OUR CLERGY

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FOUNDING RABBI ARNOLD B. MARANS z''l

Rabbi Marans was ordained as rabbi from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1953, and concurrenty earned a Master of Hebrew Literature Degree. Prior to his studies at the Seminary be graduated from City College with a degree in Social Sciences, majoring in Philosophy. In 1980, the Seminary conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity, Honoris Causa, recognizing more than a quarter century of service as rabbi to the Jewish Community.

Upon graduating from the Seminary, Rabbi Marans was called to the pulpit of the United Sephardim of Brooklyn. Following his success there he was elected in 1961 as the founding rabbi of the newly organized Sephardic Temple in Cedarhurst, NY. He served the Sephardic Temple as Senior Rabbi until his passing in July 2020.

During his early rabbinic tenure he was appointed Chaplain of the Raymond Street Jail in Brooklyn, and was Jewish Chaplain at the Brooklyn Hospital and the Caledonian Hospital in Brooklyn. In 1957 he accepted the Chaplaincy the Sephardic Home in Brooklyn and continues to serve that most prestigious institution.

The following are the many religious and civic affiliations of Rabbi Marans…
-Grand Chaplain Emeritus of Free and Accepted Masons in the State of New York.
-Past President of the American Friends of Misgab Ladach Hospital in Jerusalem.
-Past Chairman of the Joint Retirement Board; the agency that maintains the pension programs of rabbis, cantors, educators, and executive directors.
-Trustee of the Sephardic Geriatric Foundation.
-For more than 25 years Comptroller of the Rabbinical Assembly.

Rabbi Marans is survived by his beloved wife Zipporah Marans, National Vice President of AMIT, as well as their five children living in the metropolitan New York area and Jerusalem, 25 grandchildren, and many more great grandchildren.

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ASSISTANT 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).

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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 teaches 1st grade at the Yeshivah of Flatbush in Brooklyn.