MUSICAL DIRECTOR/CANTOR AND CO-FOUNDER
From the beginning, Ellen Gould's mission as Musical Director/Cantor has been to make the New Shul a singing community. "We don't have a choir, we are the choir."
Says Ellen, "I donít need the attention of a solo singer Ė- Iíve been a performing professional for most of my life. My goal is to share with the community the joy of full-throated and full-hearted expression of the spirit that can only come through the use of its own voice."
In the world of theater, Ellen is best known for her double Emmy award-winning musical "Bubbe Meises, Bubbe Stories." Her many other performance credits include leading roles in productions from Lincoln Center to The Public Theatre, as well as featured roles on HBO, PBS-TV, and NPR. Her writing credits include "Confessions Of A Reformed Romantic," "Seeing Stars," "The Glass House," and "Blessed is the Match" -- all of which received New York productions.
Following the Off-Broadway run and national tour of "Bubbe Meises," Ellen continued to perform the show for Jewish organizations and synagogues throughout the U.S. This experience renewed her interest in Jewish communal life. It also raised the question -- "why can't modern ritual be as transformative as theatre?" In 1999, Ellen co-founded The New Shul (with long-time friend and musical collaborator Holly Gewandter) where she continues to work on the answer.
A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Ellen is a graduate of Brandeis University, has an MFA in Acting from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and was the recipient of a Fulbright-Hayes fellowship in ethnomusicology.
Amy Eichenwald Golding became the Executive Director of The New Shul in June 2003 and has served as its Education Director since 1999, in charge of the religious school and the family life and community education programs.
Amy is a dynamic and innovative educator who brings a passion for Jewish life and rare sense of commitment to all her endeavors. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland in 1998 and did significant post-graduate studies at Teachers College at Columbia University and at the Jewish Theological Seminary. In 2009, Amy completed a year-long advanced-masters course at The Institute for Not-For-Profit Management through UJA and Columbia University. Her experience includes working with the special education district in New York City as part of her Americorps*VISTA fellowship and teaching at various schools both in Maryland and New York City.
Amy has played a leading role in program development and event planning for The New Shul since her arrival. In bringing her passion for Jewish life and commitment to our community to her position as Executive Director, she plays a dynamic role in helping The New Shul achieve its goal of creating a vibrant Downtown Jewish congregation.
Amy lives in Chelsea with her husband Blake and son Jackson (Jax), and their two-year-old cactus, Penelope.
OUR RABBINIC CHAVURAH
Rabbi Zach Fredman has a deep love for the stories and texts, songs and teachings of our ancestors; he is a talented musician and composer who uses music to infuse prayer with meaning. Rabbi Zach spent a year in India and Israel studying the different ways human beings make meaning in their lives; his practice of meditation offers a grounding in which his rabbinic work is held. Rabbi Zach has been a Storah-teller, Translator, and Midrashic Archivist with StorahTelling, and is a CLAL fellow with Rabbis Without Borders. Since 2005 Rabbi Zach has been a Shabbat/High Holiday Service leader at B'nai Jeshurun, and he is the resident Oud-ist at Romemu. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Religion, Music, Mysticism and Philosophy, Magna Cum Laude, from NYU Gallatin School, and is in his fourth year of rabbinical school of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Rabbi Darby Leigh is a native New Yorker who loves mountains. His rabbinate is characterized by creativity, inclusivity, and a commitment to diversity. A life-long "truth-seeker," Rabbi Leigh is also a passionate snowboarder and fire-juggler, who toured as a leading actor with the Tony award-winning National Theater of the Deaf (NTD), and has appeared on stage with the alternative rock band, Jane's Addiction. He and his wife, Randi, are the proud parents of two daughters, Rayna and Ariza.
Rabbi Leigh was honored to be featured in the ABC and NBC Emmy-nominated documentary, A Place for All: Faith and Community for Persons with Disabilities. Leigh also served as a consultant for the Oscar-nominated documentary film Sound and Fury and for "Hands On," an organization that provides sign-language interpreting services for Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Rabbi Leigh has also been a speaker for the New York City Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, and other organizations where he has taught on issues related to deafness and disability access. Rabbi Leigh has been published at MyJewishLearning.com, as well as in the Jewish Center for Ethics guide to Ethics of Speech.
Rabbi Leigh was selected to be one of the first fellows of "Rabbis Without Borders," an initiative of CLAL (National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.) Recently, Rabbi Leigh worked with colleagues in NJ to create the first ever, inter-synagogue/inter-denominational, GLBTQ-Pride service and seder in Essex County. Leigh has also served LGBTQ Jews, their friends and families in NYC, where he spent two years as a rabbinical intern at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah.
Currently the Associate/Sabbatical Rabbi at Bnai Keshet in Montclair NJ, Rabbi Leigh formerly served as the student rabbi of Or HaNeshamah in Ottawa Canada and as a rabbinic educator with Hillel at Temple and Drexel Universities in Philadelphia, PA.
Leigh received his bachelor of arts in religion from the University of Rochester where he graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. As an undergraduate, Leigh also spent a year at Gallaudet University where he received the President's Scholar Award. After touring with NTD and serving as a social worker and counselor at the New York Society for the Deaf in NYC, Leigh went on to earn a master of arts in religion from Columbia University. He then went on to receive his rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He is committed to finding creative ways to engage Jews of all ages and backgrounds, and to creating caring, welcoming communities.
Rabbi Dan Ain is teaching, preaching and pastoring in various locations throughout New York and is the Rabbi-in-Residence at 92YTribeca. He hosts our "Rebbe's Table" at City Winery in Tribeca, a monthly program which has included provocative interactions with, among others, Cosmologist David Hogg of NYU and Microbiologist Arturo Casadevall of Albert Einstein School of Medicine. He also serves as an adjunct professor at the Academy for Jewish Religion, where he lectures on "Faith, Technology and Halackha" and grapples with the present (and future) ideological clash between our burgeoning technological beliefs and traditional Jewish faith.
Rabbi Dan's High Holy Day soapbox preaching on how we can disconnect from technology and reinvent our spiritual selves drew crowds in Washington Square Park and was featured on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. At the House of Awe & Repentance Café, he tended bar and served up coffee and conversation for the hundreds who came through The New Shul's experiential art exhibit which featured video, sculpture, music and multi-media displays that explored, reinterpreted and reinvented ways to experience the period of time from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Also an attorney and a writer, Rabbi Dan received a B.A. in Philosophy from Brandeis University and a J.D. from Boston College Law School. As a freelance journalist, he has explored the interplay between religion and politics both in America and Israel. His writing has appeared in The New York Jewish Week, Sh'ma, The New York Blueprint, Conservative Judaism, and the Boston College Law Magazine.
Ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary, he was a member of the first class of CLAL's "Rabbis Without Borders," and is currently a CLAL Associate. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, writer and poet, Alana Joblin Ain and their daughter.
Rabbi Joyce Reinitz, ACSW, has served as rabbi and spiritual leader of the Society of Jewish Science in Manhattan and has worked as a psychotherapist and workshop leader for more than 30 years.
As a rabbinic student at the Academy for Jewish Religion she served as The New Shul's first rabbinic intern and for the last five years has led our Rosh Chodesh group as well as a number of other programs including Spa Shabbat. Rabbi Joyce skillfully draws from traditional Jewish wisdom to promote health and healing in our contemporary world.
Niles Elliot Goldstein is Rabbi Emeritus of The New Shul, where he served as its spiritual leader from its founding in 1999 until 2009. Prior to The New Shul, Niles was a senior fellow at CLAL: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a program officer at The Steinhardt Foundation, and the assistant rabbi at Temple Israel in New Rochelle. He is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the New York Board of Rabbis.
Niles is the author or editor of nine books, including the award-winning Gonzo Judaism: A Bold Path for Renewing an Ancient Faith, and his writing has appeared in many publications, including Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, The Forward, and Moment. He has been featured and interviewed in Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The Jerusalem Report, The New York Observer, New York Magazine, The Jewish Week, and Beliefnet, as well as on domestic and international television and radio.
Niles served as the voice behind "Ask the Rabbi" on the Microsoft Network. He is the national Jewish chaplain for the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. Niles holds an honors B.A. in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania and received an M.A. and his Ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Niles teaches across the country and abroad on issues in mysticism and spirituality, values and leadership, the environment, and on new models for religious life in the 21st century.