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Temple Adath Yeshurun

OUR RABBI: Charles S. Sherman

For more than twenty-eight years, Rabbi Charles S. Sherman has served as the spiritual leader of the largest Conservative synagogue in central New York, Temple Adath Yeshurun.

A graduate of Yeshiva College and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Rabbi Sherman served congregations in Baltimore, Maryland and Charleston, South Carolina before coming to Syracuse in 1976. In November 1998, he was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City.

An author, scholar and innovator, Rabbi Sherman’s articles have appeared in the New Yorker magazine; Best Jewish Sermons by Sol Teplitz; The New York Times; The American Rabbi; Conservative Judaism; and the Baltimore Jewish Times. He is presently working on a book based on his own family experiences titled The Best is Yet to Be...A Celebration of the Human Spirit.

Rabbi Sherman was the first chairperson of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Children’s Medical Center of Israel in Petah Tikva, Israel, the only facility in the Middle East, Asia and Africa dedicated solely to pediatric diagnosis and care. Just recently, he was appointed to the Accessibility Committee of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Rabbi Sherman is cited in Danny Siegel’s book, Good People: How to Solve All the World’s Problems by Making Just One Phone Call, for his vision and accomplishments at making the synagogue’s building, sanctuary and chapel fully accessible. The design and implementation of Temple Adath’s ramped bimah has served as a model for other synagogues across the country.

Rabbi Sherman is also a member of a number of national Jewish organizations, including the National Rabbinic Cabinet of Israel Bonds, the U.J.A. National Rabbinic Cabinet and the National Rabbinic Advisory Council of the Jewish National Fund. He is actively involved in the central New York community, having served on the Boards of Directors of every Jewish organization in the area. He is a member of the Board of the Samaritan Center, an interfaith program to feed and assist the hungry. Rabbi Sherman is a past President of the Syracuse Rabbinical Council, and for many years served as the Jewish Chaplain at Crouse Hospital, the area’s largest healthcare facility.

Rabbi Sherman’s leadership vision at Temple Adath has led the synagogue to receive many prestigious Solomon Schechter Awards from the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism, among them, Bulletins and Publications, Singles Programming, Holocaust Programming Development/Fundraising for the concept and communications work on the annual “Citizen of the Year Dinner.” While at Temple Adath, Rabbi Sherman established the Temple Singles group and created Temple Seniors, one of the largest seniors groups in Syracuse. He founded the Temple Adath Rothschild Early Childhood Center (now the largest child care facility in central New York) and its summer Camp Program.

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Rabbi Sherman is married to the former Leah Hurowitz and is the father of five children: Nogah, Orah, Eyal, Erez and Nitza. Nogah Sherman is a graduate of Brandeis University, the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, and a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America as a Rabbi in May 2002. Rabbi Nogah Sherman is the Assistant Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, Palm Beach, Florida. Orah is a graduate of Brandeis University and the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, the Davidson School of Education, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and is currently the Director of Student Life, Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Eyal is a junior at Syracuse University, a physically fragile youngster and vent dependent, he has been featured both locally and nationally as a strong advocate for those with disabilities. Erez is a graduate of Columbia University and a student at the rabbinical school of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Nitza is a freshman at Rutgers College of Rutgers University.

Rabbi Sherman’s philosophy of Synagogue life is one of inclusiveness, tradition and creativity. “Traditionally, a Synagogue is a Beit Knesset, a house of gathering; a Beit Midrash, a house of study; and a Beit T’filah, a house of prayer. I see the contemporary synagogue as a synergism of all three: in order to play a meaningful role in the lives of its members, regardless of age, resources or abilities, the synagogue community must welcome, embrace and affirm each and every congregant. Realizing that the synagogue membership is comprised of diverse people with differing needs and expectations, my roles as Rabbi is to inspire my congregants to aspire—that is, to motivate each person--through prayer, ritual, and social, cultural and educational endeavors—to strive to lead their lives as Jewishly as possible. Through conscientious pastoral care during life transitions of joy and sorrow; I try to help each congregant to affirm his or her own life within our tradition.”


Esa has been an important and innovative leader at Temple Adath for eight years, serving as Director of Education at the Religious School. Esa, the daughter of Dr. Allan and Rita Kanter, grew up at Temple Adath and had her Bat Mitzvah and wedding here. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Brandeis University, a Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from Syracuse University, and an additional Master’s Degree in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis.

Along with Rabbi Charles Sherman and Rabbi Meyer Grover, Assistant to the Rabbi, Esa will help lead services, as well as direct music throughout the services. “Music is what makes the services more accessible to people, especially people who don’t read Hebrew.” She also sees music as a way to reach out to those who may be disconnected from Jewish life, and at the same time draw in young people. “Giving the young people a sense of the history and tradition of the music of the synagogue and prayers is also part of the sacred mission,” she says. She plans to begin a youth choir and an adult choir.

Growing up, Esa was active in USY and traveled to Israel as a teenager. She returned there for a summer while enrolled in the prominent Hornstein Program at Brandeis. She studied in depth about Israel and Israel’s history with the goal of bringing that knowledge back to other young people as an educator.

Esa is married to TAY President Chaim Jaffe and the couple have four children, Ari, Shai, Ilana and Jonah. Esa sings occasionally with Syracuse Opera and will continue to teach music at the TAY Religious School.

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