Sarah Hronsky, Senior Rabbi
With a deep dedication to Jewish faith and culture, Rabbi Sarah Hronsky – “Rabbi Sarah” – enthusiastically embraces her role as Senior Rabbi for Temple Beth Hillel.
Rabbi Sarah grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where her family was very active in a small congregation. She became Bat Mitzvah, was president of her youth group and was confirmed at Temple Kol Am. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia, with a bachelor of science in secondary education.
Rabbi Sarah 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 Sarah joined Temple Beth Hillel in July 2003.
Rabbi Sarah brings energy and creativity to programming to the Temple’s preschool kids, our youth groups and seniors. Her rabbinate is filled with teaching, counseling and liturgical exploration. She is most honored to work directly with families through their joyous moments and their most difficult times. Rabbi Sarah serves on the Board of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis and as Treasurer to the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.
Rabbi Sarah is married to Yuri Hronsky, who is currently the Principal of Heschel West Day School. They are the proud parents of three daughters, Chana Zoe, Eden Sivan and Josie Lily.
Shana Chandler Leon, Cantor
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
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 retired in June of 2010. Though he is greatly missed as a daily fixture at TBH, he can be reached through extension 150, and still makes cameo appearances here at the temple. 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.