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Rabbi Javier Cattapan

Rabbi Javier Cattapan is a native of Argentina. His education includes the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano (Conservative) and the University of Buenos Aires, where he studied Ancient and Medieval Philosophy and taught courses in General Linguistics.

He came to the U.S. in 1994 to attend Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rabbi Cattapan received his M.A. in Hebrew Letters in 1997. He was ordained as a rabbi at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati in 1998. In 2004, Rabbi Cattapan earned his M. Phil. in Hebraic and Cognate Studies. After ordination, he taught Modern Hebrew at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and Hebrew Literature at his alma mater’s rabbinical school. For the last ten years, he has served as a mentor to newly ordained rabbis. Before being selected as Temple Emanuel’s next spiritual leader, Rabbi Cattapan served Jewish communities in Ohio, Indiana, and Kansas. After serving the Jewish people for 25 years as a rabbi, he earned his Doctor of Divinity honoris causa from HUC-JIR in 2023.

Rabbi Cattapan believes that the Divine is present in the study of Torah, in the performance of ma’asim tovim, good deeds, and in g’milut chassadim, caring for each other and our human and natural communities. As a rabbi, he strives to help others make informed Jewish choices, always respecting and nurturing the many ways of belonging to the Jewish people.

Rabbi Cattapan's approach is rooted in being a good listener first. This allows him to work with volunteer leadership, the professional staff, and the members of the congregation to create the best possible Jewish experience for all. His focus is always on building relationships and integrating the many constituents that populate our diverse communities. He is dedicated to discovering the congregation’s strengths, cultivating them, and making them bloom in the spirit of unity. Drawing from his personal and professional interests and experiences, he strives to create innovative, challenging, integrated, and fun activities to meet the needs of all congregants, ensuring everyone feels welcomed and included.

Rabbi Cattapan regularly participates in interfaith panel discussions and other outreach programs, representing the Jewish perspective on various issues. He enjoys singing, gardening, biking, and hiking with his husband, Kris D. Gray, and their companions, Fado and Lucas, two Portuguese Water Dogs. He is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and past president of the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City.

Cantor Rick Lawrence

Cantor Rick Lawrence earned his B.A. in Jewish Studies at Oberlin College, a certificate in Elementary Education from Eastern Michigan University, and a Masters of Jewish Education and Cantorial Ordination from Hebrew College. Since his ordination in 2014, Cantor Lawrence has served as the cantor of Temple EmanuEl in Orange Village, Ohio; Temple Rodeph Torah in Marlboro, NJ; Kesher Israel Congregation in West Chester, PA, and as the High Holy Cantor for Congregation Sha'arey Tzedek in Lansing MI. Amongst other experience, Cantor Lawrence has worked with the Zamir Chorale of Boston and the HaZamir Children's Choir Cleveland Chapter.

During his cantorial studies, Cantor Lawrence studied how previous composers of Jewish music have taken the musical tradition that they received from previous generations and blended it with contemporary musical styles; in keeping with this tradition, he has composed music mixing traditional music with contemporary styles for Shabbat worship.

In an interview with his professors at Hebrew College, Cantor Lawrence was asked what he hoped to bring from his cantorial education to his professional life. He answered: “I feel the most valuable piece of wisdom I’ve received from my education is the ever-present and important tension that exists in our liturgy between keva (that which is fixed/set) and kavanah (intention). To me, this pull between keva and kavanah is understanding how we can honor, cherish and utilize our vast received tradition while at the same time ensuring that what we do with our tradition is infused with meaning in today’s world. I believe that both keva and kavannah have contributed, and continue to contribute, to Jewish continuity.”

Cantor Lawrence began chaplaincy training in 2019, and finished in 2022. He served as the volunteer chaplain for the pediatric and adult palliative care teams at Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone, Botswana from 2022 to April of 2024.

Rabbi Emeritus Albert Lewis

Our Rabbi Emeritus, Albert Micah Lewis, was ordained at HUC-JIR in 1969. Rabbi Lewis earned his Doctorate in Hebrew Literature in 1978 and has been awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree by HUC-JIR (1994) and a Doctorate of Literary Letters by Aquinas College. He is a nationally recognized writer and speaker. Dr. Lewis continues to teach and counsel the families of Congregation Emanuel.

A newspaper columnist, Dr. Lewis’ articles have been widely circulated throughout the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

Dr. Lewis was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Aging by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, and is the president of Life Transitions Consulting, a corporation facilitating lifelong education and staff development in retirement and nursing home facilities. The rabbi is the founding president of Hospice of Grand Rapids (MI) and the Western Michigan chapter of the Michigan Society for Gerontology. Dr. Lewis is a consultant to fortune 500 companies.

Rabbi Lewis is the author of Soul Sounds: Reflections on Life (Common Good, 2009), The Lord is My Shepherd: Psalms to Accompany Us on Our Journey through Aging (Eerdman, 2002) and a co-author of Retirement Begins at Forty (CCAR, 1980).

Our Devoted Staff

Maria Reza

Building and Facilities Manager

Jennifer Stanton

Financial Administrator

Shelby Denhof

Engagement Associate

Cat Finney

Administrative Assistant

Philip Pletcher


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