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Our Clergy and Staff

Rabbi Brent Spodek

Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek has been recognized by the Jewish Forward as one of the most inspiring rabbis in America, Hudson Valley Magazine as a Person to Watch and by Newsweek as "a rabbi to watch." He is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute and a Fellow of the Schusterman Foundation.

Before coming to Beacon Hebrew Alliance, he served as the Rabbi in Residence at American Jewish World Service and the Marshall T. Meyer Fellow at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York.

Rabbi Brent holds rabbinic ordination and a masters in philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was the first recipient of the Neubauer Fellowship. Prior to entering the rabbinate, he attended Wesleyan University and worked as a daily journalist in Durham, NC. To schedule a time to talk with Rabbi Brent, please use this link or be in touch with Faith Adams. If you are interested in having Rabbi Brent perform your wedding, please first fill out this form

He lives in Beacon with his wife Alison, a professor of environmental chemistry at Vassar College and their two children.

Cantor Ellen Gersh

Ellen Gersh is proud to work at Beacon Hebrew Alliance, the synagogue founded by her grandparents. Ellen was born in Beacon to George and Evelyn Pearson, both teachers in the Beacon schools. Ellen has been leading Shabbat services at Beacon Hebrew Alliance since she was a child, even as she’s also been to many other places, including Israel and Boston University's School of Fine Arts, where she earned a BA in vocal performance and music education.  In the late 1970's, Ellen aspired to become a cantor, but the cantorial school at the Jewish Theological Seminary was not yet admitting women. Instead, Ellen enrolled in Columbia University's Teachers College and Manhattan School of Music and studied privately with rabbis and cantors who were willing to train her in the Jewish liturgical tradition.  Prior to returning to Beacon, Ellen served as the Cantor at Greenwich Reform Synagogue in Greenwich, Conn. Ellen has been married to her husband Michael, a teacher at Beacon High School, for more than 25 years. They are the proud parents of two children, Aaron and Lian.

Julia Gross Alexander

Julia Gross Alexander, the Education Director at BHA, has been living in the Hudson Valley, and learning and growing with the BHA community, for the past seven years. She converted to Judaism here, and also had her ketubah signing here. She has been an assistant and a teacher with MASA for the past five school years. Julia's special skills include baking, fixing things, and generally being a balabusta. She looks forward to being a part of the BHA family for many years to come!

 Ilana Friedman

Ilana Friedman is thrilled to be the director and lead teacher at BHA Preschool. She also runs Beacon Craft Workshop, teaching inquiry-based art and science workshops for children. Before moving to Beacon, Ilana received her BA with Honors and also received her Masters of Arts in Teaching at Brown University. She went on to teach third grade for many years at the Brooklyn New School, in Brooklyn, New York. Ilana also works as a potter and took classes at Haystack Mountain and Penland Schools of Craft. She knows first-hand the inspiration and fun that comes from exploring materials and creating alongside others, and this is what she aims to provide when teaching young children. She lives in Beacon with her husband Bryan, and their daughters Samara & Sage.

Sasha Stim-Fogel

Sasha knew from the first time she substitute taught at the BHA Preschool that she had found a wonderful place to work. As the Assistant Preschool Teacher, Sasha is excited to learn from Ilana, Diana and the kids, and to share her knowledge and interests with the preschool community. Sasha moved to NY from CA to study fine art at The Cooper Union and later received her Masters in Social Work from NYU. After practicing social work for many years, Sasha moved to Thailand with her family to experience a new culture. While there, Sasha volunteered teaching English and found that she loved teaching and working with young children. Upon returning to the States, Sasha settled down in Beacon with her wife Cate and their son Elan (a former BHA preschool student).  Sasha loves to make pottery, garden, meditate and write and illustrate picture books. 

Meghan Conway

Meghan is honored and filled with joy to be a part of the BHA Preschool family!  A Hudson Valley native, Meghan moved from Brooklyn to Beacon in 2016. 

As a Doula, Western Herbalist and Yoga Instructor, Meghan uses her tools of creativity, the natural world, and self expression in her nurturing work with the community. Meghan co-owns Wyld Womyn in Beacon, where she helps expecting families with their birth journey as well as supporting folks through transitions in their lives.  One of her passions is creating a space for children to explore the green world through Western Herbalism. She is excited to introduce plant medicine to the kids! 

In her spare time she loves being in her kitchen whether it’s cooking or coming up with new Herbal Medicine remedies, hiking with her partner Tyler and pup Winnie and doing DIY projects in her new house in Balmville.

Meghan is thrilled to learn under Ilana and alongside Sasha this school year!

Faith Adams

Faith is our skilled and supportive administrator. Her hours are Tuesday-Thursday 9:30am to 4:30pm and Fridays 9:30am-3:30pm.

Fri, September 18 2020 29 Elul 5780