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Our Clergy

Rabbi Scott L. Shpeen

Rabbi Scott L. Shpeen has served Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany since 1985. In July 1992, he assumed the position of Senior Rabbi of the Congregation. He is a native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey and a product of the Reform Movement having spent many summers at the URJ Camps as well as participating in the EIE (Eisendrath International Exchange) Program spending a semester at the Leo Baeck High School in Haifa, Israel. Concurrent with his High School studies, Rabbi Shpeen was awarded a Certificate in Jewish Education from Gratz College, Philadelphia. Rabbi Shpeen was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Judaic Studies from the University of Michigan in 1979. After spending his first year at its campus in Jerusalem, Rabbi Shpeen studied at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati. He received a Master's Degree in Hebrew Letters in 1983 and was ordained in June 1984. In 1988 Rabbi Shpeen completed the St. Peter's Hospital Program, Albany, NY, in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). In May 2009, in recognition of his 25th anniversary of rabbinic ordination, Rabbi Shpeen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Rabbi Shpeen presently serves on the HUC-JIR President's Rabbinic Council. Locally, he serves on the Board of the Albany Symphony Orchestra and chairs its Committee on Institutional Advancement. He is on the Advisory Committee of the Capital District Senior Issues Forum Lifetime Achievement Award. Rabbi Shpeen has been an Adjunct Professor at the College of St. Rose in Albany teaching a course on the Holocaust. He is also a regular commentator on WMHT Public Television.

Rabbi Shpeen was appointed in May, 2006 by Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings to serve on the Albany Human Rights Commission on which he served for three years until May 2009. Rabbi Shpeen is a two term Past President of the Capital District Board of Rabbis (2008-2010 & 1990-1992), past President of the Rabbinic Alumni Association of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, past President of B'nai B'rith Gideon Lodge #140, past President of the Buckingham Mews Homeowners Association, and has served on the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion as well as on the boards of the United Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Center, Park Playhouse, The Martin Luther & Coretta Scott King Lecture at Siena College, the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York, The Interfaith Advisory Committee of the Bethlehem Central School District, the Sidney and Beatrice Albert Lecture Board of the College of St. Rose and the Admissions Committee of the CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis) and for many years was Jewish Chaplain at the Parsons School in Albany.

Rabbi Shpeen was the 2016 recipient of the Capital Area Council of Churches’ (CACC) Rev. Dr. Carlyle Adams Ecumenical/Interfaith Award for his longstanding involvement in ecumenical and interfaith work in the Capital District. He was the first and only rabbi to be invited to be the keynote speaker at the Annual Albany Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Service.

Rabbi Shpeen was married for 31 years to the late Susan Balan, who was the Executive Director of the Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center at the time of her death in November 2009. He has two adult married children, Hilary (Josh) Brownstein and Adam (Emily Farber) and four grandchildren.

To contact Rabbi Shpeen - CLICK HERE.

Cantor Jodi M. Schechtman, D.M.

Cantor Schechtman was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1988 and she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Congregation Beth Emeth. She served Temple Beth Am in Framingham, Massachusetts for 28 years. During that time, she brought her passion for Judaism, music and children into everything she did, from creating an 80-voice Junior Choir to transforming worship services into joyful, participatory and meaningful experiences and introducing the monthly Shabbat Unplugged Service, an all-musical worship experience with a 5-piece band. She plays a myriad of instruments, including guitar, piano and flute, and takes pride in staying current with what is happening within the greater Reform movement and incorporating the best of our movement's music and innovations into her services and her teaching. In 2010, after serving as Cantor of Temple Beth Am for 22 years, Cantor Schechtman became the sole Spiritual Leader of the temple and thus, was responsible for all life cycle events, all the pastoral counseling and all the sermons for the congregation, along with teaching the B'nei Mitzvah students, Confirmation students, Post-Confirmation students and lifelong learners, directing the volunteer choirs, leading the Shabbat morning Torah study and providing the music during services. In addition to her responsibilities at the temple, Cantor Schechtman is part of the senior staff of the ACC (American Conference of Cantors) serving as Director of Organizational Partnerships. As such, she is the face of the Reform cantorate when interacting with the URJ (Union for Reform Judaism), the CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis) and HUC-JIR. She sits on the National Board of the URJ and has played a key role in fostering greater partnerships between the ACC and these important arms of our movement. While in Framingham, she was a member of the NEBC (New England Board of Cantors), and was the first cantor appointed to the board of JCAM (Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts), and was an active member of FICA (Framingham Interfaith Clergy Association). Cantor Schechtman and her husband, Gene Laks, both of whom originally hail from Bergen County, NJ, were married in 1988 and are delighted to be here in Albany with their daughter, Madison (the new Co-Advisor for our youth group, CBEYG), their dog, Remy, and their cat, Oliver.

To contact Cantor Schechtman, CLICK HERE

Sun, April 5 2020 11 Nisan 5780