Rabbi Ilan Glazer
Rabbi Ilan is excited and honored to be Rabbi of Beth Sholom Synagogue. Rabbi Ilan grew up in Conservative synagogues and schools, USY youth groups, and Camp Ramah. He has worked with many Jewish environmental and social justice organizations and has led Jewish trips in the U.S., Costa Rica, and Israel. Rabbi Ilan has brought his unique blend of Torah, humor, music, and insights from the storytelling, personal growth and public speaking disciplines to synagogues, schools, JCC’s, retreat centers, and army bases throughout the Jewish world. Prior to coming to Beth Sholom, Rabbi Ilan was the spiritual leader of Temple Beth El of North Bergen, NJ.
Rabbi Ilan was ordained in 2012 by ALEPH: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal. He has a B.A. in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the City College of New York. He also studied at Pardes and with Nava Tehila in Jerusalem. Rabbi Ilan was a Rabbis Without Borders fellow with CLAL: the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. He completed trainings in the art of Sacred Hebrew Chant with Rabbi Shefa Gold, in ritual theatre with Storahtelling, and was ordained as a Maggid, a Jewish inspirational storyteller, by Maggid Yitzhak Buxbaum.
Rabbi Ilan is an avid cyclist and drummer and has played with a Who’s Who of the Jewish musical world. He enjoys traveling, film, music and spending time in nature.
Please feel free to contact Rabbi Ilan
Executive Director - Geo Poor
Geo Poor joined the Beth Sholom community in 2015 as Executive Director. He is a longtime youth educator in the Conservative movement, having worked for USY, Ramah, and Schechter for much of his adult life. He recently received a Certificate of Jewish Studies from the Pardes Experiential Educators Program and both an MA in Jewish Professional Leadership and an MBA in Non-Profit Management from the Hornstein Program for Jewish Professional Leadership. Geo hopes to use his business and leadership skills along with his passion for Jewish spirituality to help enable Jews to connect to their traditions in meaningful and creative ways.
Geo is a guitarist, bassist, and percussionist, a vegetarian foodie, an off-and-on practitioner of yoga, a rabbit enthusiast, and a budding scribe. He enjoys Jewish texts, particularly those relating to spirituality, theology, and Kabbalah. After 14 years in Massachusetts, he is excited to experience winter in Memphis.
Geo invites anyone to stop by his office for a chat about the synagogue, Judaism, life, music, or anything else. Feel free to contact Geo by email.
Director of Congregational Learning - Penina Hoffnung
Penina joined our staff in August 2014 as our new Director of Congregational Learning. She worked at the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey for 18 years, 15 of those as Director of the Department of Jewish Education and Continuity and three as the Community Family Educator. She created community-wide Jewish educational fairs, events and children’s museum. As director, she ran the Midrashah Jewish Junior College of Jewish Studies, a teen supplemental program of deep Jewish learning. She helped found and serves on the executive board of NAACCHHS (pronounced like the thing you get from your children), the North American Association of Congregational and Community Hebrew High Schools.
Her personal Jewish journey included a childhood in New Jersey, Western Pennsylvania, Cleveland Ohio, and Westchester County, NY. After attending high school in three different states, she made aliyah at age 19, briefly serving in the Israeli army and living on a border kibbutz and the heart of Tel Aviv. She attended art college in Israel and then back again in NY, with a BFA in Visual Arts from SUNY College at Purchase. She holds a Masters in Jewish Education from Gratz College. She is Ema/mom to four, ranging in age from 26 to 14, all over the globe. Her youngest, Maya, came along with her to Memphis and is attending Houston High School. Penina describes herself as a “Veggie Foodie”, and a lot of her “down” time seems to have to do with food, including foraging wild food, shopping for weird ingredients, reading cookbooks instead of novels, and then foisting the dishes that result from all this on unsuspecting Shabbat dinner guests. Please feel free to contact Penina Hoffnung with your questions and input.
Office Administrative Assistant - Cheryl Strong
Cheryl has been part of the Beth Sholom family since 2003. Her smiling face and warm disposition greet each member or guest who walks in Beth Sholom's front door. She is also often the first voice you hear when you call the synagogue office. When Cheryl is not answering phones, making copies or preparing mailings, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family. You should feel free to contact Cheryl Strong.
Kitchen Supervisor - Claudia Burkins
Beth Sholom just wouldn't feel like home without Claudia here to whip up her Saturday Kiddush luncheons or fry up her famous fried chicken. She has been part of the Beth Sholom family longer than most of our members, as she joined our staff in 1963. In addition to taking care of Beth Sholom's culinary needs, Claudia also works as a private caterer, so it is likely that you have enjoyed her food at a recent Bar Mitzvah, wedding or bris. Claudia stays busy with her 7 children, 7 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren when she is not in the Beth Sholom kitchen.
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6675 Humphreys Blvd. | Memphis, TN 38120 | 901-683-3591 | fax 901-683-3592