Rabbi Elias Zwang

Elias Zwang grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in a family that at various times belonged to reform, conservative, and Chabad synagogues. This gave him an appreciation for the beautiful diversity of modern Jewish life as well as the challenges facing our future. Upon graduating from Vassar College with a BA in Psychology and Art History, Elias moved to Israel where he hiked the entire 500 mile Israel National Trail. He made Aliyah in 2012 and for three years worked in non-governmental organizations Continue reading →

Rabbi Galit Levy-Slater

In 1994, Galit accepted the cantorial position at Congregation Sholom of Leisure World in Seal Beach, California, eventually moving into Leisure World, a gated retirement community of 9,000. It became increasingly clear that the Jewish community of Leisure World needed a rabbi, one who was an integral part of this unique community and so Galit began to explore the possibility of becoming a rabbi. She found the perfect solution through JSLI (Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute), founded by Rabbi Steve Blane. Rabbi Blane and JSLI were Continue reading →

Rabbi Nancy Tunick

Rabbi Nancy Tunick is a Nashville, TN based Rabbi, cantorial soloist and composer who has served congregations in Philadelphia, PA; Meridian, MS; Jacksonville, FL and currently serves as Rabbi and cantorial soloist for Temple B’nai Israel in Florence, AL. Tunick began serving Temple B’nai Israel as their cantorial soloist and composer in 2000 and became the congregation’s spiritual leader in 2008.  She was ordained as a Rabbi in July 2013 as part of JSLI’s 6th graduating class. Tunick is a graduate of Temple University with Continue reading →

Rabbi Karen Becker-Marcelo

Rabbi Karen Becker-Marcelo took her passion of Judaism, working with people and teaching, to it’s culmination, by receiving smicha from the Jewish Spiritual Leadership Institute in January 2017. As a member of Union of Jewish Universalist Communities (UJUC),  she embraces the doctrines of Jewish Universalism including  encouraging ‘Interfaith families and all people to participate in our Jewish worship and rituals.’Rabbi Karen is a rabbi at SimShalom Online Synagogue,a Jewish Universalist online synagogue, leading weeknight Ma’ariv services. Her family was not religious, but had a strong Jewish Continue reading →

Rabbi Deborah McKenzie

Rabbi Deborah McKenzie has served as a Jewish spiritual leader and counselor for more than 20 years.  She works interfaith and people of faith who seek to enhance or add a Jewish spiritual perspective to their understanding and experiences. As lifelong learner, Rabbi Deborah enjoys studying and engaging on the Tanach and wisdom of the Rabbi to find practical relevance and application for today’s reality.  She also enjoys examining scientific principles within the texts.  Her love of Torah and teaching she attributes to her parents Continue reading →

Shuls, Zooms and nightclubs: Where to do High Holiday services in New York City in 2021

Sim Shalom High Holiday services were highlighted in the Jewish Week. ” Or skip the synagogues entirely.  One exciting aspect of Jewish life in New York City is that there are pop-up efforts to offer new experiences all the time. That’s true even during a pandemic. We’ve rounded up a few of the non-synagogue options for High Holiday worship here. A jazz service in a nightclub: Rabbi Steven Blane worked in synagogues for years, but over time he became disillusioned with traditional structures of American Jewish Continue reading →

We’re Back! Sim Shalom Online Synagogue will be back live for the High Holidays

Rabbi Steven Blane will once again lead his Jazz Quartet for High Holiday Services at the iconic Bitter End in the West Village on Rosh Hashanah Tuesday, Sept. 7th, and Yom Kippur Thursday Sept. 16th at 10:30am. Here is a link to High Holidays at The Bitter End in 2019. Also for the first time, join the Rabbi Blane Trio for “Dinner & Kol Nidre” at Silvanna in Harlem on Wednesday, Sept. 15th at 4:30 PM. Only 30 seats are available! Last year because of Continue reading →

Jewish Spiritual Leaders’ Institute 20th Class Ordained This Past Week

This past weekend the Jewish Spiritual Leader’s Institute (JSLI) ordained its 20th class. Celebrating 10 years (+ 1 for Covid) Rabbi Steve Blane is honored to continue training relevant clergy. On June 19th a cohort of five Rabbis joined the 165+ clergy – Rabbis and Cantors – ordained by the Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute (JSLI). Alumni of this class hail from California, Texas, Illinois and the Netherlands! Rabbis Monte Sugarman of Saratoga Springs, NY and Billy Love of Philadelphia joined Rabbi Steve on the virtual Continue reading →

Sim Shalom, the pioneer of online worship, expands its offerings during COVID

“Our liturgy is fully participatory- you see everything on your computer screen! And our siddurim (prayerbooks) and prayers are transliterated into English so everyone can join in joyous song and prayer. We have no dues or building fund.” Sim Shalom, the unique pioneering synagogue, has expanded its offerings during COVID. Designed for services to be broadcast directly to its congregants Sim Shalom Online Synagogue services are now being shared on Zoom so that congregants can see one another and chat. Adding to this visionary programming, Continue reading →

Sim Shalom Online Synagogue Celebrates Hanukkah with Jelly Donuts and Cantorial Concert,

On Friday, December 11, Sim Shalom the virtual Synagogue celebrates the second night of Hanukkah with five guest cantors. Rabbi Steve Blane and Sim Shalom have offered services online since 2009. To celebrate Hanukkah and the Festival of Lights this year he is joined by five (5) Cantors and one (1) Rabbi from across the country. All were ordained by Rabbi Blane and the Jewish Spiritual Leaders’ Institute (JSLI). Although a relatively minor holiday in strictly religious terms, Hanukkah has attained major cultural significance in Continue reading →