April 18, 2024 /

Clergy

Our rabbis and cantors are eager to introduce you to the warmth of our congregation, hear your story, answer your questions, and help you find your place at AEMT.

Rabbi, Philip N. Bazeley

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Rabbi Philip Bazeley was ordained from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2012, which is when he began his time at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple. Rabbi Bazeley started at AEMT as the Assistant Rabbi and was named the Senior Rabbi in 2018. While at HUC-JIR he earned a Master of Arts in Hebrew Literature as well as a Master of Arts in Religious Education.

Rabbi Bazeley serves as a member of the Core Leadership Team of The Religious Action Center- New Jersey (RAC-NJ) and serves on the local board of the American Jewish Committee of New Jersey (AJC-NJ) and is a Co-Chair of the Jewish Federation in The Heart of NJ’s Jewish Community Relations Council. One of the core pillars of Rabbi Bazeley’s rabbinate is Tikkun Olam and he has been part of many social justice initiatives in NJ, which include helping to pass solitary confinement reform, the Fair Chance in House Act, and establishing Interfaith-Rise, a refugee resettlement agency. 

Since his ordination, Rabbi Bazeley has served as a Clinical Faculty Mentor at the HUC-JIR’s New York School of Education and has been awarded the title Reform Jewish Educator (R.J.E.) from the National Association of Temple Educators (now the Association of Reform Jewish Educators) for the work that he has done at AEMT and other institutions. Rabbi Bazeley has also been honored with the Union for Reform Judaism’s Maurice N. Eisendrath’s Bearer of Light
Award for his participation in America’s Journey for Justice, where he marched with the NAACP as well as other members of the CCAR from Selma, Alabama to Washington D.C. in the summer of 2015.

Rabbi Bazeley and his wife Alyson live in Highland Park with their sons, Gavin and Matthew.

Rabbi, Sienna Lotenberg

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Rabbi Sienna Lotenberg is overjoyed to be staying at Anshe Emeth as Assistant Rabbi. She was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in May 2023.

 

Before and during rabbinical school, Rabbi Lotenberg taught religious school students from elementary- through high-school age at several synagogues on the East Coast. She was a fellow with T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights during her year in Israel and took a semester off from rabbinical school to complete her chaplaincy training in a senior community in the fall of 2020. As a rabbinic intern at Anshe Emeth, she has particularly enjoyed teaching adult education courses, working with our incredible tweens and teens, and liaising with the WSG.

Rabbi Lotenberg grew up in Arlington, VA, and fell in love with Judaism at Temple Rodef Shalom in neighboring Falls Church. She was active in her temple youth group and NFTY-Mid-Atlantic Region and spent 13 summers as a camper and counselor at Camp Louise, a Jewish camp for girls. As an undergraduate at Brown University, she studied history and Judaic Studies and was awarded the prestigious President James Manning Medal for excellence in both religious scholarship and religious leadership.

Rabbi Lotenberg likes to say that becoming a rabbi allowed her to make most of her hobbies into her career, but she does have a few not-necessarily-rabbinic hobbies: reading novels, cooking local produce, watching women’s sports, and being in or on the water – she’s excited to find places to kayak and swim around New Brunswick!

Cantor, Mark E. Stanton

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Cantor Stanton’s journey has been a story punctuated by people and places; a garment woven together by music that has formed the fabric of his life.

Cantor Stanton remembers Shabbat mornings when his grandfather, Harry Weinstein z”l who would take him to shul in Queens in order to simply share time together whether at the temple, at work or at play. “Papa” showed him the value of embracing something you love. From him, he learned of the inner joy and passion that only the person, fully engaged, could understand.

Cantor Stanton’s musical life started with his home and shul in Flushing, Queens, and carried him to the concert halls at Lincoln Center, studies and travels in Israel, Italy, Austria, and the United States. With a foundation built upon a Bachelor of Music in Opera Performance at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, CT, and a summer in Graz, Austria, he began a flourishing career as a professional singer, but he found himself yearning for greater connection between his professional and his spiritual life.

Studies at the Hebrew Union College-JIR in Israel introduced him to Cantor Eli Schleifer who humbled him with his talent, knowledge, and his own humility. Later, in 2003, Cantor Stanton was ordained at the Academy for Jewish Religion, (also Cantor Anna Ott’s alma mater). His nine years in his student pulpit at Temple Sinai, Lawrence, NY, and 15 years post-ordination at Congregation Beth Emeth in Wilmington, DE, have been precious and transformational to him.

In 2018 Cantor Stanton came back to Connecticut to be closer to family and served as both the Cantor and Religious School Director at Temple Beth Tikvah in Madison. The yearning to be a “full-time Cantor” again has now led him to this wonderful congregation. He looks forward to starting our adventure together in the months ahead!

Rabbi Emeritus, Bennett F. Miller

Bennett F. Miller completed forty-four years of rabbinic leadership to Anshe Emeth in 2018 and then became Rabbi Emeritus. He continues to serve in that role today, teaching, preaching, and providing pastoral guidance to the congregation. During Rabbi Miller’s active rabbinic tenure in the congregation he provided dynamic leadership, building community and outreach work throughout central New Jersey, nationally and globally.

In addition to his responsibilities at Anshe Emeth, Rabbi Miller served two terms as National Chair of ARZA (the Association of Reform Zionists of America) until 2022. He continues to devote his time and leadership to Reform Zionism in North America and in Israel, serving in a variety of leadership positions. He is also the Founder of the UR/ARZA Herzl Society.

Rabbi Miller has also devoted his life’s work to working with young people, having mentored numerous men and women who have gone on to careers in professional Jewish life. He has encouraged many young people to spend a semester of High School studying in Israel in the URJ’s high quality immersion program at Kibbutz Tzuba, known as Heller High School in Israel. It represents his passion and love for Israel and for our people’s connection to Israel.

As Rabbi Emeritus, Rabbi Miller welcomes to Anshe Emeth all those who seek to be part of a Jewish community of meaning, of historic purpose, and of living out a life based on Jewish values. Rabbi Miller and his wife, Joan, live in Monroe Township, NJ, and enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.

Cantor Emerita, Anna West Ott

Ordained in May 1998 from the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York City, she has been the Cantor at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple since July 1999. She had a diverse career in central New Jersey as a singer, pianist, guitarist, educator, and choral director long before she came to the cantorate.

She grew up in Metuchen, graduated from Hillel Academy in Perth Amboy and Bruriah High School in Elizabeth, graduated with honors from Douglass College with her BA in Music Education and Piano while taking advanced courses in the Hebraic Studies department, and obtained her MA in Vocal Performance from Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey). She taught vocal music for ten years in the public schools of Piscataway Township, NJ and taught private students in piano, guitar, voice, Hebrew, and B’nai Mitzvah studies.

Her performing career has integrated her varied talents as singer, pianist, and guitarist ranging from opera and oratorio to musical theater, folk, jazz, madrigals, and cabaret, including featured roles with the Middlesex Opera Company and Plays-in-the-Park.  Cantor Ott’s great love is choral directing and producing memorable performances of Jewish music of all styles. Under her direction, Anshe Emeth’s music program now includes its Junior Choir, Shirei Emet (teen choir) which is also an official Hazamir ensemble, Makhelat Anshe Emet (adult choir), and the Awesome Band made up of her student guitarists and other talented instrumentalists of all ages from within the congregation. In addition, she co-directs Makhelat HaMercaz, the Jewish community chorus of central New Jersey, and founded the Anshe Segulah Men’s Chorus which has sung at the Jewish Federation’s Yom Hashoah observance. In the past she has directed Kol Halayla, the Jewish a cappella ensemble of Rutgers University, and has sung with the New Jersey Cantors Concert Ensemble.

Cantor Ott made her debut at Lincoln Center in June 2004 as soprano soloist in the world premiere of God’s Spirit Lives Among Them by Cantor Charles Osborne. Cantor Ott resides in East Brunswick with her sons Michael, Andrew, and Charlie.