Rabbi James Simon, Interim Rabbi
Rabbi James Simon comes to Temple Chaverim with a varied background. He has always enjoyed being a Rabbi, especially a pulpit Rabbi, and also enjoyed the education he received in law school and his training to be a family mediator. He spent six years as the Regional Director for the Midwest Council for the UAHC (what is now known as the URJ – Union for Reform Judaism) as well as serving congregations in Worcester, MA, N. Miami Beach, FL, and Pinecrest FL as Associate and Senior Rabbi. Rabbi Simon was asked to be a part of the first cohort of Rabbi’s trained to be Interim Rabbi’s through the Interim Ministry Network and the Central Conference of American Rabbis in 2009-=2010 and did additional work for the Advanced Certification of Professional Transition Specialist. Since then has served in Florida, New Jersey, Utah and Oklahoma as Interim Rabbi. His wife stays in their home base of Florida and he is the father of 3 children and has two grandchildren. In his spare time he enjoys walking and reading non-fiction books. He is very much looking forward to being here for this year and assisting us through the process of finding a settled Rabbi.
Rabbi Debra Bennet
Rabbi Debra Bennet was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated from Brandeis University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Women’s Studies. She attended Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC) from which she received rabbinic ordination in May 2007. During her time at HUC, Rabbi Bennet served in a number of communities including: North Fork Reform Temple, Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, NJ, and Overlook Hospital in Summit, NJ. She was also the intern to the Associate Dean and on the committee of the HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen. HUC awarded her The Rabbi Herbert Hendel Memorial Prize (Awarded for General Excellence) and The Rhoda Malino Memorial Prize in Modern Hebrew Literature.
After ordination, Rabbi Bennet served as the Rabbi Educator at Temple Beth Torah. In addition to leading the religious school, shaping new curriculum and planning exciting learning opportunities, Rabbi Bennet worked to create a new, innovative high school program bringing together experiential and more formal opportunities for learning.
Rabbi Bennet also participated in the Second Cohort for the Leadership Institute for Jewish Educators. With educators from around the tri-state area, Rabbi Bennet delved into the study of educational principles, leadership development and pedagogic skills and created new programming for religious schools.
Cantor Bradley Hyman
Cantor Hyman came to Temple Chaverim in 2004, after previously serving a congregation in Glendale, CA. He is a graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s School of Sacred Music. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Michigan State University. He has served as a Student Cantor in Mobile, AL, Charlottesville, VA, and New York City’s historic Central Synagogue. At Temple Chaverim, the Cantor is the keeper of our Jewish musical traditions. Cantor Hyman is also responsible for maintaining our very special Bar and Bat Mitzvah program, where our students are prepared to read and chant liturgy, Torah, and Haftarah portions. While not every student will begin their process with the cantor, he works personally with each and every student during the final 4-6 weeks of their preparation ensuring a strong relationship between the students and their Cantor.
Cantor Hyman is a product of the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) and has dedicated a large part of his cantorate to youth and youth work. The cantor has served as a song leader for three URJ summer camps, including the prestigious high school leadership academy, Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY. Currently, Cantor Hyman serves each summer as faculty at Crane Lake Camp in West Stockbridge, MA. Cantor Hyman is a recognized and published past board member of the American Conference of Cantors, is a member of the CCAR-ACC Joint Commission on Youth and has served as a frequent editor of music for Transcontinental Music, the publishing arm of the Reform Movement and the largest distributor of Jewish choral music in the world.