Meet Our Team of Leaders for High Holidays 5781

Rabbi Marcia Tilchin

Rabbi-Cantor Marcia Tilchin is the founder and spiritual leader of the Jewish Collaborative of Orange County (JCoOC), a non-profit organization created to help OC Jewish residents and their families connect their personal passions with Judaism.  Marcia received her cantorial degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City and rabbinic ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.  Between 1998-2015 Marcia served Conservative congregations in Upper Nyack, New York and Tustin, California before launching her own initiatives.

Rabbi Tilchin’s commitment to helping people find what is meaningful to them within Judaism is a signature of her compassion-driven spiritual leadership, service and interfaith engagement.  Currently Marcia sits on the board of the Interfaith Youth Alliance (IYA) and is the Executive Director of the Orange County Alliance for Just Change (OCAJC).  She and Professor Scott Spitzer learn important lessons daily from their children, Avi, Sheindl and Yaira.  

Eric Dangott

Eric Dangott has served as Surf City Synagogue’s Spiritual Leader since July 2013.  Eric is a Huntington Beach native, and his Jewish youth was spent not far from Surf City Synagogue. His initial interest and enthusiasm in Judaism blossomed under the guidance of numerous teachers.

Eric is currently studying at the American Jewish University, and looks forward to immersing himself as a full time student in Rabbinic Studies.  It is extremely meaningful for Eric to support and develop the Jewish community in the exact place his seeds of Jewish love were first planted. 

Jason Feddy

Jason Feddy moved to Laguna Beach from the UK in 2000 and has rarely looked back. He is well-known locally as a singer, guitarist, performer, and DJ at Laguna’s local radio station, KX935, and won an Orange County Music Award for best solo performer. Jason serves as Cantorial Soloist at Temple Isaiah in Newport Beach and partners with Rabbi-Cantor Marcia Tilchin to lead musical services at the Jewish Collaborative of Orange County. The two also co-produce a monthly podcast series called “The Joy of Jewish.” Jason is also the Orange County coordinator of Music in Common, an organization that brings together young people of diverse backgrounds for discussion, multi-media and songwriting programs.  He has produced six albums of original music and is a regular performer at Jacob’s Ladder folk festival by the Sea of Galilee in Israel.

Cantor Melanie Fine

Cantor Melanie Fine is the Torah reader at Kehillat Ma’arav in Santa Monica, a science educator and Forbes columnist. She is on a mission to share the stories of our Hidden Figures, those women (and men) who have contributed beyond their measure without due recognition. Their stories challenge each of us to unhide ourselves, live out loud purposefully and passionately and lead others to do the same.

Rabbi Aviva Funke

After eight years in Los Angeles, Ziegler ordained Rabbi Aviva Funke is thrilled to be back in the Valley of the Sun with her husband Yosef and their two children (EB 6 and baby Amitov).

For the past two years, Rabbi Aviva has served as School Rabbi for Brawerman Elementary School of Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Co-founder of Na’or, a prayer innovation project, Rabbi Aviva is a regular presenter for Jewish conferences and retreats, and guest rabbi to several communities throughout California and Arizona.

A musician, storyteller and trained entertainer, Rabbi Aviva is passionate in helping to find personal meaning in Jewish ritual, lifestyle and tradition. As an alumna, Rabbi Aviva is excited to take on her next role as school principal of Hebrew High.

Rabbi Ilan Glazer

Rab­bi Ilan Glaz­er is pas­sion­ate about end­ing the stig­ma of addic­tion in the Jew­ish world, and help­ing Jews in recov­ery. He is the founder of Our Jew­ish Recov­ery, and teach­es wide­ly about heal­ing recov­ery hap­pi­ness spir­i­tu­al­i­ty and suc­cess in all areas of life. Rab­bi Ilan is a free­lance recov­ery and trans­for­ma­tion coach, and host of the Torah of Life pod­cast. He lives in Sil­ver Spring, Mary­land with his wife Sher­ri and their cat Taylor.

Cantor Susanne Katchko

Cantor Susanne Katchko is delighted to take part in “Torah and Teshuva” with her amazing colleague, Rabbi Ilan Glazer.  She has officiated as a cantor and kolbo (solo service leader) throughout the U.S., and loves joining with her congregants in singing our powerful, beautiful High Holiday melodies.  Susanne is grateful heiress to the cantorial legacy of her grandfather, renowned composer, Cantor Adolph Katchko, z”l, her father and primary cantorial teacher, Cantor Theodore Katchko, z”l, aunt, soloist, teacher and choir director, Helen Katchko Okun, z”l, and sister, Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray, founder of the Women Cantors Network.  Susanne is also a playwright and theater performer, and recently completed the Yiddish Arts and Academics Association of North America’s Yiddish Playwriting and Performing Workshop.

Rabbi Lilly Kaufman

Following a 16-year career in book publishing, Lilly Kaufman received cantorial investiture (’98) and rabbinic ordination (’01) from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Lilly served as rabbi and cantor at Congregation Tikvoh Chadoshoh in central CT; as Director of Jewish Learning at Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnesota; and, most recently, as Director of the Torah Fund campaign of WLCJ at JTS. Lilly is excited to begin a part-time hospital chaplaincy internship this fall at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Irving Medical Center, while continuing to teach Torah remotely. Lilly served on the Editorial Advisory Committee of Siddur Lev Shalem for Shabbat & Festivals, and three of her original poems were published in that prayer book.

Ron Levy

Ron Levy is a professional pianist, keyboardist, composer, arranger and producer with a master’s degree from UCLA. He has taught at and held accompanist positions for a variety of organizations, including Idyllwild Arts Academy, Orange County School of the Arts, Orange Coast College and UCLA. Ron held the keyboard chair in the Club Grill band at the Ritz-Carlton for 10 years; he subsequently led the jazz trio at Pelican Hill Resort upon its opening for three years. Ron is currently musical director and bandleader at the Center for Spiritual Living Newport-Mesa and for the “Saturdays@5” program at St. Mark Presbyterian in Newport Beach.

Scott Spitzer

Scott Spitzer, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Political Science at California State University, Fullerton, where he is also the faculty advisor for Hillel. Scott serves on the board of the UC Irvine Olive Tree Initiative, where he helps to bring students from all backgrounds to the Middle East to learn about the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict first-hand. Scott has also been creating innovative, inspiring and substantive Jewish services for children for the past 15 years.

Rabbi Jill Zimmerman

Rabbi Jill Berkson Zimmerman is the founder of the Jewish Mindfulness Network and Hineni: The Mindful Heart Community, an online, webinar-based mindfulness community. She teaches mindfulness through a Jewish lens, and Judaism through the perspective of mindfulness. Rabbi Jill has worked in congregations in Beverly Hills (Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills), Riverside, Carlsbad, Mammoth Lakes and Seattle. She is a contributor to the Women’s Torah Commentary and is very involved in social activism. Rabbi Jill was ordained by Hebrew Union College and has graduated from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Rabbinic Mindfulness program, and was certified as a Jewish Meditation teacher. Before rabbinical school, she had a career in organizational development and community building and is a Certified Master Gardener. She and her husband just moved to Orange County. Rabbi Zimmerman’s website is: http://www.ravjill.com/

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