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Rabbis

 

Senior Rabbi David Gerber

rabbi@gatesofprayer.org

I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri which means, like many St. Louisans, I was born with a love of baseball. Upon graduating high school I attended Indiana University in Bloomington where I studied Media Design and Production. After college, I returned to St. Louis where I worked in the finance industry.
 
After five years as a stockbroker and retirement planner, I enrolled at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati to work towards becoming a rabbi. My time at HUC-JIR offered me the opportunity to serve multiple congregations of varying sizes including my student congregation in Kokomo, IN.
 
The most significant moment during my time in Cincinnati was during my third year of rabbinical school. On the first spring-like day of the year, my dog and I happened upon a beautiful woman reading alone in the park. Roughly six months later, my dog and I returned to the same park bench and asked this woman to be my wife (well...I asked...the dog wagged). Lauren and I were married in June of 2011.
 
In 2012, I was ordained as a rabbi and began to work in Maple Glen, PA as the assistant rabbi at Congregation Beth Or. A short time later, our family grew as our daughter, Paige, was born in November. In January of 2016, we were blessed once again with another daughter, Tessa Rose. As of now, the Gerber family consists of four humans, three cats, and one dog. We are a big, happy family.
 


 

Assistant Rabbi Alexis Erdheim

lexi@gatesofprayer.org
 
We are thrilled that Rabbi, Lexi Erdheim, will be joining Congregation Gates of Prayer as our Assistant Rabbi. Rabbi Erdheim has completed her studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles and was ordained this past May.
 
Rabbi Erdheim has been working with our Tribe program for the past year and a half and more recently has been interning with our Congregation and working within all aspects of Congregation Gates of Prayer including leading Shabbat Services, working with our Religious School students, leading Torah Study on Saturday mornings, and offering classes through our Take Out Judaism program.
 
In her Assistant Rabbi role, Rabbi Erdheim will help with the full range of worship, pastoral, and lifecycle responsibilities while focusing on her current work with our youth and young adult engagement and social action programming. Rabbi Erdheim will also be working the summers at URJ Henry S Jacobs Camp.
 
Over the past year and a half at our congregation, and throughout her studies, Rabbi Erdheim has proven herself to be an engaging teacher, an inspiring leader, and a strong and passionate spiritual guide. We are blessed to welcome her into the Gates of Prayer family.
 


 

Rabbi Emeritus Robert H. Loewy

rabbiL@gatesofprayer.org

Rabbi Robert H. Loewy is the Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Gates of Prayer in Metairie, LA. He assumed that position in July of 2018 after serving as our Rabbi since August of 1984. Prior to that, he was the Assistant and then Associate Rabbi of Congregation Emanu El in Houston, Texas for seven years.
 
Rabbi Loewy is a native of Hempstead, N.Y. He received his B.A. degree from Cornell University in 1972, M.H.L. degree from the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in 1975, and was ordained as a Rabbi from that institution in 1977.
 
In addition to developing an active synagogue program, Rabbi Loewy is a leader with the East Jefferson Interfaith Clergy Association, board member of the Jewish Community Day School, Henry S. Jacobs Camp, New Orleans Women’s Shelter, Jewish Family Service and the East Jefferson General Hospital Pastoral Counseling Program. He is a Chautauqua Society Lecturer at Loyola University.
 
In addition he has been President of the Southwest Association of Reform Rabbis, of the Greater New Orleans Rabbinic Council  and New Orleans Jewish Days School, Chairman of the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, Officer and Program Chair for the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Secretary of the Greater Houston Rabbinical Association, Board member of ARZA and Dillard University Center for Black/Jewish Relations, and Jewish Chautauqua Society Lecturer at University of New Orleans.
 
Rabbi Loewy is married to the former Lynn Rosenfeld and has five children, Karen, and her husband David Widzer, David, Sara and Mica and two magnificent grandchildren- Judah and Elisheva.
 

Executive Director

 

Wendy Simmons

wendy@gatesofprayer.org

I am both honored and thrilled to join the Gates of Prayer family as your new Executive Director. A little about me: I've enjoyed a 30-year-plus career as a marketing, communications, branding, and management consultant, helping companies of all sizes across nearly every industry identify and solve strategic business challenges. I've also built and run several companies, including the brand reinvention and worldwide expansion of one of the world's leading luxury eyewear companies. On a personal note, I wrote and had published a book on North Korea called "My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth" (think: Bridget Jones goes to North Korea), co-wrote a Japanese language book, and owned a bar on Manhattan's Lower East Side. I'm a photographer and adventurer/explorer who has traveled to 100+ countries (and counting) across all seven continents (including the South Pole), and I'm presently learning Hebrew (it's so hard!).

I'm very proud of being Jewish and have a long-standing desire to be more connected to my community (Jewish and at-large) and serve it. When I moved to New Orleans three years ago, I did so with the express intention of finding work that allowed me to do both. This job is truly a blessing, and frankly, I'm still astonished I stumbled upon the posting and can now call it mine. I want to make a difference in people's lives and help our community thrive. I very much look forward to meeting each of you in the weeks and months to come. Thank you for welcoming me. 

Temple Educator

 

Philip A. Gaethe, RJE

educator@gatesofprayer.org

Philip Gaethe has been the Educator at Gates of Prayer since 1996. Prior to that, he was a teacher in the Jefferson Parish Public System as  well as Gates of Prayer and Communal Hebrew Schools. Phil is a native of New Orleans, LA., where received his B.A. degree from the University of New Orleans and earned a Master of Science Degree in Judaic Education from Spertus College in Chicago.
 
In 2005 Phil was awarded the designation of R.J.E. (Reform Jewish Educator) by the Reform Jewish Educator Title Granting Commission and in the summer of 2016, the Rabbi Nathaniel Share Religious School of Congregation Gates of Prayer, overseen by Phil, was awarded Accreditation by the Association of Reform Jewish Educators.
 
In 2020 Phil received  Marion B. Steeg Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. This award highlights the value of Jewish education in its many varieties in the Greater new Orleans Community. 
 
In addition to Phil's duties as head of our Religious and Hebrew Schools, Phil tutors many of our B'nai Mitzvah students, created and helps maintain the Gates of Prayer Website, teaches Adult Hebrew and assists the CGoP clergy team by supervising the Livestream worship. 

Cantorial Soloist

 

Jordan Lawrence

jordan@gatesofprayer.org
 
Jordan Lawrence is originally from Bergen County, NJ, blessed with a very strong Jewish upbringing, having attended Jewish day school, which instilled in her a very important set of Jewish values. Since her time as a student at Tulane University, she has decided to make New Orleans a home. Jordan graduated in 2019 with a dual degree, with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre, a B.A. in Sociology and minored in Jewish Studies. At Tulane, she founded the NJBeats and acted as the President and Music Director during her time in the group. As a musical theatre performer, Jordan never really needed to accompany herself on any instruments. However, over the past year, she has taken up ukulele and hopes to add more instruments to her musical "utility belt." With a strong music theory background and a natural ability to hear harmonies, Jordan also has developed a love for arranging a cappella music.

Jordan’s biggest passions in life are music, Judaism and making others happy and laugh. She puts an emphasis on making an impact on every community of which she is a part. She has spent the past fourteen years a part of the Zionist youth movement Young Judaea. Over the past five years, she went from dance specialist to running the performing arts program at CYJ Sprout Lake. Her specialty was leading the entire camp after Havdalah in Rikkud (Israeli dance) and putting together and co-choreographing dance festivals that allowed children to leave their comfort zones. Over her time as a staff member, she organized and facilitated Shabbat song sessions, initiated Musical Theatre and Music Video electives and ran the campwide Maccabbiah. She hopes to use these experiences and proficiencies as she begins her role as Cantorial Soloist/Music Director and Director of Family Engagement (that's a mouthful!)

Jordan has such a strong love for working with children. Her youthful spirit helps her connect with children of all ages and provide a contagious energy that promotes others to want to get involved and to want to be themselves. She prides herself on her ability to adapt her teaching and leading styles to any group of people and use her quick wit to understand the in-the-moment wants and needs of the people that she is privileged to work with. Jordan's biggest Jewish singer inspirations are Debbie Friedman (of course) and Dan Nichols, for whom she has had the honor of watching the magic in action year after year at camp.

She is beyond thrilled to be a part of the Gates of Prayer community and to finally have found a role that incorporates all of her passions in life.

Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) Director

 

Jessica Sintes

jessica@gatesofprayer.org

Jessica grew up at Gates of Prayer and now has two children who currently attend the CECE (Center for early Childhood Education) , Jameson and Shira. She has devoted her entire 13-year career to working with children as a teacher in several schools and early learning centers. She has most recently served as the Youth and Camping Director at the Metairie Jewish Community Center.

Jessica is passionate about serving the Jewish community and is excited to begin this new chapter in her life. She is looking forward to the opportunity to grow our school by creating more natural learning environments and expanding teacher continuing education and support.a

Staff

 

Leslie Miller
Executive Assistant
leslie@gatesofprayer.org

Michelle Bassham
Bookkeeper
michelle@gatesofprayer.org

Jenny Ermatinger
Nursery School Assistant Director
jenny@gatesofprayer.org

Billy Bosio
Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance@gatesofprayer.org

Leadership

 

Darrah Caplan
Synagogue President

Dan Forman
Executive Vice President

Shael Wolfson
Vice President

Jonathan Fawer
Vice President

Sarah Schatzman
Vice President

Julie Green
Financial Sect.

Leon Rittenberg
Treasurer

Philip Sherman
Recording Sect.

Aaron Wolfson, PhD
Past President

Board members Terms Expire 2024

  • Jen Merryman
  • Jose Orrego
  • Marc Dahlman
  • Amanda Fennel
  • Fran Dinehart
  • Caitlyn Lowenberg
  • Kym Glazer

 

Board members: Terms Expire 2023

  • JeiJei Feinberg
  • Todd Glazer
  • Michelle Hicks
  • Adam Jacob
  • Carla Jacob
  • Michael Smith

 

Board members: Terms Expire 2022

  • David Becker
  • Sue Daube
  • Susan Glade
  • Noah Jacobs
  • Adam Newhouse
  • Ann Streiffer

Past Presidents

  • Aaron Wolfson PhD
  • David Dulitz Md
  • Richard B. Levin
  • Michele Gelman
  • Sherri Tarr
  • Janet Krane
  • Lee Plotkin
  • Miriam Latter
  • Lynne Wasserman
  • Cynthia Greenwald
  • Dan Silverman
  • Alan Emerman
  • E. Fred Preis Jr.
  • Jay Joseph
  • Larry S. Webber, Ph.d
  • Leonard A. Washofsky
  • Jonathan M. Lake
  • Steven R. Plotkin, Judge

Honorary Life Board Members

  • Michael W. Mayer III
  • Joanne Fried

Ex-Officio Members

  • Judy Lieberman
    Sisterhood President
  • Chip Mann
    Brotherhood President
Mon, September 27 2021 21 Tishrei 5782