The Metropolitan Synagogue was established in 1959. We are a reform temple with a cozy, informal, family atmosphere. We are an egalitarian community. We welcome all families, children, individuals, and couples tour services! We are a hamish and friendly extended family.
In addition, our congregation consists of families from the Outer Boroughs and Tri-State area, as well as the immediate neighborhood. Access is readily available by bus, subway and MetroNorth.
Please drop by for one of our Shabbat services. Our Shabbat services are held every Friday evening at 6:00 p.m. and you are welcome to "try us out" before considering membership!
Our spiritual leader Rabbi Joshua Plaut, Ph.D.and Cantor Nacy Bach: Rabbi Plaut brings to Metropolitan Synagogue many years of experience as a pulpit rabbi, as an administrator in the Jewish non-profit world, an author and photographer. Additionally, the shul is fortunate to have Cantor Nancy Bach as our musical director and cantor.
The Metropolitan Synagogue was founded in 1959 by small group of Jews hoping to grow the reform Jewish presence in Murray Hill. Under the guidance of Rabbi Judah Cahn, and later Rabbi Joel Goor, the shul grew ta membership of 240 famlilies. The shul in its early years developed a reputation for musicality and for having a spectrum of programming. This "vital and exciting time" was described by a long-term member as the "golden years" of the congregation. The third rabbi to serve the congregation is Rabbi Joshua Plaut. With Rabbi Plaut’s guidance, the Metropolitan Synagogue has embarked on a Campaign of Renewal and is entering an exciting new era. Continuing its tradition as "The Music and Culture Shul", it has benefitted from recent growth in the surrounding neighborhood by encouraging new members, expanding programming, and responding tyounger congregants’ ideas and desires.
We have always emphasized our informal, friendly personality, bringing together families, children, individuals, and couples, regardless of their backgrounds or personalities. Metropolitan Synagogue is truly a hamish and friendly extended family.
Rabbi Plaut is the full time executive director of the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center, a New York based national nonprofit charity raising funds and awareness for Israel's premier hospital, the Rabin Medical Center of Petach Tikvah.
Prior to this, Plaut was the executive director of the Center for Jewish History and the Rabbi of congregations in Martha's Vineyard and Glastonbury, Connecticut as well as the Jewish Chaplain at MIT.
Rabbi Joshua Eli Plaut Ph.D. is the author of the new book A Kosher Christmas: 'Tis the Season to Be Jewish, (Rutgers University, October 2012) (www.akosherchristmas.org). As the first book to be written on Jews and Christmas, it is the product of 20 years of research -- a serious, analytical yet fun survey of 150 years of Jewish responses tthe December holiday season, with emphasis on the past thirty years. A documentary film on the subject is in the early stages of development. Plaut's first book, now in its fourth printing is "Greek Jewry in the Twentieth Century, 1913-1983: Patterns of Jewish Survival in the Greek Provinces Before and After the Holocaust" ( Fairleigh Dickenson University Press, 1996).
For over thirty years Joshua Plaut has also been an acclaimed photographer of Jewish life in the diaspora. His ten photography exhibitions, ranging from Central Asia to the Balkans, the American South to Jewish merchants and markets the world over, have been displayed at major museums and galleries across the United States, Europe and Israel. His photographs are in the permanent collections of museums, archives and private individuals. He is now completing his first photography book entitled "Sparks of Splendor: Portraits of Jewish Women the World Over," a 25-year photographic chronicle of Jewish women.
Teacher and Director of Hebrew Home Study and Adult Learning, Rabbi Andy Dubin, PhD, comes to Metropolitan Synagogue excited to apply his vast reservoir of experience to serving this historic congregation.
Upon graduation from Amherst College in 1988, Andy embarked on a 20-year career in the field of education, during which he taught religious studies at some of America’s most demanding high schools, including St. Paul's (NH), Northfield Mount Hermon (MA), Trinity (NYC), and Exeter (NH) and served as Dean of Students at two of the nation’s finest pluralistic Jewish Schools, Gann Academy (MA) and American Hebrew Academy (NC). Over the years he also spent four summers as a Head-of-Tour for NFTY in Israel, which led to a position at the Union of Reform Judaism as Director of College Education and Founding Director of the Meitav Fellowship for Teen Leadership.
Throughout his years teaching, Andy never stopped his own studies, which lead to a master’s degree in 1992 and a doctorate in 2008, both from the Department of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages at The Jewish Theological Seminary.
A recent ordinee of Hebrew Union College, Andy purposefully constructed a varied a student pulpit experience during his three years of training in New York., serving as Student Rabbi for Temple B’nai Israel (Albany, GA), Pastoral Care Intern for DOROT (NYC), Rabbinic Intern for Woodlands Community Temple (Greenburgh, NY), Religious School Principal and Rabbinic Intern for Union Temple (Brooklyn, NY), Student Chaplain at Weil Cornel Hospital (NYC), and Student Rabbi for Temple Beth HaSholom (Williamsport, PA).
A native New Yorker, Andy lives in Manhattan with his wife, Nancy (4rd Year Cantorial Student at Hebrew Union College) and their four children, Shira, Liron, Noa, an Ari.
Cantor Nancy Bach, joined Metropolitan Synagogue as Cantor, having received her Cantorial Ordination from the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College in Spring 2013.
Until very recently, she proudly served as Student Cantor, and the sole Cantorial presence, at the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue (BHS), from 2010-2013. At BHS, she tutored all the B’nei Mitzvah students, led services, taught in the classroom, officiated at Life-Cycle events and led a number of collaborative worship and cultural programs.
Nancy loves the work of creating meaningful teaching and worship experiences. Both on the bimah and through her love of teaching children and adults in the classroom, Nancy brings her voice and a sense of creativity, joy and rigor which she hopes will always instill welcoming and connection with the teachings of Judaism, and help us reach both within as individuals and out teach other as a wider community. Nancy also does a fair amount of work with unaffiliated Jews in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and takes great pride and care in fostering Jewish connections with people who come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
Prior to the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, Nancy worked at The Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, Hebrew Tabernacle Congregation and Central Synagogue in Manhattan. At Central Synagogue, she teaches an Introduction to Judaism class for students interested in possibly converting to Judaism. Nancy has also served as High Holiday Cantor at Congregation Children of Israel in Augusta, GA and Beth-El Congregation in Ft. Worth, Texas.
She loves to run, do yoga, cook, ski and see as much theater as she can. Before beginning her Cantorial studies, Nancy worked in the fields of Musical Theater and Corporate Arts Marketing. Nancy grew up in Manhattan, attended the Nightingale-Bamford School for 12 years, and received her B.A. in Semiotics, with a focus on Theater and Music, from Brown University. Cantor Bach is the very proud mom of toddler Caleb.
Cantor Michael Niemann was born the son of two opera singers. His childhood exposure to his parents' musical world led directly to his own life in music. He has sung baritone roles with the New York City Opera, Chautaqua Opera, and the New York Gilbert & Sullivan players, among others. Michael's background also consists of important Jewish musical influences. His mother, Nitza, was a singer and prominent choral director in Israel for many years, where she performed in concert and on radio. She is one of the early champions of the Israeli art song. Her husband during those years, the late Bonia Shur, is among the important Jewish composers whose music is sung annually at Metropolitan Synagogue's High Holy Day services.
Michael began his relationship with Metropolitan Synagogue in 1999, and has served as cantor for High Holy Days since that time. Michael can be heard on the CD “Kol Nidre” along with the choir of Metropolitan Synagogue under the direction of Gerry Brown. When he is not singing, Michael is a pilot for a major airline flying the 757 and 767 internationally. He and his wife Carolyn met as undergraduates at Princeton, where they have returned to raise their three sons.
For more information, please visit http://www.michaelniemannbaritone.com.
Dr. Leonard Lehrman, our High Holidays Organist/Choir Director, is Founder/Director of the Metropolitan Philharmonic Chorus, whose first performance took place in our sanctuary in 1988. In 1977-78 he was Assistant Chorus Master of the Metropolitan Opera, and in 1979 conducted our choir several times in services, including his "Yism'khu," commissioned by Cantor Norman Atkins.
Dr. Lehrman has degrees in music from Harvard College (B.A. cum laude) and Cornell University (M.F.A. & D.M.A.). He also studied privately with Elie Siegmeister and Nadia Boulanger, along with opera conducting at Indiana University and lieder accompaniment at the Salzburg "Mozarteum," and worked with Leonard Bernstein. His first publicly performed composition was a setting of his Bar Mitzvah Prayer, after which he co-founded with Cantor Norman Belink the Long Island Jewish Music Group. In 1983 he was the first Jew to conduct FIDDLER ON THE ROOF in Berlin, where he founded the Jüdischer Musiktheaterverein.
Among his 215 compositions, 17 CDs and over 1,300 YouTube videos to date are a Friday Evening Service and 10 operas, mostly on Jewish themes. On July 14, 2002 Dr. Lehrman and soprano Helene Williams were married by Cantor Charles Osborne at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue. Six composers wrote music for the event, which was featured in the NY Times Styles Section. As a duo they have performed over 580 concerts on four continents. In their 2006 Israel debut, they performed Lehrman's English translation of the "Shir L'Shalom," the song Yitzhak Rabin sang the night of his assassination.
Hila Kulik begun her MA studies at the Queens College (Jazz Piano) in January 2014. Graduated from the Jerusalem Academy for Music and Dance (2010).
Hila participated in various competitions in Israel and abroad, including winning first prize in the Israel "Jazz Player of the year Competition" (2009), "Ran Baron scholarships" at the Israeli Conservatory, "Sharet Scholarship" (America-Israel Cultural Foundation - 2010-2011).
Hila has performed with leading jazz musicians in Israel and abroad, including the international singer Achinoam Nini, the trombone player Yonathan Voltzok, the saxophone player Erez Bar-Noy among others. Hila has partitcipated in the International Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat (2011), she also participated in various jazz production, including "Louis Armstrong tribute" – Concerts with the Dutch trumpeter Michael Varekamp, "Nina Simone Tribute", Concerts with Pauline Jean (Singer – NYC), Shirzette Tinnin (Drums -NYC) and more.
Perry D. Silver, President
Joseph Lebenson, Vice-President
Suzanne Levine, Vice-President
Lorne Weil, Vice-President
Stanley J. Arkin
Thomas A. Blumberg
Susan F. Salmansohn
Perry D. Silver
Leonard Bernstein (deceased)