Rabbi James L. Simon, Interim Senior Rabbi
Rabbi Jim Simon was born and reared in Oakland, California. He graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1971 with a BA in Political Science. He attended Hastings College of the Law-University of California in San Francisco and graduated with a JD degree in 1974. He was admitted to the California Bar and practiced law for two years. At that point he decided he wanted to be a Rabbi.
Rabbi Simon entered Hebrew Union College-Jewish Instituted of Religion in 1977 and spent six years studying to become a Rabbi, equally dividing his time between campuses in Jerusalem, Los Angeles and Cincinnati. He was ordained as a Rabbi in 1983. As a student Rabbi he served congregations in Merced, CA, McGehee, AR and Ames, IA.
In his 33 years as a Rabbi, Rabbi Simon served congregations in Miami, FL, North Miami Beach, FL and Worcester, MA. Also during that time Rabbi Simon served as the Regional Director of the Mid-West Council for theUAHC (now URJ- Union for Reform Judaism) from 1986-1992. His Region encompassed nine (9) states and seventy (70) congregations.
In 2009-2010, Rabbi Simon became part of the first cohort of Reform Rabbis to be trained as an Interim Rabbi by the Interim Ministry Network (IMN) and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). Interim (also referred to as Transitional) Rabbis are trained to go into congregations undergoing significant changes to provide help and healing during a transitional year. Since then he has served as an Interim Rabbi in Sanibel Island (FL), Closter (NJ) and most recently, two years in Park City, UT. To strengthen his skills as an Interim Rabbi, Rabbi Simon was trained in Miami as a certified Mediator in Family law.
Rabbi Simon lives in Miami when he is not working as an Interim Rabbi. His wife, Rebecca, still works as a Nurse at Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables, FL. They have three children. Their oldest child, Jaclyn (Evan Gottfried) lives in North Bethesda, MD and teaches lst grade. Jaclyn and Evan have two boys - Brody and Benjamin. Deborah Leah Simon works as a nanny in New York. The youngest, Daniel, recently graduated from Emory and works for HBO in Los Angeles.
Rabbi Emeritus Charles P. Sherman, D.D., has been the spiritual leader, teacher, and counselor of the congregation since 1976. Ordained in 1969 at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, our rabbi is a Past-President of the Southwest Association of Reform Rabbis. Actively involved in all areas of Tulsa’s Jewish Community, Rabbi Sherman, is also a very active participant in Tulsa’s interfaith activities and has become one of this city’s leading clergy spokespersons.
Klara Bode, Temple Administrator, 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 a Temple Administrator! 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!
Jennifer Selco, Director of Education and Programming, came to Temple Israel from southern California in July 2011. She holds a Masters of Arts in Education and Masters in Business Administration from American Jewish University, and a Bachelors of Arts in Jewish Studies from UCLA. Jennifer enjoys working with learners of all ages and believes that Judaism is best learned through experiences. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys traveling, running, cooking, reading, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Jeff met at a Temple Israel event and have a young daughter, Rena Maytal. Jennifer looks forward to learning with you and your family.
Cantor Faith Steinsnyder, Cantor in Residence, is a member of the faculty at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Jewish Theological Seminary, coaching and teaching courses in traditional and contemporary synagogue repertoire. She has served congregations from Maryland to Massachusetts, and has been scholar-in-residence at synagogues across the country. A featured soloist at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall, Faith’s recordings have been heard over National Public Radio and PBS.
Mary Clare, Administrative Assistant
Jory Bollinger, Bookkeeper/Event Coordinator
Lauren Zeligson, Communications Coordinator
Timothy Wallace, Head Custodian
Eliot Glaser, Accompanist
Susan Woitte, Librarian