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Our Clergy team works together to meet the spiritual, pastoral and
educational needs of our congregation. To make an appointment with a rabbi, please contact them directly by email.
Click here to see our Rabbis on Youtube

Senior Rabbi Paula Marcus has served Temple Beth El since 1979, first as a teacher in the religious school and the preschool, then as a co-principal of the religious school, then as a congregational cantor, and as Rabbi beginning in May 2004, upon being ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion in Los Angeles. She has apprenticed with cantors in the U.S. and Israel, and she received her BA in Judaic studies from SUNY at Binghamton. She also has a masters degree in Rabbinic studies from the Academy of Jewish Religion. She demonstrates her commitment to exploring Jewish prayer and learning as rabbi, cantor, worship service leader, and teacher. Rabbi Paula sees Jewish practice as an ongoing, joyous celebration of God and ourselves. Rabbi Paula is involved in all aspects of the congregation. Please click here to read some of Rabbi Paula's sermons and writings.

Rabbi Shifra Weiss-Penzias comes from eight generations of rabbis on her mother’s side, including her grandfather, an Orthodox rabbi in the Bronx. Rabbi Shifra received her BA in Sociology at Brandeis University, and her rabbinic ordination and M.A. in Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College in New York. Before joining the TBE clergy team in 2005, she served as a rabbi for three years in New Jersey, one year in Boston, and four years in Seattle. Rabbi Shifra loves to teach adults and children, sing, talk about G-d, strategize about how to preserve the environment and create a better world, spend time outdoors, and enjoy all things Jewish with others. She loves to plan community events, religious services and family programs which incorporate spirituality, music, dance, drama, art, stories and games and encourage active participation. She and her husband, Peter, are the proud parents of two children, Kaima and Jordan.  Click here to watch Rabbi Shifra's  High Holiday Sermon about climate change.  Click here to watch her sermon on teen mental health.  Click here to read her thoughts about Fiddler on the Roof and Isaac's wells.

Rabbi Emeritus Richard M. Litvak an esteemed leader, dynamic teacher, and wise counselor, has nurtured the continuous growth and development of this congregation since 1977. Under his guidance and inspiration, our temple has become a center for Jewish life in Santa Cruz County and a genuinely caring community. Rabbi Litvak was ordained by Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. He holds an MA in Hebrew Arts and Letters and is a licensed marriage and family counselor. He is a rabbinic member of the Chesky Institute for Judaism and Psychotherapy, an organization of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.


Temple Clergy and Staff

 Senior Rabbi    Paula Marcus  (831) 201 4746 
 Rabbi   Shifra Weiss-Penzias  (831) 201 4731
 Rabbi Emeritus   Rick Litvak  (831) 201 4745
 Congregational Learning Coordinator  Roxy Tracy  (831) 201 4747
 Rabbinic Intern  Sarah-Tziporah Moser       (831) 479 3444
 Executive Director  David Ginsborg  (831) 201 4744
 Operations and Development Manager  Rachel Polhamus  (831) 713 5616
 Membership Experience & Program Manager      Melissa Sunberg  (831) 201 4735
 Gift Shop Maven  Shirley Ginzburg  (831) 201 4733
 Donor Accounts Administrator  Ana Flores  (831) 201 4740
 Office and Security Coordinator  Marilyn Valencia  (831) 201 4743
 Simcha Preschool Director  Caitlin Clancy  (831) 201 4737
 Simcha Office Administrator    Michelle Buell  (831) 201 4734
 Cemetarian/Rosha Chevra Kadisha  Holly Blue Hawkins  (831) 201 4738
 Facility Maintenance Manager  Chris Irvine   (831) 201 4742
Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784