Rabbi Joshua Franklin
Rabbi Joshua Franklin joins the Jewish Center of the Hamptons after serving for four years as an Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, MA. In his career as a rabbi, he has enlivened the Jewish community by reimagining spirituality through creative mediums. Rabbi Franklin brings to the synagogue setting a passion for music, technology, and creative forms of Jewish education.
Before receiving his ordination at Hebrew Union College (HUC-JIR), Rabbi Franklin attended Clark University in Worcester, MA. There he graduated Magna Cum Laude, and majored in History with a concentration in Jewish Studies. He also received a Masters degree from Clark in History. While at HUC-JIR, he served numerous synagogues and Jewish institutions as a student rabbi and rabbinical intern including Beth Ha-Sholom of Williamsport, PA, Rodeph Shalom of Philadelphia, PA, DOROT of New York NY, Temple Sinai of Stamford, CT, and Beth El of Beckley, WV. Rabbi Franklin was the recipient of the Daniel and Bonnie Tisch Fellowship, a three year extracurricular program with Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman that explores congregational studies, personal theology, and contemporary religion in North America.
In addition to rabbinical ordination at HUC-JIR, he earned Masters Degrees in Hebrew Literature and in Religious Education. In his spare time, Rabbi Franklin enjoys golf, cycling, snowboarding, photography, wine tasting, beer brewing, and cooking with his wife Stephanie Whitehorn. He now resides in East Hampton, NY with his wife Stephanie and daughters Lilah and Amelia. < Less
Cantor/Rabbi Debra Stein
Cantor/Rabbi Debra Stein has served the Jewish Center of the Hamptons for over 30 years. Upon graduating from the School of Sacred Music, Hebrew Union College, she became our Cantor/Educator. Cantor Stein is also a Rabbi.
As part of community outreach, Cantor Stein meets with the Clericus of East Hampton, the organization of local clergy, and participates in ecumenical services in the community. She sings holiday songs at local public school, assembles and conducts model Seders, works with the East End Hospice, has spoken at the local college on the Jewish view of infertility and adoption, and has served on sub-committees at the hospital for quality AIDS care.
Cantor/Rabbi Stein has performed concerts of both liturgical and secular music throughout the country, as well as in England, Scotland, Wales, and Israel. She was among the first cantors to sing at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and sang at the Curacao synagogue’s 300th anniversary commemoration. A former member of the faculty of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion School of Sacred Music, she taught graduate seminars on professional development, worked with senior students in preparation for their pulpits, and gave Master classes on the liturgical music of the Sephardim to rabbis and cantors in the New York area. Cantor Stein played a key role at Sacred Music Press publishing classic, contemporary, and new works for the synagogue. A past board member of the American Conference of Cantors, she served many committees. < Less
Rabbi Emeritus Sheldon Zimmerman
Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman became the Rabbi of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons in July 2007.
He comes from a long line of Rabbis, in fact, he is the eleventh direct generation of his family to be rabbis and his son Brian is the twelfth. Married to Judith (a social worker and therapist) for over forty-five years, they have four children seven grandchildren.
Rabbi Zimmerman has served as Rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York City, a national historical landmark and Temple Emanu-El of Dallas (one of the largest Jewish congregations in North America). After Dallas, Rabbi Zimmerman served for five years as President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the spiritual and educational center of Reform Judaism in North America and Israel. He worked on all four campuses: Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem. He has also led the Birthright Israel program in North America which provides free trips for 18-26 year olds to Israel. He has served as Vice President of Jewish Renaissance and Renewal of the United Jewish Communities, the umbrella organization of all community federations in North America.
Rabbi Zimmerman has served as a visiting professor at Fordham University, Southern Methodist University, Perkins Theological Seminary at SMU, and as adjunct faculty at Hebrew Union College and as an instructor in philosophy at Hunter College of the City University of New York.
Rabbi Zimmerman was selected to serve on a 16 member Presidential Delegation sent by President Clinton to travel with Vice President Gore to Warsaw for the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Additionally, he has published many articles and is the author of Children’s and Young Family’s prayer books for the Sabbath and the Festivals.
Rabbi Zimmerman retired as of May 31, 2017 having served the Jewish Center of the Hamptons for ten years. He was honored at a Shabbat service and luncheon on May 27, 2017, when congregants, colleagues, elected officials and members of the East Hampton Clericus joined together to recognize his illustrious career and lasting legacy in serving the Jewish people. < Less
Diane Wiener, Director of Development, Executive Director Emerita
Diane’s passion for synagogue life has directed her path for most of her adult years. She served Temple Beth David in Commack, NY as Chair of the Ritual Committee and the Budget & Finance Committee and was an active member of their Social Action Committee. She was President of Temple Beth David’s Sisterhood from 1992 to 1994, served on the Board of Trustees from 1992 to 2010, and on the Executive Committee prior to being elected Temple President in 2001. Following her term as president of the congregation, Diane was the Temple Administrator from 2004 to 2010.
Diane brought her business acumen and extensive knowledge of synagogue management to the Jewish Center of the Hamptons as Executive Director in May 2010. In her role as Executive Director, Diane secured a 2011 Homeland Security Grant for security upgrades to the Jewish Center. Her vision drove the renovation of the Donald and Barbara Zucker Patio, beautifying the space where we join together and providing an opportunity to commemorate a simcha or remember a loved one. In 2014 Diane oversaw extensive renovations and upgrades to our administrative building, all the while ensuring that synagogue life remained vibrant and uninterrupted. In recognition of her outstanding service to the Jewish Center, Diane has been honored by receiving the title of Executive Director Emerita.
Diane’s passion and dedication for all things Jewish extend far beyond her business skills in dealing with the day-to-day operations of the congregation as is evidenced by her transition to the position of Director of Development for the Jewish Center of the Hamptons. The relationships Diane has cultivated during her tenure as Executive Director will compliment her drive and desire to grow and support all facets of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons.
Diane has lived in Suffolk County since 1986. She and her husband Steve have two adult sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law, and three adored grandchildren. < Less
Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Director of Education
Dr. Joel M. Hoffman believes that synagogues are uniquely positioned to deliver outstanding Jewish education, and is thrilled to serve as JCOH’s Director of Education.
A pioneer of modern Jewish education, Dr. Hoffman has taught and consulted on all six inhabitable continents, and served on the faculties of HUC-JIR’s school of education in New York City and of Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. In 2008, he chaired the largest gathering of Jewish educators in the world.
Dr. Hoffman is a Phi Beta Kappa member and a summa cum laude graduate of Brandeis University. He spent a year in Israel doing graduate work in computer science at the Technion before earning a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Dividing his time between hands-on education and scholarship, Dr. Hoffman is the chief translator for the popular 10-volume series, My People’s Prayer Book (winner of the National Jewish Book Award), the two-volume My People’s Passover Haggadah, and the seven-volume Prayers of Awe series. His books include In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language, from NYU Press, and, from St. Martin’s Press, And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning and The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor. He has also contributed to the print edition of the International Jerusalem Post and to a variety of on-line outlets. Writing under the pen name “J.M. Hoffman,” he is author of the thriller series The Warwick Files.
When not teaching, writing, or reading, Dr. Hoffman usually has a camera in hand, and from time to time he can be spotted playing table tennis poorly.
He lives not far from New York City. < Less
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