Cantor Siskin introduced new religious, musical and pastoral programs at Beth Israel. She provided meaningful and uplifting musical offerings at Shabbat services and High Holy Days. Under her tutelage, the synagogue’s annual Purim Spiel was transformed into a much anticipated highlight of the year; and she produced a broad range of musical events, ranging from cabaret to opera to spiritual theater, featuring the congregation’s adult choir, youth chorus and instrumentalists.
In addition to her cantorial duties, Cantor Siskin directed the congregation’s religious school from 2003 – 2013, during which time she restructured the program and inspired students to find deep connections to Judaism. She also nurtured the synagogue’s Mitzvah Corps, a team of volunteers who assist those in need, and created SAGE, a well-loved arts and education program for the congregation’s seniors.
She was awarded a Doctor of Music, honoris causa from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2014.
Cantor Siskin retired in June, 2016 and moved to Florida with her husband, Jerry. They have two children, Eve-Alice and Joel.
Contact Rabbi Fuchs at email@example.com.
Rabbi Fuchs served as Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel from 1997-2011. Following his retirement from Beth Israel, he began an appointment as President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ). He traveled the world while serving in that role until October 2012.
Currently, Rabbi Fuchs writes and lectures extensively, both domestically and abroad. He has worked hard to convey that the essence of Jewish values are found in gemilut hasadim—concrete acts of caring and kindness that make a difference in the lives of others.
Rabbi Fuchs’ first book, What’s in it for Me? Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives, was published in 2014 and translated into German in 2015 and into Russian in 2016. His second book, ToraHighlights, a collection of short comments on each weekly Torah portion, is forthcoming in the fall of 2016 and will be published in both English and German.
In addition to his books, Rabbi Fuchs has published more than 100 articles, essays and book chapters on subjects pertaining to Jewish life and Jewish/Christian relations. Copies of his book and the sermons that he delivered while Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel are available in our Learning Center. You can link to Rabbi Fuchs’ blog here and access his writings on ReformJudaism.org here.
Rabbi Fuchs is a graduate of Hamilton College and was ordained a rabbi at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion where he also received Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Hebrew Letters and a graduate certificate in Jewish Communal Studies. In 1992 Rabbi Fuchs earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Biblical Interpretation from Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and in 1999 HUC-JIR awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity.
Prior to his service at Beth Israel, Rabbi Fuchs was Senior Rabbi at The Temple Congregation Ohabai Sholom in Nashville, Tennessee for 11 years, and was the first full-time spiritual leader at Temple Isaiah in Columbia, Maryland, for 13 years.
He is a past chair of the Central Conference of American Rabbis Committee on inter-religious affairs. He participated in the historic meeting of Pope John Paul II with Jewish leaders in Miami, Florida, in 1987. Rabbi was also among 90 leaders invited to the White House for breakfast with President and Mrs. Clinton and Vice President and Mrs. Gore in 1993 and 1997.
Rabbi Fuchs was elected by the Central Conference of American Rabbis to serve on the National Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Foodshare, the regional food bank for Hartford and Tolland counties; the Hartford Rotary; and was an adjunct faculty member at the Hartford Seminary and Saint Joseph College.
Rabbi Fuchs had an instrumental role in ensuring the successful passage of SustiNet, legislation that ensures access to quality, affordable health care to Connecticut residents.
In the Spring of 2004, Rabbi Fuchs received the first annual Judaic Heritage award from the Charter Oak Cultural Center. In October 2006 he was awarded the “Legion of Honor” award by the Chapel of Four Chaplains. This is a national non-profit organization which gives this prestigious honor to those who exhibit outstanding volunteer service to one’s community and fellow human beings without regard for faith or race.
Dr. Harold S. Silver was Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel from 1968 to 1993. He succeeded Rabbi Abraham J. Feldman. Before coming to West Hartford, Silver was Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1955 to 1968.
Rabbi Silver was ordained in 1951 at the Hebrew Union College (HUC) in New York City. Silver began his rabbinical career as Assistant Rabbi to Solomon B. Freehof at Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh where he served for four years. Silver represents the sixth generation of Rabbis in his family. He is the son of Rabbi Maxwell Silver of New York (HUC Class of 1916), the nephew of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland, Ohio (HUC Class of 1915), and the grandson of Rabbi Moses Silver of Jerusalem. On the 25th anniversary of his ordination in June 1976, he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) from Hebrew Union College for his rabbinical service to Reform Judaism, the Jewish people and the community at large.
In Hartford, Rabbi Silver organized the first Greater Hartford Rabbinical Board of Rabbis, an area-wide board of Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Rabbis. Among Silver’s many Hartford community boards are: The Endowment Committee of Hartford Jewish Federation, the Russian-Jewish Absorption Committee, the Hartford Jewish Community Center, and the boards of Mt. Sinai, Hartford Hospital and St. Francis Hospital. Silver was selected by Governor William O’Neill to serve on the Governor’s Task Force Against Racism. Over the years, Silver was particularly active in Catholic-Protestant-Jewish dialogue groups and has preached from the pulpit of many area churches. He has offered a variety of courses in Basic Judaism at the Greater Hartford Community College, at St. Joseph’s College and at the University of Hartford.
Rabbi Silver has served as national officer of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. For many years, Silver served on the National Executive Committee of the Zionist Organization of America.
Rabbi Silver has written a book titled I Will Not Let You Go Until You Bless Me – Memoirs of a Reform Rabbi. In these memoir essays, he evaluates provocatively what is essentially wrong, right, and unique about modern Reform Judaism in the last half-century of American Jewish life and where it is heading in the future. His second book is titled Converting to Reform Judaism, with insights and perspectives for anyone contemplating conversion to Judaism or anyone who wishes to understand what Judaism is all about.
His current passion is sculpting creations in limestone, alabaster, and marble. His art has won several prizes.
Rabbi Silver and his wife Ruth Lee, a Collage Artist and former newspaper columnist with the West Hartford News, have five children.
Contact: Rabbi Harold Silver, firstname.lastname@example.org