Dear Rodeph Sholom family,
On behalf of the Congregation Rodeph Sholom Board of Trustees, it is my great pride and pleasure to announce that Deborah Goldberg will be joining Rodeph Sholom as Assistant Rabbi and Stefano Iacono will be joining Rodeph Sholom as Assistant Cantor.
These newest members of our clergy team continue Rodeph Sholom’s legacy of attracting the best and most promising leaders of Reform Judaism. We look forward to welcoming them both to our CRS family on July 1.
I am delighted to introduce them to you:
Deborah Goldberg joins us from Congregation Beth Tikvah in Columbus, Ohio, where she serves as rabbinic intern. Her year-long capstone project was a curriculum entitled, “Exploring Emotions in the Bible: A Curriculum for Jewish Teenagers” and she was honored with the Rabbi Morris H. Youngerman Memorial Prize for best sermon delivered during the academic year. She will be ordained in May.
Prior to enrolling at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, Deborah worked as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, DC, and as the teen programs coordinator at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs in Chicago. Raised in Chicagoland, she graduated with college honors from Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied history and political science. Deborah is looking forward to moving to NYC with her recently adopted beagle, Kelly.
Stefano Iacono has served as the Student Cantor of Congregation Gates of Heaven in Schenectady, NY for the past four years. As a composer, Stefano has set Hebrew texts to music in hopes of celebrating the diversity of Jewish expression in worship and ritual by drawing upon various genres and traditions. At Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Stefano explored how lived experiences influence our understanding of scripture in his thesis, “Finding Favor In the Eyes of Pharaoh: A Gay Reading of Joseph,” an exegetical work drawing from mystical teachings of the Zohar. He will be ordained in May.
A native of San Antonio, Stefano earned a B.A. in Women’s Studies from The University of Texas at San Antonio, graduating summa cum laude with a love of literature and theory. He lives in Brooklyn with his husband, Alex.
Both Deborah and Stefano deeply impressed our search committees with their warmth, authenticity, intuitive understanding of our community, and commitment to building connections.
I want to express deep gratitude to Stacy Kanter, who led our Rabbinic Search Committee, and Judy Gallent, who led our Cantorial Search Committee. They conducted outstanding processes – rigorous, fair, and collaborative. I also want to thank Rabbi Spratt and Cantor De Lowe who served as critical members of these committees, offering wise counsel and guidance, and our Executive Director Barbara Zakin, who added extraordinary support and insight. More than 100 congregants, mirroring the diversity of our community, met with Deborah and Stefano, including: Rodeph Sholom School and CRS administrators, teachers and parents; current and former CRS Board members; CRS clergy; Religious School parents; Millennial-aged members; Ritual Committee members; and more. In fact, congregants from ages 21 to 90 met both Deborah and Stefano!
As we approach our 180th anniversary year, we are well-poised for another exciting chapter in our history.
Of course, we could not have come this far without the leadership of Rabbi Levine and Cantor Garfein, through whose leadership we have become the strong institution that we are today. We owe them our most profound appreciation for all of their good works and dedication to Rodeph Sholom through these many years.
We are a blessed congregation. Please join me in welcoming Deborah and Stefano to Rodeph Sholom.
President, Congregation Rodeph Sholom