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Meet Our Clergy

Meet Our Clergy

Rabbi James M. Bennett

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Rabbi James M. Bennett became Senior Rabbi of Congregation Shaare Emeth in 2004. He received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University and was ordained in 1984 at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Upon ordination, Rabbi Bennett served Shaare Emeth as Assistant and Associate Rabbi from 1984 to 1993. He then served as Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth El in Charlotte, NC, from 1993-2003 before returning to St. Louis and Shaare Emeth. Rabbi Bennett has devoted his career to strengthening the involvement of youth and adults in programs of education, social justice, spiritual growth, community building and interfaith relations. Rabbi Bennett and his wife, Amy, have three children, Abigail, Ethan, and Michelle, and their Labrador Retriever, Pita.

Rabbi Andrea Goldstein

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Rabbi Andrea Goldstein has been a Rabbi of Congregation Shaare Emeth since 1998. She received her undergraduate degree in Communications from Northwestern University and was ordained in 1998 at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rabbi Goldstein has made the call for justice and equality, along with the search for spiritual connection focal points of her rabbinate. In recent years, Rabbi Goldstein has served on the Editorial Board of the CCAR’s Reform Jewish Quarterly, as the Chair of the Robert P. Jacobs Jewish Fund for Human Needs, and participated in an 18-month rabbinic training program sponsored by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. She is married to Brett Goldstein and is the proud mother of Macey, Eli, and Lila.

Rabbi Rachel Bearman

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Rabbi Rachel Bearman became the Associate Rabbi of Congregation Shaare Emeth in 2020. She is a native of Memphis, Tennessee where eight generations of her family have been a part of the city’s Jewish community. She attended Middlebury College where she received her undergraduate degree in Religious Studies.

In 2014, Rabbi Bearman was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a fifth year student, Rabbi Bearman received the Rabbi Morris H. Youngerman Memorial Prize for her sermon entitled “Finding and Honoring Women’s Voices” and the Stephen N. Levinson Memorial Prize for her service to HUC-JIR and its student body. Before coming to Shaare Emeth, Rabbi Bearman served as the sole rabbi of Temple B’nai Chaim, a Reform congregation in Georgetown, Connecticut.

In addition to her work at Shaare Emeth, Rabbi Bearman is currently serving as the Communications and Marketing Vice President of the Women’s Rabbinic Network and is the co-creator and co-author of Midrashic Monologues, a project that strives to restore the voices of biblical figures who have been silenced by the Jewish tradition.

Rabbi Bearman is passionate about helping individuals and families with diverse backgrounds find meaningful and authentic connections to the Jewish tradition. Her rabbinate is based on the conviction that building and strengthening relationships is at the core of all rabbinic work- whether we’re talking about teaching adults or children, partnering with interfaith leaders, officiating at life cycle events, participating in social justice work, or anything else.

Rabbi Bearman is thrilled to have joined the Shaare Emeth family and looks forward to being a part of the congregation and the broader St. Louis community for years to come.

Cantor Seth Warner

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Cantor Seth Warner, originally from Southern California, earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Redlands and his Master of Sacred Music degree from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, School of Sacred Music in Jerusalem and New York. Receiving his Cantorial Investiture from the same institution, he earned several awards in vocal excellence.

He has served two synagogues with distinction during his career. First he served the historic Touro Synagogue in New Orleans, weathering Hurricane Katrina and producing Touro’s Jazz Fest Shabbat to high acclaim. Working with musicians Ellis Marsalis and Jeremy Davenport, Cantor Warner collaborated to bridge jazz and the music of synagogue in a spiritually fulfilling way.

He has proudly served at Congregation Shaare Emeth in St. Louis since 2007. As an integral part of the clergy team, he oversees the Congregation’s music and worship agendas, leads the B’nei Mitzvah program in addition to his pastoral care and other congregational duties.

He serves the community as a chaplain for first responders in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area and is a member of the Critical Incident Stress Management Team (CISM). He is an active member of the American Conference of Cantors, has served as an officer on its Executive Board.

Seth and his wife, Shayna, are the proud parents of two boys.

Rabbi Educator Lori Levine

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Rabbi Lori Levine is thrilled to be the Rabbi Educator at Congregation Shaare Emeth, overseeing the Religious School and engaging our Religious School families with the wider community. Originally from New Jersey, Rabbi Levine was shaped by her years at Jewish summer camp (URJ Camp Harlam and URJ Kutz Camp), non-profit work, living in Israel on the URJ Heller High program, and volunteer work. She received her undergraduate degree from New York University in European and Mediterranean Studies in 2010 and then worked as a Jewish educator in New York City.

She received her rabbinic ordination and Masters in Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, CA in 2018. During rabbinical school, Rabbi Levine taught at synagogues all over Los Angeles, served as a congregational community organizer around housing and homelessness, was trained in Jewish geriatric care as a chaplain intern, and participated in various leadership and travel opportunities. She is a passionate educator who believes that Jewish learning should be rigorous, relevant, and joyful. She is married to Joe Ferris and they look forward to exploring St. Louis and making Shaare Emeth their second home.

Rabbi Emeritus Jeffrey Stiffman

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Rabbi Emeritus Jeffrey Stiffman received his undergraduate degree from Loyola College and was ordained in 1965 at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. He earned his Ph.D. in Theology in 1972. He served as Assistant Rabbi of Shaare Emeth from 1965-1968 and was named Senior Rabbi in 1971, serving in that capacity until his retirement in 2004, when he was named Rabbi Emeritus. During his tenure, Rabbi Stiffman and his staff instituted many innovative programs of worship, education, and social justice. Rabbi Stiffman and wife Arlene, have three adult children and eight grandchildren.

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