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Our Clergy

Rabbi Brent Chaim 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. 

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

Read Rabbi Brent's Blog

Education Director

Celia Baczkowski

Celia Baczkowski is our Education Director, and leads the Masa program.  Celia has been a member of the BHA community for ten years, and has served on the Board since 2017.  She received her BA in Jewish Studies from the University of Judaism in CA, and her MA in Camp Administration and Leadership from Touro University in NV.  Celia spent over 20 years as a Jewish summer camp professional in a variety of roles, and has extensive experience in administration, program and event planning, staff training and supervision. Additionally, she works as a substitute teacher in Cold Spring, and has a NYS TA certification.  Celia lives in Cold Spring with her partner, daughter, two dogs, one cat, one leopard gecko, and twelve chickens. 

Music Director

Luke Wygodny

Luke iLuke Wygodnys a multi instrumentalist singer-songwriter, professional actor & lifetime educator. Born and raised in Chicago, Luke grew up living & breathing music. At a very young age, Luke found peace through his cello where he trained in classical music through the Suzuki method. As he got older he found himself jamming on his dads beat up old Yamaha guitar and he’s been writing songs ever since.  Luke has toured the country as both an actor in Broadway shows as well as with his folk band The Heartstrings Project. As a teacher, Luke was one of the founding members of the Musical Tots program at New York Kids Club. He has led songwriting workshops at multiple Montessori schools, Breathe Festival in Indiana, Kerrville Music Festival in Texas & an ongoing Heartstrings Kids Songwriting retreat in Costa Rica. As a spiritual leader Wygodny raised praise alongside Rabbi David Ingber at Romemu Manhattan and is now leading services at Beacon Hebrew Alliance in Beacon, NY.  He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Syracuse University. It’s Luke’s greatest responsibility  to honor each individuals journey, and gift the next generation with the tools needed to be open enough to love themselves & find the confidence within.  To  truly be broken open. 

Preschool Director

 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.

Assitant Teacher: Sophia Jackson

Sophia is one of our Preschool Assistant Teachers and has worked as a substitute teacher at BHA preschool for 5 years. This year she joined the regular teaching team, and she brings her expertise in  Alexander Technique for children and passion for integrating sign language into all learning activities. She brings her background in the visual arts, her experience teaching at Compass Arts, as well as her commitment to play to BHA Preschool. 

Assitant Teacher: Regina Williams

Before moving to Beacon Regina received her masters in education from Bank Street College of Education. She has taught in a number of local schools while raising three children of her own. Regina is excited to return to the BHA preschool community. When not playing in the sandbox,planting in the garden, and nurturing young minds Regina can be found sewing quilts and knitting sweaters. 

Operations Director

Faith Adams

Faith has been with BHA in administrative roles since 2017.  She is also a licensed bookkeeper through the NACPB and a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.  Faith is a ceramics artist and potter, had a successful online business for over 10 years and her work has been shown in local galleries and shops.  She lives in Beacon with her partner and four (yes, four) cats.  

Any statements or opinions expressed (either online or offline) by the people listed above  when not acting in their official capacity for BHA, do not reflect the positions of BHA as a synagogue or a community. 

Sun, May 26 2024 18 Iyyar 5784