Faculty - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Kickstart your future as a Jewish leader today

We are honored to welcome the following distinguished alumni and scholars to our Cantorial Certification Faculty:

Cantor Ellen Dreskin
Coordinator of the Cantorial Certification Program at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR in New York.  Cantor Dreskin is an innovative leader in today’s Reform Movement.  Her expertise extends from music to synagogue transformation, from experiential education to enlivened liturgy and mysticism.   She has worked with Jews of all denominations from Houston to Chicago and Los Angeles to Boston, both as a scholar in residence and in her capacity as past Director of Programs for Synagogue 2000, a national, not-for-profit institute dedicated to revitalizing and re-energizing synagogue life in North America.  Ellen has served as Cantor and Educator for congregations in Cleveland and New York, and has taught for many years on the faculty of URJ Summer Kallot, Hava Nashira, and the URJ Kutz Camp Leadership Academy.  Ellen is a native Texan, a 1986 graduate of the HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, has a Master’s Degree in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University, and is proud to have recently received her honorary Doctorate of Music from HUC-JIR. 

Cantor Andrew Bernard
(Liturgical Arts) has served as cantor at Temple Beth El in Charlotte, NC since 1999. After earning undergraduate degrees in piano performance and pre-med from Oberlin College and the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, and his masters and doctorate in choral conducting from the University of Washington, he was invested as a cantor and awarded a Master of Sacred Music degree from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998.

Cantor Bernard is the author of The Sound of Sacred Time: A Basic Textbook to Teach the Synagogue Modes, and is also a contributor to the synagogue music curriculum Divrei Shir, to Worship Music: a Concise Dictionary, and the URJ website supporting Mishkan T’filah. He is a published composer, and was the conductor of the 2005 URJ Biennial Choir and guest conductor of the Atlanta Jewish Choral Festival in 2002 and 2005. He also served on the faculty of the North American Jewish Choral Festival and Mifgash Musicale. Cantor Bernard is a member of the American Conference of Cantors, which honored him with its inaugural President’s Award for Volunteerism at the 2008 convention.

Cantor Bernard trained as a hospital chaplain at Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, New York Hospital, and NYU Medical Center, and has served as Chaplain Specialist at the Levine Children’s Hospital since 2005.

Cantor Rosalie Boxt 
Rosalie Boxt currently serves as Cantor of Temple Emanuel in Kensington, Maryland, just north of Washington DC.  Cantor Boxt was invested Cantor from the School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in 2001.  Before entering Cantorial School she worked for the URJ in NFTY Programs in Israel.  A long-time NFTY, Goldman Union Camp, and Kutz Camp Songleader, she co-edited the Shireinu Chordster, published Fall 2000.  Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, she attended the University of Pennsylvania as a Jewish Studies Major, Theatre Minor.

Rosalie is the Director of Worship for the URJ Biennial and is a member of the URJ Faculty of Expert Practitioners.  She is a Synagogue 3000 Fellow, and is a Partner in the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health.  She is also a past Vice-President for Member Relations of the American Conference of Cantors (ACC). Through PresenTense, an incubator for young Jewish social entrepreneurs and ConnectGens of the DC-JCC, she has launching a non-profit business called Kesher Shir: a venture which brings together Jewish musicians from diverse backgrounds to study, collaborate, and create meaningful music which will enrich and enliven worship and strengthen communities.  She currently mentors cantors in the field and consults congregations on issues of worship and music.

Her husband, Jason, is a Senior Vice President in Research Division of The Glover Park Group providing public opinion research, message development and issue advocacy expertise. The two met at the URJ Kutz Camp and have two young daughters, Tahlia and Arielle.

Rabbi Kim Geringer
(Self and System)
teaches in both the rabbinical and cantorial programs at HUC-JIR New York, and is also the Rabbi of Congregation Sha’arey Ha-Yam in Manahawkin, NJ. From 1999 - 2009, Rabbi Geringer was the assistant director of the URJ’s Department of Worship, Music and Religious Living, and was involved in all aspects of the Reform Movement’s “worship transformation” efforts. She is also a clinical social worker, and worked as a psychotherapist for 15 years prior to attending rabbinical school.

Rabbi David W. Nelson
(Tanakh) is the Campus Rabbi and Assistant Professor of Religion at Bard College in New York's Mid-Hudson Valley. Before coming to Bard, he served as Associate Director of ARZA (The Association of Reform Zionists of America), as the Director of Jewish Life at a New Jersey JCC, and as a senior faculty member at CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. He also spent five years as the rabbi of a small congregation on Long Island. He was ordained at HUC-JIR in New York and holds a Ph.D. in Rabbinic Literature from New York University. He is the author of Judaism, Physics and God: Searching for Sacred Metaphors in a Post-Einstein World. He lives in Tivoli, NY with his wife Rachel. They have three grown sons.

Judith Pinnolis 
Judith most recently held the post as Librarian for Humanities at Brandeis University where she served 22 years. She is creator and editor of The Jewish Music WebCenter, a website recognized internationally as a reliable “go to” resource in Jewish music.  Judith is adjunct faculty of Hebrew College School of Music in Newton, MA.  Pinnolis has written many scholarly articles and reviews on the topic of Jewish music, such as 13 articles in Encyclopedia Judaica (2006), 5 articles in Women and Music in America Since 1900: An Encyclopedia (2002) andReader's Guide to Judaism (2000).  She is contributor of Jewish music in the world music section of the forthcoming Basic Music Library, 4th edition. Her recent article on the 19th century woman cantor, Julie Rosewald, made not only the scholarly reviews but caught the interest of the national Jewish press. Pinnolis is Past-Chair of the Chapters Council of the Association of College and Research Libraries; Past-President of the ACRL New England Chapter; and Past-Chair of the Jewish Music Roundtable of the Music Library Association. Judy has been an SGL for music and film classes at BOLLI for several years. She holds a certificate in Yiddish from Columbia; a Master of Musicology from The College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati; a Master of Science in Library Information Science at Simmons College; and a BA in Music from Newcomb College of Tulane University. She also holds an award in broadcasting for her program “Days of Awe: Music of the Jewish High Holy Days” aired on NPR and APR stations nationally in 1991 and 1992. For the Summer of 2014, Pinnolis will attend Rare Book School at the University of Virginia and plans to continue her Yiddish studies at the Summer Institute of YIVO/University of Lithuania in Vilnius, Lithuania.

David Whiman 
David is Rabbi Emeritus of North Shore Synagogue, Syosset New York. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the College of  William and Mary he served as an officer in the United States Navy. Inspired by his volunteer work as Jewish lay leader for military and civilian personnel in Athens Greece, he entered the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and was ordained in 1979. He served congregations in Houston and Boston before coming to New York. Rabbi Whiman received his D. Min, from Andover Newton Theological School where he concentrated his research on organizational dynamics and institutional change. He is coauthor of Learning While Leading: Increasing Effectiveness in Ministry published by the Alban Institute. He has written widely on organizational and individual learning and lectures in the Educational School on the New York Campus of HUC-JIR.

Rabbi Whiman is acknowledged as a superb preacher and was invited to speak at Harvard’s Memorial Church, the Institute of Religion and to address the Episcopal House of Bishops. He is currently writing a manual for preachers based on the Or Hadarshanim, a 17th century work by Jacob Zahalan, rabbi and preacher to the Jewish communities of Rome and Ferrara. Rabbi Whiman is also an avid collector of antique Judaica. Synagogue carvings from his collection were featured in the exhibit Jeweled Horses and Gilded Lions: The Synagogue and the Carousel which explored the connection between Eastern European Jewish and American Folk Art.

Hayley Kobilinsky has served as the Cantor of Congregation B’nai Yisrael of Armonk for 10 years, since her ordination from HUC-JIR’s Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music in 2005. She also holds a BA in Psychology from Columbia University. Hayley became an adjunct faculty member of the DFSSM in 2011, teaching the Shalosh Regalim (Three Festivals) contemporary repertoire workshop course, and additionally became a coach for the first cohort of the Cantorial Certification Program in 2013. Cantor Kobilinsky has been the President of Kol Hazzanim – Westchester’s Community of Cantors since 2010, and has helped coordinate and edit (as well as author) cantorial contributions to the Ten Minutes of Torah outreach program of the URJ since 2013. Hayley researched and wrote her Master’s Thesis on the topic of the Chazzantes, a group of women who performed cantorial music in a masculine style of singing, from the 1920’s to the 1970’s. She has performed their music and lectured extensively on this topic, including as a visiting faculty member to the B’nai Brith Institute of Judaism in 2007 and as a guest performer at the Charlotte Yiddish Institute in 2006, both held annually at the Wildacres Retreat in North Carolina. Hayley has performed in over 30 operas, operettas and oratorios, and many dozens of concerts. She has studied 5 languages including Yiddish, which she uses regularly in worship and performance settings. Hayley lives in Westchester with her husband Benjamin and son Samuel.

Cantor Daniel Mutlu received a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and a Masters in Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College in New York City. He was ordained as a cantor in 2008. Passionate about teaching, Cantor Mutlu trained students in vocal and harmony studies as a tutor at the New England Conservatory and served as Professor of Traditional Nusach at Hebrew Union College. He is currently on faculty for the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music’s Cantorial Certification program. 

 Cantor Mutlu has sung with a number of preeminent organizations and houses of worship, most notably in the Trinity Choir Wall Street where he received two glowing musical reviews from the New York Times for solo vocal performances. He has worked with renowned conductors and musical ensembles, performing at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and the Metropolitan Opera House.

Cantor Mutlu may be heard on the Naxos 8 disc set of The Complete Haydn Masses as a featured tenor soloist with the Trinity Choir. He was also a soloist and chorister on the Grammy nominated album, Israel in Egypt, with the Trinity Choir conducted by Julian Wachner. Most recently, he completed recording the Yizkor solo from Arthur Gottschalk’s upcoming release of his Requiem. 
In 2011, Cantor Mutlu was called to serve Congregation Beth Israel in Houston, Texas. In Houston Daniel has already sung as a soloist with the Houston Symphony, the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Bach Society, the Houston Chamber Choir and Ars Lyrica.
Margaret Moers Wenig, D.D. is Rabbi Emerita of Beth Am, The People's Temple in New York City and has been teaching in the New York school of HUC-JIR since January, 1985. She is Instructor in Liturgy and Homiletics and is currently the President of the Academy of Homiletics.