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Our Clergy

Rabbi Steven Sirbu

Rabbi Steven Sirbu, ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998, became the spiritual leader of Temple Emeth in 2003. Rabbi Sirbu infuses his love of Jewish knowledge to everything he does, whether he is telling stories to the children in our religious school, discussing the Torah portion with the seventh-grade students in his weekly seminar, or sharing his insights with adult learners in the Shabbat morning Torah study class.

An avid supporter of Israel, Rabbi Sirbu has led three congregational trips there, during which participants felt the sense of history that comes with exploring the land and learned about the important
work of the Reform movement in that country. He is a member of Ruach Hiddush, Rabbis and Cantors for Religious Freedom and Equality 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, which he brought here to Temple Emeth. In August 2015, he participated in the NAACP's American Journey for Justice, marching for a day in South Carolina.

He is a past chair of the the Intergroup Relations Committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. He served as president for two years of the North Jersey Board of Rabbis and currently serves as co-chair of its annual community night of learning, Sweet Tastes of Torah.

Rabbi Sirbu is a member of the Teaneck Clergy Council. In 2017, he received the Matthew Feldman Community Relations Award, presented by the Township of Teaneck. He was cited for initiating an on-going Muslim-Jewish dialogue between the members of Temple Emeth and members of the local Islamic community.

Rabbi Sirbu welcomes the chance to become your teacher and your spiritual guide through the Jewish faith. He hopes to become better acquainted with you as your relationship with the temple grows.


Cantor Ellen Tilem

With her beautiful voice, Cantor Ellen Tilem brings us new melodies while emphasizing the importance of our Jewish musical heritage and traditional nusach. Temple Emeth welcomed Cantor Tilem in 1994, upon her Ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion-School of Sacred Music. In 2019, she received her Doctor of Music, honoris causa, also from the Hebrew Union College.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she received her Bachelor's degree in Voice, with a Minor in Jewish studies from the University of Hartford, Hartt School of Music and Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies. She completed Hospital Chaplaincy training at New York University Medical Center in Manhattan and Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn. She is a member of the American Conference of Cantors.

Cantor Tilem is involved in every facet of Temple life. She forms deep connections with Temple Emeth families as she officiates at weddings, funerals, and baby namings. She enjoys bonding with our young families, teaching in our Religious School, and working with our Bar and Bat Mitzvah students. She takes great pride in leading our Junior Choir, Etz Chayim and singing with our Adult Choir, Kol Emet!

Jewish education is important to Cantor Tilem; all of her classes, both in Religious School and in the Adult Education program, emphasize her belief of the presence of God in our lives and the wholeness that knowledge can bring.

Cantor Tilem's warmth and understanding of the spiritual needs of our congregants is at the forefront of her Cantorate. She is an exceptional and experienced Pastoral Counselor. Her office is always open to those who are struggling with life's challenges, including grief, spiritual issues, difficulties between parents and children, divorce, and illness. She leads Healing Services throughout the year, facilitating more meaningful worship and inspiring greater strength and higher spirit during difficult times.

Cantor Tilem is passionate about inter-Jewish relations. She works to foster a deeper appreciation and understanding of the major movements of Judaism and their inter-connectedness.

Cantor Tilem looks forward to meeting you and welcoming you as part of our Temple Emeth family!


Sat, July 2 2022 3 Tammuz 5782