RABBI STEVE GOLDEN
Rabbi Steve Golden, a graduate of Lafayette College, was among the first four students to be granted semikhah (rabbinical ordination) from Rabbi David Weiss Halivni at The Institute of Traditional Judaism. Although raised in an Ashkenazi home in Oceanside, NY, he is a descendant of Jews from Barcelona on his maternal grandfather’s side. Together with his wife Shira (née Sky) they have lived according to the Spanish-Portuguese minhag since the mid-1990’s, and are overjoyed that they have finally become members of a Western Sephardic community!
Twice chosen to serve as a Student Chevra Intern at CLAL – The National Center for Learning and Leadership, Rabbi Golden is a vocal proponent of religious pluralism and tolerance. He was the rabbi of Beth Israel Congregation (then, an independent Orthodox synagogue) in Kingston, Ontario from 1994 – 1996 and was also employed by Corrections Service Canada to serve as Jewish Federal Penitentiary Chaplain in the eight Kingston-area penitentiaries.
In addition to serving as a pulpit rabbi in other communities, Rabbi Golden taught at Jewish day schools in Philadelphia and New York. Before arriving at The Sephardic Temple in the spring of 2013, he was, for over eight years, the Judaic Director at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, NJ, where among other accomplishments he organized – with the help of HAZON, North America’s première Jewish environmental advocacy organization (www.hazon.org) – northern NJ’s first Jewish CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
Rabbi Golden's article ‘A Jewish Perspective of Jesus’ was published in 2004 by Biblical Theology Bulletin of Seton Hall University (http://btb.sagepub.com/content/34/2/54.abstract).
CANTOR YAIR YONATI
Although born into a Yemenite family in Tel Aviv, Hazzan Yair Yonati grew up in the Turkish community and became conversant in both traditions. An expert ba’al qeriah (Torah reader) since the age of ten, he was asked by Rabbi Nissim Zakuta as a teenager to lead the community every week as shaliah tsibbor, and was a member of Makhelat Tel Aviv (the Tel Aviv Choir).
Cantor Yonati served in the Israeli army during the Yom Kippur War, and moved to the USA in the late 70’s. He served in our congregation for many years as assistant to Cantor David Abikzer until 2007 when he was appointed Cantor of The Sephardic Temple.
Cantor Yonati likes mizrahi music, and is a master of the Yemenite, Turkish and Syrian liturgical traditions. In addition to leading our congregation in prayer every day, he teaches bar mitsvah students.
Cantor Yonati met his wife Naomi in Israel; she is a Hebrew teacher.