Welcome to Cantor Laura Stein!
The Board of Trustees is thrilled to announce the appointment of Cantor Laura Stein. Laura Stein is a 5th year cantorial student at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (DFSSM/HUC-JIR) and will be ordained in a few short months, in May of 2018.
Laura grew up in Scarsdale, New York and attended Westchester Reform Temple where her family still belongs. Laura studied Spanish Literature at Washington University in St. Louis and has lived in Chile, Peru, Iceland, Tanzania and Israel!
She is passionate about pastoral care and the role of music in healing and prayer. In addition to her cantorial work, Laura will also be receiving an MSW from New York University in May of 2018. She is eager to find a way to combine her musical interests with her passion for counseling and social justice.
Cantor Stein officially begins July 1st but will be conducting special Friday evening services monthly until that time as well as working with our children on Sundays in the religious school.
Ed Schauder, FSF President said: “We are thrilled that Cantor Laura Stein has agreed to come to FSF! She has demonstrated a unique ability to get children, millennials and baby boomers to participate in our musical services and has added a deep spirituality to our historic sanctuary. We look forward to growing with Cantor Stein as we begin our next century!”
Alan J. Brava
I joined the Free Synagogue of Flushing’s professional staff in May of 2014. I have served Jewish communities in the Boston and New York area for the past 40 years as an Educator, Youth Director, Camp Director, Hazzan, Educational Director, and University Administrator and once again now as the Free Synagogue’s Executive Director. I received my Ordination as a Hazzan from the Hebrew Union College-School of Sacred Music-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City in 1982.
As Executive Director I bear direct responsibility for all operational aspects of our synagogue, other than the worship, adult education and pastoral aspects overseen by our clergy and educators. Even as to these areas, however, the Executive Director must serve as a collaborative resource to assure a consistent and intense focus on the needs of our members.
At a tactical level, the Executive Director hires and supervises all administrative staff, administers all financial activities of the Congregation, coordinates all programming except those programs overseen by other members of the Senior Staff, reviews and approves all member-directed communications and non-member marketing, plays an integral role in fundraising and development, and oversees all aspects of our physical facilities (including maintenance, repair and new construction) and technology.
It is at the strategic level, however, that the Executive Director must truly excel. Membership recruitment and retention are the lifeblood of our congregation, and the Executive Director is often the first public face, in collaboration with the rabbi, to potential members, financially distressed or disgruntled members, and the external community. The Executive Director attends the monthly meetings of our Board and is expected to be an active participant in their policy discussions and strategic planning; the same is true with respect to the weekly Staff meetings and the weekly meeting with the Rabbi and the Board President.
With the cooperation and teamwork of the other staff and the Executive Committee and Board, many of these duties and responsibilities can and should be shared.
The goal is to create members who feel like “stock holders” of FSF. My successes are yours and similarly, your successes are mine. Together we share in all that transpires at our synagogue.
Personally, for me it is an honor to serve this congregation. To be part of a long rich history that has reached over 100 years of serving the Jewish community is both exciting and awe-inspiring.
I have an open door policy. My office is a place to come visit, have a meeting, share a discussion and a cup of coffee and get to know each other and each other’s needs and desires.
The future is bright. I believe in miracles. Each and every day that we awake and get out of bed we thank God for our lives and for that basic fact that our bodies function to allow us to do His work.
I invite ALL of you to join with me, our clergy, and the lay leadership to rebuild our synagogue financially, spiritually and most importantly, the rebuilding of relationships so that we all can go from strength to strength.
Alan J. Brava Executive Director, Free Synagogue of Flushing
Board of Trustees
Dr. Robert Tankel
Director of Community Affairs
Souksavat “Souks” Soukhaseum, originally from Laos, began his service to the Free Synagogue of Flushing in 2014. Coming from a background in finance and hospitality, Souks serves as our historian, archivist and as the Director of Community Affairs keeping our synagogue relevant within our community and beyond.
As we celebrate 100 years of serving the Jewish community of Queens, Souks is archiving our rich and storied history for future generations to learn of the contributions and significance of this landmark institution.
Always welcoming to members and guests, Souks will take you on a historical journey through our beautiful stained glass sanctuary and bring our 100 years to life.
Jenifer and her family joined the Free Synagogue of Flushing in 2012, and have been active members ever since. She has been the office manager since 2015. In addition to being an office manager, Jenifer is a children’s book author and illustrator, and spent many years s a PTA secretary and a social media consultant. She has a B.A. in History, and loves being part of the living history of our century-old synagogue. Jenifer has been the Team FSF captain for our team in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Middle Village since 2015, and is the current president of our active Sisterhood.