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Our Clergy

Senior Rabbi Greg D. Weitzman

Rabbi Greg D. Weitzman (he/him) is the fourteenth senior Rabbi in Congregation Beth Emeth’s history. He is the first to hold The Rabbi Scott L. Shpeen Senior Rabbinic ChairFrom 2015 - 2022 he served as the assistant and associate Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City during which he helped to establish new communities and pathways into the congregation .

A  graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges (2005) and ordained by the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (2015), He has been a builder of communities, programs, and learning. From the youngest members of the community to the oldest, Rabbi Weitzman is a calm and warm presence. Rabbi Weitzman is a well-respected teacher of Torah, an avid guitar player and musician, and proud supporter of Israel.  His work has included hunger advocacy, inclusion, interfaith dialogue and Israel advocacy. Throughout his time working in New York City, Rabbi Weitzman helped to create Sholom Sprouts: a home for young children and the grown-ups who love them which helped to innovate worship services and educational experiences for young families to find connection in the Jewish community.

 Rabbi Weitzman met his wife Ashley, a Speech Pathologist, after spending many years at the URJ Eisner Camp as a camper, counselor, song leader, and Education Director. Currently, Rabbi Weitzman is a police chaplain with Albany Police Department holding the honorary rank of Lieutenant. He is a member of the Capital Region Board of Rabbis and an honorary member of the Albany JCC Board of Directors. 

Rabbi Weitzman and Ashley live in Slingerlands with their two children, Eden and Jonathan.

Rabbi can be reached at RabbiWeitzman@BethEmethAlbany.org

 

Cantor Emily Short

Cantor Short received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, minoring in Music and Jewish Studies at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. She received dual Master’s Degrees at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion: one in Sacred Music in New York and the other in Jewish Non Profit Management from the Zelikow School in Los Angeles. Cantor Short grew up in San Diego, CA at Temple Solel. Her love for Judaism and music was cultivated there. After her undergraduate studies, she spent a little over a year working for the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene as their Development Manager before attending HUC-JIR. Her favorite memory from her time there was playing the role of “Chava” in the original stage reading of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish before it became a smashing success Off-Broadway. Cantor Short is so excited to join the Congregation Beth Emeth family along with her wife, Frankie, their dog, Kiwi, and their kitties, Hugo and Finn. When she isn’t at the synagogue, Cantor Short loves to sit down and read a good book, go for a walk with Frankie and Kiwi, cuddle with Hugo and Finn while watching a good movie, and try lots of new restaurants.

She looks forward to getting to know everyone in the Beth Emeth community in the coming months! 

Cantor can be reached at CantorShort@BethEmethAlbany.org

Student Rabbi - Spencer Mandell

Spencer Mandell is excited to join Congregation Beth Emeth as student rabbi. He is a third year rabbinical student at the Hebrew Union College (HUC.) Spencer is also helping to manage the HUC soup kitchen this year. Born in Florida and raised in Cincinnati, his hometown temple is Isaac M. Wise Temple. From an early age, Spencer found comfort in building community with others and has always found joy in celebrating life moments in a Jewish community. Spencer has been shaped by a variety of people throughout his life that have taught him about how to live a life of meaning and intention. One way Spencer continues to build relationships with others is through song leading. Spencer has been a song-leader, and music teacher at summer camp, and synagogues, for all types of learners. He was also the music teacher last year at Temple Tikvah on Long Island. Some other interests include swimming, cycling, reading non-fiction and listening to memoirs.

Scott L. Shpeen, Rabbi Emeritus

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 Cap Rep Theater. He had served for many years 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 and Cantors  (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 five grandchildren.

Rabbi Shpeen retired as Senior Rabbi of Beth Emeth in 2023 and was given the title Rabbi Emeritus in June 2023. 

Sun, June 16 2024 10 Sivan 5784