Rabbi David Winship comes to our shul from Hebrew College in Newton, MA. Rabbi Winship grew up at Temple Israel in Boston and worked there for 14 years. Our rabbi truly believes in bringing the Jewish community together and has spent his life working in organizations that are affiliated with all of the different movements. Before coming to us he served as the head of an Orthodox day camp, the head of Adult Education at a large Reform congregation, the head teacher in many area Hebrew schools, and as the Rabbinic Intern for both the Jewish Discovery Institute and at Beth El Temple, a large Conservative synagogue in Connecticut. Rabbi Winship is a lover of the outdoors and the Jewish people and is excited to bring both of those passions to Temple Beth David.
Come in and meet our Rabbi! He can always be found sitting somewhere with a book or walking around spreading the joy of Judaism and the stories of our people.
Rabbi Winship may be reached at email@example.com
Howard L. Worona has served Temple Beth David of the South Shore as Cantorial Soloist and Music Director since 1984. His musical repertoire spans a wide range of Jewish musical styles from traditional chazanut to the music of Debbie Friedman, Craig Taubman and other contemporary composers of Jewish music. Worona often leads the congregation in song to guitar accompaniment. In addition to chanting the musical portion of Shabbat and holiday services, Howard also directs the Adult Choir, which joins him on the bimah for High Holy Day Services and for special Friday evening services and teaches music to the children in the religious school.
Howard is Music Director at Hanscom Middle School on the Hanscom Air Force Base and Director of the Hanscom and Lincoln After School Music Programs. He serves on the Executive Board of the Eastern District of the Massachusetts Music Educators Association where he is a founding member. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Voice and Music Education from the New England Conservatory of Music and a Master’s Degree in Integrated Arts and Education from Lesley College Graduate School. He lives in Natick with his wife Laura. Their daughter Lilli lives in Bend, Oregon where she is a high school science teacher, and their son Evan is the Head Pastry Chef at Wilson Farms in Lexington.
Cantor Worona may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joni Block President
A native of Boston, Andrea Star has fond memories of growing up at TBD. She holds a Master’s degree in Psychology and has had quite an eclectic work history: The bulk of her professional career was spent in mental health doing both outreach and management. Some of those years were spent on air doing a radio show and she also ran a temple office for four years in Brockton. Andrea is the proud mother of two daughters; one is a math teacher in Ft. Lauderdale FL and the other is a baby nurse and sleep trainer as well as being the mother to Levi Charles Star. Andrea is delighted to be back “home” at TBD. Andrea can be found in the temple office Wednesdays and Thursdays and can be reached by calling the temple office, stopping in or by email.
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Our story is best told by the deeds of all who have created a community with a vision and a mission that affirms our commitment to being “the little temple that makes a big difference. Our commitment is to traditional Reform Jewish values and worship practices. Our liturgy is one that celebrates Hebrew prayer while inviting us to bring our own kavanot (intentions) to the experience, making it meaningful and relevant to each individual. Our commitment is to the inclusion of those who are often outside the center: interfaith families, GLBT, people with disabilities, the Jewish deaf, etc. At TBD everyone is not only welcomed but embraced. We have celebrated the b’nei mitzvah of seven deaf children, three children with developmental disabilities, and many children with other educational limitations. We have made a commitment to provide quality Religious School and adult education programs to individuals with developmental disabilities, ASD, and other significant learning challenges. For twenty-five of our fifty years, we have provided American Sign Language Interpreters for High Holy Day, holiday, and monthly family Shabbat services. We have had commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples, and when Massachusetts made same-sex marriage legal, we have been proud to hold the chuppah for those couples as well. Our commitment is to tikkun olam—repair of the world. We have a strong history of providing food, shelter, and financial support to the greater community and an even stronger commitment to do that and more for our temple community. In 2005, our temple was awarded the Irving J. Fein Award by the Religious Action Center of URJ for our ongoing work to support the homeless in greater Boston.
The truly righteous do not complain about evil, but rather add justice; they do not complain about heresy, but rather add faith; they do not complain about ignorance but rather add wisdom.” (Rav Abraham Isaac Kook)
Rav Kook teaches that we can transform the world and ourselves with justice, faith, and wisdom—an ideal vision from which to create a synagogue community. The history of TBD is a story of these and many other beautiful threads woven together.
In 1959, a small group of Jewish families primarily from Randolph met together and decided that they wanted a place to pray that was warm and heimish, a place with liberal values but with a sense of Jewish tradition that would allow their children to grow up knowing who they are as Jews but not feeling the restrictions that a more observant Jewish lifestyle required. They had a vision for a traditional Reform synagogue that would be the perfect place for their families to grow, pray, and learn. In 1961, a charter was recorded and Temple Beth David of the South Shore was born. The early days were filled with hopes, dreams, and hard work. And as this vision became a reality, TBD soon became a small but vibrant community.
“And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25)
In 1959, a small group of Jewish families primarily from Randolph met together and decided that they wanted a place to pray that was warm and heimish, a place with liberal values but with a sense of Jewish tradition that would allow their children to grow up
We can begin to tell our story with brick and mortar. We began meeting in various venues: people’s living rooms, a church basement, a daycare center in Holbrook, and even above an ice-cream parlor in Canton. But our founding members soon moved to a parcel of land in Canton just over the Randolph line nestled in the Blues Hills by the shores of Fisherman Pond. The property had a small wooden house for families to meet, study, and pray. In 1964, the small house was torn down to make way for a new brick building, built with the future in mind, with classrooms, a sanctuary that doubled as a social hall, and a commercial kitchen. The design allowed for an addition to be built when the community was ready to grow into it, which indeed happened in 1986 and expanded again in 1990. This part of the story sounds almost mundane, but it is far from that, for at every step of the way our building reflects countless hours of volunteer work by temple members.
In 2010, our community dedicated Rosie’s Garden, turning our large backyard into a beautiful space with trees, plants, and places to sit, read, or just be—a space to remember a young member of our community whose life was tragically cut short. But the garden is a living reminder of Rosie’s life, her parents’ and grandparents’ place in our community, and just how special the physical space is to us. At TBD the mundane becomes the holy with a commitment and dedication that, as much as anything else, tells the story of who we were and who we have become.
“Small minds discuss people. Average minds discuss events. Great minds discuss ideas.” (Unknown)
And our story can be told through the rabbis who have served us. In those early years, part-time rabbis Al Axelrod, Norman Mirsky, Daniel Polish, and Marc Saperstein came to lead Erev Shabbat and High Holy Day services. Rabbi Axelrod enjoyed being part of our community so much that when he came to Canton after his long commute from New York, he didn’t even mind staying in the bedroom of one family’s young daughter—a room that was very, very pink, including the ruffled canopy over the bed!—an arrangement that was perhaps not the most dignified setting for a visiting rabbi but certainly proof of the warm relationship between a part-time rabbi and the congregation. A few years later, after the stunning victory of the Six-Day War in Israel, we came to the Friday night service filled with pride and rejoicing. Rabbi Polish, in his sermon, sobered our enthusiasm by reminding us that although victory was ours, we must remember that every parent, Jew and Arab, grieves when a child is killed in battle. Jewish ethical ideals have been a critical part of who we are since our early beginnings!
Rabbi Saperstein, our last part-time rabbi, served Temple Beth David for thirteen years while commuting back and forth from Cambridge, where he simultaneously earned his PhD at Harvard and then taught on its faculty, holding the first regular faculty position in Jewish Studies at the Harvard Divinity School. We were fortunate enough to hear and learn from his outstanding weekly sermons. Rabbi Saperstein also served as principal of our Hebrew and Religious School, as well as taught courses on Jewish texts to our members.
In 1986, we were ready for another milestone: the hiring of a full-time rabbi. Our first full-time rabbi was a petite young woman who could easily pass for one of the students—until she stood on the bimah, and then it became very clear that here was an articulate and wise powerhouse, a rabbi who had a vision for what a Reform congregation should be and the skills to make it happen. Rabbi Elyse Goldstein brought regular Shabbat morning services, a thriving school, serious adult educational programs, and a commitment to social justice to TBD, and we have never looked back! After five years, Rabbi Goldstein moved to Toronto to become the director of Kolel: Adult Center for Liberal Jewish Learning.
In 1991, we welcomed Rabbi Neil Kominsky. Rabbi Kominsky was an extremely intelligent man who brought great warmth and kindness to our community. He was with us for the next four years and continued many of the programs that were already in place. He is best remembered for his gentle manner, wisdom, humility, and ardent scholarship. Our next rabbi was Michal Shekel. Rabbi Shekel was just settling in, but after two years her family situation required her, her husband and two sons to move to Toronto (she didn’t even know Rabbi Goldstein). But her two short years with us were good years, and we continued to grow in strength and commitment to our vision. For the next year, we were without a full-time rabbi and were fortunate to be able to piece together the efforts of several rabbis including rabbinic intern Tom Alpert, who spent much of the year with us while continuing his studies at HUC. A very outgoing, bright, insightful, and cheerful scholar, he came to the pulpit after a successful career as an attorney. Tom graciously stepped up to keep TBD healthy and solid. It was a year of coming together as a community in a less than perfect situation but showed all of us just how much we care about each other and how willing we were to “pitch in” to make it a successful year.
In 1998 we welcomed Rabbi Dan Judson, who came to TBD as a very young man, recently ordained and engaged to be married. Although only twenty-eight years old, Rabbi Judson’s wisdom was decades beyond his chronological age. He brought a sense of humor and an ability to gently guide us with wisdom and compassion. Rabbi Judson led this congregation for ten years, including a one-year leave to study at Harvard as a Fellow. In his absence, we were fortunate to have the leadership of interim Rabbi Deana Douglas. Her maturity, warmth, and extensive experience in the field of education made her a wonderful match for us. After ten years, Rabbi Judson (now married and father of three) was ready to move on—leaving us for the halls of academia both as a doctoral student at Brandeis University and as a staff member at the Hebrew College Rabbinic School.
In July of 2008, Rabbi Allison Berry became our rabbi. Our children fell in love with her kind and intuitive ways, filling our sanctuary at family services and looking forward to Hebrew School. Rabbi Berry’s sensitivity, imagination, and good sense brought new life to our Confirmation program, as well. She instituted new approaches and liturgy at services, where her voice was a beautiful complement to that of Cantorial Soloist Howard Worona. That was no surprise, though, because Rabbi Berry had begun training as a cantor. Her pastoral skills and genuine concern helped many families weather storms from which they might not otherwise have emerged intact. Rabbi Berry also brought new life to our weekly Torah study. She has enthusiastically taken her place in that line of rabbis who are so much a part of who we are and who we continue to become.
In 2011, Rabbi Berry departed Temple Beth David to take a part-time position in order to devote more time to her growing family. We then welcomed Rabbi Sue Ann Wasserman to be the interim Spiritual Leader of TBD. Rabbi Wasserman, an experienced rabbi with a broad base of congregational and URJ administrative experience, served the congregation well, bringing along her myriad of skills. Serving the congregation for approximately a year, Rabbi Wasserman taught numerous classes and presided over many B’nai Mitzvot.
In 2012, the “Canadian Connection” once again arrived at Temple Beth David when Rabbi Emma Gottlieb, a native of Toronto, became the spiritual Leader of our congregation. Rabbi Gottlieb was ordained at the Hebrew Union College, New York campus, in 2010. She previously served at Rabbi of Temple Beth Israel in Plattsburgh, NY. As our first guitar-playing rabbi, she has brought with her an intense belief in music as an integral part of the worship service, complementing Cantorial Soloist Howard Worona in the area of sacred and inspirational liturgical songs. In addition to serving as the leader of the TBD Religious/Hebrew School, Rabbi Gottlieb has concentrated in outreach to young Jewish adults in the surrounding towns, encouraging them to become a part of the TBD family. We look forward to many mutually satisfying years of spiritual and educational growth under the tutelage of Rabbi Gottlieb.
“God respects me when I work but He loves me when I sing.” (Rabindranth Tagore)
The story of our spiritual leadership includes the welcoming of part-time Cantorial Soloist Howard Worona in 1984. And what a remarkable move that turned out to be—little did we know that Howard would become such an important part of our community! Twenty-five years later, Howard is still part and parcel of the spiritual life of all of us at TBD. He has allowed our community to come alive with joy and song. It would be impossible to tell our story without Howard and impossible to measure the positive impact he continues make here.
“The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker.” (Helen Keller)
Our Commitment to Lifelong Learning
Our commitment is to lifelong learning: our fifty-year history reveals an impressive array of world-renowned speakers, local dignitaries, leaders in Jewish scholarship, environmental issues, social justice concerns, and just plain interesting folk! In 2005, we were among three synagogues selected to participate in CJP’s Leader Development Institute (LDI). For a full year, we worked as a community to articulate our mission, address our challenges, and work toward positive change while developing tools to support current and future leaders of our congregation to become effective leaders, not simply “managers.” Over the years, we have received several community grants from CJP. Our programs and scholar-in-residence Shabbatot over the years would impress even the largest shuls. Our active Sisterhood and Brotherhood not only provide wonderful programming for us but every year make generous donations to support TBD. And our commitment is to each other. Just show up once to a Shabbat service and it is clear that we are the warm, heimish temple family that our founders envisioned fifty years ago. We share in each other’s joys, and we comfort each other during our most difficult times. We have kvelled at the weddings and births of our friends here, and we have cried together at the most profound moments of loss. TBD is about us—we can be quirky and even difficult sometimes, but we are a family in the most fundamental sense of the word. So many of us have been temple leaders—presidents, vice presidents, committee chairs, and board members—all who have willingly given hours of service. For the entirety of our fifty-year history, our Religious School teachers have been temple members who volunteer their time and skills!
But what makes TBD so special is that we know that we are all in this together—at TBD the machers and the schleppers are one in the same. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. We have come a long way because of our continued dedication to that vision. Today our members live in Randolph, Braintree, Bridgewater, Brockton, Canton, Dedham, Easton, Foxboro, Hanson, Milton, Quincy, Sharon, Stoughton, Westwood, Weymouth, and more. We are a place where justice, faith, and wisdom are woven into our mission; our tapestry is beautiful and strong like a tallit that surrounds us in warmth and reminds us of God’s presence in everything we do. We are still “the little temple in the woods,” but the hearts and souls of our community are extra, extra large.
“Upon three things the world stands: On Torah, on divine service, and on deeds of loving-kindness.” (Pirkei Avot 1:2)
At Temple Beth David, we couldn’t agree more.