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, and upgrading TBA’s technological capacity and offerings. Rabbi Vaisberg currently serves on the Central Conference of American Rabbis Responsa Committee and is a chaplain for the Maplewood Police Department.
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. Before joining the Temple B’nai Abraham family, Rabbi Vaisberg served as spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El in Edison, New Jersey, where he also served as President of the local interfaith clergy association and the regional rabbinical association.
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 “Israel: Projection, Potential, and Self-Actualization” in Stanley Davids and Lawrence Englander’s Fragile Dialogue: New Voices of Liberal Zionism (2018). Rabbi Vaisberg writes for the Times of Israel Blog and the New Jersey Jewish News as well. 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).
Rabbi Max Edwards is the Assistant Rabbi at Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, NJ. Rabbi Edwards received rabbinic ordination and a Master of Jewish Education from Hebrew College Rabbinical School in Newton, MA. Prior to his rabbinic studies, he completed a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a B.A. from Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. Rabbi Edwards’ approach to congregational life is greatly informed by his experience as a hospital chaplain. In the course of his rabbinic studies, he completed two units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA.
His writing has been featured in the Hebrew College 70 Faces of Torah blog, (M)oral Torah from T’ruah, and jewishLive’s Virtual Seder.
Most mornings you can find Rabbi Edwards playing tennis with other early birds in West Orange. He lives in South Orange with his wife Evie and their dog Hezzie.
photo by Jan Press PhotoMedia
Clifford M. Kulwin
Rabbi Clifford M. Kulwin was Temple B’nai Abraham’s Senior Rabbi from 1999 to 2019, and was formerly a congregational rabbi in Rio de Janeiro. Aided by his knowledge of several languages, for fifteen years he oversaw international development for the World Union for Progressive Judaism. An Illinois native, Rabbi Kulwin graduated from Macalester College, was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and was a Doctoral Fellow in Jewish history at Columbia University. He and his wife, Robin, reside in Montclair. Their son, Noah, is a New Jersey-based journalist; their daughter, Molly, is a school social worker in Chicago. Rabbi Kulwin continues to work extensively with Spanish and Portuguese-speaking Jewish communities. His commentaries frequently appear in the Star-Ledger and the Los Angeles Times.
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.