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.
Cantor David Mintz
Raised outside of Boston, MA, Cantor Mintz was ordained a cantor in 2014 from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York. As a student at HUC JIR, he was the recipient of a cantorial fellowship in the Tisch Leadership program, a fellowship meant to foster transformational leaders in the Reform movement. David holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Boston University and Manhattan School of Music, respectively.
Upon completion of his masters degree, Cantor Mintz worked at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan and served as Cantorial Soloist at Temple Judea, formerly of Massapequa, NY. While studying at HUC-JIR, he served as the cantorial intern at Central Synagogue in Manhattan and Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, as well as student cantor at Adat Chaverim in Plano, TX.
As an educator, Cantor Mintz has served as a guest lecturer on Jewish liturgical music at the University of Louisiana and has taught at BIMA at Brandeis University and URJ Mitzvah Corps in San Francisco, CA. He was a summer chaplaincy intern at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, NY and was the recipient of a Fischl-Kohn Memorial Grant to travel to Prague with the Defiant Requiem Foundation to research his cantorial thesis on the music of Theresienstadt.
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.