Directors of Machon Beth Sholom
Rabbi Paul Kerbel
Rabbi Paul Kerbel joins our rabbinic staff bringing thirty years of congregational experience to Temple Beth Sholom. Born in Philadelphia but raised in several Jewish communities, Rabbi Kerbel joins our TBS family after serving four very different congregations: Nevey Shalom, Bowie, Maryland; B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Cleveland, Ohio; Congregation Beth Israel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and most recently, as Associate Rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim in Marietta, Georgia.
At Etz Chaim for twelve years, Rabbi Kerbel developed and coordinated the congregation’s adult learning program, oversaw all synagogue programming, created a Family Service for the High Holy Days and supervised the religious school and youth directors. Rabbi Kerbel played a significant role in the Atlanta Jewish community serving as an officer and later President of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association where he developed professional development and Jewish study programs for the Rabbinic community. Rabbi Kerbel served on the Board of Trustees, Campaign Cabinet and numerous committees and task forces of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Rabbi Kerbel also serves on the Rabbinic Cabinet of Jewish Federations of North America, the Board of Trustees of the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel and the AIPAC and Israel Bonds Rabbinic Cabinets.
Rabbi Kerbel looks forward to meeting our members and becoming an integral part of the TBS community and helping us bring our message of a vibrant, meaningful, spiritual Judaism to the larger community and helping them feel comfortable in our congregation.
Rabbi Kerbel received the Isaac H. Wolfson Award for service to the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Gerald H. Cohen Award of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Rabbi Kerbel received a Doctor of Divinity Honorary Degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2011.
Rabbi Kerbel and his wife Melissa a Jewish communal professional, are the parents of Sam and Aliza, Judah and Micha. Melissa grew up in Jamaica Estates. Sam is a graduate of the Joint Program of Columbia University and JTS. Aliza is a doctoral candidate in the Ferkauf School of Psychology at Yeshiva University. Judah is a rabbinical student at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University and Micha is a sophomore at The Ohio State University.
We welcome Rabbi Paul and Melissa to our community.
Rabbi Sean Jensen
Rabbi Sean Jensen grew up in Brooklyn, New York. In addition to being the new Machon Beth Sholom Director, he is the Youth Director at Great Neck Synagogue and is coordinator of both admissions at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and in charge of student activities at the Middle School. Jensen teaches Talmud/Mishna and Chumash for students in grades 6-8. He also holds positions at the Mashadi Jewish Center of Great Neck and teaches students of all ages in a variety of Judaic subjects.
Until the age of ten, Jensen was not affiliated with any religious organization but everything changed when he began attending Yeshiva Chaim Berlin. He went to high school at a Yeshiva in Scranton, PA and then he spent five years studying in Israel. Before returning to the United States, he ran programs that guided students at Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim.
In 1991, Rabbi Jensen began his career teaching at both Great Neck Synagogue and North Shore Hebrew Academy. In 2001, when the high school opened, Rabbi Jensen was named Director of Admissions. Due to Rabbi Jensen’s involvement, GNS youth program has grown exponentially over the last two decades and is a great source of pride to him. Under Rabbi Jensen’s leadership the program not only is a source of learning, fun and teaching children the meaning of “community”, but has also and continues to be a foundation of instilling a sense of responsibility and reward for good work. Those that have been involved continue to be leaders in their adult life. They are known to be active in college Hillel Houses, inspire others to participate in Chesed and Tzedaka initiatives and are also the ones that motivate peers to join in Shabbat and Chagim functions.
Rabbi Jensen has a strong commitment to Israel and has lead and participated in many “missions” including running supplies to those families in the North impacted by the latest war with Lebanon. One of the highlights was in the summer of 2003; Rabbi Jensen briefed the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Anan, and under Secretary General, Shashi Theroor, upon his return from a visit to Gaza.
Rabbi Jensen resides in Great Neck with his wife Aksana and family. All of his children have benefited from the GNS youth program and became leaders when they became of age. As a youth director and teacher, Rabbi Jensen is unique and incomparable and the community is very lucky to have him.