Rabbi Joshua Breindel (he/him)
Rabbi Josh Breindel joined Beth El on July 1, 2018. Previously, he served nine years as rabbi of Temple Anshe Amunim (TAA) in Pittsfield, Mass. He earned a B.A. in philosophy with a minor in classics and a concentration in legal studies from Brandeis University. Settling in the Boston area, he served as education consultant at Kerem Shalom in Concord, core instructor for 11th-grade students at Prozdor of Hebrew College in Newton, and assistant director of education at Temple Shir Tikvah in Winchester. After completing master’s degrees in Jewish studies and Jewish education, he was ordained at Hebrew College in 2009.
Rabbi Breindel has particular interests in Jewish storytelling, theater and folklore and is passionate about Jewish science fiction and fantasy. He and his wife, Stephanie, spend their free time playing Legos with their two children, Elijah and Eliana. He’s delighted to return to the Boston area and is excited to partner with the congregation’s staff to bring blessing to the Beth El community. You can follow him on Facebook at RabbiJoshB.
Cantor Vera Broekhuysen (she/her)
Cantor Vera Broekhuysen joined Beth El on July 1, 2023. She served Temple Emanu-El of Haverhill as spiritual leader from 2018-2023 (and as cantor from 2016-2023). In 2016, she was ordained, and earned her master’s degree in Jewish education at Hebrew College in Newton. A native of Cambridge, she graduated from Commonwealth High School of Boston in 2002 and earned her bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Toronto in 2007.
Cantor Broekhuysen pursues social justice and interfaith work as cornerstones of her Jewish life. She uses guitar and drum in services, song sessions, educational settings, and out on the street in protests. She is also passionate about exploring and leveraging the beauty and vocal connectivity of early music and folksong. Cantor Broekhuysen lives in North Andover with her husband Mike and their two sons. In her free time, she loves to hike, knit, bake, and read.
Director of Youth and Family Education
Scott joined the Beth El team in July 2015. He discovered his Jewish professional path after graduating from SUNY–Albany with a B.A. in communication with dual minors in business and Hebrew language.
Scott feels learning is best supported through a “Jewish journey” model of education where the world is our classroom and learning extends beyond the reach of the temple walls. It is this unique model that he brings to our “BE InSpirEd!” education program at Beth El. He uses song-leading to engage families on Sunday mornings as he leads a morning service before the start of classes. He is an avid technophile and he incorporates gadgets and techie toys as a way to support in-class learning.
Scott hopes to instill in others what Judaism has in him: a sense of guidance, joy, community, and a strong framework for life. He lives in Natick with his wife Andrea and children Gabriel, and Eliyana, both of whom are enrolled in the “BE InSpirEd!” program at Beth El.
Director of Teen Education and Engagement
Shoni has taught middle school and high school classes at Beth El and is the advisor for WASTY (We Are Sudbury Temple Youth). He also coordinates the HiBur program, which features a weeklong visit by Beth El 10th-graders to host families in Haifa, Israel and a visit here by the Israeli teens.
A native of Tel Aviv, Shoni has been with Beth El since 2017. He holds a B.A. in Jewish philosophy and Jewish history and a B.Ed. in Jewish philosophy, all from Tel Aviv University’s Ofakim program. “I truly believe in the creative aspect of Jewish learning, in the sense of creating and owning something with what you learn and not just keeping it on the paper. I try to engage my students in different forms for interacting and creating with our Jewish materials,” he says. Shoni’s hobbies include travel, nature, films and cooking.