Rabbi: Neil Amswych
Rabbi Neil Amswych came to Santa Fe following nearly ten years as the principal rabbi of Bournemouth Reform Synagogue in England. He studied Astrophysics at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland before beginning his rabbinic education at Leo Baeck College. While spending his third year at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, he met his wife, Jenny, who was also a student there. They married in 2004 and have two beautiful children: a daughter, Zafra, and a son, Asher. They also have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Parker and a scruffy stray called Pym making them a global family: an American Mum, a British Dad, dual-citizen children, and a Welsh dog and an American dog! Rabbi Neil’s rabbinic thesis was an exploration of bipolar gender boundaries and transsexual surgery in a Jewish context, a topic he has spoken on at the Temple and elsewhere. In 2007, he founded IDEA: Interfaith Dorset Education and Action, which became the South of England’s largest interfaith environmental network and for which he was nominated for a National Leadership Award.

He joined Temple Beth Shalom in the summer of 2014 and within a year became the President of the Interfaith Leadership Alliance of Santa Fe. He was instrumental in organizing the 1500-person Rally Against Racism in the Plaza in the summer of 2017. Under his leadership, the ILA has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Interfaith Community Shelter of Santa Fe. It has also raised tens of thousands of dollars for Somos Un Pueblo Unido and Santa Fe Dreamers in order to help protect undocumented immigrants in Santa Fe. Under his leadership, some communities in the ILA, including Temple Beth Shalom, housed homeless young adults during the winters of 2017 and 2018 to protect them from the cold and other dangers.

A keen environmentalist and also advocate for social justice, Rabbi Neil has spoken many times publicly against bills in the legislature that would have allowed for religious discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, plans by the local energy company to remain with coal and not invest in solar power, and also against the local Public Education Department’s plans to remove or minimize references to the age of the earth, to evolution and to anthropogenic climate change in the science curriculum. He regularly speaks on interfaith panels in various venues.

Rabbi Neil hosts a radio show called “Soul Searching” on the local radio station KSFR, in which he interviews local clergy and academics on the deeper questions of meaning. He believes that for Judaism to survive in the 21st century, it needs to develop an exciting new theology and praxis, and his work at Temple Beth Shalom is bringing that to the fore in engaging ways. A keen board game player, and avid fan of Star Wars, Rabbi Neil is also working on his first book regarding a very new approach to environmental theology.

If you would like to set up a meeting with Rabbi Neil, please call our office on 505-982-1376 or email info@sftbs.org

Cantorial Soloist: Meredith Brown
A cantor, ironically named Mr. Singer, at a Hebrew Day School in Rockaway, New York, noticed that a little girl in his school could really sing. Fortunately for us, that little girl was Meredith Brown. Temple Beth Shalom is blessed to have Meredith and her beautiful and soulful voice and, while this is a big part of what Meredith shares with Temple Beth Shalom, it is by no means the only thing.

Meredith and her husband, Mick, met in Israel. In 1977, they briefly came to Santa Fe and connected with TBS. Although they spent the next 6 years between Gallup and Las Cruces, TBS was always their home for the High Holy Days. When they finally settled here for good, in 1984, Meredith became a B’nai Mitzvah tutor and she hasn’t stopped helping since. She joined the TBS choir and made herself available for Friday night services when needed. When her daughters, Michaela and Maia, got to be school-aged, Meredith became a Hebrew School teacher. In 1999, Meredith became our Cantorial Soloist. She is one of our greatest treasures.

Music Director: Aaron Wolf
Aaron was born in Los Angeles on February 24, 1949 to Izzy Wolf, who could daven but was completely tone deaf, and Delly Wolf, who had perfect pitch but didn’t know a word of Hebrew. A self-proclaimed Hebrew School genius, Aaron’s greatest early accomplishments were his ability to recite the v’ahavta backwards by heart, and play Hava Nagilah on the piano cross-handed. As punishment, his Hebrew School principal made him substitute teach the eight year olds for the first time when he was ten, launching a career that involved wearing many ill-fitting suits. Aaron began tutoring Bar/Bat Mitzvah and teaching Hebrew School at age 15, when he graduated from LA Hebrew High School. He continued to do so while attending the University of Judaism in Los Angeles. Aaron graduated from USC in 1970 and USC Law School in 1975.

Aaron moved to Santa Fe in 1978, joined Temple Beth Shalom and started teaching Hebrew School and tutoring Bar/Bat Mitzvah students in 1979. He and Carolyn were married in 1980. Twins Bekah and Sarah were born in 1981. Sarah is a Rabbi, Bekah is a Palestinian activist. The girls attended TBS Preschool and Religious School and were B’not Mitzvah in 1994, an event noted in his home as the greatest moment in the history of the Jewish people. Aaron served on the TBS board for eight years, the last two as president. He and choir sidekick Meredith Brown volunteered to temporarily serve TBS as accompanist and cantorial soloist when Mark Malachi left in late 1999. Due to an apparent oversight, Aaron has been allowed to continue to play piano and guitar for services, sing in the choir, teach music in Sunday School and lead Shabbat morning services and the Monday Morning Minyan. Occasionally his duties as a lawyer in private practice and doting in-house grandfather interfere. He likes the temple.

Rabbi Emeritus: Marvin Schwab
Known affectionately to the Temple Beth Shalom Youth Group as "Rabbi Gadget," Marvin Schwab has been called the only rabbi who can save your soul and your hard drive on the same day. He may also be the only rabbi who has been certified by General Motors in tune-ups, carburetors and alternators. His undergraduate degree was in Zoology with the equivalent of a minor in Chemistry. He was also certified as a Medical Technologist by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and the State of California. Despite this unlikely background, he was ordained as a rabbi by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati after attending campuses located in Jerusalem (where he lived for one year), Los Angeles, and Cincinnati, Ohio. He holds a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters and in June of 2010 was granted an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by HUC-JIR in Los Angeles in recognition of his 25 years of service.

Rabbi Schwab came to Temple Beth Shalom on August 1, 2001, a date which is all too easy to remember because the special service organized to greet him was planned for September 11, 2001. He is a founder of the Interfaith Leadership Alliance (ILA) of Santa Fe, and has served as its President and Treasurer. He is well-known in Santa Fe as an active advocate for social justice, has served on the board of the Santa Fe Food Depot and has spoken to the New Mexico legislature in support of living wage legislation, repeal of the death penalty, the rights of domestic partners, and a woman’s right to choose.

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Services & Study This Week

Friday, June 22
6:30 pm Erev Shabbat Services
Dorothea Farewell

Saturday, June 23
9:00 am Bagels, Coffee and Torah Study
10:30 am Shabbat Morning Service
Julian & Emma Rhode B'nai Mitzvah