Rabbi Alexis Berk
Rabbi Alexis Berk accepted the position of Rabbi of Touro Synagogue in the summer of 2008. Although raised in rural Massachusetts, Rabbi Berk is a southerner at heart. “I was surprised by how the softness and warmth of the South held so much immediate appeal.”
Rabbi Berk graduated with Honors from the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and was ordained at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in June of 2000. Upon ordination, Rabbi Berk was awarded two prizes for sermon oratory. Following graduation Rabbi Berk served in Nashville as Congregation Micah’s first Rabbi Educator.
In March of 2005, Rabbi Berk assumed the position of Hillel Rabbi at Vanderbilt University, but finding she missed participating in a congregational community, she left to join the clergy team at Temple Ohabai Sholom, as Director of Congregational Enrichment. It was a good move: the congregational setting was where she felt most at home. When the opportunity to serve as Rabbi of her own community in New Orleans opened up, she knew it was the right city and the right time.
Rabbi Berk is honored to serve as the Rabbi of Touro Synagogue. “The complexity and texture of the New Orleans landscape illuminates the elemental beauty of the Touro community. The fact that Touro is a 180-year-old synagogue belies its strong desire for innovation and growth. The professional team and congregational leaders embody passion for this community – within the walls of the congregation and beyond. Resilience, interconnectedness, and strength are the core of this distinctive place.” Rabbi welcomes conversation about the uniqueness of this community.
In 2011 Rabbi was chosen as one of Gambit Magazine’s “40 under 40,” – forty individuals under the age of forty whose skills and accomplishments have helped make New Orleans a better place to live and work.
Rabbi Berk and her husband Bob live in Uptown New Orleans with their two young sons and their dog Russell, all of whom are frequent and welcome visitors in the office.
To contact Rabbi Berk e-mail Julie, the Clergy Assistant, at Julie@tourosynagogue.com.
Cantor Jamie Marx
Cantor Jamie Marx is excited to be serving Touro Synagogue in his first cantorial position. A graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Cantor Marx earned his BA in Music in 2003. After graduation, Cantor Marx started a young adults group at the synagogue he and his wife joined, hosting Shabbat dinners, a Passover Seder, and leading songs, prayers, and text study. He also served as an advisor to a co-ed BBYO chapter for three years with his wife.
While studying in the cantorial program at Hebrew Union College, Cantor Marx became active in the Student Association, partnering with faculty and administration to improve student life on the New York campus. As the Student President of the School of Sacred Music, Cantor Marx spearheaded the effort to draft the Student Association’s first constitution. He started the HUC Composer’s Showcase, an annual concert featuring original works from students, faculty, and alumni (including former Touro Cantor, Jordan Franzel), now in its fourth year. Cantor Marx served as the chair of the Practicum Guidelines Committee, leading faculty-student teams in the revision of the guidelines for the weekly cantorial student recitals.
Cantor Marx is honored to have been the student cantor at Temple Beth El in Jersey City, NJ, for the four years he was in school. He is happily married to Anna and is the proud father of Eliana.
- To contact Cantor Marx e-mail Julie, the Clergy Assistant, at Julie@tourosynagogue.com.
Rabbi Emeritus David Goldstein
Rabbi Emeritus David Goldstein, who is married with two children and five grandchildren, was born in Princeton, New Jersey and received his higher education at Miami University of Ohio and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), where he was ordained a rabbi. In 1974 he received the degree of Ph.D. (cum laude) from St. Mary’s Seminary and University of Baltimore, in consortium with the Baltimore Hebrew University. In 1990 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by HUC-JIR.
Following ordination in 1965, Rabbi Goldstein served as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Japan. Upon his release from active duty in 1968 he became Associate Rabbi of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. In 1970 he was elected Senior Rabbi of that congregation. Rabbi Goldstein came to Touro Synagogue in New Orleans in 1978. He has served on the faculty of Tulane University since arriving in New Orleans and is Adjunct Professor of Jewish Studies. His courses include: The Jews of Moslem Spain; The Jews of Christian Spain; Jewish Life and Thought in the Renaissance and the Age of Reason; American Judaism; Rashi; Halevi and Maimonides.
Rabbi Goldstein has published many articles in scholarly journals and was the recipient of the Max Maccoby Fellwship awarded by HUC-JIR for advanced studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was also awarded the Haim Greenberg Scholarship for studies in Israel. He has served on numerous organizational and institutional boards, currently including the Board of Alumni Overseers of the Hebrew Union College and the World Governing Body of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. He is past chairman of the Central Conference of American Rabbi’s (CCAR) Committee on Eastern European Jewry.
Additionally, he has served as a national officer of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, and for five years as Chairman of the Community Relations Committee (CRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and on the Executive Committee of the Federation. He has served a President of the Southwest Council of the CCAR. He is chairman of the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council and served on the ad hoc committee of the CCAR which planned a major study mission to Spain in 1992. He conducted scholarly programs at the 1992 Annual Convention of the CCAR as well as at UAHC regional conventions.
In November 1981, and again in 1983 and 1986, he and his wife, Shannie, traveled to the Soviet Union where they visited with hundreds of Jewish Refuseniks. They helped to organize secret classes and meetings advancing Jewish and Hebrew studies and music. Rabbi Goldstein is retired as chaplain in the Navy Reserve where he holds the rank of Captain. In 1977, he was awarded the Distinguished Citizen of Maryland Citation and in 1999 was the recipient of the Weiss Award from the National Conference. In 1998, he was the narrator with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra for Leonard Berstein’s “Kaddish” Symphony No. 3; in 2003, he narrated Schoenberg’s “Survivor from Warsaw”, again with the LPO and again under the baton of Klauspeter Seibel. In 2007, he received the New Orleans Anti-Defamation League’s most prestigious honor, the A. I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Award.