Rabbi Valerie Cohen
Rabbi Cohen, or Rabbi Valerie as she prefers, is a 1999 graduate of Hebrew Union Institute-Jewish Institute of Religion and was sole rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation in Jackson for 11 years. She previously served as an assistant/associate rabbi at Temple Israel in Memphis.
Born in Cleveland and raised in Florida, she graduated from the University of Florida in 1993 with a degree in Public Relations. She and her husband, Jonathan Cohen, have two children, Gabriel, 13, and Marisa, 9.
In 2013, Rabbi Valerie was named one of the Jewish Daily Forward’s 36 most inspiring rabbis. The congregant who nominated her stressed her ability to create a creative Jewish experience in Jackson, including both Reform and Conservative-style Shabbat services. “As the only pulpit rabbi in Jackson,” he wrote, “she sustains the community, bringing together diverse groups of Jewish and non-Jewish people, constantly teaching, learning and growing!”
At Temple Emanuel Sinai, the landslide vote in favor of her candidacy came at the end of a months-long rabbinic search process. With 13 members, six adults from each of the two former congregations as well as a youth leader, the committee worked diligently to identify the ideal spiritual leader for this critical next step. Members of Temple Emanuel Sinai believe they have found this in Rabbi Valerie Cohen.
Cantor Kim Singer, RJE, Cantor
Cantor Kim Singer is delighted to be serving Temple Emanuel Sinai, and looks forward to blending the congregation’s musical legacies, and to building harmony both on and off the bimah.
Before embarking on her career in Jewish music and education in the late 1980s, Kim was a founding member of World Mother Goose Children’s Theater in the Seattle area. Indeed, it was this experience that led to her being tapped to fill a vacancy in a first grade religious school classroom, setting the stage for her decision to enter the cantorate.
Kim makes good use of her theater background writing Purim Shpiels and conducting Tot Shabbat services with a precocious brown bear named Kimbu. She directs our volunteer choir and Friday Night Live band. She is also an accomplished composer, whose work ranges from original children’s music to pieces for choir, organ and flute, and often incorporates melodies from traditional nusach and cantillation.
Kim has been active in the Guild of Temple Musicians and the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education, serving in positions at the national level in both organizations. She has taught and performed at national Jewish education and cantorial conferences.
Kim is a native of Seattle, WA, and holds a Bachelors degree in Drama from the University of Washington. She has served a number of congregations in Washington, Florida and Massachusetts over the past 20+ years. Her Cantorial Ordination, Masters of Jewish Education and Certificate in Family Education are from Hebrew College. In 2010 she was awarded the title of Reform Jewish Educator (RJE) which recognizes excellence in synagogue education within the Reform movement.