Cantor Laura Stein
Cantor Stein grew up in Scarsdale, New York and found her passion for Reform Jewish Music at Westchester Reform Temple where her family still belongs. She then studied Spanish Literature at Washington University in St. Louis and has lived in Chile, Peru, Iceland, Tanzania and Israel!
Cantor Stein is passionate about pastoral care and the role of music in healing and prayer. In addition to her cantorial work, she also holds an MSW from New York University and currently services as a social worker at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Cantor Stein is eager to find a way to combine her musical interests with her passion for counseling and social justice, and wants to work within the Queens community to strengthen Jewish identity and relationship. Cantor Stein is particularly experienced in LGBTQ+ identity issues, especially as they pertain to religious inclusion.
Cantor Stein could not be more thrilled to join the Free Synagogue family and to join the community in song, prayer, and a continued Jewish journey!
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
Ilysa and her family have been part of FSF since 2013. She is a licensed clinical social worker and has spent her career working with adults who have intellectual and psychiatric disabilities. She lives in Forest Hills with her husband Boris, their children Jacob and Nina, and their cat Yankee. They are sports fans, particularly of baseball and basketball. Ilysa also loves to cook and bake.
Brian Drutman is a consultant for cast recordings and Broadway related projects at Decca Records / Verve Label Group. He supervised such cast recordings as Wicked (Grammy and Tony Award winner), Spring Awakening (Grammy and Tony Award winner), Monty Python’s Spamalot (Grammy and Tony Award winner), MAMMA MIA!, An American In Paris and Motown. In his spare time, Brian is a professional pianist.