Rabbi Debra Hachen joined Temple Beth-El in July of 2011. She enjoys living in an urban setting and serving a growing congregation where differences are celebrated, history is honored, and new ideas are welcome. She brings her passion for story-telling, text study, social justice, and creating meaningful rituals and worship. Rabbi Hachen cares deeply about inviting in those on the edges of Judaism and especially welcoming the Jewish GLBTQ community, interfaith couples, those of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and all looking to reconnect with or explore their Jewish roots.

Rabbi Hachen believes that God is present in the relationships we build with each other. “Holiness is all around us – and Judaism gives us the texts and rituals to activate the best that is in us so that we can be God’s partners for good.” Some of her social action concerns include economic justice, hunger, and homelessness.  She also works for justice and peace in Israel.

Rabbi Hachen was ordained at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 1980 and then served twenty-four years in Massachusetts where she was the founding rabbi of a Reform congregation that grew to 500 households. When her husband’s career brought them to this area, she served several years as rabbi at a Reform congregation in Bergen County before moving to Jersey City to join the Temple Beth-El family.

Rabbi Hachen is married to Peter Weinrobe who is a lifelong active Reform Jew. They have three grown children: Philip, Carrie and Melissa.


Student Cantor Jennifer Benrey

Cantor Jen 2016 Shalom, everyone! My name is Jennifer Benrey and I am thrilled to be joining the Temple Beth-El community in my new home of Jersey City! I am very excited for the opportunity to serve as Student Cantor for the coming year and can't wait to get to know you all. Here are 10 things to know about me:
1. I was born and raised in Miami Beach, FL. No, I am not prepared for a real winter.
2. I'm fluent
in Spanish and speak it at home.
3. I'm half-Sephardic and half-Ashkenazi and was raised with Turkish-Sephardic holiday traditions.
4. My background is in
music and teaching. I have a Bachelors of Music Education degree from Florida State University and have since taught in both public and private institutions in music, Judaism, and also math!
5. I love choir! Music and singing are so spiritually fulfilling. I had the opportunity to conduct high school and middle school choirs as well as two Jewish adult choirs and loved every minute of it! I can't wait to sing together and work with the youth choir.

6. The warmth of Temple Beth-El and its richness of Jewish experience drew me to the congregation.
7. I'm your new neighbor! I live here in Jersey City and am enjoying all of the Indian food around the corner.
8. I love dogs and baby animals.
9. I love to dance and used to silversmith jewelry.
10. I just got back from living for a year in Israel and am entering my second year in the cantorial program at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion!

Jen Benrey