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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 Sharon Kohn

Cantor Sharon Kohn strives to share her joy in being Jewish through music, prayer, learning, and listening. She is looking forward to creative ways she will be able to meet and get to know the folks who call Beth Emeth home. She is excited to work with Rabbi Scott Shpeen, and the entire staff and leadership of CBE.  Kohn looks forward to creating sacred space for Beth Emeth’s next settled cantor, whom ever that might be.

Sharon Kohn spent her childhood in central Illinois, dividing her time between Moses Montefiore Temple and any theatre or music production that she could find. She studied Music Theatre at Illinois Wesleyan University and received a Bachelors of Music from Illinois State University while also tutoring B’nei Mitzvah students and singing in, and ultimately leading, High Holiday choirs.

Cantor Kohn earned her ordination and Master’s degree from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music. She is an active member of the American Conference of Cantors [ACC]. She has served full-time in congregations in Texas, Ohio, and Kansas. She has served as an Interim Cantor in Louisiana, Texas, Maryland, and New Jersey.

Cantor Kohn has training with the Interim Ministry Network [IMN] and is a member. She has studied at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and is a certified leader for Wise Aging. She has finished 4 units of C.P.E. and Level 1 of Kodaly training. Voice training and a mindfulness practice are parts of her weekly routine. Kohn enjoys the fiber arts and is rarely without a knitting or crocheting project. Weeding someone else’s garden is a source of joy and comfort, as is baking, preferably something chocolate.

Kohn is married to Rick Simon and calls Kansas City her permanent home.

To contact Cantor Kohn - CLICK HERE

Rabbinic Intern, Alexandra Stein

To contact Alexandra Stein, CLICK HERE

Fri, July 10 2020 18 Tammuz 5780