In 1960, the cornerstone was laid for our home on Pinebrook Boulevard. In 1973, after thirty-six years as a brilliant leader of Temple Israel’s growing congregation, Rabbi Shankman achieved Emeritus status, and Amiel Wohl became Senior Rabbi. Rabbi Wohl’s humanitarian influence brought prominence, both in the greater Westchester community and the Reform Judaism movement. He organized the Israel Action Committee, memorialized the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and the Holocaust, and drew attention to the plight of Jews in Russia. B’not Mitzvah (Bat Mitzvahs), Havdalah and Selichot services, and the modern pronunciation of Hebrew became part of Temple Israel’s regular rituals. Weekly Sabbath and High Holy Day broadcasts over radio station WVOX-AM, under the direction of Rita Rosen, reached out to those who were unable to attend services. Within the larger community, Rabbi Wohl gained high marks for promoting understanding among diverse religious denominations and for advancing interracial cooperation.
Helene S. Reps was appointed cantor in 1980, continuing the tradition of providing inspiring musical presentation at Temple Israel. Upon her ascent to Cantor Emerita in 1997, Cantor Alane Katzew joined the clergy, introducing contemporary musical compositions to blend with TINR’s choral music tradition and initiating our transition to a participatory “Singing Congregation.” In July of 2002, our current cantor, Erik L. Contzius, came to Temple Israel from Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, where he served as cantor and music director.
In July 2000, Michael Z. Cahana joined our clergy team as Senior Rabbi, and Amiel Wohl was elevated to Rabbi Emeritus. When the Cahana family moved to Portland, Oregon in 2006, Temple Israel introduced Evan Goodman as Senior Rabbi. During the following year, Beth Nichols, a graduate of the HUC Los Angeles campus, entered as Assistant Rabbi and Director of Religious Education. In 2009, we welcomed current Senior Rabbi Scott B. Weiner from Manhattan’s Hebrew Tabernacle Congregation. Rabbi Nichols has recently been promoted to Associate Rabbi and Director of Congregational Learning, and Rebecca Elkus-Ferst has been hired to serve as Religious School Principal.