CANTOR GAIL HIRSCHENFANG
Gail P. Hirschenfang was ordained as cantor in 1981 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music.
In 1988, she received her Master of Sacred Music degree, also from HUC-JIR. She is among the first group of women cantors to enter into synagogue life in America. Additionally, Cantor Hirschenfang holds a
Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the State University of New York. Cantor Hirschenfang currently serves as
Director of Member Support for the American Conference of Cantors, the professional organization for the Reform cantorate.
She has also served as a member of its executive board and as cantorial chair of the Commission on Synagogue Music for the Union of Reform Judaism.
Cantor Hirschenfang is a soprano and has performed extensively throughout the United States and Canada. She was the first Reform cantor to give a concert at the newly established Jewish Cultural Center in Moscow in 1989. Her other performances include solo work with the Detroit Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Birmingham Bloomfield Orchestra and the Michigan Opera Theatre. She was a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 1985. She also performed as a soloist and in chamber ensembles in the premier season of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Birmingham, Michigan. Cantor Hirschenfang serves as cantor and musical director of Congregation Shir Chadash of the Hudson Valley where her husband,
Daniel Polish serves as rabbi. They are the proud parents of Leah Yonina.
LEONARD SCHOOLMAN, RABBI EMERITUS
Rabbi Leonard A. Schoolman honored our congregation by leading our first High Holy Day services in the Fall of 2000 and went on to become our spiritual leader the next year. Bringing us his years of experience as a noted scholar, author, educator and spiritual leader, our congregation enjoyed moving services, provocative sermons and
thoughtful and inspiring Torah study. In gratitude and appreciation of the generosity of Rabbi Schoolman, and his wife Diana, the congregation conferred upon him the title of Rabbi Emeritus.
Rabbi Schoolman was the National Director of Programs for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the central agency of Reform Judaism in the United States and Canada for 18 years. He served congregations in Los Angeles, Miami and St. Paul, Minnesota. The author of numerous books and articles, Rabbi Schoolman was the administrative editor of The Torah: A Modern Commentary.
Rabbi Schoolman received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. In college, he met Rabbi Alexander M. Shindler, who became a formidable leader of Reform Jews, and who inspired the young Schoolman to become a rabbi. Rabbi Schoolman attended the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, where he was ordained a Rabbi and earned a Bachelor of Hebrew Letters degree and a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters. A Doctor of Divinity was conferred in 1988.
Rabbi Schoolman was raised in Brooklyn and is married to Diana, a language instructor. Rabbi Schoolman and his wife are the parents of two adult daughters. Rabbi and Diana Schoolman divide their time between their apartment in New York City and their country home in Chatham, NY.
RABBI DANIEL POLISH
Rabbi Polish was born in Ithaca, New York, and raised and schooled in Evanston, Illinois. He received his B.A. in
Philosophy from Northwestern University and attended Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio where he was ordained in
1967, receiving his B.H.L and M.A.H.L. degrees. He earned his Ph.D. in History of Religion from Harvard University in 1973.
From 1973 to 1977, Rabbi Polish was the Director of Education for Inter/Met, an interfaith, interracial program for
training clergy in Washington, DC. From 1977 to 1981, Rabbi Polish served as Associate Executive Vice President and
Director of the Washington Office of the Synagogue Council of America, the umbrella agency for the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox movements in the United States. In that capacity, he helped develop policy on a number of issues critical to the Jewish community. He served as a delegate to the World Zionist Congress in 2002.
Rabbi Polish has taught at Harvard, Tufts University and the University of Maryland. While in Los Angeles he taught at Occidental College and at the Los Angeles School of the Hebrew Union College. He has served on the Executive Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and on the Editorial Board of its Journal. The Rabbi has published numerous articles in journals of Jewish and general interest and his reviews appear regularly in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies. He is a regular contributor to the Jesuit journal, America. His editorial, “A Painful Legacy: Jews and Catholics Struggle to Understand Edith Stein and Auschwitz” which appeared in Ecumenical Trends, was chosen as one of the best editorials in a Catholic publication by the Catholic Press Association.
Rabbi Polish is the author of Bringing The Psalms to Life, Keeping Faith with the Psalms, and Talking About God all published by Jewish Lights Publishing.
Rabbi Polish has been involved in interfaith dialogue at the highest levels on behalf of the Jewish community. In 2003, he was part of a delegation that met with Cardinals from The Holy See in Vatican City, to discuss a variety of issues of concern to the two communities. In 2004, he was invited to deliver a paper at a ground-breaking gathering in Thesalonika
Greece that represented the first official meeting between representatives of the international Jewish community and the
representatives of the Greek Orthodox Church. He is currently part of the dialogue between the American Jewish community and the leadership of the Presbyterian Church. In 2005, and again in 2008 Rabbi Polish was part of a team comprised of a prominent scholars of religion sponsored by the State Department that met with important Muslim religious leaders throughout South Asia for the purpose of promoting interfaith understanding.
In October, 2008 Rabbi Polish was part of a delegation of Jewish leaders who met with Pope Benedict XVI to discuss current issues between the Jewish community and the Catholic Church. In 2013, he participated in similar conversations with the Current Pope, Francis.
Prior to his appointment as spiritual leader of Shir Chadash, Rabbi Polish has served as a congregational rabbi at Temple Israel in Los Angeles, Temple Beth-El in Birmingham, Michigan and at Vassar Temple in Poughkeepsie.
Rabbi Polish lives in Poughkeepsie with his wife Cantor Gail Hirschenfang and daughter Leah. Rabbi Polish’s two adult sons, Jonathan and Ari, live in Chicago.
President - Victor Feit
Vice President - Vacant
Treasurer - Jim Thrasher
Secretary - Sue Marcoe (Term Ends 6/30/20)
Immediate Past President - Lindsey Turner
Board Member - Lori Dritz (Term Ends 6/30/20)
Board Member - Roberta Tracy
Board Member - Rochelle Bellach
Board Member - Irwin Goldberg
Building - Michael Rothman
Cemetery - Jeff Lash
Fund-Raising - Victor Feit, Barbara Stapholz
Membership - Irwin Goldberg/Dave Bellach
Oneg Coordinator - Suzanne Neil
Education - Steve Moskowitz
Social Action - Sandy Lash & Robbie Schiff
Spiritual Life - Pending
Webpage - Irwin Goldberg
Youth Group - Ian Freedman