Our Clergy & Staff
Sarah Hronsky, Senior Rabbi — Click here to email Rabbi Sarah
With a deep dedication to Jewish faith and culture, Rabbi Sarah Hronsky enthusiastically embraces her role as Senior Rabbi for Temple Beth Hillel, a Reform community in Valley Village. Rabbi Hronsky joined Temple Beth Hillel in 2003. Temple Beth Hillel is a vibrant community. We are host to a supplemental Religious School and Beth Hillel Day School – which includes our Parenting Center, Early Childhood Education Center, and Elementary School, as well as an Interfaith Food Pantry, Community Counseling Center, 12 Step, and Scouting programs. Rabbi Hronsky brings energy and creativity to the variety of needs in the East San Fernando Valley. She is engaged in community outreach and education, and her rabbinate is filled with teaching, counseling and liturgical exploration.
Rabbi Hronsky grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where her family was very active in a small congregation. She holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Missouri, Columbia, with a bachelor of science in secondary education. Rabbi Hronsky was ordained a rabbi by Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC) of Los Angeles in 2003. While at HUC, she earned two masters degrees: one in Hebrew Letters and the other in Jewish Communal Service. A major focus of her rabbinic studies was the Jewish tradition’s view of persons with disabilities. Rabbi Hronsky serves on the Executive Board of Rabbis of Southern California and has served on the Board of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis.
Rabbi Hronsky is married to Yuri Hronsky, who is currently the Head of Ilan Ramon Day School, and they are the proud parents of three daughters: Chana Zoe, Eden Sivan and Josie Lily.
Shana Chandler Leon, Cantor — Click here to email Cantor Shana
Shana was born in San Francisco and attended the Hebrew Academy of San Francisco from K- 8th grade. There, she received a strong foundation in Hebrew and prayer skills for which she is profoundly grateful, though it took her a few years to realize that! As a child, Shana studied piano, dance and drama. She was devoted to competitive speech in high school and was California State Champion in Original Oratory and top 10 in the country in 1986. Public speaking continues to be a great love, and Shana volunteers for the speech and debate team at CHAMPS High School, where her daughter is a student.
Shana attended UCLA, where she majored in English Literature and graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She assumed she would pursue a career in print or broadcast journalism, having worked for the Daily Bruin, KLA (the campus radio station) and Ha’am, the Jewish newspaper, but after college, other interests took hold. Shana started singing again while attending Brandeis Collegiate Institute in 1991, and began cantorial soloist work in 1994 for Temple Rodeph Shalom in El Segundo. From there, Shana became “Chazzan Sheni,” the “second” cantor for Adat Ari El in Valley Village, then served as primary cantor for Congregation Shaarei Torah in Arcadia. She started at Temple Beth Hillel in 2008. In 2005, she received her Master of Arts Degree in Education / Jewish Studies from American Jewish University, where she has been a staff member and serves as an adjunct professor.
After working in synagogues and the Jewish community for 18 years, Shana is finally pursuing ordination, studying in the Rabbinic / Cantorial program at the trans-denominational Academy for Jewish Religion-CA. She hopes to be ordained sometime this decade! The combination of Judaism, tradition, music and theater is what inspires Shana in her work and makes every day at Temple Beth Hillel a gift. She is an avid Giants and Bruins fan and enjoys surprising her B’nai Mitzvah students with sports trivia. She is supported with love by Aaron, her husband of 20 years and consultant on all things Jewish and sports-related, and her beautiful kids, Adena and Jared, both graduates of Beth Hillel Day School.
Jim Kaufman, Rabbi Emeritus — Click here to email Rabbi Jim
One of the Jewish community’s most passionate and dedicated leaders, Rabbi Jim Kaufman – known as “Rabbi Jim” – has made his life at Temple Beth Hillel.
Rabbi Jim came to Temple Beth Hillel in 1949 as a youngster and subsequently became Bar Mitzvah and was later confirmed. He worked at Temple Beth Hillel as a music teacher and Bar/Bat Mitzvah teacher. He received a Bachelor of Art degree in Sociology at California State University, Northridge and was ordained a rabbi by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1973.
Rabbi Jim has served Temple Beth Hillel as a rabbi since his ordination. Beyond his dedication to the spirituality of community prayer, Rabbi Jim especially enjoys the one-to-one relationships with members of the congregation, teaching adults and children and discussing Jewish philosophy. Every day, he seeks opportunities to connect with and provide guidance for congregants, and every summer he takes time to serve on the faculty of Camp Swig to help inspire the next generation.
Rabbi Jim is married to Sue Kaufman, who also grew up at Temple Beth Hillel. They have five children, Joshua, Seth, Asher, Noah and Daniella. Rabbi Jim savors the opportunity to help individuals find satisfaction, support and meaning in their lives.
Rabbi Jim became the Rabbi Emeritus in June of 2010 but he still is active at the Temple as a volunteer in the Moses Outreach Program, the Ishmael-Isaac Program (Muslims for Progressive Values and TBH), and a variety of other areas. If you would like to reach him, please email him at email@example.com.
We were so very fortunate to have such an inspirational and devoted leader lay the foundation of Temple Beth Hillel and our community for 37 years.
Thank you, Rabbi Jim!
Cantor Emeritus Alan Weiner
Cantor Emeritus Alan Weiner served Temple Beth Hillel from 1994 to 2008. He helped hundreds of students prepare for bar and bat mitzvah, conducted the Adult Choir and the Cantor’s Chanters Youth Choir as well as the Shabbat Band, Members of the Tribe. He brought a wide range of music to the Temple through his arrangements and original compositions and worked with Rabbis Jim Kaufman and Sarah Hronsky in shaping the worship services at TBH.
Cantor Alan graduated from Grant High School in Van Nuys, holds a B.A. in Music from Stanford University, and MFA in Choral Music from the California Institute of the Arts, and pursued doctoral study at USC. He was invested as Cantor by the School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion.
He is the past chair of the American Conference of Cantors Pacific Southwest Region and past vice-president of the National Conference. His compositions and arrangements are used in synagogues around the country. His song “Make a Noise,” written for TBH, is now included in the Reform movement’s Social Action Songbook.
He and his wife, Amy Simon-Weiner, are proud parents of Hallie, Benjamin, and Brina.
Executive Director – Click here to email Steve
Steve has worked in the Jewish community for many years. Some of his past positions include Director of Camp Swig in Northern California, where Steve met Rabbi Jim Kaufman, Director of Capital Camps in Washington, DC, and Executive Director of Temple Beth Israel in San Diego. He is a native Californian and has attended many simcha at TBH over the years.
Steve holds a Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in Administration and Supervision as well as a California teaching credential and a community college teaching credential. He has many years of experience in organizational administration, a subject which he has also taught.
Director, Early Childhood Education – Click here to email Claudine
As a highly regarded educator for the last 20 years, Claudine brings a wealth of expertise and experience to her role. From earning the 2001 nomination for Teacher of the Year in La Canada School District to establishing invaluable enrichment programs at TBH, Claudine continues to explore new ways to provide students with a rewarding, engaging and valuable educational experience.
As a Southern California native, Claudine attended preschool at the Jewish
Community Center in Granada Hills and embraced Jewish values from an early age. She knew that she wanted to be an educator; Claudine earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and a graduate degree with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from San Diego State University. As a teacher, she took on additional district leadership roles, including district assessment mentor, grade level technology chair, and curriculum writer. In addition, Claudine has completed additional credits and initiatives at UCLA in early childhood education as well as early childhood administration and has completed administrative training through Los Angeles County’s California School Leadership Academy.
Claudine has worked passionately with all ages and led educational experiences
through Parent & Me groups, elementary school, preschool enrichment and has served as an educational consultant for Los Angeles Unified School District as well as UCLA.
A decade ago, Claudine walked into TBH’s Baby & Me class with her then 6-week-old son and soon realized what a truly transformative experience that would turn out to be. For the last seven years, Claudine has led ECE initiatives at TBH and was instrumental in the development of highly engaging enrichment programs, valuable Parent & Me classes, as well as the design and execution of a highly successful summer camp program.
Dr. Erica Rothblum, Ed.D.
Head of School, Beth Hillel Day School – Click here to email Dr. Rothblum
Dr. Erica Rothblum hails from the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts, where she was an active member of her synagogue. She became a bat mitzvah, studied through confirmation and served as a regional vice president of her youth group. Erica received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from UCLA. She holds an MA degree in Teaching from Loyola Marymount, a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Barnard College. She also spent her junior year of college studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Erica began her teaching career in Compton, California as a member of Teach for America, a program that seeks out graduates of elite colleges to teach in inner city schools. During this time she was nominated for the Sue Lehman Award for Excellence in Teaching. She then taught in a highly-rated suburban public school in Massachusetts before moving back to Los Angeles, where she taught at Camino Nuevo, a charter school known for its innovative programming. Erica has served as a peer coach, lead teacher, grade level chair, mentor teacher and as a teaching supervisor at the American Jewish University. Additionally, she has worked as an Adjunct Professor in Education at the University level.
Erica first came to Beth Hillel Day School in 2008, when she served as the Director of General Studies. During her three years in this position, Erica was instrumental in bringing the Reading and Writing Workshop and Singapore Math curricula to the school, starting the all-school Science Fair and Math Games parties, and creating a culture of professional learning amongst the teachers and staff.
Erica and her husband, Daniel, are the proud parents of their daughter, Maya, who loves being a student in the ECE.
Interim Director, Religious School – Click here to email Tarlan
Tarlan Rabizadeh grew up in the Greater Los Angeles area. She attended Stephen S. Wise Elementary School through to Milken Community High School.
Before receiving her Masters in Jewish Education at the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, Tarlan attended Boston University where she received a BA in Political Science & Public Policy and a Minor in Hebrew.
Tarlan is fluent in three languages and is also an artist. During her free time, Tarlan is developing the first Progressive Sephardic Siddur. She is passionate about integrating the Persian Jewish Community with Reform Communities in Los Angeles.