Religions and Spirituality

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New Era of Spiritual Leadership at Cranford, NJ Synagogue


Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim (TBEMC), an egalitarian synagogue located in Cranford, New Jersey just introduced a new progressive model of rabbinic leadership at its 100-year-old Jewish community.

The organization is welcoming Rabbi Neil Tow and Rabbi Rachel Schwartz as its spiritual leaders. This husband and wife rabbinic duo will work together to lead the congregation from the pulpit in daily and weekly services and innovative programming and education for children and adults. They look forward to offering creative programs for all children, including the special needs population, and inspiring them to love Judaism. The shared pulpit model allows them to provide additional exciting opportunities for the congregation and community. Some of the programs already in the works include a new high school/ teen program, innovative adult education programs, pre-holiday learning events, studying Torah through art, a Shabbat Passover dinner and a Shavuot cheesecake workshop. This framework of a husband and wife who are both ordained rabbis serving one congregation as co-rabbis has been successful in other communities and is energizing and exciting for all involved.

Rabbis Neil and Rachel join the organization’s cantor and education director, Cantor Frank Lanzkron-

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Tamarazo. This collective, dynamic clergy team plans to bring the best of Conservative Judaism to TBEMC. They all believe in implementing cutting-edge programs and education that use both new and traditional educational methods.

In offering early wisdom through Jewish teachings, Rabbi Neil says that, “according to the prophet Isaiah, “One helps the other and they make each other strong.” (41:6) We truly believe that our working together will not only strengthen each other but also the TBEMC community. Combined, we have greater energy, a multi-faceted perspective, and a wider reach to guide the community.”

Rabbis Neil and Rachel, in looking at TBEMC, say that “we are both deeply committed to this congregational family. We will pray here; our children will pray and learn here. This is our home and we hope it will be your home too. If you are not connected with the TBEMC family, we would love to invite you for a Shabbat meal and introduce you to this really special community.”

Rabbi Neil looks forward to working with Cantor Frank to create a fresh, relevant and exciting program for our post-B’nai Mitzvah teens, including education, community service, synagogue involvement, and addressing their own personal interests.  Rabbi Rachel noted that she cares very deeply about making sure every member of the congregation has spiritual support on their journey. 

TBEMC participates in the MetroPass Program which is a collaboration between the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and area synagogues. Together we’re giving complimentary High Holiday tickets to anyone new to town or new to synagogue. TBEMC also offers a free family service on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. To find out more about TBEMC and its programs, or to obtain a membership packet or a religious school registration packet, call or email the temple office at 908-276-9231 or


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