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Rabbi Cynthia Jane Minster

Rabbi Minster

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Rabbi Cynthia Jane Minster is honored to be Temple Israel’s spiritual leader. She moved to Alameda with her husband Chung-Mau Cheng, sons Jack and Ezra, and dog Minerva, in July, 2022 from Alhambra, California. 

Rabbi Minster earned a BA in Peace & Justice Studies from Wellesley College (2000), and an MA in Rabbinical Studies from the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, where she was also ordained (2022). Her thesis title was “Internal Growth, Human Relationships, and Reaching Towards God: The Concurrent Development of Ethics & Mysticism in Early Modern Jewish Texts.” Her work breaks new ground in explaining how mysticism forms the philosophical basis for the development of ethics. This exploration creates a clear basis for a modern, progressive approach to Judaism.  

Rabbi Minster's career took her from a public health consultancy firm to labor union organizing, to marketing, to software development. While working in advertising, she met the creative director who made it possible for her to pursue her dreams; her husband, Chung-Mau Cheng.

Her entire life, Rabbi Minster felt most at home and most at peace in Jewish prayer and Jewish community. Growing up, she was a choir member, B’nai Mitzvah tutor, and youth group leader. In the late 90s, a variety of factors led her away from organized religion. For over a decade, peace activism became her spiritual focus. Finding Rabbi Mordecai Finley and his unique synergy of rational intellectual history and spiritual practice reignited Rabbi Minster’s soul.

She served as the student rabbi and as a religious school teacher at Temple Beth David (TBD) of Temple City as well as the student chaplain at Methodist Hospital of Southern California. Rabbi Minster also attended Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute (DLTI), was a Shalom Hartman Institute iEngage Student Clergy Fellow, and a CLAL Leading Through Innovation participant.

 

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.

EDUCATION DIRECTOR & cantor BRIAN REICH

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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Education Director and Cantor Brian Reich

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Operations & Facilities Manager Sarai Dunsany

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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Tue, December 6 2022 12 Kislev 5783