Temple Emeth - reform Jewish synagogue in Bergen County, Northern New Jersey (Teaneck)synagogue

Temple Emeth Clergy

Rabbi Steven Sirbu [message from the rabbi]

Rabbi Steven SirbuRabbi Steven Sirbu understands that for a synagogue to be a center of prayer and learning, it must also be a place of friendship and community. Rabbi Sirbu joined the Temple Emeth family in 2003, bringing his enthusiasm and sense of humor to every aspect of Temple and community life. Rabbi Sirbu brings his love of Jewish knowledge to every- thing he does, whether telling stories to the children in the Early Childhood Center, discussing the Torah portion with the seventh grade students in his weekly seminar, or sharing his insights with the adult learners in the Shabbat morning Torah study class. He cherishes the chance to know each Bar or Bat Mitzvah child by working with each student on his or her d’var Torah.

An avid supporter of Israel, Rabbi Sirbu has lead three congregational trips there, enabling participants to feel the sense of history that comes with exploring the land and to learn about the important work of the Reform Movement in Israel.

Social action is an integral part of Rabbi Sirbu’s rabbinate. His experience as a legislative assistant at the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC, gave him valuable background on the Reform Movement’s history of social action.

Rabbi Sirbu believes Temple Emeth should be at the forefront of community events and activities. He initiated a successful Muslim-Jewish Dialogue program with a local mosque, and was co-facilitator of a dialogue between Jews and Evangelical Christians. In 2010, he went with a local African American pastor to Birmingham, Alabama, for a four-day conference on race and poverty. He also sits on the board of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Northern New Jersey, serving as the chair of the Intergroup Relations Committee. He is the Vice President of the North Jersey Board of Rabbis and the First Vice-President of the New Jersey-West Hudson Valley Association of Reform Rabbis.

Rabbi Sirbu is especially proud of his efforts to increase the arts at Temple Emeth and to introduce new creative services such as the Healing Service, the Mediation Service, and the Shabbat Service of Sharing our Journeys.

Rabbi Sirbu welcomes the chance to become your teacher, and is confident that Temple Emeth is a place where you will make many friends.

Cantor Ellen Tilem

cantor ellen tilemCantor Ellen Tilem was born in Freehold, New Jersey and raised in Marlboro, New Jersey. She attended the University of Hartford, Hartt School of Music and Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, in West Hartford, Connecticut. In 1990 she received a Bachelor of Music, with a Major in Voice and a Minor in Judaic Studies. Cantor Tilem studied for the Cantorate at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion-School of Sacred Music, where she was Invested as Cantor and received a Master of Sacred Music in 1994.

During her Cantorial studies, Cantor Tilem served at Congregation Kol Haverim, Glastonbury, CT, Temple Sinai, Newington, CT, Congregation Beth El, Torrington, CT, Temple Sinai in Lawrence, New York, and Union Temple, Brooklyn, New York. Upon her Investiture in 1994, she assumed the pulpit at Temple Emeth.

Cantor Tilem is involved in many facets of Temple life. She performs life cycle rituals including baby namings, weddings and funerals. She visits congregants in the hospital and does counseling. She is proud of her forty-five voice junior choir, Etz Chayim, as well as her dedicated Temple Emeth Adult Choir "Kol Emeth". Each Thanksgiving Cantor Tilem directs the Teaneck Interfaith Youth Chorus, which she founded ten years ago.

Cantor Tilem completed Hospital Chaplaincy Training Programs at New York Hospital, New York City, and Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. She is a member of the American Conference of Cantors and the Teaneck Clergy Council.

Cantor Tilem resides in Teaneck with her husband, Peter and their beautiful daughters, Eve, Leila and Eliana.

Louis J. Sigel - Rabbi Emeritus (z"l)

rabbi sigel - Bergen County Jewish rabbiRabbi Louis J. Sigel was born in Derby, Connecticut. A graduate of Yale University, Rabbi Sigel was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. He also held a Doctor of Divinity from HUC-JIR.

Having served a pulpit in Malden, Massachusetts Rabbi Sigel assumed the pulpit of Temple Emeth in 1960 and served as rabbi of the congregation until his retirement in 1992.

A master teacher and preacher, Rabbi Sigel continued to play an active role in the life of our congregation until this year. He is survived by his wife, Mimi, who lives in Hackensack, his children Judy and David Fox and Debbie and Ken Rutz, and by his grandchildren Jacob and Matthew Fox; Robert and Jeffrey Rutz.

May Rabbi Sigel’s memory be a blessing.


Temple Emeth, a Reform Jewish congregation for Bergen County, New Jersey Search
The synagogue is at 1666 Windsor Road, Teaneck, NJ (near Bergenfield and New Milford) • (201) 833-1322 • Contact us