Abe Friedman, Senior Rabbi
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Rabbi Abe Friedman received his rabbinic ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at Los Angeles’ American Jewish University, where he also earned an MBA in Nonprofit Management. He joins BZBI after serving for five years as a rabbi at Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago, where his work focused on community engagement, adult learning, and spiritual counseling.
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Rabbi Friedman spent his summers at Camp Ramah in Palmer, Massachusetts. Before attending Boston University, he lived in Israel for a year as part of USY’s Nativ Leadership Program. Rabbi Friedman and his wife, Rebecca Krasner, are long-time fans of Philadelphia and enjoy exploring the city with their children Odelia, Azriel, and Yonah.
Rabbi Friedman loves a wide range of music – he plays electric guitar and performs the occasional DJ set – and maintains a committed yoga practice. He’s also available to meet up for ice cream, if you’re interested.
Sharon Grainer, Cantor
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Cantor Sharon Grainer started working at BZBI right after she received her Masters of Sacred Music and Investiture from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2006. She graduated with distinction from the University of Toronto, where she double-majored in Jewish History and Literature and Literary Studies and minored in Yiddish. Upon completing her undergraduate studies, she worked as the director of Perspectives: The Rhode Island Jewish Young Adult Network. Before starting cantorial school, Cantor Grainer studied classical Jewish texts full-time for a year at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. While in cantorial school she served as cantor at Shomrei Torah: The Wayne Conservative Congregation in Wayne, NJ and at Synagogue Degel Israel in Watertown, NY. Cantor Grainer served on the Executive Council of the Cantors Assembly from 2010-13.
Cantor Grainer’s interests in and experience with Jewish liturgy and texts, heritage and culture, community building, programming, pastoral counseling and pedagogy have shaped her into a leader and teacher committed to living and sharing the Jewish tradition. She is devoted to engaging and empowering a diverse, participatory, spiritual and learning community.
Yosef Goldman, Rabbi
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Rabbi Yosef Goldman is a teacher, spiritual artist, and pastoral caregiver. He is passionate about building sacred community. received his rabbinic ordination in 2013 from the Jewish Theological Seminary with a concentration in pastoral care and counseling and earned a Masters in Sacred Music.
At JTS Yosef received the Rabbi Sidney Greenberg Prize in Homiletics, the Lillian M. Lowenfeld Prize in Practical Theology and the Alexander Kohut Memorial Prize in the field of Talmud. He has trained in spiritual direction with Lev Shomea, and in community organizing with JOIN for Justice’s Seminary Leadership Project. Yosef joined BZBI after serving as a chaplain resident at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.
Raised Orthodox in New York City, in a mixed Ashkenazi and Mizrachi home, Yosef has since taught and facilitated sacred prayer space in communities throughout the Jewish denominational spectrum, including Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, B’nai Jeshurun, The Carlebach Shul, and Romemu. As a singer and percussionist, Yosef has performed and recorded with a wide range of Jewish artists and has curated showcases for the Sephardic Music Festival. He currently performs as a vocalist with Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble, and with the Middle Eastern Jewish music ensemble the Epichorus. He is a founding member of the Philadelphia Jewish music collective the Shir Singing Circle.
Ira Stone, Rabbi Emeritus
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Ira F. Stone served as Rabbi of Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in center city Philadelphia from 1988 to 2015, at which time he became Rabbi Emeritus. He is now serving as Rosh Yeshiva of the Mussar Leadership Program.
Before coming to Philadelphia he served as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Shalom in Seattle, Washington for nine years. Rabbi Stone is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where he received a BA in Religious Studies. He attended the University of Judaism in Los Angeles and graduated from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1979 with a Masters of Hebrew Literature and was ordained as a rabbi at that time. Prior to attending rabbinical school, Rabbi Stone worked for the Jewish Family Service of Long Island as an outreach worker in crisis intervention with drug abusing Jewish youth and also developed and implemented a pioneer project for brain injured children with emphasis on integrating them into a total day camp and winter recreational program at the YM/YWHA.
Ira Stone’s poetry has appeared in various journals and he is the author of two volumes of poetry: “The Really Perfect Poem Has An Infinitely Small Vocabulary” (Mellon Press) and “Sketches For A Book of Psalms (Xlibris.)
He served as the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow at Harvard University for the Spring 2005 semester.
In addition to his work in the pulpit, Rabbi Stone has written articles on theology and rabbinics for various journals including Conservative Judaism, Wellspring Journal, Middlebury College Magazine and Kerem. He also authored “Seeking the Path to Life” which was published in 1992 by Jewish Lights Publishing and “Reading Levinas/Reading Talmud” which was published in 1997 by The Jewish Publication Society. “A Responsible Life: Mussar As A Spiritual Path,” was published by Aviv Press in the Fall of 2006. The Jewish Publication Society also published Rabbi Stone’s contemporary commentary on Mordechai Kaplan’s translation of Messilat Yesharim by Rabbi Moshe Hayyim Luzatto.
Rabbi Stone served as lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the Jewish Theological Seminary and adjunct and visiting lecturer in Modern Jewish Thought at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
Rabbi Stone is married to Annie and they are the parents of Tamar, Yoshi and Shuli.