We are thrilled to welcome Cantor Sarene Appelbaum to Temple Beth Torah. Prior to joining our pulpit, Cantor Appelbaum has served congregations in Florida, Maryland and South Carolina.
Cantor Appelbaum’s connection to Jewish music began at a very young age with songwriting and solo performances. Her first award-winning composition, written and performed in 2nd grade for Temple Beth Shalom of Florida, was “Mommy, Mommy, look at me, me and Judah Macabee.” Her exploration of Jewish music went on a hiatus while she pursued her interest in secular music and completed a degree in music business/vocal performance from William Paterson University in New Jersey. Sarene performed on stage in New York, New Jersey and South Carolina in many genres including classical, musical theater, and solo singer-songwriter.
Cantor Appelbaum was born and raised in Warwick, New York and now lives in Deer Park with her husband Michael and their beloved pets.
Rabbi Marc Gellman is the Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Torah in Melville, New York where he has served since 1981. He was the youngest rabbi ever ordained by Hebrew Union College and the only person to complete the six-year rabbinical program in two years of residence.
Rabbi Gellman earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Northwestern University in 1981 where he also served as the director of the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation. While at Northwestern, he also completed doctoral course work in the History and Literature of Religions specializing in Buddhism and Judaism. He is the recipient of many honorary degrees.
Rabbi Gellman has served on the faculties of Antioch College, Northwestern University, and Hebrew Union College, lectured at Princeton and Amherst College, and was invited to lecture on the ethics of assisted reproductive technologies during Grand Rounds of the Harvard Medical School. He has delivered many invited lectures and was an invited participant at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He has contributed academic papers to the Annual of the American Psychiatric Association, The Journal of the US Commission on Civil Rights, and other academic and opinion journals. He was invited to contribute to the collection of essays on the State of Jewish Belief by Commentary Magazine.
Rabbi Gellman was the Chairman of The Medical Ethics Committee of UJA-Federation, and has served on their board of trustees. He was president of The New York Board of Rabbis during the attack on New York in 2001 and delivered one of the keynote speeches at the Memorial Service in Yankee Stadium on September 23, 2001.
He invented and developed the literary field of modern midrash for children when he served as Contributing Editor of Moment Magazine and he has published two collections of these modern bible stories for children: “Does God Have A Big Toe?” which was selected as one of the outstanding children’s books of the year by the New York Times, and other periodicals, and “God’s Mailbox.” Rabbi Gellman published, “Always Wear Clean Underwear (and other ways your parents tell you they love you).” and its sequel, “Someday You’ll Thank Me For This”.
His book, with Monsignor Hartman, “Where Does God Live?” was awarded The Christopher Award, and they also published, “Lost and Found: a child’s guide to overcoming grief and loss,” and “How Do You Spell God?” This is an introduction to world religions for young people with a forward by the Dalai Lama. An HBO animated special for children based on this book was awarded The George Foster Peabody Award. Rabbi Gellman and Msgr. Hartman also published, “Religion for Dummies.”
Rabbi Gellman writes a weekly column, “The Spiritual State,” for Newsweek Magazine, which appears online at Newsweek.com. Rabbi Gellman also writes a nationally syndicated religious advice column that appears locally in Newsday. The readers of Newsday voted Rabbi Gellman and Monsignor Hartman the most outstanding leaders and activists of the last century on Long Island. Their daily television program, “The God Squad,” was broadcast to over 15 million homes. They lectured widely and regularly appeared on many cable news programs.
Rabbi Gellman is also a member of the Golf Writers of America and is on the ranking panel of Golf Digest Magazine. He is the recipient of the Winnie Palmer Award from the Metropolitan Golf Writers of New York.
He is married to Betty Schulson of Chicago, and they have two children, Mara, and Max, and two grandchildren, Zeke and Daisy. They raise guide dogs for the blind.
Our Rabbi is the spiritual leader of your Congregation. He has published articles, reviews and short stories in many journals including Tikkun, Commentary, Midstream, Emek, Shma, Tomorrow, The Jerusalem Report and Response. He has been the regular book reviewer of fiction for The Jewish Advocate and The Jerusalem Report, and The Jewish Journal.
Our Rabbi was a senior vice president at the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, and has served pulpits in Northampton and Manhattan, while teaching at Smith College and The University of Massachusetts. He has a BA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University. His MA is from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He received rabbinic ordination at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
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