.org

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.

Sun, December 17 2017 29 Kislev 5778