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Professional Staff

 

rabbibillydreskin

Rabbi Billy Dreskin grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. His elementary education was acquired at Bond Hill Elementary School, after which he attended Cincinnati Country Day, then Crest Hills Junior High, and graduated from Walnut Hills High School. After successfully de-matriculating from six weeks at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, he attended Brandeis University where he studied music, twice receiving the Reiner Prize in Music Composition, and graduating in 1980. After two years in New York City pursuing an elusive career in musical theater, he entered Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1982. During his years at HUC-JIR, his musical, “Personals,” opened off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theater (co-written with friends David Crane and Marta Kauffman, responsible for the hit television series, “Friends” ... you can actually find the show’s poster, with his name listed in the credits, still hanging in the Minetta’s basement lobby!). Billy is very happily married to Cantor Ellen Dreskin, is the proud father of Katie, Jonah (z"l) and Aiden, and the proud human of Charlie.

You can follow Billy online at wct.org/hhdsermonsbillydreskin.net and jonahmac.org.

maraphotobw

Rabbi Mara Young grew up in Westfield, NJ. She attended Tufts University in Boston where she majored in Anthropology and Judaic Studies with a minor in English. She was ordained at the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion where she also earned a Masters of Hebrew Literature and a Certificate in Education: Specializing in Adolescents and Emerging Adults. While studying at the Los Angeles campus of HUC-JIR, Mara was the rabbinic advisor at Occidental College's Hillel. Upon arriving in New York, Mara worked at the Union for Reform Judaism, Columbia-Barnard Hillel, The Jewish Home and Hospital, and Beth Israel Medical Center. Mara is the co-founder and former spiritual leader of a young minyan in Astoria, NY called the Wandering Jews of Astoria. She is an active member of the Westchester Association of Temple Educators. In 2017, Rabbi Mara was honored as a "Young Pioneer" by the Jewish Education Project. Once upon-a-time intern at WCT, she oversees the educational program at Woodlands, including the religious school, experiential programs, and adult learning. Rabbi Mara is a passionate feminist and encourages learners to leave their own mark on Jewish tradition. Her whole family can be seen around temple, including her husband Mark and young children: Noah and Asher.

You can follow Mara online at divreitorah.wct.org and wct.org/hhdsermons.

Woodlands’ new cantor, Lance Rhodes, hails from Ormond Beach, Florida, where he grew up playing piano, guitar, and clarinet and taking on big performing roles for community and camp musical theater. His musically active family included a grandfather who was a composer and played 19 instruments and a grandmother who was an actress and singer. Lance wrote his first major composition in high school, a symphonic poem for 23 instrumental parts. Though his plan as an undergrad at the University of Miami was to pursue a career in the music business, his Jewish musical experiences in South Florida convinced him that he could “combine Judaism and music and do what I wanted to do with my own heritage.” And that—after working as a freelance arranger for Warner Bros. Publications and teaching music to kids on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship—led him to the cantorate. During his cantorial studies, he became an established composer of Jewish music in which his compositions were published by URJ Books and Music and Shalshelet, and he was honored with the Max and Sol Feld Prize in Composition for two consecutive years. Invested as a hazzan at the Conservative Movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, he spent six years at a temple in Houston before coming back to New York to be reinvested as a Reform cantor and, following that, to work with Rabbi Josh Davidson as the interim cantor at Temple Emanu-El. Two years later, after stops in Florida and California, Lance, whose repertoire includes choral direction, a mastery of music technology, and a wide range of musical influences, now finds himself at Woodlands, a temple that he says reminds him of the warm, intimate, community-based temple at which he grew up. Coming here, he says, feels like coming home.

 

Lily graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Media Analytics and Arts Administration. She has spent many summers working with Jewish youth programming at URJ Camp Coleman in Cleveland, GA. She is enthusiastic, creative and driven. Her passions for social action and Jewish identity exploration through programming have led her to Woodlands.

corey friedlander_head

Corey Friedlander, our Sh’liakh K’hilah (literally “messenger to the community”), can be seen leading services, life cycle rituals, and supporting our community and our clergy. He fondly remembers the influence of his beloved Rabbi Bernard Zlotowitz (z”l) at Union Reform Temple in Freeport, Long Island, where Corey was president of his temple youth group and active in LIFTY (now part of NFTY-NAR). Corey majored in Germanic Languages and Literatures and was a varsity fencer at Yale University, from which he was graduated magna cum laude with honors in the major eight years after entering, taking time off twice to learn the important lesson that being perfect was not a requirement for graduation or for life. During his time off, Corey worked in import-export and, dealing mainly with Latin America, added Portuguese to his knowledge of German and Spanish. Corey is currently a vice president at his employer of nearly forty years, a manufacturer of construction fasteners, having taken time off in the bookselling industry to manage bookstores in Tarrytown and Riverdale and to work as the Director of Professional Development and Education at the American Booksellers Association. Corey feels blessed to have found Woodlands as his spiritual home in 1996 and exceedingly grateful to have participated in the Sh’liakh K’hilah program, a joint two-year training program of the URJ, CCAR, and HUC-JIR that included intensive summer study at the seminary in Cincinnati, additional coursework, and rabbinic mentoring. Corey was certified in 2005 and has been joyfully serving the WCT congregation ever since!

You can follow Corey online at wct.org/divreitorah and wct.org/hhdsermons.

Wed, October 21 2020 3 Cheshvan 5781