Meet the past and present leadership of our Synagogue
Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim
Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim is our Rabbi and spiritual leader.
Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim came to the New Synagogue, our inclusive Modern Orthodox congregation, in 2013. He received Rabbinic ordination in 1997 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Psychology. Rabbi Bar-Chaim has led communities in South Africa and the U.S. for over a decade.
In South Africa, he served as Rabbi of the Beit Yisrael and Sunny Road Synagogues. He continued his career in the U.S. as Assistant Rabbi of the Boca Raton Synagogue and served as the Rabbi of the Sephardic Congregation of Hallandale for two years (prior to joining New Synagogue).
Rabbi Bar-Chaim lectured for Arachim South Africa and has been involved in informal adult education for many years. He is a Modern Orthodox Rabbi who prides himself on communicating Judaism’s often forgotten meta-values such as: honesty, integrity, loyalty, and the pursuit of peace.
His warmth, non-judgmental disposition, and inspirational messages have endeared Rabbi Bar-Chaim to his communities who look up to him proudly as their spiritual leader.
His vision is to create an environment wherein all Jews from all denominations and from all walks of life will enjoy a traditional and meaningful Shabbat experience in an intimate setting.
He and his wife Aliza have been married for 25 years and have three children: Leora, Shira, and Aryeh.
S. Daniel Abraham
S. Daniel Abraham, Founding Member, is known to everyone as “Danny”.
Danny created the culture of friendly at the New Synagogue. He’s a family man who lives in Palm Beach, Florida with his wife (Ewa) and their two children. He travels to visit his four daughters and grandchildren, who live throughout the country and in Israel.
Israel is Danny’s top passion and his S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace is making strides to promote the end of conflict in the Middle East. With Danny behind the effort, we are constantly encouraged that there will be peace in our time. Danny remains active in a number of business and philanthropic projects that make our world a better place to be.
Dr. Edward Steinberg
Dr. Edward Steinberg, of blessed memory, was the Co-Chair of the Executive Committee.
He was a man loved and revered by all who knew him. He was kind, generous, and smart. All went to Ed for advice and counsel as he was always ready with thoughtful observations and suggestions. Our synagogue was fortunate to have such a good friend and leader.
And did we mention music? Ed had a magnificent voice and would often treat us to a song or two, at times accompanied by his grandson Daniel!
Dr. Steinberg was very active in the greater philanthropic community. He and his wife (Judith Steinberg, of blessed memory), supported charitable projects all over the world. Being a man of medicine, Ed was on the cutting edge of medical advances that saved lives and improved the quality of life. Dr. Steinberg is survived by his three daughters and grandchildren.
Reuven Blank, Founding President.
Without Reuven, we would not have the successful, dynamic shul we enjoy today.
From day one, Reuven has served as President with determination and drive. Reuven is a friend of Israel and visits often with his wife, Natalie.
The Blanks have children and grand-children living in Israel and his heart is never far away from our Jewish homeland.
Rabbi Alan G. Ciner
Rabbi Alan G. Ciner, Founding Rabbi.
When the New Synagogue was formed, there was only one Rabbi who we would consider to be our spiritual leader: Rabbi Alan G. Ciner.
Fortunately for us, Rabbi Ciner agreed and we were delighted to have a beloved and transformative Rabbi leading our congregation.
We don’t let our loved ones go so easily. When Rabbi Ciner was offered the position of Vice President of the prestigious Touro College and University System, and asked to serve as CEO of Touro College South, we proudly wished him well. But we also made it clear; he will always be our Rabbi and we expect to see him around the shul often. Over the years, our Founding Rabbi Ciner has never let us down. Rabbi Ciner is an active leader in our community and an inspiration to us all.
Rabbi Ciner is a family man. His greatest source of blessing lies with his precious children and grandchildren.
Read more About Rabbi Alan G. Ciner.
Cantor Henry Shimansky
Cantor Henry Shimansky, Founding Cantor.
With a song in his heart, Cantor Henry Shimansky led services at the New Synagogue from its inception in 2002 until the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
Cantor Henry’s ever-ready smile warmly welcomed all who joined our weekly Friday night, Shabbat, and Holiday Services.
Cantor Shimansky’s melodious davening and soulful prayer service inspired our congregation, spiritually uplifting all in attendance. To everyone’s delight, Cantor Henry was often joined by his son Dr. Daniel Shimansky as Second Chazzan who added a youthful ruach (spirit) to the davening.
Cantor Shimansky is well-versed in Holiday/Shabbat Nusach and always encouraged congregational singing using well known traditional and Israeli Nigunim, including melodies from Shlomo Carlebach and others.
Cantor Shimansky created audio recordings for each Haftorah and Megillah as well as for Shabbat Tefillot and Zemirot and High Holiday and Yom Tov Prayer Services.
In addition to leading services at New Synagogue, Cantor Shimansky has led services in the following Florida congregations over the last 25 years: Palm Beach Synagogue, Boca Raton Synagogue, and Chabad Central of Boca Raton. He has also led congregations in Englewood and Teaneck New Jersey, Southfield Michigan, and Brooklyn, New York.
Deborah Steinberg Shimansky
Deborah Steinberg Shimansky is our President and the inspiration behind our successful new class in Judaism and Mindfulness, which began November 2016.
Debbie is a psychotherapist and Mindfulness leader whose passion for Mindfulness inspired Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim to study and learn with her, resulting in their decision to bring the benefits of Mindfulness to our New Synagogue community.
Judaism teaches us what to do in daily life to follow in God’s ways, to be kind, compassionate, patient, generous, forgiving, focused in our prayers, etc.
Mindfulness practice teaches us how to do this.
Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created the problem.” What this means is that the thinking mind alone is not sufficient to effect real character growth or enable us to experience inner or soul essence.
The Judaism and Mindfulness class at the New Synagogue is named in memory of Debbie’s parents, Dr. Edward L. Steinberg & Judith L. Steinberg, of blessed memory. In the last two years of his life, Dr. Steinberg used Mindfulness to lower his blood pressure, manage difficult feelings, and calm a busy mind. It was his hope that Debbie would share this way of being with others.
Debbie (MSW Columbia University) trained in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) with Dr. Albert Ellis and was a Board member at the Albert Ellis Institute. Also, she was a Board Member at the Mussar Institute and is the author of “How to Stick to a Diet”. She has done trainings, retreats, and online study in Mindfulness for many years. Her own mindfulness practice is foundational to sharing it with others.
Today, her greatest passion (besides her pride in Daniel, her son) is to bring Mindfulness practices to the Jewish Education System so that parents, children, and their teachers can integrate social, emotional, and spiritual development into daily life so that we may grow happy, joyful, and effective future generations.
Debbie, Cantor Henry, and Daniel live in Boca Raton and Palm Beach, Florida.
Diana Brody, of blessed memory, was the Board Secretary and mother hen of our synagogue.
She was often found fussing in the kitchen or hanging out with the roosters at the Kiddush Club. When she was not busy taking care of our synagogue family, she was making people happy on the water. Diana was a Charter Broker for Camper & Nicholsons International in Palm Beach, Florida.
We remember Diana for her great contribution to our community and synagogue, her kind and generous ways, her zest for life, and her faith in God.
Diana’s husband, Rob, is an active member in the community and a friend we all count on.
Richard Hirsch is the visionary of big ideas for our small synagogue.
In addition to overseeing the operations of the New Synagogue, he is the leader of a plan to engage our young friends in Jewish life and learning.
Leadership comes naturally to Richard. He is Chairman of the Board of Israel Bonds worldwide and managing director of Concurrent Industries, a New York-based investment and holding company. And that’s just in his free time – Richard is a very busy guy. He and his wife (Elaine) live in New York and make Palm Beach their home in the winter season, where they enjoy visits from their children and grand-children.
Rabbi Abe Unger, Ph.D.
Rabbi Abe Unger, Ph.D., has joined New Synagogue as Executive Director.
Rabbi Unger served as Campus Rabbi and Director of Urban Programs at Wagner College, where he was a professor with tenure in the Government and Politics Department, specializing in public administration.
Rabbi Unger also served as Executive Director of The Office of Jewish Community Affairs of Staten Island and as Project Manager of a major HUD grant at the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
He has been a congregational Rabbi, and received appointments as Senior Fellow at the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management and Orthodox Union Center for Communal Research.
Prior to joining Wagner College, Rabbi Unger founded the Mosaic Colony, an educational organization for children and teens that explored Jewish identity in dialogue with other cultures through the Arts.
He has published three books examining Jewish thought, and community engagement.
Dr. Emily Aronoff
Dr. Emily Aronoff has joined New Synagogue as Director of Family Engagement.
Dr. Aronoff is an educator, researcher, and creator. She is dedicated to increasing and improving the ways communities educate and engage young children and their families in joyful Judaism. Dr. Aronoff holds a B.A. in Jewish Studies, an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction and an Ed.D. in Jewish Education. Her 2018 research project Exploring Tot Shabbat: A Study on Tot Shabbat Programs and Their Effect on the Engagement in Jewish Life of Families with Young Children was the first attempt to formally define and evaluate programs for this population. Her work has been published by The Jewish Educator, The Journal of Synagogue Music, Kveller, RJBlog, ScaryMommy and more. Emily has facilitated workshops and lectures across the country; she has presented for Hebrew College, NewCAJE, Limmud, University of Miami, and more.
As ‘Miss Emily’, she wrote and recorded 5 albums of Jewish children’s music Her compositions are featured by PJ Library, Behrman House, JKids Radio, and Transcontinental Music and are now used in classrooms and congregations around that world. When she became a mother, she launched Jewish Family JamsTM, a music & movement program for children ages 0-3 and their grown-ups, through which she facilitates classes and provides training and curricula to facilitators. She lives in South Florida and is the proud mother of three young and brilliant researchers.