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Rabbi Matthew D. Gewirtz began his tenure as the Senior Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in July 2006. Previously he served as Senior Associate Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom. He earned his Masters in Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 1996 and was ordained by HUC-JIR in 1997.
Rabbi Gewirtz is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). Most recently, he served on a CCAR Task Force to study interfaith marriage and the potential participation of clergy in interfaith initiatives throughout the U.S. He also is a member of the President’s Rabbinic Council for the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and serves on the Board of the New Jersey Jewish News.
A strong advocate of social justice, Rabbi Gewirtz is a founding executive committee member of the Newark Coalition for Hope and Peace, an interfaith organization of Jews, Christians and Muslims that is committed to ending gang violence in Newark. He also serves on the Board of the Jewish Vocational Services MetroWest, which provides nonsectarian assistance to New Jersey residents who need vocational, education, and health and human services.
Rabbi Gewirtz is an avid Zionist and a member of ARZA (the Association of Reform Zionists of America). He has led nine trips to Israel in his 13 years as a rabbi.
A regular contributor to numerous professional publications, including the CCAR Journal and The American Rabbi, he is the author of “The Gift of Grief: Finding Peace, Transformation and Renewed Life after Great Sorrow” (Random House).
A native New Yorker, Rabbi Gewirtz was drawn to B’nai Jeshurun when he learned of its long and storied tradition and was moved by its proud history and intergenerational sense of community. Though impressed by the physical beauty of B’nai Jeshurun’s sanctuary, he was most moved by the community’s steadfast and abiding commitment to authentic worship, substantive Jewish study, and the prophetic values of social justice.
Rabbi Gewirtz notes, “In this often frenetic world, people need to find a safe and secure sanctuary where they can experience a meaningful and transformative experience. I try every day to make sure that B’nai Jeshurun is just such a sanctuary for this wonderfully diverse Jewish community. Through worship, Jewish learning, social justice, and connection to Israel, I believe we can find a balance that both stirs the mind and nourishes the soul.”
Rabbi Gewirtz credits his parents, both of whom were teachers, for instilling in him a sense of respect for the world and its people, regardless of their stations in life, and the importance of family, traditions and civility. In his parents’ footsteps, he loves teaching children. “They are the future of our faith, and I want B’nai Jeshurun to be a second home for them where they can grow in spiritual confidence and experience a challenging and worthwhile education. “
Rabbi Gewirtz is married to Lauren Rutkin, a non-profit fundraising consultant and philanthropy advisor, and the owner of VIP, Ventures in Philanthropy. They are the proud parents of Jake, Natalia and Sadie. Rabbi Gewirtz is also an ardent fan of baseball (NY Mets) and football (NY Jets) and serves on the Newark Museum Council.
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Howard M. Stahl has been hailed as one of America’s outstanding cantors. He was called to Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, New Jersey, in July of 1999. Previously, he served Temple Israel (Lawrence, New York) and Congregation Beth Emeth (Albany). A graduate of the School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, he earned a Masters degree in Social Work from the State University of New York at Albany with specializations in both Gerontology and Marriage and Family Therapy. In 1998, HUC-JIR awarded Cantor Stahl an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the cantorate and the Jewish people.
For several decades, Cantor Stahl has participated in the leadership of the American Conference of Cantors (ACC): as its president (1981-1983) and Executive Vice President (1991-1999). In 1999, the ACC named Cantor Stahl an Honorary Vice President. He also has served on the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and is the founding chairman of the National Commission on Cantorial-Congregational Relationships. A gifted and creative educator, Cantor Stahl was honored by the National Association of Temple Educators in 1995 for his commitment to Jewish education and, in 1984, he was awarded Life Membership in the North American Federation of Temple Youth for his pioneer work with Jewish youth.
Cantor Stahl has appeared on major stages throughout the world, including the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Sarasota Opera House and Carnegie Hall. He can be heard on the CD’s Evening, Morn and Noon: The Sacred Music of Jack Gottlieb (Premier Recordings), Yamim Noraim (Union for Reform Judaism), and Leonard Bernstein: a Jewish Legacy (Naxos).
Cantor Stahl recently published “William Sparger: Enigmatic Pioneer of the American Reform Cantorate” in the American Jewish Archives Journal. Read the article.
Cantor Stahl and his wife, Dr. Nancy Simpkins, are the parents of five children.
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Rabbi Karen R. Perolman began working at B’nai Jeshurun in 2008 as a Rabbinic Intern. She was named an Assistant Rabbi in the spring of 2010 and an Associate Rabbi in July 2013. She serves as Rabbi in Residence for the Rabbi Barry H. Greene Early Childhood Center and the B’nai Jeshurun Religious School.
Rabbi Perolman received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Jewish Studies in 2004 from the University of Maryland at College Park. Following graduation, she worked for Rutgers University Hillel as a Jewish Campus Service Corps Fellow. She later attended Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York where she received her Masters Degree in Hebrew Literature. She was ordained by HUC-JIR in 2010. While in Rabbinical school, Rabbi Perolman worked as an educator at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan and was the Rabbinic Intern at Columbia/Barnard Hillel.
Rabbi Perolman credits her involvement with NFTY and URJ Camp Harlam with her desire to pursue the rabbinate, including a pivotal summer traveling with the NFTY in Israel program. These youth experiences nurtured a deep love of Reform Judaism, social justice and Zionism.
The daughter of a career Army Judge Advocate, Rabbi Perolman was born in Bremerhaven, Germany, and lived in cities throughout the U.S. until her family settled in Ellicott City, Maryland. She now lives in Jersey City where she is a voracious reader, aspiring chef, and social media maven.
Rabbi Joshua Stanton first worked at B’nai Jeshurun in 2009 as a fifth grade teacher. He joyfully returned as an Assistant Rabbi in July 2013.
Rabbi Stanton received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in history, economics, and Spanish from AmherstCollege in 2008. With the support of some wonderful mentors, he discerned his calling to become a rabbi. Just months after graduating from college, he began his rabbinical education at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he studied as a Schusterman Rabbinical Fellow.
As a rabbinical student, Rabbi Stanton had the opportunity to serve as Associate Director of the Center for Global Judaism at Hebrew College in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, Rabbinical Intern at Beth Haverim Shir Shalom in Mahwah, New Jersey, Student Rabbi at Temple Beth Israel in Steubenville, Ohio, and a Chaplaincy Intern at NYU’s Hospital of Joint Disease, Mount Sinai Hospital, and the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services.
An avid cook and runner in his free moments, Rabbi Stanton is as likely to be found at the stove as he is at the gym. He lives in Hoboken with his wife Mirah Curzer, who is an attorney and a talented photographer.