Rabbi Aileen Hollander came to Beth Chaim in 2001 as its Educational Director, and in 2002 she was appointed to be its Rabbi. Being a rabbi is a second career for Rabbi Aileen. First she was a teacher.
By the time she was 25, she had graduated from Penn State, taught fifth grade in Abington, earned an M.A. from Columbia in education of the hearing impaired, and given birth to the first of her three children. They are Lori, Sheri, and Eric. While raising her children she taught deaf children, substituted in local elementary schools, and was program chairman, Sisterhood Shabbat chairman, and vice-president of Temple Sinai Sisterhood.
In 1990 she became an adult Bat Mitzvah. She could read Hebrew, because she had attended an Orthodox Hebrew school where girls had not been allowed to have a Bat Mitzvah. While the adult Bat Mitzvah students were learning to read Hebrew, she learned to read Torah. She read Torah on Mondays and Thursdays for the morning minyan at Temple Sinai, a large Conservative congregation. She led that minyan for several years.
She wanted to get better at reading Torah, so she enrolled in Biblical Hebrew at Gratz College. Four courses later, she had won the Hebrew award two years in a row, and the next Hebrew course was at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. The professor who taught that course encouraged her to apply for admission.
In 2000 Rabbi Aileen was ordained, along with an M.A. in Hebrew Letters and certification as a specialist in the congregational rabbinate. In 2001 she completed a year of clinical pastoral education as a chaplain at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. More recently she has been blessed with a son-in-law, Erick Trombley, and grandson Jake.
Rabbi Aileen enjoys developing meaningful relationships with congregants.
Denise Moser has been singing and playing her guitar at Beth Chaim for over a decade, and it all started with one song. The synagogue’s previous rabbi, Rabbi Marjorie Yudkin, was looking for someone to sing Ani Maamin during a Holocaust Remembrance Day service, and a colleague recommended Denise. A spark was lit that day, and over the last twelve years the relationship between Denise and the congregation has expanded and deepened.
Today, Denise sings all of our Shabbat evening and High Holiday services. She has written music that has become part of our Shabbat experience, as well as a song for the building of our beautiful new Synagogue. She leads and treasures the adult choir, and is immensely proud of them. Denise is also hired by bar/bat mitzvah families to sing during their special services.
Denise was briefly enrolled in rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, but she learned most of what she knows through attending services and studying privately with Cantor Patrice Kaplan. She feels a deep and evolving spiritual connection with the reform movement.
Denise is also a singer/songwriter, and songs from her first CD, Bright Side Up, have been played on over eighty radio stations, including WXPN in Philadelphia. She is currently hard at work finishing a new CD of original contemporary folk music, and has recently launched a website to promote her music and her twice-monthly blog: http://www.denisemosermusic.com.
Denise’s path has also included being a counselor, a Gymboree franchisee, a tobacco control advocate and a student of human development. She has always been committed to following her heart and her passion. Denise’s oldest love and deepest passion is music!