Clergy and Professional Staff

 Rabbi - Dr. Kenneth A. Emert

Rabbi Beni Wajnberg

Rabbi Wajnberg (pronounced Vine-berg) was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was ordained by the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, although he also studied at the Seminario Rabinico, a Conservative rabbinical school in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He comes to Temple Beth Rishon from Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City. He has served as rabbi, rabbinic intern, hospital chaplain, student rabbi and teacher in congregations, hospitals and nursing homes in New York, California, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee, Argentina and Brazil.
Reb Beni (as he likes to be called) is passionate about Jewish law, rabbinic literature and Jewish thought. When not at shul, he can be seen strumming his guitar, cooking a nice dinner, sitting on his meditation cushion, reading or rooting for Botafogo, a Brazilian soccer team. He shares his life with his wife, Rabbi Miriam Wajnberg, and their sons, Shai Lev who is 3 years old and Rafi who is 5 months old.
Rabbi's Monthly Message

170_01_Rabbi_Emert 1.jpg

Dr. Kenneth A. Emert, Rabbi Emeritus

After 22 years as the senior rabbi at Temple Beth Rishon, Dr. Rabbi Kenneth A. Emert, retired in June, 2017 to follow other pursuits. Our hearts were saddened to see Rabbi Emert leave his post but we celebrated this milestone with him at a gala send off in his honor, wishing him much luck in the future.

Rabbi Emert brought an extensive educational background to our community. After receiving his undergraduate degree in Hebrew Language and Literature from Queens College, Flushing, New York, Rabbi Emert earned a Master of Arts degree in Hebrew literature from Hebrew Union College where he was also ordained in 1977. In 1982, Rabbi Emert received a Master of Social Work from Yeshiva University and in 1991 earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Jewish-Christian Studies from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary ...Read more

 Cantor - Ilan Mamber

Cantor Ilan Mamber

Cantor Mamber was born in Bnei Brak, a suburb of Tel Aviv, Israel. As a child, he was a member and soloist in various choirs in the "great Synagogues" of Tel Aviv and its surrounding towns. Upon his arrival in the United States, he bought himself a guitar, which he taught himself to play. He received a Master's Degree in Social Work from Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler Social Work in 1979.

Cantor Mamber worked in the field of Jewish communal service as a Jewish Center worker from 1977 to 1988. He served at various Jewish Community Centers and YM-YWHA's in the New York metropolitan area. His responsibilities included facility administration, Jewish and general programming, and supervision of program and maintenance personnel...Read more
Cantor's Monthly Message

 Religious School Principal - Gonen Arad

Gonen Arad - Religious School Director

Gonen Arad is honored and thrilled to serve as the Director of Temple Beth Rishon’s Religious School. He feels truly blessed to be the instructional leader of such an awesome community of educators working together to share their love and knowledge of Jewish faith.  

Gonen has devoted his life to the field of Jewish education. His formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Jewish Education. One constant in his life has been his varied experience with secular and Jewish organizations that seek to engage people individually and as a group to truly understand and live a faith-filled life. He is passionate about connecting with families and facilitating their connections with Jewish identity. Gonen feels that each new family he encounters adds to his own education and allows him to continue to grow as an educator...Read more
Religious School Monthly Message

 Director of Early Childhood Education - Hillary Posner

Hillary Posner - Director, Early Learning Center

Hillary Posner is honored to serve as the Director of Early Childhood Education at Temple Beth Rishon's Andrew Friedland Early Childhood Learning Center. Having earned her bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University and a master’s in teaching from Iona College, Hillary has devoted more than 20 years to working in education with young children and their families. She is committed to creating a strong, faith-based educational program in our wonderful school where egalitarian values, sound foundational skills and play with a purpose are always in focus...Read more
Preschool Monthly Message

 Youth Group Director  -  Jana   Schwatrz

Jana Schwartz - Youth Group Director

Jana Schwartz joined Temple Beth Rishon in 2004 as our first full-time Youth Director. Since then, Jana has infused our Youth Group program with such positive energy that the number of children involved has increased six times over!  Jana’s infectious smile and philosophy of inclusion have greatly enhanced TBR’s youth activities. The Youth Group student leaders and all participants love the program and activities!

Graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a B.A in Sociology, and a minor in Substance Abuse, Jana taught in the Fort Lee School District, assisting students with Special needs prior to joining our staff. Her experience in teaching children prepared her well for handling the dozens of Youth Group kids who visit her office...Read more
Youth Group Monthly Message

 Cantorial Intern -     Summer Greenwald-Gonella

Naomi Rogin - Cantorial Intern

Naomi joined TBR’s musical scene soon after her family became members of the congregation in 2015 when she started singing with TBR’s adult choir, Kol Rishon. Her involvement grew further when she was hired in 2016 by Gonen Arad as TBR’s Religious School music teacher, leading Sunday assemblies and Jewish music sessions for grades K-5, and has culminated with her being named as our new cantorial intern.  Naomi is honored to serve the congregation in this capacity, with her first-year dedicated to apprenticing with the Cantor at Shabbat and festival services on a bi-weekly basis and expanding her teaching schedule to include Tefilot class, Pre-school music, and Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutoring.  

Naomi's new role within the TBR community provides her with a welcomed re-entry into the world of Jewish music and Tefilot that she grew up with and cherished.  Born in New York City and raised primarily in the Midwest, she was raised in a family of musicians and was very involved as a 'tween and teen with her temple and regional youth groups, summer camp experiences at URJ-GUCI, Kutz Teen Leadership Academy (Warwick NY) and several student colloquiums hosted by HUC-JIR. ...Read more