Clergy and Professional Staff
Rabbi Eligberg, who was born and raised in
Montreal, Quebec, was ordained in 1985 by the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Rabbi Eligberg holds a BA in Political Science from Columbia University, a BA
in Talmud from The Seminary College of Jewish Studies, an MA in Jewish Studies
from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Hebrew Letters Honorus
Causa from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Since arriving at Temple Israel Rabbi Eligberg has been a teacher, guide, and role model for all who wish to explore meaningful lives according to Jewish tradition. Along with his family, Rabbi Eligberg has routinely opened his home to congregants, creating opportunities to experience the warmth of Shabbat and the joy of festivals. Rabbi Eligberg has enriched the congregation’s celebration of holidays through creative programs, multimedia presentations, storytelling, theatre arts, and puppetry.
regular visitor to our Herman and
Libbie Michaelson Early Childhood Center, Rabbi Eligberg is also an active
presence in B’Yachad as well as our youth program. Rabbi Eligberg has focused
on engaging upcoming B’nai Mitzvah and their families in serious study in
preparation for this important life cycle event.
Rabbi Eligberg is a visible presence in the community, now serving as the Secretary of the Capitol District Board of Rabbis, on our local Federation’s Israel Action Committee, and on the Religion-Labor Coalitionof New York State representing the New York Board of Rabbis.
Prior to Temple Israel Rabbi Eligberg served as the rabbi and principal of the Beit Rayim Synagogue and Hebrew School, in Thornhill, Ontario, rabbi of Congregation B’nai Tikvah, in North Brunswick, NJ and Congregation Beth El, in Levittown, PA.
Rabbi Eligberg is the author of several Halachic (Jewish law) articles, a short story, several plays and has developed three board games as instructional tools. He crafted a restructured version of the Musaf service for Rosh Hashanah and reviewed segments of the French translation of the Masorti Siddur. Currently, Rabbi Eligberg is working on a children’s book about Jewish mitzvah heroes, a collection of material for adults as a guidebook through the Yamim Noraim and the revision of a musical retelling of the Purim narrative.
Before assuming this prestigious position at Temple Israel in the Summer of 2006, Hazzan Marx served Temple Beth Sholom of Smithtown in Long Island, NY. Hazzan Marx is a 1995 graduate of the School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College. Originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Hazzan Marx has spent the last 16 years between Jerusalem, New York and Texas. Before moving to Albany, NY, he served as interim cantor of Congregation Brith Shalom, in Bellaire TX, and also functioned as part-time Spiritual Leader of Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Congregation in Curaçao.
Hazzan Marx received a Master of Arts in Judaic Studies from the HUC in 1997; and also received an Engineering degree in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and upon graduation studied at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. He was the recipient of several awards of distinction from the Hebrew Union College, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and the Rich Foundation, among others.
He is a member of the Cantors Assembly, American Conference of Cantors and the Arza/World Union - Cantorial Cabinet.
Hazzan Marx is married to Dr. Naomi Falk, a vitreoretinal specialist practicing in Albany since their arrival in 2002. Dr. Falk is associated with the Retina Consultants with offices located in Slingerlands.
Born and raised in the New York City area, Mr. Merens attended Binghamton University, and fell in love with the gentle beauty of upstate New York. After graduating Binghamton University with degrees in biology and environmental studies, Phil Merens began working for a statewide non-profit. Starting in an entry level position, within two year Mr. Merens was named the organization's CFO. That started a long career in the non-profit sector, with stints as CFO and as Executive Director in several different organizations. In 2000, Mr. Merens began a small business providing grant writing and accounting services to non-profits, and through this business has worked as a contracted CFO and Executive Director for many different organizations.
Prior to coming to Temple Israel, Mr. Merens served as Executive Director of another Albany area congregation. With hobbies including hiking, writing novels and playing guitar, Mr. Merens and his wife Elena, have raised three children in their Voorheesville home.
Early Childhood Education Director
Amie Bloom is one of the newest members of the Temple Israel professional staff. Ms. Bloom brings over 25 years of experience working in the field of Jewish Education.
In New Canaan Connecticut, her grandfather started Camp Playland and Playland Nursery School over 50 years ago. As a 13 year old, she started working at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center’s Summer Camp program, where she later became Director.
In September of 2000, she transitioned into Congregation Ohav Shalom’s Nursery School Director, a position she held for 13 years. Now at Temple Israel, Ms. Bloom again extends her enthusiasm and joy into the calendar’s cycles of Jewish programming. Sharing Shabbat and other holiday traditions within the Early Childhood Center is strongly integrated within play-based academic and social activities.
Ms. Bloom has stated, “I am very excited to have a new opportunity to work within a Jewish preschool environment. The teachers at Temple Israel are truly Master teachers in the world of Early Childhood Education, and I consider myself very lucky to be able to work alongside and learn from them.”
B'Yachad Hebrew School Director
Rabbi Miriam was born and largely raised in Boulder, Colorado, and received a degree in International Relations and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She started off her rabbinic studies at the Hebrew Union College, but was ultimately ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2003. During rabbinical school, Rabbi Miriam met and married her husband Rabbi Ted Lichtenfeld, the rabbi of Congregation Agudat Achim (CAA.) After ordination, she ran a religious school and taught adults and children in New Jersey, and adults in New Orleans.
Since moving to Niskayuna in 2008, she has written the curriculum for and taught at CAA’s Hebrew High School, taught adult education classes, facilitated and run many programs for the Rosh Chodesh and Social Action committees and co-founded and co-runs a Tot Shabbat service there. For the last 2 years, she taught middle school and fourth and fifth graders Judaic Studies at Hebrew Academy, where she also founded and ran a Middle School alternative prayer service. Rabbi Miriam has 3 children, Tali, Ari and Shuli.