photo by Jan Press PhotoMedia
David Z. Vaisberg
Rabbi David Z. Vaisberg, M.A.R.E., M.A.H.L. joined Temple B’nai Abraham as Senior Rabbi on July 1, 2019. In this time, in addition to the work of leading services, teaching, community-building, pastoral care, and life cycle events, Rabbi Vaisberg has involved the community in numerous social justice efforts, including partnering with New Jersey Together in community organizing in Essex County. He’s led Temple B’nai Abraham in upgrading their technological capacity to meet the demands of the 21st century and continued work with lay leadership to address hate and Antisemitism.
Rabbi Vaisberg currently serves on the Central Conference of American Rabbis Responsa Committee and is a chaplain for the Maplewood Police Department.
Before joining the Temple B’nai Abraham family, Rabbi Vaisberg served as spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El in Edison, New Jersey. While there, he served as President of the Metuchen Edison Area Interfaith Clergy Association and the Rabbinical Association in the Heart of New Jersey and was deeply involved in local social justice work and collaborative education.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, and raised in Mississauga, Ontario, Rabbi Vaisberg earned his Honours B.A. in Psychology from York University in 2006, while acting and doing construction work for Vanier College Productions and working as Cantorial Soloist for Solel Congregation of Mississauga. Rabbi Vaisberg was ordained from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion’s New York Campus in May 2012. He was a Mandel Fellow and a teaching and research assistant to Rabbi Dr. Eugene Borowitz.
Rabbi Vaisberg’s academic interests include Jewish law and rituals, Jewish and Israeli culture and music, Midrash and story-telling, and Talmud.
His written work includes the following:
-“Israel: Projection, Potential, and Self-Actualization.” In Eds. Stanley Davids and Lawrence Englander’s Fragile Dialogue: New Voices of Liberal Zionism (2018).
–Thank You My Teacher, Thank You My Friend: For Rabbi Lawrence A. Englander, a Festschrift of Insights and Writings (2014).
–A Study of Sefer Yezirah and Its Commentators (2012).
–Keep It Together, Keep It Real: A curriculum of Holistic Healthy Living for Teenage Jews (2010).
-He writes for the Union for Reform Judaism’s 10 Minutes of Torah and the Times of Israel Blog. You can also find his work at davidvaisberg.com.
Rabbi Vaisberg is an accomplished guitarist and singer, an enthusiastic cook, and a long-distance and obstacle course runner.
photo by Samuel Dantowitz
Jessica F. Epstein
Jessica F. Epstein, Temple B’nai Abraham’s Cantor since 2004, graduated from the School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion (1998) after earning a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. A former officer and executive board member of the American Conference of Cantors, Cantor Epstein sings the music of Max Helfman on the Transcontinental Music CD, Kol Dodi: Jewish Wedding Music, and is featured on the CD, Shabbat Anthology, Volume II. Her insights into parasha Tzav were published in Living Torah: Selections from Seven Years of Torat Chayim (URJ Press).
Max Edwards joined Temple B’nai Abraham as the rabbinical assistant on July 1, 2020. On June 6, 2021, Max was ordained as rabbi and received a Master of Jewish Education, Hebrew College in Newton, MA.
Before joining Temple B’nai Abraham, Max was the rabbinic intern at Temple Shalom in Newton, MA and Beth Israel Congregation in Waterville, ME. Max also worked as a chaplain at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, completing two units of Clinical Pastoral Education.
Originally from Rochester, Minnesota, Max graduated with honors from Macalester College, earning a B.A. in Religious Studies and Classics. Max also received a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, with coursework focusing on Hebrew Bible and early Christian formation. Max is also a Yiddish speaker, and has spent time in Vilnius, Lithuania studying Yiddish language and culture.
photo by Jan Press PhotoMedia
Clifford M. Kulwin
Clifford M. Kulwin, D.D., served as Temple B’nai Abraham’s Rabbi, from 1999 until retiring in June, 2019. He is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Hebrew and served a congregation in Rio de Janeiro from 1983 to 1985. For 15 years he was associated with the World Union for Progressive Judaism. He has led numerous congregational trips to Israel and actively recruited young people for Israel summer and study programs. Raised in Illinois, Rabbi Kulwin graduated from Macalester College and was ordained by and received a Master’s degree from the Cincinnati campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He was also a Doctoral Fellow in Jewish history at Columbia University.
Doctor of Ministry, a graduate of the School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, was invested as a Cantor in 1982. She received her Master of Sacred Theology and Pastoral Counseling Certificate from the New York Theological Seminary. In April 2010, she earned a Doctorate in Pastoral Ministry from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in a joint program with Post Graduate Center for Mental Health, New York City.