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Rabbi Jeremy Lipton

Rabbi Jeremy Lipton has more than 25 years of experience as a Rabbi, Hazzan, educator and Jewish community leader in Conservative congregations in Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Toulouse, France.  During his recent tenure in Minneapolis, he served as the Head of School for Talmud Torah, a community-wide Jewish school.               Rabbi Lipton is excited about this new  chapter in his life.  He especially looks               forward to becoming “immersed in a tight-knit Jewish community, where clergy             have the opportunity to really get to know their members on a  personal,                     interactive level, allowing them to be engaged in every  aspect of their lives.

        Rabbi Lipton received his rabbinic ordination from the Academy of Jewish            a   Religion in Yonkers, New York. He received his cantorial commission from the          a   Cantors Assembly of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Lipton also holds a      a   master’s degree in Jewish studies, as well as both a bachelor’s and a master’s          a   degree in music.

        Rabbi Lipton‘s wife Kay is a Musicologist. They have two sons – Jonathan, who           lives in Los Angeles, and Adam, who lives in Austin, Texas.

Erin Katz Ford, executive Director

Erin graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Jewish Studies and holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from Siegal College. She has been in Northeast Ohio just about her whole life. Before her employment with Beth El, she worked at Congregation Bethaynu in Cleveland. Her career in Akron includes nine years as our Director of Programming and Education and at the Akron Jewish Community Board as the Director of External Affairs. Her background and knowledge of our synagogue and Akron’s Jewish community is extremely beneficial.

                                   Rabbi Stephen Grundfast, EMERITUS

Rabbi Grundfast received his undergraduate degree in Marketing with a minor in Social Work from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. He was ordained as a Rabbi in June of 1979 from The Academy for Jewish Religion in New York City.

While in rabbinical school he served as the student rabbi for the Wyckoff -Franklin Lakes Synagogue in Wyckoff, New Jersey. In addition, he also held the position of assistant to the director of Hillel at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ. He has taken graduate courses in Jewish Studies at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ and at Gratz College in Philadelphia, PA.  He is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis.  In December, 2007 the Jewish Theological Seminary awarded him a Doctor of Divinity degree, Honoris Causa.

Rabbi Grundfast’s first full time pulpit was as the associate rabbi of Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston, Texas, for nine years. While in Houston he served as the secretary of the Houston Board of Rabbis. He helped found and later served as president of the Rabbinical Assembly, Southwest Region. He also served as president of the Kallah of Texas Rabbis, the oldest on-going interdenominational rabbinical retreat program in the nation. He was also very active in the Soviet Jewry movement, having visited the Soviet Union to meet with Refusniks in October 1984.

In 1988 he and his family moved to Savannah, Georgia where he assumed the pulpit of Congregation Agudath Achim and served there for four years.  Rabbi Grundfast became the rabbi of Congregation Ohev Shalom in Wallingford, PA in 1992 and served until June of 2001. While in Wallingford, he helped found The Main Line Muslim-Jewish Dialogue group in Philadelphia. Rabbi Grundfast was an active member of the Swarthmore-Wallingford Interfaith Ministerium where he served as President during the 1998-1999 year. He also served as secretary of the Rabbinical Assembly of Greater Philadelphia.  Rabbi Grundfast served as rabbi at The Jacksonville Jewish Center for three years from 2001-2004.

Rabbi Grundfast assumed the pulpit of Beth El Congregation in Akron in August of 2004. He is a past-president of the Ohio, Western PA and KY region of the Rabbinical Assembly. Rabbi Grundfast became Rabbi Emeritus of Beth El upon his retirement in summer of 2017.

Rabbi Grundfast is married to his wife Judy and they have two children, Rachel (Dr. Justin) and Joseph (Deana). Off the pulpit he loves to spend time with his family, read, and play golf.  His passion is to spend as much time as possible with his grandsons, Gavi and Elliot, and granddaughters, Shoshana and Abigail.

Hazzan Stephen Stein, emeritus

 Hazzan Stephen J. Stein was the Cantor of Beth El Congregation from 1980-2015, making him the longest serving professional in the synagogue's history. During his tenure, he was especially proud of the Torah Reader's Society, which he created, the accomplishments of the synagogue's choirs, the annual concerts that he produced, and his collaborations with the music department at Kent State University and WKSU , which culminated in two recordings of Jewish music (These Lights of Hanukkah and Music for Passover) that were broadcast on public radio stations throughout the country. 

Hazzan Stein has been the executive vice president of the Cantors Assembly since 1998. During this period he has served on the boards of multiple affiliates of the Conservative movement. A past president of the CA, he is only the third person in the organization’s seventy (70) year history to hold this highest-ranking post.  He is a graduate of both the Cantorial School at JTS and Duquesne University.  Hazzan Stein has lectured extensively throughout the country on changing trends in synagogue music and congregational dynamics.

Sat, November 26 2022 2 Kislev 5783