Rabbi Michael Weinstein, Senior Rabbi
Rabbi Michael Weinstein assumed the role of Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel in July of 2018, when he moved to Tulsa with his family to start their new life. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Rabbi Weinstein earned his undergraduate degree in Philosophy, with a focus in Jewish Studies, from the University of Cincinnati. He continued his studies at Xavier University, completing a Master of Arts in Christian Theology, before entering the Rabbinical School at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he achieved a second Master of Arts, in Hebrew Letters. Michael was ordained as Rabbi in 2010.
Rabbi Weinstein has served congregations in the greater Boston, Atlanta, and Washington DC communities, in addition to spending time working in the Jewish Day School and Jewish Federation environments. Rabbi’s professional interests are relationship based, in the areas of community organizing, engagement, and creating a welcoming community.
Since ordination, Rabbi Weinstein has studied Professional Fundraising at Boston University, and achieved a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. He is a trained Interim Rabbi from the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Interim Ministry Network. He is also an Accredited Police Chaplain with the International Conference of Police Chaplains. In his spare time, Rabbi Weinstein volunteers as part of the Tulsa Police Chaplain Corps.
Outside the synagogue, Rabbi Weinstein enjoys spending his time with his family. Laurie, his wife, is an accomplished Cantor, also serving Temple Israel, while their son, Mose, is enamored with all things trains-related. Michael enjoys the classics-- classic cars, music, movies, and motorcycles. Never one to pass up a good burger and a beer, he would be happy to join you for a cup of coffee and conversation!
Cantor Laurie Weinstein, Cantor
Cantor Laurie Weinstein is a Cincinnati native who takes pride in her multiple interests provided by our vast world. Laurie holds a Bachelor of Music in Music History with a Voice Concentration from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. She has Cantorial Certification from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York Campus under the direction of Cantor Ellen Dreskin. She has also studied on the graduate level at Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts. Before pursuing her Cantorial Certification, she has served in multiple capacities, from B’nai Mitzvah tutor to Cantorial Soloist, for congregations in Ohio, Indiana, and Massachusetts. Previously, she served as part-time Student Cantor for Temple Shir Tikva, in Wayland, Massachusetts, and Cantor Intern for Congregation Dor Tamid in Johns Creek, Georgia. Before completing her cantorial studies, Cantor Weinstein served for three years as Cantor Intern for Beth Sholom Temple, in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Laurie also holds an Associate Degree in Applied Science from the University of Cincinnati and was licensed to practice Dental Hygiene in Ohio before entering the professional Jewish world. She finds great pride and joy in other facets of her life as a mother, professional dog walker to Mavis and Pixie, a yogi, bird watching; and enjoys anything music related. She is fascinated by the “Why?” and finds the intersection of history and the human narrative most interesting. She enjoys motorcycles and rye whiskey, but not at the same time. Her life’s philosophy can be summed up in a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson- "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Laurie is excited to develop relationships with the Temple Israel family and to engage with the larger Tulsa community.
Rabbi Lillian Kowalski, Rabbi
The leadership of Temple Israel is thrilled to announce that Rabbi Lillian Kowalski will be joining the Temple Family, beginning July 1. Hailing originally from Albany, NY, Lily recently completed her tenure of study at Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion, on the Los Angeles campus and was ordained as Rabbi. She received a Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters from HUC–JIR in 2017. The focus of her studies culminated in her rabbinic thesis: a text immersion project on the power of language to create, destroy, and repair interpersonal relationships, titled “Tzelem-Esteem.”
In addition to her Rabbinic Ordination and MA in Hebrew Letters, Rabbi Kowalski achieved a Masters of Arts in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC–JIR, in 2016. This degree came with the production of a curriculum guide titled “Between the Lines, Beyond the Page: Jewish Texts Intersecting with Creative Arts,” driven by her passion for fusing the creative arts and pop culture, with Jewish texts and values.
Before entering the Reform Movement’s seminary and professional school, Lily earned her Bachelor of Arts in 2008 from Brandeis University, where she studied Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Music (focusing on Cultural Studies), and Women’s and Gender Studies. Rabbi Kowalski comes to Temple Israel and Tulsa with a dearth of honors and a breadth of experience. Over the past years, she participated in the HUC/PARDeS Reform Day School Externship in Miami, FL, in 2016, and studied with the iCenter in Chicago, IL, where she earned a Master’s Concentration in Israel Education as an iFellow, also in 2016. Hebrew Union College named her the Women of Reform Judaism Rabbinic Scholarship recipient for the 2016-2017 academic year and the Rabbi Isaiah and Florence Zeldin Endowed Rabbinic Scholarship for the 2017-2019 academic years. She takes great pride in both of these honors, knowing the phenomenal work of the WRJ firsthand through many events in her hometown of Albany, NY and in the greater Los Angeles area; and benefitting from the Zeldin family even further, learning directly from their son Michael Zeldin, former Senior National Director of the HUC-JIR Schools of Education. Furthermore, Lily received the Paul M. Gans Scholarship from the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York in Albany for four of her six years at HUC.
Throughout her time as a student, Rabbi Kowalski served a number of communities as a student rabbi, including congregations in Albany, NY, Yakima, WA, Phoenix, AZ, and several communities throughout the state of California. She spent the past year as a pastoral intern at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, CA.
Outside of synagogue life, Lily enjoys traveling, frequenting many of the Israeli folk dance opportunities across the country, and exploring arts and culture events of all kinds. She is a big foodie and looks forward to exploring all that Tulsa has to offer.
Rabbi Emeritus Charles P. Sherman, D.D.,was Senior Rabbi from 1976-2013.He retired in 2013 and was given the honorary title of Rabbi Emeritus.
Klara Bode, Executive Director, is a long time Tulsan. She is a graduate of the University of Miami and a CPA who joined the Temple Israel staff as the Temple accountant in 2010. During her years in Tulsa she has and continues to serve on the boards of several Jewish organizations including the Jewish Federation of Tulsa, Mizel Jewish Community Day School and OKIE. Her volunteer time in the Jewish community and career spent in the business sector has prepared her for working within the Temple Israel family and with outside organizations and businesses. Klara enjoys not only interacting with people, but also working with puzzles, numbers and challenges which makes her uniquely qualified to be Temple's Executive Director! Klara and her husband, John, have 5 granddaughters who along with son Brian and daughter-in-law Eryn are Temple Israel members. In addition to time spent playing with granddaughters, Klara enjoys playing card games, Sudoku, Mahjong and going out to dinner with friends. Klara looks forward to meeting you!
Jenny Labow, Administrative Assistant
DeeAnn Butler, Bookkeeper
Eliot Glaser, Accompanist
Eliot Glaser, Choir Director/Accompanist
Eliot was hired as Temple Israel's organist in July 1999, and his duties have since expanded to include directing its choir and managing its band. In addition to his work at Temple Israel, Eliot is organist and choirmaster at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church, pianist for Sunday evening contemporary Masses at Christ the King Catholic Church, and a private music teacher. He is a published composer of instrumental, vocal, choral, and various experimental works in the catalogs of Darcey Press, Transcontinental Music, OySongs.com, and SMP Press.
Eliot earned a Bachelor’s of Music degree in composition with a minor in organ performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) where his principal teachers included Donald Erb and Eugene O'Brien in composition, and Adeline Huss in organ. After a year of postgraduate study at CIM, he was appointed to the music faculty of Principia College in Elsah, IL where he remained for two years while earning his certification as an Associate of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) in 1980. After ten years in Los Angeles working for a computer software firm, he relocated to Tulsa and returned to full-time musical pursuits when his wife Lise was appointed Principal Oboist with the Tulsa Philharmonic. In 2009 he earned his certification as a Fellow of the AGO.
Eliot's hobbies include cooking (especially cookies for his choirs) and training for and running marathons.
Bracken Klar and Melanie Gillespy, Librarians