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. 193.jpg

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.

 Rabbi Brian Beal

Rabbi Beal

Rabbi Brian Beal will serve as our Interim Rabbi through June 30, 2018.  He brings abounding energy, conviction, and a love of Jewish living to our community.  By listening to others, remaining open to new ideas, and approaching life with passion and a positive message, he is able to bring people together in a way that benefits congregants and the community alike.

Youth, social justice and community service programming, as well as building a strong relationship with the interfaith community, remain at the core of Rabbi Beal's rabbinate.  His concern for each individual, personal warmth, love of children, deep faith, and desire to make a difference in the world are personal characteristics that will benefit Temple Beth-El and its members. 

After a seven-year career as a professional fundraiser, Rabbi Beal returned to Hebrew Union College, where he was ordained in 1998.  At Temple Shaari Emeth in Manalapan, NJ, he was particularly focused on engaging young families.  He then served Temple Beth Torah in Nyack, NY--now called the Reform Temple of Rockland--for thirteen years, where he was involved in developing award-winning social justice experiences, developing a comprehensive policy on the role of the non-Jew in the synagogue, and providing vehicles of outreach and welcome to people with disabilities.  Classroom teaching for children and adults was one of his greatest joys, along with the privilege to be with people in times of need and moments of celebration.  He often spent quality time in the Religious School interacting with younger children through guest teaching, storytelling, and school-wide assemblies.

Above all, Rabbi Beal is a dedicated and loving husband and father.  Naomi Adler, his wife, is President and CEO of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.  Their three sons, Joshua (a high school senior) and Ari and Benjamin (high school freshmen) are their greatest blessings and joys of their lives.  

Rabbi Beal is dedicated to ensuring that Temple Beth-El's year of transition will not only meet our basic ritual, pastoral, educational and community service needs, but that our sacred community will continue to thrive and soar as we prepare to select the new permanent rabbi who will serve us for years to come 


Student Cantor Jennifer Benrey

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.

Cantor Jen 2016
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 am entering my third year in the cantorial program at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion!