Sign In Forgot Password

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. 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 Pearson 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.

Our Masa Hebrew School

Rishe Groner

Rishe Groner is the creator of The Gene-Sis, a post-Hasidic movement toward embodied experience and personal growth through Jewish mystical texts. Rishe has over 20 years of experience in Jewish education across all ages and in a variety of unique spaces including festivals, retreat centers and immersive experiences. 

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Rishe graduated from Monash University specializing in marketing and writing. She worked for over a decade as a senior marketing strategist across a variety of non-profits and corporate clients. In 2019, Rishe was named to the Forward’s “36 Under 36” for her work bringing Jewish ceremonies and workshops to the arts and nightlife scene. As a freelance writer, her work has appeared in Lilith, Tablet,Alma, The Times of Israel, and she writes weekly Parshat Hashavua inspiration on Her meditation and ritual series “Soulhacks” based on the practice of Sefirat Haomer is currently being prepared for publication. 

Rishe is an experienced prayer leader and focuses on creating unique immersive ceremonies utilizing dance, music and meditation. She has studied with prayer pioneers Nava Tehila in Jerusalem and Joey Weisenberg in New York City, and carries the lineage of the Chabad-Chassidic tradition of meditative song and prayer. She has been featured educator at Jewish retreats including Moishe House, Isabella Freedman, Pearlstone Center and Limmud NYC. Rishe is currently studying for Rabbinic ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City and serves as the Education Director at the Beacon Hebrew Alliance in the Hudson Valley.

Julia Gross Alexander

Masa teacher, Julia Gross Alexander, has been living in the Hudson Valley, and learning and growing with the BHA community, since 2011. She converted to Judaism here, and also had her ketubah signing here. She has been a teacher with Masa since 2013 and is the former Education Director.  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!

Our Preschool

 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.

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. 

Eric Saiet

Eric is one of our Preschool Assistant Teachers, is an improv expert and a theater teacher. He is a story teller and writes for TV programs like Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Eric is also a BHA Preschool parent.

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. 

Our Administrator

Faith Adams

Faith has been our skilled and supportive Administrator since 2017.  She is also a licensed bookkeeper through the NACPB and a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.  Faith is a ceramics artist and potter, she has sold her work online for over 10 years, and has shown in local shops and galleries.  She lives in Beacon with her partner, Eric and four (yes, four) cats.  

Thu, July 7 2022 8 Tammuz 5782