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Clergy

Rabbi Michael G. Cohen
rabbimichael@csbeli.org


Rabbi Michael G. Cohen  grew up in Nashville, TN.  He received his Bachelor's degree from Brandeis University. He received a Masters degree in Hebrew Letters and his ordination (Smicha) from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He received a Masters degree in Jewish Nonprofit Management from the University of Southern California and the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management.

Rabbi Michael served 5 years in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command as a Psychological Operations Sergeant, and
9 years in the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division as a Jewish Chaplain. During his time in the service, he deployed to Haiti, Korea, Kuwait, Qatar, and Afghanistan. 

Rabbi Michael currently serves as a Fire Chaplain for the Freeport and Rockville Centre Fire Departments, and as a Police Chaplain for the Rockville Centre Police Department. He is also a member of Rockville Centre's Human Rights Commission.

He has served other Reform congregations in Arizona, California, Tennessee, and British Columbia.  

Rabbi Michael is married to Dr. Sharon Poczter, a world-renowned economist and professor at Yeshiva University, where she Chairs the Strategy and Entrepreneurship Department at the Sy Syms School of Business. He has an adorable son, named Neil, and 2 attention-loving dogs, named Cooper and Lobo.  Rabbi Michael’s passion is Mussar (Jewish Ethics), and cites the famous civil rights leader and Jewish scholar, Rabbi Richard N. Levy (z”l), as his teacher and inspiration.

Cantor Eryka Velazquez
erykavelazquez@csbeli.org

Originally from Southern California, Cantor Eryka Velazquez swapped coasts to pursue her dream of becoming a cantor.

She achieved this dream and was ordained as a Hazzan at the H.L. Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). Music and singing have always played a major role in her life, and she utilizes the power of prayer and song to connect present-day Jews with ancient Jewish traditions.


Having a deep love for teaching, Cantor Eryka also graduated from the William Davidson School of Jewish Education. During her time at JTS, she has taught music, liturgy, b’nei mitzvah, and Judaica at Camp Ramah Wisconsin, Park Avenue Synagogue, South Huntington Jewish Center, and the Women’s League of Conservative Judaism. Off the bimah, you'll    most likely find Cantor Eryka at a Broadway show with her husband, Cantor Gil Ezring, or singing Shema to their daughter. 

Elliot Skiddell, Rabbi Emeritus
rabbielliot@csbeli.org


 

 

 

 

 

 


A graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi Elliot Skiddell also received a BA in Philosophy and Religion from the University of Massachusetts and an MA in Religion from Temple University. In 2005 he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree (Honoris Causa) by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

Rabbi Skiddell came to Reconstructionist Congregation Beth Emeth, Hewlett, in August 2006 after living in Israel for many years. In Israel he was assistant director of the seminar center of the Galilee Education Foundation and then joined the staff of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Prior to moving to Israel he served as Assistant Rabbi of Har Zion Temple, Penn Valley, Pennsylvania and then as Rabbi of Ramat Shalom Synagogue in Plantation, Florida.

He led Congregation Beth Emeth through the creation of a partnership with Central Synagogue of Nassau County, Rockville Centre that began with cohabitation and developed from cooperation to collaboration and consolidation as Central Synagogue-Beth Emeth. In August 2020, Rabbi Skiddell was granted the title of Rabbi Emeritus.

Fri, April 19 2024 11 Nisan 5784