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Rabbi Briskin has been Senior Rabbi of Shir Ami since 2018. From 2001-2018 he served congregations in both Los Altos Hills and San Pedro, California. A 1991 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, he was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 2001.

Rabbi Briskin incorporates his passion for justice work, learning, and spiritual growth into his rabbinate. His leadership has strengthened congregations  through new initiatives that help build community through service and advocacy, study and prayer. He does this work in the synagogue and in the larger community through his service on the Commission on Social Action (2012-2017), the Board of Governors for HUC-JIR, and as a long time faculty member at URJ Camp Newman in California and Camp Harlam in the Poconos.

Rabbi Briskin enjoys cycling, wine collecting, Orange Theory Fitness and traveling. He lives in Newtown with his wife, Karen and two teenaged sons.



Cantor Rachel Kohlbrenner has been the cantor at Shir Ami since 2018. Before this, she served as the Cantor and Director of Youth and Family Programming and Outreach at Central Synagogue – Beth Emeth in Rockville Centre, NY.  She was ordained as a cantor at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music in 2009. She graduated with her BA in Jewish Studies at the University of Florida.

Cantor Rachel and her husband Erik live in Newtown, PA with their two daughters, Abigail and Hannah. She is an avid reader, loves visiting her family and friends in Florida, California and New York and enjoys crafting handmade cards and scrapbooks in her spare time.


ELLIOT M. STROM, Rabbi Emeritus

I believe Shir Ami is a very special place.  It is young, vibrant and full of enthusiasm.  Here is a place where your children can discover the joys of Jewish learning and the delight of being a Jew.  Here is a place for you to deepen and enrich your own knowledge and commitment as an adult Jew.  Here is a place that you can tie your family together with the binds of Jewish Learning and love.  Here is a synagogue that can deeply enrich your life and the lives of every member of your family. I am delighted to be one of the spiritual leaders of such a dynamic, thriving congregation. I extend a personal invitation to anyone who wishes to discuss your part in our congregational family.


MARK ELSON, Cantor Emeritus

I am pleased and proud to offer this greeting to you on behalf of Shir Ami.  We have many exciting and special programs to offer our members, ranging from an excellent religious education program for both children and adults, to choirs, youth activities and wonderful social gatherings.  Most of all, Shir Ami is made of young-thinking, forward-looking, friendly and dedicated people.

ERIC GOLDBERG, Rabbi, Director of Religious School

Rabbi Eric Goldberg was raised in Bucks County and has been a member of the Shir Ami famiy for 40 years.  A graduate of Council Rock High School and The George Washington University, Rabbi Eric was ordained from the HUC-JIR in 2003. Concurrent to his studies, he also earned a Master of Eduction from Xavier University.  He is passionate about Israel, building community, music, and Philadelphia's sports teams. Rabbi Eric believes a meaningful Jewish life can be lived through many paths, all of which are anchored in the concept of halakha - the way a person walks; that a meaningful Jewish life is lived by enacting Jewish values, ethics and teachings withe every step one makes, with every word one speaks and with every breath one takes - from the moment one wakes up to the moment one goes to sleep.

Rabbi Eric is married to Rabbi Geri Newburge. They love being parents of Jay and honored to have adopted Butch, their English bulldog. Stop in and visit Rabbi Goldberg at any time. If he's not at Shir Ami, you are likely to find him at Starbucks, a concert venue or baseball stadium.


SHARI A. BECK-NAHMAN, Early Learning Center Director

Shari is thrilled to be part of a member of the Shir Ami ELC family since 2013. She joined us after 7 years as Director of Early Childhood Education at the Klein JCC in northeast Philadelphia. She also ran their day camp of 150 children and their Kidspace After School Program. Shari has taught in different area preschools, the Bensalem Township School District, and the New York City School District. She had also taught Hebrew school for over 15 years. Shari earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo.

She and her husband Jack live in Yardley and have three children. Shari loves traveling and playing board games. She is madly in love with her dog, Luke.


FERNE LEVY, Youth Director

Ferne (Roth) Levy’s family moved to Newtown in 1979 and joined the Shir Ami community. In high school, she was elected onto the Shafty board and enjoyed attending NFTY-PAR (formally known as PAFTY) weekend retreats. After graduating from West Chester University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management, Ferne joined the Shir Ami staff in February 1992. Ferne won NFTY-PAR’s Lifetime Membership Award in 2014 and Advisor of the Year award in 2011-2012.

Today, she resides in Newtown with her husband Scott and three children Ashley, Daniel and Sophia. Ferne enjoys kickboxing, reading, going to Ocean City, NJ and spending time with her family.


PHIL NORDLINGER, Director of Operations

Phil Nordlinger has been the Director of Operations at Shir Ami since 2016. Before coming to Shir Ami, Phil served as the Director of Administration at The Jewish Center in Princeton, the Executive Director at Hillel at Temple University and the Education Director at Beth Sholom Congregation in Elkins Park. Phil graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and received his Master’s Degree in Secondary English Education from Temple University.

Phil lives with his wife, Kim, and their five children, ages 12-21 in Dresher, PA. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to the Beatles and traveling.



JULIE HERSHGORDON, Executive Assistant

Julie Hershgordon has worked at Shir Ami since 1986 and is honored to be apart of the Shir Ami family for so many years. Born in Cuba, growing up in Israel from age 4-11, and finally settling in the Philadelphia area has shown her the importance of Jewish education at a young age.  She began her career in the Early Learning Center and then moved into our main synagogue office in 2004.

Julie lives in Richboro with her husband, Gary.  In her spare time she enjoys seeing her 2 daughters (one in Philadelphia and one in Florida), her son-in-law and grandson.


JODI FRIEDMAN, Membership Coordinator

Jodi Friedman has been our Membership Coordinator since April 2015. Before coming to Shir Ami, Jodi was a Special Education teacher and a B’nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO) Advisor in Richmond, Virginia.  Jodi graduated from Penn State University with a BS in Special Education and Elementary Education, and continued at Rutgers University to obtain a Master’s Degree is Elementary and Early Childhood Education with an emphasis on reading instruction.

Jodi lives with her husband, Scott, and two children, Maxwell and Isabelle in Yardley, PA. Jodi likes to swim and go to weekly pilates classes.


CHERYL PRIMOLA, Preschool Administrator

Cheryl has been with Shir Ami since 2018.  As a graduate of the University of Delaware, she earned her BS in Community and Family Services.  After 15 years in the corporate world with MBNA and JPMorgan Chase, Cheryl took time off to raise her 2 children.

When not at work, she enjoys working out and spending time with her husband, two children and their four-legged family members.

Mon, October 18 2021 12 Cheshvan 5782