Rabbi Ari Isenberg

Rabbi Ari Isenberg is thrilled to be joining the leadership team at Congregation B’nai Israel in summer 2020. He is dedicated to pastoral work, strengthening community, and creating meaningful, sacred moments in the lives of congregants. 

Most recently, Rabbi Isenberg served Temple Israel Center in Westchester, NY.  While at TIC, Rabbi Isenberg collaborated in the development of the Hesed Circle, which supports congregants in their time of need. With the purpose of bringing different constituencies together, Rabbi Isenberg created a variety of Jewish learning opportunities that focused on strengthening community, such as “Dor l’Dor,” an intergenerational program in which older members interacted with preschoolers. Moving outside of the synagogue’s four walls, Rabbi Isenberg was known for leading “Torah on Tap,” a popular, informal evening of learning at a local bar. In addition, he championed innovative models of worship to expand the options for celebrating B’nai Mitzvah, including customization that met the diverse needs of today’s youth.

Passionate about supporting Israel, Rabbi Isenberg is dedicated to inspiring the community to learn about and advocate for Israel, including engaging with AIPAC, FIDF, JNF, AJC, and other worthy organizations.

From 2005-2015, Rabbi Isenberg served Shaar Shalom Congregation, in Halifax, Canada, first as its cantor, then spiritual leader, and ultimately as its senior rabbi.

Rabbi Isenberg is originally from Montreal, Canada. Together with his wife, Gila, an Essex County native, Rabbi Isenberg loves to travel, cook, root for the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, and eat babka. They look forward to hosting CBI members and friends for Shabbat dinners in their home.

Cantor Lorna Wallach

CBI Head Shots-1Lorna Wallach, a native of Brooklyn, New York and a graduate of the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, received her Diploma of Hazzan in 1991, from the Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary, in the fifth class to allow women to be invested as Hazzanim.  She became the Cantor of Congregation B’nai Israel in Millburn, New Jersey in 1998, after having served for nine years as the Cantor of Tifereth Israel Town and Village Synagogue in Manhattan.  She received recognition in Glamour Magazine (July, 1992) as the first woman to serve as the Cantor of a Conservative synagogue in New York City.  Cantor Wallach’s early experiences singing professionally in the Children’s Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera for eleven seasons and spending fifteen summers at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, including heading the music program there for five years, greatly influenced her decision to enter the Cantorate.

Cantor Wallach has performed locally, nationally and in Israel as a soloist with the New York Zamir Chorale and the SELAH vocal ensemble.

She and her husband Michael Kalet are the proud parents of Shira and Joshua.

Rabbi Steven Bayar, Rabbi Emeritus

CBI Head Shots-2Rabbi Bayar served as Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel for 30 years, from 1989 until his retirement in 2019. Steven Bayar received his BA in religious studies and an MA in Biblical Studies and Medieval Jewish Philosophy from the University of Virginia.  As Co-Captain of the Fencing team he distinguished himself by being the second worst Saber fencer in the Atlantic Coast Conference.   He was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and served in congregations in Greenbelt, Maryland and Chestnut Ridge, New York before coming to CBI in 1989.

He is the author (with Francine Hirschman) of Teens & Trust:  Building Bridges in Jewish Education (Torah Aura), Rachel & Mischa (Kar-Ben Copies, with Ilene Strauss), And You Shall Teach Them Diligently to Your Children:  Transmitting Jewish Values from Generation to Generation (Town House Press, with Naomi Eisenberger).  He authored the Ziv/Giraffe Values Curriculum (Righteous Persons Foundation) and as Co founder of Ikkar Publishing has written over 50 curricula in use in over 800 schools and educational institutions throughout the world.