T'filah Leaders

Rabbi Julie Bressler

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

T'filah Leader on Monday, Thursday

Rabbi Julie Bressler serves as the Assistant Rabbi at Temple Beth Shalom. She is thrilled to join this enthusiastic, committed, and caring community!

 

In May 2019, Rabbi Bressler earned her ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles and also received a Master of Arts in Jewish Education from HUC in 2017. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Rabbi Bressler grew up in the Reform movement as an active member of Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, CA, a camper at URJ Camp Newman, and NFTY teen program participant. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Women and Gender Studies and American Culture Studies. Before attending rabbinical school, Rabbi Bressler worked as a youth and teen programming professional in St. Louis and the Bay Area.

 

As a rabbinic and education student, Rabbi Bressler served several communities throughout California – Congregation Shir Ami in Castro Valley, Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas, and Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills. She also spent four summers on senior staff at URJ Camp Newman and served as a Chaplain Intern at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In these capacities, Rabbi Bressler led services, officiated life cycle events, supervised teachers and staff, and developed curricula for family education and camp programs and trainings. Additionally, she guided HUC Los Angeles through a process of re-evaluating and re-visioning their sexual harassment policies and the gender-based experiences of students and staff.

 

Rabbi Bressler is a passionate teacher, community builder, and social justice advocate. She enjoys supporting others through their Jewish journeys, sharing the power of Jewish tradition, and asking and discussing big questions. She can’t wait to meet you!

Matt Emmer

Pronouns: He/Him/His

T'filah Leader on Monday, Thursday

After working with Mayim as a t’filah and song leader, I am excited to join the team as a 5th Grade Educator. I grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York, and am a proud alumni of URJ Eisner Camp, spending 14 summers as a camper, counselor, and eventually head song leader. In the spring of 2016, I graduated from Clark University in Worcester, where I studied English and Jewish Studies. I’m passionate about making the classroom a space for exploration and helping students find their connection to Judaism and the world around them. 

DJ Fortine

Pronouns: He/Him/His

T'filah Leader on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Daniel ("D.J.") Fortine is our first ever TBS Cantorial Intern. A graduate of the University of Hartford's prestigious Hartt School of Music where he received his BA in Music and Judaic Studies, D.J. is a gifted musician, leader of song, and aspiring Cantor. As Cantorial Intern, D.J. brings the spirit and beauty of Jewish music to us. While attending the Hartt School, D.J.'s primary focus was on music theory, performance, and music education. His musical range is broad, as he has successfully shared song in settings as diverse as the congregational bima, the opera stage, the choir concert hall, a cappella group performances, and Jewish summer camp.

D.J. is skilled as both a guitar player and at the piano. He has served as the Head Song Leader at the Union for Reform Judaism's Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, MA. He has led congregational music at Temple Beth Hillel in South Windsor, CT and Congregation Beth Israel of West Hartford. He has served as Cantorial Soloist on the bima for Shabbat and holidays, led music for children and teens, and worked closely with Bar/Bat Mitzvah students.

D.J. will be joining Rabbi Perlman and Rabbi Markley in creating moving and spirited Shabbat services throughout the year. In addition, DJ creates new pathways for adult singing and opportunities to build upon the already strong musical culture at TBS. So too he creates relationships with our B'nei Mitzvah and their families as well as serving as a key member of our Mayim/Etzim Learning Team as he brings music to our community's children and teens.

Earnest Vener

Pronouns: He/Him/His

T'filah Leader on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday

I cherish the opportunity to build a learning community of young people at TBS that is centered on our shared Jewish culture, community building, and personal growth. I see each child as a stakeholder of Judaism and work to create opportunities for them to take ownership over our stories, traditions, and language. I bring a deep love for Jewish texts, storytelling, and theatre to the classroom.

In my eight years working as Jewish educator, I continue to find that my favorite part of this work is developing personal relationships with each young person and their family. I am inspired by the passions, interests, and growing edges of my students and integrate my knowledge of them into our instructional time together.I utilize my M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Graduate Theological Union, B.A. in Hebrew from UC Berkeley, and my time at Svara Yeshiva to instill in my students a love for Jewish learning that is rooted in history, cultural arts, and social justice.