The Temple Beth Sholom Professional Staff
Rabbi Heidi Cohen has served as a Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom since 1998. She possesses a desire to share and adapt traditional Jewish concepts to a modern Reform context and a gift of being able to teach people of all ages to embrace the joy of Judaism. Her energy and enthusiasm have made her an important presence on the pulpit, while her knowledge and empathy have been evident in sermons, classes, retreats, and life events.
Rabbi Cohen studies with Jew-by-Choice Students, counsels congregants and non-members, provides hospital and home pastoral counseling, and conducts pre-marital counseling sessions prior to weddings.
Rabbi Cohen is a graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Denver. Rabbi Cohen is the Immediate Past-President of the Orange County Board of Rabbis and serves on numerous community associations, including: the Executive Committee of Clergy for Choice through Planned Parenthood of Orange County, the Interfaith Council of Central Orange County, the Fish Interfaith Center Advisory Council, and the Advisory Committee for Spiritual Development at Children’s Hosptial of Orange County. Rabbi Cohen also serves on the Pacific Southwest Regional Boards for PARR, (Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis), ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America) and ADL (Anti-Defamation League).
She is married to Matt, a web designer, and has one daughter and one son.
Cantor David Reinwald
Cantor David Reinwald, a Chicago native, started at Temple Beth Sholom in July 2010. With a passion for music of all styles, Cantor Reinwald considers himself a music aficionado. He holds a Bachelors in Music, Media, and Jewish Studies from Indiana University – Bloomington and was ordained as a cantor by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York City in 2006.
Cantor Reinwald is inspired by Jewish and cantorial music that is both classic and contemporary, and also has a specialization in music written and performed during the Holocaust. Out of his masters thesis research, Cantor Reinwald created an hour long transformative experience and performance entitled Cabaret of the Holocaust: Notes of Satire from the Stages, Cafes, and Streets of the Ghettos. His research is archived in the collections of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and at Yad Vashem in Israel.
Prior to joining the TBS staff, Cantor Reinwald has served Temple Anshe Sholom of Olympia Fields, IL, Congregation Beth Israel of Austin, TX and Temple Beth-El of Jersey City, NJ. He also spent a summer working as a hospital chaplain at Beth Israel Hospital in NYC’s East Village. He is a member of the American Conference of Cantors Executive Board, where he has served on various committees, and is also a past chair of the student recruitment committee of the HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Alumni Association. The cantor’s debut album, Here I Stand, was released in September, 2011. He is the creator and host of the unique podcast Tropeful, studying Torah through the perspective of the trope (cantillation) system. Cantor Reinwald loves connecting with people through the universal language of music and is proud to call TBS his congregational family and spiritual home.
Interim Executive Director
Esther Herst, FTA (Fellow in Temple Administration) has joined Temple Beth Sholom as our Interim Executive Director. Esther has been a synagogue administrator for over 20 years, and she has created a unique role as a traveling Interim leader. She has shared her expertise, knowledge of “best practices”, and dedication to Jewish continuity with five other congregations across the country. She and her Cavalier King Charles spaniel (Hopethedog) move into different communities, becoming a part of each temple family. Esther expects to be with us for about 7 months, observing our systems, procedures, leadership development, finances, etc. and making recommendations for enhancements. She will also guide the renewed process for identifying and hiring a permanent Executive Director. When her role here is finished, she will return to her home base of Seattle and await her next “gig”.
Esther is eager to meet our congregants and to help us all connect to our temple community and to our Judaism. Please be sure to stop in and say hello when next you come to TBS.
Director of Congregational Learning
Jodi Kaufman’s reputation as an outstanding educator who earns the respect and adoration of children and adults is well known in the Reform movement. Jodi has developed a forward thinking curriculum and dynamic programming. A 1996 graduate of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, Jodi did her Master’s project on Using Technology in Religious Education while earning her Master’s Degree in Jewish Education.
Jodi has served on the Board of the National Association of Temple Educators and has served as the chair of the Educator’s Council of the Friedman Commission for Jewish Education of the Palm Beaches for the past 3 years. Jodi has served congregations in Nashville, TN, Danbury, CT, Nyack, NY and Temple Beth Torah in Wellington, FL.
Director of Early Childhood Education
A native Californian, Pam grew up in the San Fernando Valley and moved to Orange County in 2005. In addition to her home life, her Jewish identity was influenced by active participation and education in her synagogue, Los Angeles Hebrew High School, Camp Ramah, the University of Judaism and Israel.
Pam earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development from California State University of Northridge (CSUN), with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education. She has over 20 years of directorial experience in early childhood centers in synagogue and Jewish Community Center (JCC) environments, most recently at the Merage JCC in Orange County for six years. She is a past president of the Association for Early Jewish Educators and has served on the Education Committee of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Los Angeles. Before moving to OC, she had the privilege of serving as a Mentor Consultant with the Early Childhood Consulting Service – a collaboration of CSUN and the Child Care Resource Center. As a Validator for the National Academy for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE) she had the opportunity to visit many programs and assist them in their accreditation process, as well as directing two NAEYC and BJE accredited schools.
Rabbi Emeritus Shelton J. Donnell
Rabbi Shelton J. Donnell served Temple Beth Sholom as Senior Rabbi from 1991-2005. In July 2005, he fulfilled a lifelong dream and made Aliyah with his wife Wendy Bocarsky and now resides in Jerusalem, Israel.
Rabbi Donnell now oversees the Year in Israel Program and teaches Liturgy at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem. He is also pursuing his scholarly interests through various writing projects in the areas of Bible and rabbinic history.
Mark Thompson, his wife, Elizabeth, and two children have been members of the Temple Beth Sholom family since 1994. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Master of Arts from California State University Long Beach. He has held the position of Cantorial Soloist at Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs and has served as guest soloist in many locations in Southern California. In addition to his responsibilities at Temple Beth Sholom, Mark is a vocal coach, playwright and actor. He has written and produced one-man shows on the lives of famous scientists and philosophers, such as Galileo Galilei and Baruch Spinoza, which he has performed on university campuses across the country. Complementing his love of singing, he plays the guitar and lute and has a special interest in Early Music. He is also an avid amateur astronomer.