During his college and Seminary years, Rabbi Sirner taught and led youth groups at various Synagogues in the New York area. He spent 11 summers on the staff of the Ramah camps, the national educational camping programs, sponsored by the Conservative Movement. Rabbi Sirner has pursued part time graduate study in guidance and counseling at Teachers’ College of Columbia University.
Upon his ordination in 1972, Rabbi Sirner came to Beth El Synagogue of New Rochelle as its assistant Rabbi, serving under the late Rabbi David I. Golovensky, 1972-1975, and continuing as Associate Rabbi from 1975-1976. In 1976, upon Rabbi Golovensky’s retirement, Rabbi Sirner was selected as Senior Rabbi of Beth El Synagogue.
Active in a broad range of community endeavors, Rabbi Sirner is currently a member of the National Rabbinic Cabinet of UJA. He has served as the President of the Westchester Board of Rabbis (Conservative, Reform, Orthodox and Reconstructionist) as well as on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly. He is currently an officer of the New York Board of Rabbis.
For the last several years Rabbi Sirner has served on the Chancellor’s Rabbinic Cabinet at the Jewish Theological Seminary. In the local community Rabbi Sirner was a founding member of the Interrreligious Council of New Rochelle. He currently chairs the Pastoral Care Committee of Sound Shore Medical Center. An enthusiastic participant in the Meals on Wheels program in New Rochelle, Rabbi Sirner is a supporter of its H.O.P.E. Soup Kitchen. He is also active in activities of the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester. Rabbi Sirner is married to Lenore Richman Sirner, a medical social worker. They are proud parents of three children - two daughters and a son.
Rabbinic Intern Josh Dorsch joined our staff on July 1, 2012 on a part-time basis. He is a fifth year rabbinical school student at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), where he earned an master’s of art degree in Jewish education and is working towards an additional master’s degree in Midrash and Scriptural Interpretation. Josh studied as an undergraduate student at List College, where he earned a bachelor’s of art degree in political science from Columbia University and a degree in Talmud and Rabbinics from JTS. While at the seminary, Josh was selected to participate in the Schusterman Rabbinic Fellowship, and is currently participating in the Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Fellowship program at Temple Emanuel, in Reno, Nevada.
Prior to coming to Beth El, Rabbi Josh spent two years working as the student rabbi at the Emanuel Synagogue, in West Hartford, Connecticut. During his year of rabbinical school in Israel, he served as a rabbinic intern for a Massorti (traditional) congregation, Tiferet Sholom, in Tel Aviv. He also worked as the rabbinic adviser for the Hillel at the University of Hartford. This summer, Josh will be interning as a chaplain at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in New York City. Originally from Philadelphia, Josh grew up attending, and then staffing, Camp Ramah in the Poconos and was very active in USY. He is an enthusiastic fan of Philadelphia sports teams and is a retired competitive table tennis player.
Hazzan Jamie Gloth was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. He began singing in his synagogue's Junior Choir at age ten, and later sang in the Adult Choir through college. Active in both Kadima and U.S.Y., Hazzan Gloth served as president of both groups and later served as staff member, counselor, teacher, and advisor for many regional and national youth group events.
Hazzan Gloth attended the University of Cincinnati, where he majored in Judaic Studies and was extremely active in the Hillel Jewish Student Center, starring in two stage productions there. After graduation, he attended the H.L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music at the Jewish Theological Seminary, in New York. While studying at JTS, he and his classmates starred in and toured with the well-received cabaret show Cantors on Broadway. He received his Master of Sacred Music degree and investiture as Hazzan from the Seminary in 1997.
Before joining Beth El, Hazzan Gloth served as hazzan of Congregation B'nai Israel, in Toledo since 1999. He previously served as cantor at Conservative synagogues in Montclair, New Jersey, and in Redwood City, California. He also served as a hospital chaplain intern at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the New York Hospital. Hazzan Gloth has served as a member of the Executive Council of the Cantors Assembly, the largest body of cantors in the world. He is married to Bina Carr and is father of four children.
Cantor Aqua’s musical career began in elementary school when he was selected as a soloist in his school choir. In high school, he performed the role of Chazzan for Shabbat and High Holiday prayers with the guidance of established Chazzanim from Jerusalem. Cantor Aqua continued to perform as a Chazzan even as he served in a combat unit in the Israeli Army.
Following his army service, Cantor Aqua opened his own song and dance company under the title of Uri Teman. The company performed throughout Israel.
Upon his arrival in New York, Cantor Aqua began to work as a Chazzan in various synagogues throughout the area. He simultaneously began to perform and to teach Israeli Dance. In 1987 he joined the staff of Beth El Synagogue. In addition to his work there, he currently teaches dance in synagogues, schools, and community centers throughout the New York area, and performs when possible.
Cantor Aqua enjoys being a part of the Beth El community and is pleased to be able to contribute his talents to enrich Jewish life here.
Lawrence Avery is Cantor Emeritus of Beth El Synagogue. As a child, Avery began davening and singing at the Crown Heights Yeshiva in Brooklyn. From there he attended the High School of Music and Art, which by 1944 prepared him for the Juilliard School of Music. After a year at Juilliard, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served as a Chaplain’s assistant and soloist in the famed Bluejacket Choir. Returning to Juilliard for four years, he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in voice, music education, and opera when he graduated.
Avery’s father, a cantor by avocation, urged him to become a Hazzan and he arranged a course of study with Shimon Reizen, the master teacher of many hazzanim. Three years spent at Ohab Zedek, an Orthodox synagogue in the Rockaways, prepared him well for the move to Beth El, a major Conservative pulpit in New Rochelle.
By that time, Avery had won the National Music League award and was even a finalist in the Naumborg competition. He also married Saralee Liss, a beautiful mezzo-soprano with whom he sang in the Juilliard Opera Theater. She encouraged him to enter the School of Sacred Music of the H.U.C. – J.I.R. because so many of the g’dolei hador were teaching there; Ganchoff, Binder, Weiner, Helfman and Shapiro – to name a few.
Many wonderful solo engagements followed with the Juilliard Opera Theater, Tanglewood, the Norfolk Symphony, the National Orchestral Association, the CBS Symphony and many more with Cantica Hebraic.
There were recordings too. Several for Cantica Hebraic and a few for Columbia, Desto and Vox which were with Jan Peerce, Avery’s mentor, friend and congregant for more than thirty-five years. It was Peerce who after the davening would often critique, but always encourage him in the most helpful constructive way.
When he graduated from the Hebrew Union College – J.I.R., with a Bachelor’s in Sacred Music, Avery was asked to join the faculty. For thirty-six years he coached budding cantors and taught workshops in repertoire, nusach, and Cantillation. He also served as Chairman of the Faculty and Academic Coordinator. Five years ago he was invited to coach and teach at the H.L. Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Most recently he has been giving Master classes in California, Massachusetts and New York.
Avery has won awards and tributes from the American Conference of Cantors and the Cantors Assembly. Transcontinental Music and Sacred Music Press have published his compositions and arrangements, which include a collection of Roitman recitatives newly edited by Avery.
Now, after more than fifty years at Beth El Synagogue, as their Cantor Emeritus he feels busier than ever – still singing concerts, still teaching and above all, shepping naches from his students, his children and grandchildren.
Hazzan Farid Dardashti is Hazzan Emeritus since July 2011. He joined Beth El Synagogue in the summer of 1997. He is descended from a long line of classical Iranian vocal artists and hazzanim. As a teenager in his native Teheran, he was the featured artist on a weekly TV show. Later, he studied at the Mannes College of Music in New York City and graduated from the H.L. Miller Cantorial School (Cantors' Institute) of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
During the past thirty years, Farid Dardashti has established himself as both a distinguished hazzan and as a popular concert artist, bridging the worlds of East and West with international Jewish music, folk music, and a classical, opera, Broadway and popular repertoire.