Rabbi Spike Anderson
Rabbi Spike Anderson was born and raised in Boston and was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York City. He entered the rabbinate after a successful career as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. It is Rabbi Anderson’s love for Judaism that has brought him on a journey into a life of service for the Jewish people and he finds great meaning in merging his passion for innovation with Jewish spirituality.
Rabbi Anderson began his rabbinic service at Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles in 2008, where he was known as “Children’s Rabbi,” working with the synagogue’s Early Childhood Center (ECC) and the early Elementary School grades. He led lively “Tot” and “Family Shabbat” experiences throughout the year. Using song, movement, talking puppet shows and ridiculous costumes, he created a dynamic yet comfortable environment for the children to learn and love their Judaism. That passion for children extended beyond services, as he provided spiritual guidance to the children as well as their families. It is a focus he intends to continue in his role as the Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El of Greater Atlanta.
The opportunity to lead Temple Emanu-El spurred Rabbi Anderson to move his family across the country to join a new congregation and a new community. “Temple Emanu-El of Greater Atlanta is an amazing place with a history of dedication and engagement. The commitment of our congregants to Jewish life, and personal spiritual development has been inspirational. My hope is to help every congregant at Emanu-El connect to their Judaism in a deeply meaningful way.”
Rabbi Anderson takes great joy in being a teacher and is thrilled to have students ranging from age 1 to 101 years old. His classroom ranges from congregants’ living rooms to his office at Temple Emanu-El, to coffee at the playground. He has taught classes on such diverse topics as “The Hunger Games: what Judaism might have to say about it”, “Your Personal Theology and Spiritual Journey”, “Sex, the Spiritual Lives of Children, and the Blessings of Being a Grandparent”, and “Finding God.”
Rabbi Anderson believes deeply in the importance of connections, caring, and social action. He pioneered several initiatives which he is looking forward to bringing from Stephen S. Wise Temple to Temple Emanu-El, including “Daditude”, a group for young fathers and their pre-school children to spend quality time on Sunday mornings together at the temple playground and “Wise Hearts,” a caring community initiative designed to put the talents and expertise of the congregation to work helping other congregants in need.
In addition to his rabbinic and pulpit responsibilities, Rabbi Anderson is dedicated to the state of Israel. He works tirelessly to connect congregants with Israel through political action, personal connection, cultural exchange, and study.
Rabbi Anderson shares his journey with his wife, Marita, and is the proud father of Maccabee, Moses, and Hallelujah.
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Rabbi Scott E. Colbert, D. Min
Rabbi Scott E. Colbert is a native of Los Angeles, California. He has served Temple Emanu-El in many capacities since 1987. He holds degrees from UCLA, NYU, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Rabbinical Academy of America. In 1992, he was awarded the prestigious title of Reform Jewish Educator by the Reform Movement.
In 2001, he graduated again from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion earning a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Counseling. Earlier that year, the College-Institute honored him with an honorary doctorate for his outstanding service to the Jewish people.
Rabbi Colbert has served congregations in San Antonio and Seattle and was the Head of School at the Valley Jewish Day School in Phoenix, Arizona prior to coming to Atlanta. He served as Executive Vice President of the American Conference of Cantors and was an Ex Officio member of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the Union for Reform Judaism. He currently holds one of six national seats on the commission that grants the title of Reform Jewish Educator. He is a member of the Executive Committee and Board of the Atlanta Region of the American Jewish Committee and is co-chair of the Interreligious Affairs Committee.
In addition to serving as Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, Rabbi Colbert is Adjunct Professor of Jewish Religious Thought at the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University. He is a published author and continues to write for various professional journals.
When time permits, he loves to travel the world with his wife, Karen.
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Cantor Lauren Furman Adesnik
Cantor Adesnik was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles. She studied for the cantorate at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music and was ordained this past May.
Cantor Adesnik has been singing classical and Jewish music for most of her life, and received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Arts Performance from The University of Southern California. Since then, she has performed starring roles with Repertory Opera Company of Los Angeles, and Contemporary Opera Company of Los Angeles.
In her third year of cantorial school, Lauren created a co-commission for a new Kol Nidre written by acclaimed Jewish music composer, Michael Isaacson. Rabbis and Cantors from across the country, as well as members from the HUC cantorial classes of 2010-2013 participated in this exciting venture.
As student cantor, she taught over 300 B’nai Mitzvah students at her home synagogue, Temple Judea of Tarzana, Ca. Additionally, Cantor Adesnik has worked with synagogues of the Greater Los Angeles area, teaching B’nai Mitzvah, adult education, and leading congregations in prayer. Cantor Adesnik has been honored to serve student pulpits in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.
Cantor recently married Moshe Adesnik and has settled in Dunwoody. They are excited and thrilled to begin their new lives together as a part of the family community of Temple Emanu-El of Greater Atlanta.
Cantor’s website: www.laurenfurman.com
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Rabbi Emeritus Stanley M. Davids, D.D.
Born in Cleveland in 1939, Rabbi Davids received his BA magna cum laude from Case Western Reserve University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Cincinnati) in 1965, and he was subsequently awarded his Doctor of Divinity from HUC-JIR in recognition of his work world-wide on behalf of Jewish communities, and for his commitment to working with teens.
Following service as a Chaplain in the U.S. Army, Rabbi Davids served congregations in Wisconsin, Massachusetts and New York before coming to Temple Emanu-El in Atlanta in 1992. Widely active on the Jewish scene, Rabbi Davids’ most significant commitments have been to the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Chairman, National Youth Committee; Chairman, Israel Committee; national Executive Committee; “Father” of the Reform Zionist Platform, adopted by the CCAR in 1997); Alpha Epsilon Pi, which he served as International President, and from which he recently received its highest award, “The Order of the Lion; Association of Reform Zionists of America/ARZA (president 2003-2008); State of Israel Bonds (Honorary Life President of International Rabbinic Cabinet; national co-chair of the 1995 Israel Bonds Campaign).
He has also been honored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews for his interfaith work, and he was awarded Life Membership in the North American Federation of Temple Youth, in recognition of his decades of work with NFTY. Resa and Rabbi Davids made Aliyah in 2004, immediately following his retiring as Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El and his election as our Rabbi Emeritus. Since 2014 they reside in Santa Monica.
Rabbi Davids has served on the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency, on the Senior Executive of the World Zionist Organization, and on the Board of Overseers of the Jerusalem campus of the Hebrew Union College. He has widely published essays and articles in scholarly journals, and lectures throughout the United States.
Resa serves on the National Board of the Women of Reform Judaism, where she holds the WRJ/Israel portfolio. Resa opened and developed 25 chapters of WRJ/Israel in Reform congregations throughout Israel. The Davids are blessed with three children and 8 grandchildren, and return to Atlanta annually to study with us.
Rabbi Davids may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.