Clergy & Staff
Rabbi Ron Fish came to Temple Israel and Sharon on July 1, 2015.
The son of a Conservative rabbi, Rabbi Fish grew up in various communities across the United States, but his summer "home" for more than a decade was Camp Ramah in New England where he was a camper, counselor, unit head (rosh edah), and teacher. He also served as the Head of Education at Camp Ramah in Canada.
Graduating cum laude from Brandeis University in 1991, Rabbi Fish served as the gabbai (leader) of the egalitarian minyan and a member of the Hillel Board and Student Senate. Following his sophomore year, he participated in a mission to the former Soviet Union in which he and a group of students offered support to the Jewish communities of Estonia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Rabbi Fish was ordained in 1996 from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. His third year of study was spent in Israel at the Beit Midrash of the Conservative Movement, now known as the Schecter Institute for Judaic Studies. He received awards in Jewish Theology for his work with Dr. Neil Gillman and in Israeli society for his work at Neve Hana, a home for Israeli children from dysfunctional families.
Preparation for the rabbinate also included work in Washington, D.C. with the Religious Action Center, where he lobbied the US government on issues of importance to the Jewish community.
During the course of his studies, Rabbi Fish was a member of two Jewish a cappella groups, Pizmon and Neranena. Twice during these years he was privileged to travel to Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Austria with Pizmon, where the group performed and reached out to the newly reborn Jewish communities of Eastern Europe.
Rabbi Fish has served as the president of the Norwalk Clergy Association and was the first president of the Rabbinic Council of Norwalk and Westport. He was the driving force behind a number of crucial communal projects such as Taste of Torah, an evening of learning involving the entire community. Rabbi Fish also headed the organization of a communal basic Judaism course involving rabbinic educators from the entire religious spectrum.
In 2006 Rabbi Fish successfully organized a synagogue trip to Israel during the second Lebanon War. The trip was the subject of a documentary on American Jews' experiences in encountering Israel called, Eyes Wide Open.
Currently, Rabbi Fish is working on a doctorate in Jewish Thought at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He can be found rooting for the Red Sox, biking, and playing basketball in the backyard whenever possible. Rabbi Fish is married to Leah Bieler, his wife and partner. Leah is a Jewish educator and scholar who brings her voice, humor, wisdom, and hospitality to Temple Israel and Sharon. She graduated from Northwestern University and has a Masters in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
They are the parents of two daughters and two sons, aged 15 to 7. Get to know the whole family! They open their yard to the entire community for a warm, relaxed Shabbat afternoon experience, including Shabbat afternoon basketball. They hope their enjoyment of Shabbat, and Jewish life as a whole, will continue to be as contagious in their new home of Sharon as it was in Norwalk, CT.
On December 6, 2015, the Temple Israel community celebrated the installation of Ron Fish as their new Senior Rabbi. The video of that joyous day can be viewed here.
Rabbi Rachel Silverman joined the Temple Israel community in July of 2016. She very much looks forward to getting to know you and welcoming you to the Temple Israel community! Please do reach out to find a time to meet for coffee, to share a Shabbat meal, or to share your hopes for the Temple Israel community.
Having grown up in Easton, moving to Sharon is a return to her roots. Rabbi Silverman graduated from Brandeis University with an undergraduate degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (NEJS), from the Davidson School with a Masters in Jewish Education, and was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2010.
For the past five years, Rabbi Silverman has served Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline as their Rabbi for Congregational Learning. In that capacity, she was part of the founding team that built KICKS, an award winning Friday evening prayer experience, and transformed the educational program.
Rabbi Silverman lives in Sharon with her husband Josh, their daughter Anna, and their yellow lab named Abby.
Hazzan Steven W. Dress was attracted to religious life and hazzanut as a protégé of Hazzan Charles Lew, z"l, in Medford, MA. Commissioned as hazzan by the Cantors Assembly, Cantor Dress was awarded a Bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, MA and a Master's Degree in Judaic Studies from Hebrew College, Brookline, MA. He also studied Judaica, Music, and Pastoral Counseling at a variety of universities and ulpanim in New England and Israel, including the Fuchsberg Center's Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Cantor Dress studied voice while expanding musical repertoire for nearly 18 years under the guidance of Hazzan Gregor Shelkan, z"l, Newton, MA.
Cantor Dress began serving Temple Israel, Sharon, MA on August 1, 1991. For nine years he previously served Temple Am David, Warwick, RI. He is widely regarded for retaining teenagers in the synagogue setting. Temple Israel's numerous Torah Reading Corps, and its Adult and Youth Choral groups developed under Cantor Dress' direction. Cantor Dress prepared approximately 1,700 b'nai mitzvah during his career.
A lyrical tenor, Hazzan Dress is a baal-nusah in the Eastern European style. His CD recordings and educational cantata video production, contributed to United Synagogue Solomon Schechter Cultural Arts Awards presented to Temple Israel. He is a recipient of the Outstanding Mentor Award by the American Association of University Women, and the Kehillah Schechter Academy Partner Award. Cantor Dress was honored by Temple Israel upon completing his first decade of service, and in April, 2012 he was jointly honored by the synagogue and his New England Region Cantors Assembly colleagues marking his 30th year in the cantorate.
Cantor Dress organized and participated in many New England Region Cantors Assembly concerts. He has served multiple three-year terms on the Cantors Assembly National Executive Council, served as New England's Cantors Assembly Chairman (Conservative Movement), and is a Past President of the New England Board of Cantors (Commissioned Conservative, Orthodox, Reform Cantors). He has lectured on aspects of Jewish liturgy and its potential influence on human behaviors and relationships. During winter 2008, he was the guest hazzan-scholar in residence during a sabbatical leave at the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, NC. He has also volunteered annually as Cantor-in-Residence at NERUSY's Summer Encampment since 1988. A former activist for Soviet Jewry, Cantor Dress advocates for the chronically mentally and physically disabled. Cantor Dress served on the international Board of Directors of the Masorti Foundation as its National Chairman of Israel's B'nai Mitzvah preparatory program that serves profoundly special needs children. He voluntarily teaches Torah cantillation at the Kehillah Schechter Academy. Cantor and Myrna Dress periodically lead inspiring trips to Israel celebrating life cycle events and advancing worthy causes. Cantor Dress organized and facilitated nusah practicum sessions lecturing at USCJ and USY National Conventions. The USCJ Review, 2006 published excerpts of Cantor Dress' Convention paper entitled: "K-Date: the Embrace of Keva and Kavannah in the Conservative Synagogue". Cantor Dress is an American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) activist, and is a member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and The Phoenix Society.
Cantor Steven and Myrna Dress reside in Sharon, MA but are looking forward to transitioning to life in Boca Raton, FL. Their daughter, Melissa, a diabetes nurse educator, lives in San Diego. Their son, Jonathan, works as an architect at Shive Hattery, an architectural firm, while living with his loving wife, Ilana, a graduate student, in Chicago, and their son Isaac ("Yitzi") Meir.
Celebrate Cantor Dress, April 1-2 2017
During the weekend of April 1-2, Temple Israel will be honoring Cantor Steven and Myrna Dress. We hope you will join us on Saturday, April 1 for Shabbat services and a festive kiddush and Sunday, April 2 for a musical program and a celebratory brunch. A formal invitation will be sent closer to the date.
When Benjamin Maron joined the Temple Israel staff team, he brought his passion for Jewish community and tradition to the shul and Sharon's community. He is interested in fostering a welcoming atmosphere at Temple Israel and working to continue offering programming and services that meet and exceed the interests of our members and larger community.
Benjamin looks forward to working with the Temple staff, clergy, and lay leadership to create new opportunities to attract members and further establish the synagogue as a center for the Sharon community. While Temple Israel is already a leader in innovation, Benjamin plans to continue to grow the presence of the shul in the coming years.
Outside the Temple, Benjamin volunteers with local Jewish organizations, including Keshet and Mayyim Hayyim. In his spare time, he enjoys kayaking, playing Scrabble, and cooking. Benjamin lives in Newton with his partner, Stephanie.
Lisa Kritz is a 1975 graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a BA in Education. Prior to joining the Hertz staff Lisa was Director of the New Bedford Jewish Community Nursery School at Tifereth Israel of New Bedford, religious school teacher at Temple Beth Am, Randolph, and first principal of the South Area High School of Jewish Studies in Brockton.
Lisa joined Hertz as its second director in 1988. During her tenure, the school has grown not only in numbers but also curriculum, Judaic content and involvement in the greater Boston early childhood community. Through many grant initiatives in conjunction with the Bureau of Jewish Education, Lisa has established on going family education programs and an enhanced Judaic curriculum. Under her direction, Hertz received two Solomon Schechter awards from United Synagogue, in 1991 and 1993, and became one of the first two schools in Boston to receive the Magen HaGan Judaic accreditation from the Boston Bureau of Jewish Education in June 2000 and re-accredited in 2005. Hertz Nursery School is also a proud participant in the Boston Haifa Early Childhood exchange that Lisa began in 2001 with 6 other area Directors while on a study mission to Israel. Lisa and several staff have traveled to Israel several times in an early childhood exchange and have hosted Haifa educators in Sharon.
Lisa is a participant in the Early Childhood Directors Study Institute at the Hebrew College in Boston. She helped design the professional development model for outreach courses for Magen HaGan schools and develops professional development study for Hebrew College outreach initiatives. Lisa is a 2002 recipient of the Keter Torah ("Crown of Torah") Award from the Bureau of Jewish Education for a career devoted to excellence in Jewish education. Lisa was also co-editor of "Creating Quality Jewish Environments for Early Childhood CAJE Early Childhood publication, volume 4, June 2006 and volume 5, June 2007.
Lisa was involved in lay leadership positions at Temple Beth Emunah in Brockton for many years. Lisa resides in Sharon with her husband, Cantor Alan Kritz and belongs to Temple Israel. Lisa has two children, Shayna and E.J.
Lisa has also served on the board and Executive Board of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Boston.
Lisa is the coordinator of the new Traditions and Sifriyah Zone programs at Temple Israel that welcome families with children 0-5.
Hailing from Holliston, Massachusetts, Ariel Holman joined the Temple Israel community as the Youth Group Coordinator in August of 2016. She graduated from Muhlenberg College with a BA in Theatre and a certification to teach pre-K to 4th grade. While in high school she restarted the Holliston USY chapter, and under her leadership the chapter received a NERUSY Silver Chapter of Excellence Award.
During the summer, Ariel also works as the Performing Arts Department Head at Camp Tevya. Outside of working as the Youth Coordinator, Ariel enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and playing with her two dogs, Mollie and Albus, and her turtle, Shell.
Ariel is excited to become a part of the Temple Israel community, so make sure to come say hello!
Marla Forman, Office Manager
Marla joined Temple Israel following twelve years in the production and customer service areas of a women's sportswear manufacturer. Marla loves her work here, using her customer service skills as she interacts with congregants and visitors, and in bringing the new synagogue software to life.
Melissa North, Bookkeeper
Melissa joined Temple Israel after a decade of working as an Accountant in CPA firms across MA. With a business degree from the University of Maine, Melissa has also worked in other areas of finance here in MA and abroad in Germany. She also serves on a board of a local non-profit organization and has volunteered her time to various charities over the years. Melissa enjoys using her knowledge for her position here as well as the interface with our congregants.
Ana Marusich-Zanor, Administrative Assistant
Ana joined Temple Israel after many years in retail. In addition to her work, she's also a self-employed artist, specialising in portraits of people's pets, and is passionate about dog rescue. She lives in Stoughton with her husband of 25 years, four dogs, two cats, and a snake.
Debbi Finkelstein, Religious School Administrative Assistant
Debbi Finkelstein earned her B.A. from Brandeis University in History and American Studies and her M.Ed. for High School History from Lesley University. She is currently the Cultural Arts Specialist at the Cohen Hillel Academy and the Assistant Director of Natick Drama Workshop. Debbi also continues to learn about history by working at the Natick Historical Society during the school year, and at George's Island as a Park Interpreter during the summer. Although Debbi grew up at Temple Israel of Natick, she is very excited to be working at Temple Israel of Sharon!