The Team

Rabbi Katy Allen

Rabbi Katy Z. Allen is the founder and spiritual leader of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope. She began her career as a biology teacher, turned to writing and editing educational materials, then started teaching Hebrew school and became involved in family and adult education before entering rabbinical school. She received a Masters of Arts in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College in Newton, MA, in 1999, and rabbinic ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY, in 2005 and is a Board Certified Chaplain through Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains. For ten years, Katy served as a staff chaplain at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and then as a hospice chaplain. She is the co-founder of the Jewish Climate Action Network and considers herself an eco-chaplain.

Rabbi Sam Blumberg

Rabbi Sam Blumberg has been with the Temple Beth Am community since July 2020, and was ordained as a rabbi from Hebrew College in 2021. Born and raised in Southern California, Rabbi Blumberg earned a degree in religious studies from the University of California, Davis. After working as a substitute teacher, he spent three years living in Jerusalem and studying at the Pardes Institute, earning a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew College. Rabbi Blumberg then spent five years teaching Jewish Studies to middle school students at a Jewish Day School in Portland, OR before returning to Hebrew College to prepare for the rabbinate. Rabbi Blumberg has worked as a rabbinic intern at Congregation Betenu in Amherst, NH and Temple Sinai in Brookline, and completed his chaplaincy at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Rabbi Blumberg lives with his wife, Amalia, and their children Zamir and Sol.

Rabbi Josh Breindel

Rabbi Breindel earned a B.A. in philosophy with a minor in classics and a concentration in legal studies from Brandeis University. Settling in the Boston area, he served as education consultant at Kerem Shalom in Concord, core instructor for 11th-grade students at Prozdor of Hebrew College in Newton, and assistant director of education at Temple Shir Tikvah in Winchester. After completing master’s degrees in Jewish studies and Jewish education, he was ordained at Hebrew College in 2009. Rabbi Breindel has particular interests in Jewish storytelling, theater and folklore and is passionate about Jewish science fiction and fantasy. He and his wife, Stephanie, spend their free time playing Legos with their two children, Elijah and Eliana. He’s delighted to return to the Boston area and is excited to partner with the congregation’s staff to bring blessing to the Beth El community.

Cantor Vera Broekhuysen

Cantor Vera Broekhuysen joined Beth El on July 1, 2023. She served Temple Emanu-El of Haverhill as spiritual leader from 2018-2023 (and as cantor from 2016-2023). In 2016, she was ordained, and earned her master’s degree in Jewish education at Hebrew College in Newton. A native of Cambridge, she graduated from Commonwealth High School of Boston in 2002 and earned her bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Toronto in 2007. Cantor Broekhuysen pursues social justice and interfaith work as cornerstones of her Jewish life. She uses guitar and drum in services, song sessions, educational settings, and out on the street in protests. She is also passionate about exploring and leveraging the beauty and vocal connectivity of early music and folksong. Cantor Broekhuysen lives in North Andover with her husband Mike and their two sons. In her free time, she loves to hike, knit, bake, and read.

Rabbi David Finkelstein

Raised in Highland Park, Illinois, Rabbi David experienced a variety of Jewish ways of being, learning at Conservative, Reform, and Chabad synagogues while attending public school K-12. He studied classical piano performance and English literature at the University of Wisconsin and earned an M.A. in Humanities from the University of Chicago. Prior to coming to Or Atid, Rabbi David served as rabbi of Temple Beth Israel in Waltham for nine years. Rabbi David is known for his humor and joy, for his clear-eyed literary analysis of Torah, and for connecting the Torah’s concerns to our lives today. He cares deeply about creating a learning environment where all participants can build and articulate their own authentic relationship with Torah.

Rabbi Allison Poirier

Rabbi Poirier has dual undergraduate degrees from Barnard College and the Albert A. List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary. After graduation, she spent two years traveling the south as an Education Fellow with the Institute of Southern Jewish Life. She has also returned to the south to lead several small-town seders for the ISJL Passover Pilgrimage. She received her Rabbinical Ordination and Master’s of Jewish Education from Hebrew College in Newton. Rabbi Poirier’s Master’s Thesis explored the use of the Torah Godly Play curriculum with elderly populations, and she is eager to share Torah Godly Play with students of all ages at TBS. While in rabbinical school, she also served as Rabbinic Intern at Temple Israel in Sharon where she created the Chevra, a group for young professionals.

Rabbi Sam Pollak

Rabbi Sam Pollak joined Kerem Shalom in July 2020. He received a BA in philosophy and comparative religion, at The Ohio State University, where he held leadership positions at Hillel and sang in a Jewish a cappella group. He attended Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion where he received a MA in Hebrew Letters and was ordained as a rabbi in 2017. He most recently served for three years as one of the rabbis at The Community Synagogue in Port Washington, New York, where his responsibilities included teaching religious school classes and Torah study; leading early childhood classes; establishing an adult education initiative; creating a group to guide interfaith families; serving on a newly formed inclusion committee; and officiating life cycle events. During his rabbinical studies, Sam worked at a number of small congregations in the Midwest.

Rebecca Heisler

Becca is currently a student at The Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Newton, MA. She has worked at Wilderness Torah as a B'naiture Mentor and Youth Programs Manager, a Youth Mentor, Backpacking Trip Leader & JOFEE Fellow. She has taught Hebrew school, worked at Urban Adama in Berkeley, CA, and been a community organizer for Jews on Ohlone Land in Berkeley. She is a place-based Jewish educator and brings gentleness, compassion, liberatory frameworks, creative curriculum, and a laugh that fills a room. Becca is steadfast and wholehearted in her commitment to care, joy, curiosity, storytelling, and song.

Shoni Aronovich

A native of Tel Aviv, Shoni has been with Beth El since 2017. He holds a B.A. in Jewish philosophy and Jewish history and a B.Ed. in Jewish philosophy, all from Tel Aviv University’s Ofakim program. “I truly believe in the creative aspect of Jewish learning, in the sense of creating and owning something with what you learn and not just keeping it on the paper. I try to engage my students in different forms for interacting and creating with our Jewish materials,” he says. Shoni’s hobbies include travel, nature, films and cooking.