Today is May 18, 2022 -

Pacific Southwest Region

Women's League for Conservative Judaism

Karen Deutsch, Webmaster
Phone: PSW Region

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Women's League for Conservative Judaism

Sukkot 2020 Panelist Biographies

In Order of Appearance:

Rabbi Joshua Dorsch, Tifereth Israel Synagogue, San Diego, CA

Rabbi Joshua Dorsch comes from Beth El Synagogue Center in New Rochelle, New York. Rabbi Dorsch earned a Master of Arts degree in Jewish Education and a MA degree in Midrash and Scriptural Interpretation from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Talmud and Rabbinics from JTS. While at the Seminary, Rabbi Dorsch was selected to participate in the esteemed Schusterman Rabbinic Fellowship and participated in the Legacy Heritage Rabbinic Fellowship Program, through which he served as the rabbinic presence at Temple Emanu-El, in Reno, Nevada. He also had the privilege of participating on a Rabbinical Student delegation to Senegal with the American Jewish World Service. After completing a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, Rabbi Dorsch worked as a Chaplain at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC.
Prior to his position at Beth El, Rabbi Dorsch spent two years working as the student rabbi at the Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford, Connecticut, and as the rabbinic advisor to the Hillel at the University of Hartford. During his year of rabbinical school in Israel, he served as a rabbinic intern for a Masorti (Conservative) congregation, Tiferet Shalom, in Tel Aviv. After his year in Israel, he remained for the summer where he worked as a group leader and tour guide for Ramah Seminar in Israel.

Originally from Philadelphia, Rabbi Dorsch grew up attending, and then staffing, Camp Ramah in the Poconos, where he served as a unit head and prayer coordinator. He still enjoys spending time every summer at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. He was (and still is) very active in USY. He is a retired competitive Table Tennis player, having played in tournaments at the highest level, including the Maccabi Games.

Rabbi Dorsch describes himself as a socially minded, creative, and enthusiastic rabbi who is focused on community building, youth engagement, and lifelong learning. His goal is to help community members find meaning and connection through their relationship with the Jewish community, Jewish traditions, Israel, and God.

Cantor Dannah Rubinstein, Congregation Or Tzion, Scottsdale, AZ

Cantor Dannah Rubinstein grew up in the Westchester suburbs of New York. From a young age, she was involved in synagogue life, leading worship, reading Torah, and engaging others in Jewish experiences. She has always enjoyed music and singing, and in her youth, studied violin, guitar, piano, as well as voice and theory. Cantor Rubinstein attended Brandeis University where she received her B.A. in Music, with a minor in Film and Judaic Studies in 2002. After a brief business career, Cantor Rubinstein returned to school to study at Gratz College in Philadelphia, PA where she received her M.A. in Cantorial Studies and Jewish Music in 2008.

Following experiences with congregations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, she spent six years serving as Cantor of Temple Beth Shalom in Vero Beach, Florida. In 2016, Cantor Rubinstein joined Congregation Or Tzion and has since enjoyed expanding her musical repertoire and her understanding of spirituality in worship. She lives in Cave Creek, with her husband, Keith, and their fur baby, Mattie.

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, VP Abner & Roslyn Goldstine Dean’s Chair, Ziegler School and Dean, Zacharias Frankel Rabbinical College in Pottsdam, Germany

Rabbi Artson graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1981 with a B.A. in History and Literature. He received his rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary with an M.A. in Jewish Studies in 1988, and a Doctor of Hebrew Letters in 2010 from Hebrew Union College, Magnin School of Graduate Studies.

Following ordination in 1988, Rabbi Artson led a congregation in Mission Viejo, which he helped grow from 200 to 600 family units. In 1998 he moved to L.A. as the Executive Vice President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.

In 1999, a year after the Ziegler School was established as an ordaining seminary, the founding dean made aliyah. AJU President at the time, Dr. Robert Wexler, invited Rabbi Artson to breakfast to offer him the position of Dean of the Rabbinical School. The proposition was irresistible, and has allowed Rabbi Artson to serve as one of the leaders of Conservative Judaism, and to show his love for rabbis and rabbinical students.
Artson is the author of seven books. His most recent is The Gift of Soul: Spiritual Resources for Leadership & Mentoring.

Rabbi Cheryl Peretz, Associate Dean, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and Zacharias Frankel Rabbinical College in Pottsdam, Germany

Rabbi Cheryl Peretz, is the Associate Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, where she also received her ordination. She also holds her MBA in Marketing Management from Baruch College, and helps bring those skills and expertise into the operational practices of rabbis and congregations throughout North America.

Rabbi Deborah Schuldenfrei, Head of School for Valley Beth Shalom, Encino, CA

Rabbi Deborah Schuldenfrei is Head of School at Valley Beth Shalom Harold M. Schulweis Day School a K-6 Solomon Schecter elementary in Encino, California. A Midwest native and day school graduate who loves that Judaism cultivates the art of asking questions. She attended Washington University in St. Louis and then spent a year in Jerusalem at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the most delicious year of her life. There, she volunteered in an Israeli absorption center with Ethiopian immigrants, and was granted the Jason Huebsch prize for leadership excellence. Schuldenfrei received a joint M.A. in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Service from HUC-JIR. She was ordained rabbi at HUC in Los Angeles and served as the Education Director in the inaugural year of IKAR. Her rabbinic thesis taught teens about sex and Jewish values. Following ordination, she served as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Shir Ha’Ma-alot in Irvine. Participation in the Institute for Jewish Spirituality Cohort was the most transformative practice of her professional and personal life. Schuldenfrei is featured in Morgan Freeman’s National Geographic special “The Story of God” in the web content, “A rabbi, priest and imam”.

She engaged her passion for immersive Jewish learning by leading the DeLeT (Day School Leadership through Teaching) fellowship of the Hebrew Union College as Education Director. Often, she leads high holiday services at the Sanctuary at Pico Union Project with Craig Taubman. She is a Zionist, loves California beaches, her three young feminist sons, and her rabbi husband. Yoga, Israeli poetry and radical inclusivity are also pretty cool.

Rabbi Felipe Goodman, Temple Beth Sholom, Las Vegas, NV

Rabbi Felipe Goodman has been The Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas, Nevada since 1998. Rabbi Felipe Goodman’s charisma has made a profound impact on the Jewish community of Las Vegas. With out of the box programing and by creating a true sense of being a Kehila Kedoshah, vibrant Temple Beth Sholom is anything but a synagogue of once-a-year congregants. In April 2013 Rabbi Goodman was chosen by The Daily Forward as one of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis… “36 Rabbis Shaping The 21st Century!”

Keeping with his tradition of extracurricular leadership, Rabbi Goodman remains active outside the synagogue. He was handpicked to be a member of The Chancellor’s Rabbinic Advisory Committee at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America under Chancellor Arnold Eisen. When Dr. Ismar Schorsch was Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary, He was also part of The Chancellor’s Rabbinic Cabinet. Rabbi Goodman was appointed by the Jewish Theological Seminary as one of its representatives on The Joint Reitrement Board of the Conservative Movement where he serves as Secretary of its Board. He currently serves in The Executive Committee of The Rabbinical Assembly and he is also the current President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern Nevada. Rabbi Goodman is also one of a group of 27 Conservative Rabbis in the world, certified by The Joint Beth Din of The Conservative Movements as experts in the laws and writing of “Gittin” (Jewish Writs of Divorce). Rabbi Goodman is also part of The AIPAC National Leadership Council. The most widely distributed Pesach Haggadah of the Conservative Movement in Latin America was co-authored by Rabbi Goodman. Rabbi Goodman is currently working on his new book: “Torah from Sin City.”

Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei, Congregation Ner Tamid, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei takes great pride in the community at CNT. He values the synagogue’s commitment to balance both tradition and experimentation. This all takes a lot of love and dedication from the professional and lay leadership, for which Rabbi Schuldenfrei is tremendously grateful. Rabbi Schuldenfrei can most often be found roaming the building with a hot cup of coffee in hand, playing with the preschoolers in the yard, or taste testing junk-food with our teenagers in the youth lounge.

Prior to coming to CNT over seven years ago, Rabbi Schuldenfrei served as a Senior Rabbi in Miami and as Associate Rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.  Rabbi Schuldenfrei’s flair for creative programming and outreach has received international coverage in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Jewish Daily Forward, The Jewish Journal, and numerous blogs. His essay on Conservative Judaism was published in The Encyclopedia of Religious and Spiritual Development.

Rabbi Schuldenfrei takes an active role in the larger community. Most recently, he completed a term as Chair of the Food Justice Working Group of the Rabbinical Assembly. Rabbi Schuldenfrei also sat on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles Board of Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly’s Resolutions Committee, the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism, the United Jewish Community’s Young Leadership Cabinet, and the Executive Board of the Miami Rabbinic Association.

Rabbi Schuldenfrei was a distinguished student at his school of ordination, The Jewish Theological Seminary. He received his B.A. with honors from Washington University in St. Louis. While studying for ordination, among other positions, Rabbi Schuldenfrei served as the rabbinic intern for the New York Board of Rabbis Center for Spiritual Care, Beit Tshuvah, a Jewish recovery center in Los Angeles, and CLAL – The National Center for Learning and Leadership.

Rabbi Schuldenfrei is married to Rabbi Deborah Schuldenfrei, and a father of three boys. As an unwavering optimist, Rabbi Schuldenfrei firmly believes that the New York Mets will win the World Series (well, maybe one day).