Rabbi Joel N. Abraham
"My job as Rabbi is to both lead and encourage, to be there for individual congregants and families when I am needed, and to help congregants reach out to each other as well. I, and my family, are excited to be here at Temple Sholom -- a community that is reaching out to define itself and to continually wrestle with what it means to be the best congregation it can be."
Rabbi Abraham grew up in Somerville where his father was the Rabbi of Temple Beth El and where he was active in JFTY. He co-founded a Reform Jewish student organization in college and has worked for our region's youth movement and Mitzvah Corps. He holds a BA in History from Yale College, an MA in Modern European History from Columbia, and an MAHL from Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. He was ordained at HUC-JIR in New York and studied at the Jerusalem, LA, and NY campuses.
Before becoming Rabbi at Temple Sholom in 1999, he served pulpits in California, Nevada, Virginia, and West Virginia. Locally, Rabbi Abraham is past president of the Scotch Plains/Fanwood Ministerium; is active with HomeFirst, the Interfaith Coalition for the Homeless of Union County; a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis; and the Past President of the New Jersey-West Hudson Valley Association of Reform Rabbis. He also serves on the URJ Kutz Camp Committee and the CCAR Youth Committee. Along with his wife, Michelle Shapiro Abraham, he is co-author of Mishkan T'filah Journal, an interactive version of the Reform movement's new prayerbook.
The Rabbi, his wife, his daughter Avital Devorah, and his son Ezri Barak, live in Fanwood.
Cantor Darcie N. Sharlein
"As a Cantor, I am always striving to build connections. Whether it is through music at services, while teaching our students in preparation for becoming b’nei mitzvah, or simply during conversations with congregants, I hope to help the members of our Temple Sholom community connect more deeply with God and their Jewish heritage, with others in the congregation, and with themselves. I believe that Judaism can bring much depth, beauty, and meaning to our lives. It is a joy and a privilege to walk with our congregants on their Jewish journeys, to help forge connection, beauty, and meaning."
A New Jersey native, Cantor Sharlein traces her love for Jewish music and worship to experiences as a child and young adult at Temple Shalom (Aberdeen, NJ), NFTY, and URJ Kutz Camp. She holds a BA in Music from Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT), where she was a founding member and Music Director of the campus Jewish music a cappella group, the MazelTones. She received cantorial ordination and earned a Master of Sacred Music degree from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s School of Sacred Music.
While studying at HUC-JIR, Cantor Sharlein served as a Student Cantor here at Temple Sholom and at Congregation B’nai Yisrael in Armonk, NY. From 2008-2012, she served as the Cantor of Temple Emanu-El in Oak Park, MI, where she was involved in the full range of clergy responsibilities including worship, education, life cycle and pastoral care, and synagogue leadership. She is Co-Vice President of Refugee Assistance Partners and a member of the American Conference of Cantors.
Cantor Sharlein lives in Fanwood with her spouse, Jeffrey, and their children, Ruth and Micah.