Email | (614) 928-3297
“I see our future filled with ruach (spirit), engagement, and smiles as we continue to lead Columbus’ Jewish community with our full complement of social and educational programming. I want people come to us when they are looking for a warm, welcoming environment with the resources of a big synagogue with the feel of a small, intimate community.”
Rabbi Hillel Boaz Skolnik was ordained at Jewish Theological Seminary of America in May, 2011. After serving as the rabbi of the Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation for seven years, Rabbi Hillel and his family moved to Columbus in the summer of 2018 where he now serves as Senior Rabbi of Congregation Tifereth Israel.
Born in New York, Rabbi Hillel spent his entire childhood in Forest Hills, Queens. He is a graduate of both the Solomon Schechter School of Queens and the Solomon Schechter High School of Long Island. Before beginning Brandeis University in 2002, Rabbi Hillel spent the year in Israel as a participant on the Nativ Leadership Program where he enjoyed wonderful learning at the Conservative Yeshiva as well as volunteering in the potato and carrot fields of Kibbutz Saad. In December of 2005, he graduated Brandeis University (cum laude) earning degrees in Politics and Near Eastern Judaic Studies.
Rabbi Hillel enjoyed many summers at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires first as a camper, then as a counselor, Rosh Edah (Division Head), and Operations Manager. Rabbi Hillel has also completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, acting as a chaplain at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. In addition, Rabbi Hillel served for a year as the Rabbinic Intern and Hebrew School Principal at the Shelter Rock Jewish Center in Roslyn, NY.
Hillel has always loved being in synagogue ever since he was a little boy. He began reading Torah at a young age and after his Bar Mitzvah quickly became a regular shaliach tzibbur (service leader) including on the High Holidays. In addition to his Judaism, Hillel is passionate about many things in life, including his family, Israel, and ultimate frisbee.
It was back at Brandeis that Hillel met a wonderful woman named Sharon Barr, who now goes by the name Rabbi Sharon Barr Skolnik (ordained from JTS in 2009). The two were married on June 18, 2006 and have since brought two beautiful daughters and a wonderful son into the world.
Rabbis Hillel and Sharon reside in Bexley with their three children.
Email | (614) 928-3294
“What drew me to the rabbinate at first was the way we learn as Jews – encountering the deep wisdom of the texts of our tradition, and arguing with each other about what it might mean to us. What’s kept me in it has been the people – it’s such a gift to be able to truly connect and be present with one another.”
Alex Braver has been a rabbi at Tifereth Israel since the summer of 2016, and since then has loved getting to do everything from lunch-and-learn’s at a downtown law firm, to singing new melodies, to diving into playful activities with young families during Shabbat morning services.
After graduating from Brandeis University in 2009 with a dual degree in History and Politics, Alex taught math and English in a Boston charter school tutorial program, working with students who were performing below grade-level. He then received a fellowship from Mechon Hadar for a full-time funded year of Jewish study in New York, before deciding to pursue the rabbinic ordination.
Alex was ordained in 2016 by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, with a Master’s Degree in Midrash and Scriptural Exegesis, and a certificate in Pastoral Care and Counseling. He also served for three years as a rabbinic fellow at B’nai Jeshurun, a large, progressive, and vibrant congregation on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In addition, Alex spent two summers serving as a chaplain intern, one at a the YM&YWHA senior center in Washington Heights, and the other at Project ORE, a Lower East Side soup kitchen and social services center for isolated, poor, homeless, and mentally ill Jews and non-Jews alike.
Alex lives in Olde Towne East with his husband (also named Alex!), their kids Ezra and Margot, and their dog Benjy. His interests include Jewish mysticism, nerdy science fiction, and good vegetarian junk food.
Email | (614) 253-2438
“I love that everyone, always, is included in the same kiddush after services. The congregation is never divided. We are one community each Shabbat, so every member and every guest is welcome as we share all of our Shabbat celebrations together.”
Rabbi Harold J. Berman was named Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Tifereth Israel of Columbus, Ohio, in June of 2013, after serving as Senior Rabbi of the congregation since 1979. In July of 2016 Rabbi Berman was named Executive Director of the National Council of Synagogues, a consortium designated to represent the national organizations of the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements of American Jewry in dialogue with national interfaith bodies such as the National Council of Churches and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
An honors graduate of Rutgers University, Rabbi Berman holds a Master’s degree and Rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In March, 2001, the Seminary also awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity.
Rabbi Berman has served three times as president of the Columbus Board of Rabbis. He has served as president of Jewish Family Services of Columbus, as a member of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of the Columbus Jewish Federation and as chairman of the Federation’s Community Relations Committee. Rabbi Berman is also a Founding Trustee of the Columbus Jewish Day School.
Rabbi Berman is a member of the Va’ad Hakavod (ethics committee) of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international professional organization of Conservative Rabbis, and is its immediate past chair. He has served the Rabbinical Assembly previously as a member of its national Administrative and Executive Committees and as President of the Assembly’s Ohio-Western Pennsylvania Region. Rabbi Berman is also a former chairman and past president of the National Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America and is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Rabbinic Cabinet of Israel Bonds. Rabbi Berman has traveled with Rabbinic missions to Israel, Egypt, France, Jordan, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the Former Soviet Union and has led numerous congregational and communal interfaith missions to Israel.
In addition to congregational and Jewish community activities, Rabbi Berman serves on the Ethics Committee of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and is a chaplain to the Columbus Police Department. For the high holidays Rabbi Berman has served since 2016 as Visiting Rabbi for the Jewish Community of Bermuda.
Rabbi Berman and his wife Beth are the parents of Micah (Rachel Bloomekatz) Berman, David Berman, Jordan (Elizabeth) Berman, Stephanie Reiches and Adam (Emuna) Berman and the grandparents of Seth, Dahlia, Eli, Raquel and Asaf Berman.
“I particularly cherish and value when we are all singing together. I love it when we are all in harmony – clergy and congregation – and when I feel that what we’re singing lands in a way consistent with the meaning of the prayer.”
Cantor Jack Chomsky has served at Congregation Tifereth Israel of Columbus, Ohio since 1982. He is a graduate of Brown University and the Cantors Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary. A baritone, he is an accomplished song interpreter. He has been involved in every facet of Jewish music-making throughout the Columbus Jewish community and has helped plan and implement many community musical and cultural events. He is co-founder and co-director of KOLEINU, the Jewish Community Chorus of Columbus, and Director of HaZamir Columbus, a local chapter of the International Jewish High School Choir, preparing Columbus participants and joining with 400+ singers from all over the U.S. and Israel in annual concerts including Carnegie Hall (where he conducted), the Metropolitan Opera and other major theaters. Jack has been a leading activist in social justice and interfaith programs in central Ohio. He was a founder of We Believe Ohio, along with Rev. Tim Ahrens and others – an organization safeguarding liberal values in the religious community – whose work has been expanded in later years through Faith in Public Life.
Cantor Chomsky will retire in October 2020 and become Cantor Emeritus of Tifereth Israel. Shortly after, he and his wife plan to move to Tel Aviv, Israel.
Cantor Chomsky twice served as Co-President of B.R.E.A.D. (Building Responsibility, Equality And Dignity), a local congregation-based community action organization. For many years, he has coordinated the social action programming of Tifereth Israel. He has been deeply involved in relations between the Jewish and Muslim communities in Columbus, and countless interfaith and justice initiatives.
He served on the steering committee of the Columbus Jewish Federation’s Partnership 2000 project with Kfar Saba, Israel, and led KOLEINU on a 2005 tour to Kfar Saba and Israel. He has led members of his congregation and cantors from across the country on trips to Israel, and led a tour to Jewish sites in Eastern Europe in 2005 (along with Rabbi Michael Ungar). He visited Cuba in February 2008 on a special mission to the Cuban Jewish Community. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Jewish Family Services in Columbus,and as a Board Member and Vice President of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society.
Cantor Chomsky is a Past President of the Cantors Assembly (www.cantors.org), the world’s largest association of professional hazzanim, having been a leader and officer for 20 years. He served as Editor of the Journal of Synagogue Music, the semi‑annual national publication of the Cantors Assembly, from 1988 until 1994. He also edited a 450-page Jubilee Journal celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Assembly, and is co-editor/co-chair of a 75th Anniversary Journal now to be published in 2023. He was an early and active proponent of accepting women into the Cantors Assembly. Women were accepted in the Cantors Assembly for the first time in 1990, and have now held every leadership position in the Assembly. He was also an organizing force in creating a Cantor-in-Residence Program at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and other Ramah camps across the country.
Cantor Chomsky has been deeply involved in the Jewish spirituality movement. He was a participant in the first cohort of Cantors in the program of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, in Columbus he developed Service of the Spirit, and now Shabbat Neshamah, a monthly service with instruments performed along with his rabbis. Cantor Chomsky is author of “Pray and Mean It,” a popular series of essays on daily prayer.
Cantor Chomsky served on the Music Advisory Panel of the Ohio Arts Council, including as Chair, and has been active in the commissioning and premiering of several musical works, and has presented many concerts of Jewish music in Columbus, both as performer and producer. He has chaired community‑wide concerts featuring the music of many religious traditions, including Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Baha’i, and Muslim. The concerts featured choirs of over 150 singers. He has also appeared often on the subject of Jewish music, Jewish religion, and Israel on local radio and television, and has been featured numerous times as a columnist in the Columbus Dispatch.
Cantor Chomsky starred as Tevye in a sold-out run of Gallery Players’ Production of Fiddler on the Roof at the Columbus JCC in the spring of 2006 and reprised the role alongside his wife, Susan Gellman as Golde, in 2013. He served as soloist with the Greater Columbus Community Orchestra in the premiere of “Pirkei Avot” by Mark Kross. Among other works he premiered – in Ohio – are The American Selichot Service by Gary William Friedman, Psalm 30 by Daniel Asia, and I Never Saw Another Butterfly by Gary William Friedman.
He has traveled the world with the Cantors Assembly on Missions to Poland, Israel, Germany, and Spain – with Italy scheduled for 2020. He was also a participant in a concert tour of the Bloch Sacred Service to Bulgaria and Israel in November 2008 in commemoration of the saving of Bulgaria’s Jewish community during the Holocaust. Cantor Chomsky co-chaired a Cantors Assembly mission to Uganda in 2019 – leading a dozen cantors in support of that country’s unique Jewish community. He has written dozens of melodies for synagogue, some of which have been published in Zamru Lo – melodic collections of the Cantors Assembly.
Cantor Chomsky has been involved in working for the establishment of two states – especially in his work as a national leader among clergy for J Street. He attended 2 World Zionist Congresses on behalf of the Masorti Movement (the international version of the Conservative movement in the U.S.) and has made many trips to Israel.
He is married to Susan Gellman, an attorney and actress and is the father of Ben Gellman-Chomsky of San Diego and Audrey Zada of Tel Aviv.