Rabbi/Cantor Meeka Simerly
Rabbi/Cantor Meeka Simerly was born in Haifa, Israel, and was raised in an “ultra-secular” Zionist environment. After moving to California to study music in 1995, she rediscovered her Jewish roots and fell madly in love with Reform Judaism. Rabbi Meeka became musically and “Jewishly” active in several congregations and organizations, co-leading services, teaching Hebrew, Torah Trope, Love of Israel, and music.
Rabbi Meeka received her Cantorial Ordination and a Master of Jewish Sacred Music in 2009 from the Academy for Jewish Religion CA (AJRCA). During her second year of schooling at the Academy, Rabbi Meeka was hired as Cantor at Temple Emanu-El in San Jose, CA, where she served for 10 years. During that time, Rabbi Meeka also continued her schooling at the AJRCA, where she earned her Master of Rabbinic Studies and became an Ordained Rabbi.
Just before graduation, Temple Beth Tikvah’s wonderful Search Committee interviewed Rabbi Meeka, and indeed, it was love at first phone call! Rabbi Meeka and her husband Dave arrived in Wayne, NJ in July 2016, and bought a house where they are now as happy as puppies playing in the snow!
Since then, Rabbi Meeka has been engaged with all of Temple Beth Tikvah’s ritual and religious endeavors: she leads Tefila with TBT’s Religious school children, working with the Families of Bnei/Bnot Mitzvah, engaging in all life cycle events, creating and teaching many Adult Education classes, and leading all Friday services. Rabbi Meeka also serves as co-chair of the Wayne Township Interfaith Council, while promoting acceptance, appreciation, and love among all people from different religious, racial, and national backgrounds.
Rabbi Meeka’s thesis, “Naomi Shemer’s Artistic Expression: Poetry, Prayer, or Both?” was published in the book Emotions in Jewish Music, and her book Voices in The Wilderness, Emerging Roles of Israeli Clergy Women (Gaon Books) was published in January 2015. You can find more info on Meeka’s Amazon Author page.
In her spare time Rabbi Meeka loves to read (books, the old fashion way), hike, and spend a lot of time outdoors with Dave and their dog Oreo; she enjoys arts and crafts, and Pilates too. From the Rabbi: “I am always happy to meet you, so stop by my office to say hello, or schedule an appointment with me for a longer visit. My door is always open!”
Cantor Emeritus Charles Romalis
After arriving at Temple Beth Tikvah, Cantor Emeritus Romalis set out to create an atmosphere of joy and celebration through his cantorate and to create a wonderful and meaningful musical legacy second to none. In the process, he also helped ensure that Temple Beth Tikvah serves as a spiritual home to everyone.
Cantor Emeritus Romalis embodies the title Sh’liach Tsibur, a sacred term for what it means to be a cantor: a messenger for the community. He has a gift for focusing on the positive aspects of life and making people feel good and better about their own lives. He truly is the eternal optimist.
During his 50 years as Temple Beth Tikvah’s Cantor, he has worked with people of all ages, including teaching all grades in the Religous School and adult Hebrew Learning. He has been involved in all aspects of clergy leadership and education like youth director, principal of the primary grades, and adult and children’s choir director. He has officiated at many life-cycle events such as weddings, renewal of vows, funerals, unveilings, baby naming, and more.
Cantor Romalis has been a guiding light that has helped Temple Beth Tikvah embrace the diverse and enriching musical traditions of the Jewish people. He has created an extraordinary legacy that will continue to serve Temple Beth Tikvah’s congregation into the future.
Cantor Intern Erica Rubin
Cantor Intern Erica Rubin is currently serving as Cantor Intern and Jewish Educator at Temple Beth Tikvah, in Wayne, NJ. She previously served as Cantor and Jewish Educator at Congregation Sons of Israel in Nyack, New York, in Rockland County. She served as Spiritual Leader/Cantor and Hebrew School director at the Jewish Center of the Moriches in Suffolk County on Long Island, New York. She has also served at various congregations including B’nai Israel in Wilmington, North Carolina, Shomrei Torah in Wayne, New Jersey, Congregation B’nai Israel in Fleishmans, NY and Temple Beth El in Oneanta, NY. She has also served as a Jewish Educator at WTA in New Rochelle, NY, Greenburgh Hebrew Center in Dobbs Ferry, NY, and at Riverdale Temple, in Riverdale, NY,
Cantor Rubin is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, magna cum laude, majoring in Anthropology while also studying at Manhattan School of Music for Vocal Performance. She is a graduate of Saint John’s University with a Master of Education and is currently studying at the Academy for Jewish Religion, Cantorial Program and Jewish Studies. Cantor Rubin is also a professional opera singer, singing her coloratura soprano roles all over Europe for the past 15 years, such as the Queen of the Night from the Magic Flute and Madame Mao from Nixon in China.
As the cousin of the great Cantor Pierre Pinchik, Erica is thrilled to continue her family’s tradition of serving the Jewish community as a spiritual leader and chazzan. As Cantor Intern, she hopes to inspire all through prayer, through the teaching of our Jewish texts and rituals, and is excited and honored to lead you in all of your important life cycle ceremonies.
Paula Rindner, Principal Religious School
Paula Rindner was born in Brooklyn, New York. She attended elementary through high school in Brooklyn and Passaic, New Jersey. After attending Ohio State University and William Paterson University, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Masters Degree as a Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant serving on a Child Study Team. After a rewarding and extraordinary 45 year career solely in the Montclair Public Schools, she was appointed as Religious School Principal of Temple Beth Tikvah. Her vast and extensive background in education seemed a natural progression into heading the Religious School. Over the decades, Paula’s dedication, passion, and advocating for students has been evident as she continues her path in education meeting students needs and working collectively with parents, Temple administration and clergy.
A member of Temple Beth Tikvah with her family for over 20 years, she has also been part of the Religious School faculty collaboratively working with clergy to prepare students for their B’nai Mitzvah.
Paula states, “ There is no doubt in my mind that collectively as we partnership in this wonderful journey, Temple Beth Tikvah will continue to be the center of your family’s Jewish life. By instilling spirituality, students will be engaged in joyful, relevant, exciting and meaningful experiences to deepen their love for Judaism as they gain knowledge and understanding by strengthening our heritage and tradition.
If you need additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact Paula Rindner at (973) 595-6565 ext. 16 or send 📧mail…