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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.

dr. jenn levine, school director & teens program

Jenn Levine

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Dr. Jenn Levine, brings 20 years of Jewish education experience to this leadership role. Her path to a career in Jewish education began with a Tot Shabbat when her eldest, Jacob, was 2. From that family bonding program, her career path changed course to working with children and teens. 

Prior to beginning this position in July 2023, Dr. Jenn was an educator at Temple Israel for ten years as the Hebrew and Amitim teacher and B'nai Mitzvah tutor. She has also worked at many well-known Jewish organizations including Midrasha, East Bay Jewish Community Center, and other Bay Area congregations as their B'nai Mitzvah tutor or class teacher. 

She is our Youth Services leader during the High Holy Days and facilitates our Temple Teens Program. 

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.

Jennifer Strongin, operations manager

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Jennifer Strongin is a Los Angeles native who has made Alameda her home for 18 years. Jennifer brings deep administrative, marketing and customer service experience to her role at Temple Israel. She is also an Independent leasing agent in the East Bay property management community.  Jennifer has a love for content marketing and writing, with over a decade of freelance projects under her belt; including content creation and management for various real estate projects, copy editing for Pottery Barn, and editorial lifestyle writing for Alameda/Oakland Magazine. Jennifer is excited to explore her Jewish roots and is thrilled to be part of the wonderful community at Temple Israel. A graduate of San Francisco State University, Jennifer also enjoys spending her free time reading, practicing yoga, playing poker, walking on the beach with her rescue dog, Ginger and rooting for the San Francisco Giants. 

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Tue, April 23 2024 15 Nisan 5784