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CHARLES BRISKIN, Rabbi
Rabbi Chuck Briskin has been the Senior Rabbi of Shir Ami since 2018. Prior to coming to Bucks County, he served Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, CA and Temple Beth El in San Pedro, CA. A 1991 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 2001.

Rabbi Briskin incorporates his passion for justice work, spiritual growth, and community building into his rabbinate. His leadership has strengthened  congregations through new initiatives that help build community through service, advocacy, study, and prayer. His work is focused in the synagogue but has been applied to his service to the URJ/Religious Action Center Commission on Social Action (2012-2017), the Board of Governors for HUC-JIR, (2019-2022) and as a long-time faculty member at URJ Camp Newman in Santa Rosa, California and URJ Camp Harlam in the Poconos.

Rabbi Briskin currently serves as the clergy chair of the Bucks County Kehillah, represents Shir Ami and the URJ on the Jewish Community Relations Council Advisory Committee, and is a Rukin Fellow for 18Doors, an organization committed to empowering interfaith families to engage in Jewish life.

Rabbi Briskin enjoys cycling, collecting fine wines from California and Oregon, traveling, rooting (sometimes obnoxiously) for all Boston sports teams, and a good glass of bourbon. He lives in Newtown with his wife, Karen and they are the proud parents of Ezra and Avi.
 
 
JULIE BERLIN, Cantor
Cantor Berlin joined the Shir Ami family in July 2023.  A Chicago area native, she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.  Cantor Berlin received ordination as well as Master's degrees in Sacred Music and Religious Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.  Following ordination, she served as the first Cantor of Temple Solel in Paradise Valley, Arizona and the first Cantor at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, Texas.  Cantor Berlin has been an active volunteer in a wide variety of community non-profits, and currently serves as Secretary on the Executive Board of the American conference of Cantors. 
 
Cantor Berlin enjoys spending time with her husband, Rabbi Alan Berlin and their adult children, Daniel, Hannah and Jordan.  She also enjoys reading, baking and cuddling with her pets.
 

 

 
PHIL NORDLINGER, Executive Director
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.
 
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 with 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.
 
ELLIOT M. STROM, Rabbi Emeritus
Rabbi Elliot Strom, is the Founding Rabbi and now Rabbi Emeritus of Shir Ami. Born and educated in Toronto, he graduated summa cum laude from York University in 1972.  A product of the Reform youth and camping movements, Rabbi Strom was a long-time song leader and youth educator.  He then attended Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati where he was ordained in 1977 and became a rabbi at Anshe Emeth Temple in New Brunswick, NJ. 

Rabbi Strom came to Shir Ami in 1979 and, together with a bright and energetic lay leadership, helped build Shir Ami from the ground up--starting a religious school, youth groups, b. mitzvah programs, a community mikveh (one of only two located within Reform synagogues in the United States), a robust social action agenda and an extensive adult education program. He was also instrumental in building and fundraising for Shir Ami’s original synagogue structure and each successive addition to the building. 

Over the years, he completed a curriculum in marriage and family therapy at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote extensively for many publications, served on many Boards of Directors, and completed a novel entitled Rabbi, Run. Rabbi Strom enjoys music, theater, sports, reading, his “second home” in Manhattan and
especially his wife Susan, their children Adam & Cathy and Rabbi Josh & Tali and their grandchildren Emma, Justin, Jonah, Gabriel and Caleb.
 
MARK ELSON, Cantor Emeritus
Cantor Mark Elson served as Shir Ami’s Cantor from 1985-2018, and was also the Director of Religious Education from 1985-2002. He received his Cantorial Ordination from the HUC-JIR School of Sacred Music in 1977 and continued his studies toward a Master’s Degree in Religious Education and Principal’s Certification. He came to Shir Ami after serving as Cantor and Education Director of Temple Anshe Sholom in the Chicago area.

Cantor Elson loved creating and nurturing opportunities for musical participation through the Makheilah (children’s choir), Adult Choir, SHIR KLEZ! band and congregational singing. In addition to his leadership of the musical life of Shir Ami, he was devoted to the pastoral needs of our members, and was active for many years in bringing educational and special musical programs to our synagogue, as well as leading our choirs and band in community events.

Cantor Elson was active on Boards and Commissions of the URJ, the National Association of Temple Educators, the American Conference of Cantors and the Delaware Valley Cantors Council.
 
Cantor Elson and his wife, Barbara, enjoy being close to their two children and three grandchildren when in Pennsylvania, and staying warm in Florida during the cold months of the year. He enjoys travel, theater, golf and good bourbon.
 
NINA ORR, Early Learning Center Director
Nina joined the staff at Shir Ami in 2018 and worked in the Kindergarten before becoming the resource teacher where she supported and encouraged students to grow both academically and emotionally.
 
Nina has a Bachelor's degree in English Literature from Widener University and a Master's degree from Wilmington University in Elementary Education. Prior to joining Shir Ami, she worked as a special education teacher in Delaware for 8 years.
 
Nina lives in Bucks County with her husband Ryan and her two daughters, Sara and Leah (both Shir Ami ELC graduates!). Shir Ami is her home and she is proud to be a part of our wonderful school. She looks forward to getting to know the preschool community and to continue to work with the amazing children and staff in the ELC.
 
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.
 
JODIE LEVINSON, Communications Director
Jodie has over 17 years experience working in the non-profit Jewish community at organizations such as the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education (ACAJE), Jewish Learning Venture (JLV), Temple Sinai and The Abramson Center for Jewish Life.
 
When Jodie is not at Shir Ami, she enjoys spending time with her children (ages 22 & 19) and her dog Sadie the Schnoodle!
 
NATALIE STANDIG, Engagement Coordinator
Natalie Standig is excited to be part of the Shir Ami community as their Engagement Coordinator She has worked in the education field and spent the last 7 years as a Program Manager at Salus University. Natalie has also worked at Jewish National Fund as well as Hadassah in New York.

A lifetime New Yorker, Natalie, her husband Clifton Cino, and their daughter Mariel (a very happy member of Shir Ami’s ELC), enjoy their spare time together and playing with their golden retriever mix, Arlo (Guthrie). All the Cinos love being Bucks County residents, exploring and learning all the area has to offer, and growing fruit trees and vegetables in their home garden. 
 
JODI FRIEDMAN, Executive Assistant
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 in 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.
Tue, February 27 2024 18 Adar I 5784