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Rabbi Steven Chester

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Rabbi Steven Chester is Temple Israel’s interim rabbi and is graciously serving as our spiritual leader while a permanent rabbi is being sought.

Rabbi Chester is belovedly known to many as he served as Rabbi at Temple Sinai since 1989. Prior to Temple Sinai, he served congregations in Jackson, Michigan (where he also served as the prison chaplain for the Jewish prisoners of the State of Michigan) and Stockton, California. He has taught Hebrew at Jackson Community College, Bible at Spring Arbor College, and Bible and Judaism at the University of the Pacific, where he was named Adjunct Professor in the Religious Studies Department.

Rabbi Chester received a B.A. in History from UCLA (1965), a B.H.L. from Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles (1967), an M.H.L. from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati (1971), and an honorary doctorate from HUC in 1996. He was ordained in 1971. His Rabbinic thesis was "Eli Wiesel: Rebbe for our Generation."

Rabbi Chester retired in June 2011, and along with Rabbi Samuel Broude, is a Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Sinai. We are honored to have Rabbi Chester with us.


Rabbi Steven Chester is married to Leona. They were married in 1969 and have two children, Adam and Shira. Adam and his wife, Keng, are the parents of Rabbi and Leona's granddaughters, Anna and Amanda.  Shira and her husband, Daniel, are the parents of Rabbi and Leona's granddaughter, Trinity.


Cantor Brian Reich is a 5th Generation Cantor, (straight down the line) and is our Director of Education for our religious school, Beit Bina. Brian has been very much involved in the development of curriculum for all Hebrew School grades at Temple Israel, with a particular emphasis on Bar/Bat Mitzvah age children using his own curriculum, Trope for Teens. Beit Bina parents share that their children can’t wait to go to religious school as Cantor Brian’s curriculum is stimulating, supportive and creative and he is serious when it comes to his great nutritious snacks for the students.

Previously, Cantor Reich served as Cantor and Program Director at Congregation Beth El in Berkeley and very much involved with the curriculum for all grades and responsible for the 6/7 grade B’nai Mitzvah program as he brought as many as 65 students to the Torah per year for Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Cantor Brian served as Spiritual Leader at Beit Warsawa in Warsaw Poland before coming to Temple Israel of Alameda in 2012.

In November of 2011, Cantor Reich completed his CD, “Yismechu- Rejoice,”  a work of his own contemporary/Chassidic compositions of prayers from the Shabbat service.

Cantor Reich resides on the Richmond Marina in the East Bay with his wife, Orly. Together they enjoy sailing, (he is a certified Skipper) and traveling around the world for their passion of Israeli folk dancing. Brian and Orly have five children, as well as one grandson, Jameson, and a granddaughter, Amelia Rose.

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Office AdministratoR Sarai Dunsany

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Sarai Dunsany is an accomplished and award-winning video editor, voiceover artist and content producer who worked with PBS for many years (both in front of and behind the camera) in her hometown of Las Vegas. After a move to Albuquerque, she freelanced as the co-host of a radio talk show interviewing business executives and consultants regarding career pathways and business success in a changing workplace. Sarai has also earned a certification in early childhood development and become a preschool educator for three years. Prior to joining Temple Israel of Alameda, Sarai ‘hit pause’ on her career to become a full-time parent and homemaker, but she kept her organizational skills and business acumen sharp through multiple volunteer roles at her son’s elementary school. Through this combination of experiences, she brings a range of skills including organization, project management, communications, marketing, development, membership, fundraising, and volunteer coordination in educational and non-profit settings. 

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Sat, May 21 2022 20 Iyar 5782