2. RABBI LINDA SHRINER-CAHN
15 YEARS INTO A TEHILLAH ODYSSEY
Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn has been a unifying voice of Congregation
Tehillah for the past 15 years. On the occasion of her 15th
anniversary as its spiritual leader, we explored her early days,
priorities, and approaches, which emerge from a dedication to
Meeting and Evolving With a New Congregation
The Congregation Tehillah interview service for Rabbi Linda Shriner-
Cahn, leading and teaching at a Havdalah Motzei Shabbat, was held
in someone’s home. Madeline Ritter and Tamara Fish, in the period
before there were official leaders of the congregation, were among its
organizers. Rose Beer, who elevates our services now with her talents
and her band, was playing piano.
3. “Hearing a congregation singing together and being present in prayer,
in the way that they were, felt very right,” Rabbi Linda recalled.
Once hired, Rabbi Linda set out to know the congregants of Tehillah
and to make it a welcoming place. “I needed to get the view from
5,000 and 10,000 feet.” She also knew that gaining traction in a
community took time. In those early days, there were hired
musicians, and Sariel Beckenstein, one of a number of service co-
leaders, introduced Rabbi Linda to the music in a seamless fashion.
Right away, Rabbi Linda appreciated that there was no set playlist;
that, together, it was okay to try new things. She herself does not take
a formulaic approach. She incorporates tradition but is not bound by
it. Over time, her vision has evolved, such as designating Day 2 of
Rosh Hashanah as a day of learning.
4. Rabbi Linda appreciates something different among the many with
whom she has co-led services, including Cantor Gladys Gruenwald,
Meir Beer, and Danny Guenzburger. She notes the exemplary
teaching talents of co-educator Jay Stanton (“He always caught the
ball”), and that Adina Ruskin and Wendy Levinson each brought
something new to the mix.
Tehillah Hebrew School (THS)
Nearly five years into her tenure at Tehillah, the Rabbi was asked to
become the principal of THS. She accepted this additional challenge
and began to morph the school into the program grounded in ethical
education that we know today. Philosophically, collaboration was
important. So, too, was that each child be allowed to “stretch.”
Respect for children was paramount. There should be “no coloring in
5. When teens were incorporated as teaching assistants, there was
another shift. It became evident that there isn’t one path; that
everyone is an individual, and that the “stretch” was different for
each student. This was highlighted when engaging with students on
issues of social justice. Each had different notions.
Rabbi Linda revels in how thoughtful the young Hebrew School
students are. They have felt comfortable enough to take risks, to ask
hard questions, and to be “teachers to the adults in the room with
6. Roles and Grants That Nourish Her Congregation,
The Bronx, and the Nation
In addition to her roles within Congregation Tehillah, Rabbi Linda
serves as President of the Association of Rabbis and Cantors; Chair of
the Interfaith Clergy Conference of Riverdale, Kingsbridge, and
Spuyten Duyvil; Board Member of the Manhattan College Holocaust
Genocide & Interfaith Center (HGI); and member of the Riverdale
Jewish Community Partnership.
She has evolved the Interfaith Clergy Conference’s meetings from
interfaith services to meetings held at the Hebrew Home and to social
justice events at various locations, including online. The Conference
has focused on such matters as relaying information on food and
vaccination during COVID, working with social service organizations,
7. sharing work on environmental issues, and creating a community-
wide network to aid refugees.
Rabbi Linda also partners with local organizations. She collaborated
with Marti Michael when Michael served as CEO of the Riverdale Y
and continues to do so today on her work with refugees. Rabbi Linda
has also been asked to provide the Invocation and Benediction at
Lehman College, finding it moving and humbling, each time, to stand
before such remarkable students and applaud all that they have
In her first year at Tehillah, getting her feet wet, discovering who
occupied the space, and working to make the congregation a
welcoming space, Rabbi Linda herself undertook no social action. But
she soon started partnering with congregants to nourish the
community with important grants that are, to her, acts of “creating
8. An important friendship began when Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, Professor of
Religious Studies at Manhattan College and Director of its HGI
center, invited Rabbi Linda to be on a panel at the Islamic Women’s
Conference in Istanbul eleven years ago. The experience expanded
how Rabbi Linda saw the world and was the first of many fruitful
Knowing that there were interfaith opportunities to explore was a
catalyst for several successful grants, including interfaith teen
connections (and living the concept of “hachnasat orchim,” hospitality
and welcoming guests); engaging interfaith families in a
multicultural preparation for Passover through storytelling and art;
and recognition of Muslim-Jewish community building in The Bronx
by the US House of Representatives.
9. COVID-19 necessitated new ways of thinking and communing with
peers to tackle immediate and long-term community challenges. One
category of grant was directed at helping students through the
pandemic: peer support during COVID-19 and a space, led by the
congregation’s teens, for the younger students to process the first year
of the pandemic. This magnified for all involved “the power of active
listening and the importance of trust in active listening.” An earlier
grant was intended to engage young children in a Jewish experience
“beyond synagogue walls,” at outdoor markets in Riverdale and
Washington Heights, to “plant seeds for future engagement.”
With “Operation Game Changer,” Rabbi Linda sought to create an
environment in which teens work in partnership with adult leaders in
the community. The impact of this initiative led to the Board
welcoming teen members with full voting rights, the brainchild of
10. Julian Reich, and, subsequently, her podcast, “Tehillah Talks,” which
features teens in a conversation with their rabbi.
Yet another category of grant relates to the seasonal planting and
horticultural education led by congregant Howie Waldman.
“Nourishing the Jewish Spirit: Caring for our Environment” created a
community garden— “inculcating a caring for our environment as
part of Tehillah’s activities every year since the grant and engaging
environmentally conscious members of Tehillah and the broader
Two recent grants have been in the arena of anti-hate. The first
followed Nikki Fisher sharing news of a brief film that addressed the
vantage point of a biracial Jewish child. The second stemmed from
Mayor Adams’ initiative, “Breaking Bread, Building Bonds,” in which
clergy are asked to work to find common ground over a meal. In this
case, there were 10 local clergy around a table.
11. Rabbi Linda listens to what congregants want and creates relevant
opportunities to fit the vision. One of the most important grants
delivered her and youth leaders to Israel. Impressively, she has
received 75% of the grants for which she has applied.
Rabbi Linda is also proud of the roles and initiatives that have
developed from expertise among the congregants such as the
Caregiver Group run by Dr. Linda Jaffe Caplan. The group succeeded
by breaking rules—by including individuals who fit into different
Inspiration and Support
A mother of two and now a grandmother to three, the Rabbi is
uplifted and energized by time spent with her family. There is even a
regular, early-morning call with her toddler grandson to engage with
him in creative play after his big sister heads to school.
12. Rabbi Linda’s partner in life and in many Tehillah ventures is her
husband David Shriner-Cahn, who generously serves the
congregation in many ways. He has organized and called up the Torah
learners, schlepped materials (and Torahs), edited “Tehillah Talks,”
and set up and run the livestreams born in the COVID era.
“I could not do what I do without him by my side,
every step of the way.”
Into the Future
Rabbi Linda’s vision for the congregation, which has evolved with “the
best synagogue Board,” began with a brainstorming session about
values with Jay Stanton. Tehillah, they decided, was “a place where
anyone could come wherever they were in their Jewish journey.”
13. Creating trusting relationships with people has been one of the
hallmarks of Rabbi Linda’s tenure at Tehillah, and it has been
important to take time to create the relationships. She is skeptical
that a “mega congregation” would have offered her the same
“We’re not a warship, so we can tack really easily.
Moving with the winds is an asset, not a liability”
Rabbi Linda is proudest about empowering young people and
enabling them to teach the younger students at High Holy Day
services. And they return to teach and to pray and to share. One
former student met with her to share that he was making Aliyah.
14. Rabbi Linda conceives of Congregation Tehillah as a welcoming
community. “It is a community of lovingkindness” where members
have each other’s backs, even if they disagree. She feels as though she
has discovered her voice at Tehillah and is intent on letting members
16. Honoring our Youth as our Leaders
The young leaders that we are honoring at our 2023 Gala have continued to
be an essential part of Tehillah, post B’nai Mitzvah, as they have joined the
Tehillah Board as Student Board Members, as Assistant Teachers in our
Hebrew School, leading children’s services on Shabbat morning and during
the High Holy Days, active participants in “Tehillah Talks”, our regular
podcast hosted by Rabbi Linda and more.
Coming through Tehillah Hebrew School, led by Rabbi Linda has
introduced these individuals and others young people to Judaism in a
unique way, allowing them to develop their own path of discovery, learning
how to critically think, articulate how they feel about being Jewish in a
productive and curious way as they continue to explore Judaism, each at
their own pace.
Thank you all for your invaluable contribution to Tehillah.
17. Blessings and Gratitude To All of our Honorees
Abi, Alexis, Bernie, Helena
Jasmine, Julian, Natasha and Roma
For being who you are
Being all that you are
For your many contributions
To our community and beyond
With deep affection and pride
18. Abi Baum
Abi Baum just finished her first semester at Binghamton University where
she is studying Psychology. She has been a member at Tehillah for about 15
years and has found a sense of community here unlike any other.
“After going to Israel in the summer of 2019, I returned to help at the
Hebrew School as a Teacher’s Assistant and later became a Student Board
Member. At Hebrew School I found how much I love working with children.
After graduating from high school in 2021, I worked at a preschool for a
year between graduating and starting college.
Now I am in school (taking as many Judaic Studies classes as possible),
debating whether I’d like to become a clinical or school psycholoist.
Whichever option I end up choosing, it all started with Tehillah and I am
forever grateful for that.”
We are so proud of you for
all you have contributed
to the Tehillah
Congratulations to you
and all the honorees!
Love, Mom Dad and
20. Jasmine Hyman
Jasmine Hyman is an almost graduate from Bennington College. At school,
she is studying playwriting. She’s excited to see everybody when she’s home
in the Bronx!
She likes Vermont but misses the Bronx. She has been a part of the Tehillah
community for about a decade and was one of the first Student Board
21. Our Dearest Jasmine,
Thank you for the pride and joy that
you inspire. We look forward to
seeing your talents unfold into the
world as you continue your journey.
Mazel Tov to you and the other
With all our love,
Mom and Dad
22. Helena McHugh
Helena is a rising Junior at Case Western Reserve University, where she is
studying Neuroscience, Classics, and Public Health. Helena had her Bat
Mitzvah at Tehillah.
She was pleased to give back to the strong and supportive Tehillah
community by volunteering at the Hebrew School for two years. Helena has
also been a participant in the Tehillah Talks podcast and a Student Board
Member at Tehillah.
23. Roma McHugh
Roma is a rising 12th grader at The Beekman School. She had her Bat
Mitzvah at Tehillah. Roma also served as an assistant teacher at the
Hebrew school for a year. In addition to this, Roma has also been a
participant in the Tehillah Talks podcast.
She was a CIT at a sleep away camp in the Adirondacks. In her free time
she enjoys playing Gaelic football and Soccer. Roma looks forward to
continuing to be a Student Member on the Tehillah Board.
24. Dear Helena & Roma,
Thank you for emulating the wonderfully distinct teaching model behind your Hebrew School
experience—for recognizing the importance of a Jewish education and taking part in the dissemination
of cultural knowledge, warmth, and caring to the younger students at Tehillah.
Thank you for embracing the privilege behind your invitations to teach, to serve on an impactful Board
led by Kathy & Susan, and to participate in thought-provoking podcasts with Rabbi Linda.
We are very proud of you!
Love, Mom & Dad
25. Alexis Muchnik
Alexis is a rising 12th grader at Riverdale Country School where she is a
part of the school newspaper and has regularly participated in the school’s
plays and musicals.
Outside of school she enjoys playing piano and reading. Alexis’ family has
been a part of Tehillah since 2017 and she had her Bat Mitzvah at Tehillah
Alexis has also appeared on episodes of the hit podcast Tehillah Talks, helps
lead children services for the High Holy Days and is excited to continue to
be a Student Board Member at Tehillah.
26. Mazal Tov, Alexis!
We are so very proud of everything you do
and everything you are becoming!
Thank you for everything you do for
We Love You,
Mom, Dad, Ben, Babushka, and Cat
27. Julian Reich
Julian has been a lifelong member of Tehillah. Julian greatly enjoyed
serving as a teaching assistant at the Tehillah Hebrew School between 7th
and 8th grades and was inspired by Rabbi Linda’s youth-centered approach
During his high school years, Julian led monthly children’s services and had
the honor of serving as a Tehillah Student Board Member between 2018 and
Since enrolling at the Macaulay Honors College, Tehillah’s values continue
to inspire Julian and he hopes to incorporate the value of Tikkun Olam and
service to others into a career as a public servant.
28. Natasha Reich
Natasha has been a member of Tehillah since she was four years old. Her first
role in Tehillah was providing creative percussive backup to Shabbat services
with a child-sized tambourine. After her bat mitzvah, she was a teaching
assistant at the Hebrew school for a year because she couldn’t get enough.
During her high school years, she also stole your children once a month to run
the children’s service on Saturday mornings. You can often find Natasha trying
to make her mother laugh in the front row of services (don’t worry, Julian’s
already telling us off).
After graduating from Barnard College in 2021, she moved to Los Angeles to
pursue her Ph.D. in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. She’s
tried to find a synagogue on the west coast she likes as much as Tehillah, but
that’s a pretty tall order.
29. We are so proud of Natasha and Julian’s
path from first grade at hebrew school to
becoming active participants in the
Hebrew school and in the Tehillah
We are grateful to the Rabbi for facilitating
this journey and acting as mentor to our
children and to the other exceptional
honorees. Mazel Tov to all of our honorees!
Elizabeth Glass Reich and Nick Reich
30. Bernie Waldman
Bernie is a graduating senior at Fieldston High School and will be attending
Northwestern University in the fall. Besides his academic work, Bernie
runs with the cross-country team in the fall, participates in musical theater
in the winter, and plays Ultimate Frisbee in the spring.
He is an aspiring jazz musician, playing trumpet and piano, and is also a
leader of his school’s engineering club which competes in a national Rube
Goldberg machine competition.
Bernie is a Student Board Member of Tehillah, was Bar Mitzvah at
Congregation Tehillah and appears on the congregation’s hit podcast
32. We also want to acknowledge and thank several individuals who have
pioneered and paved the way for others at Tehillah, creating a supportive
and inclusive environment for all those beyond their B’nai Mitzvah.
We recognize their contributions and look forward to their continued ties
and involvement in the community. They continue to have a special place at
Talya Guenberger Eli Guenzberger Talya Romano
Elliot Feldman Adain Caplan Ben Markbreiter
Juliana Quidone Hannah Waldman Sarah Baum
Sophia Quidone Alysse Quidone Gideon Wiesen
33. We are so proud of our
Danny, Laura, Eli and Talya.
37. We honor Rabbi Linda,
an inspiration for our Young Leaders
– and Grownups too.
Marcia and Jeff Golland
38. Rejoicing the spirit of L’Dor v Dor
We celebrate a remarkable milestone and honor Rabbi Linda on
her 15th year anniversary of devoted leadership, spirituality and
ongoing teaching. We honor, recognize and appreciate the
inspiring dedication of our youth leaders, who continue to teach us.
Congratulations & many thanks to Rabbi Linda and our honorees:
Abi, Alexis, Bernie, Jasmine, Julian, Roma, Natasha and
for all that you do to make Tehillah the community that it is today!
Thank you all!
Kathy and Marc
Rabbi Linda and David Shriner-Cahn
You have honored us with your leadership and friendship for 15 years.
You are the couple for all seasons. Our lives have been enriched by your compassion, our holidays filled
with spirit and purpose and our souls with learning and the special music than brings us all together.
May you know what a special gift you are to us throughout the days of our lives.
The Eiseman Family
41. Kol Hakavod to Rabbi Linda and David
And Love from the entire
Ullendorff Gorfinkle family
42. The Tehillah Board congratulates
RABBI LINDA SHRINER-CAHN
on 15 years at Congregation Tehillah!
We are privileged to learn from a spiritual leader
who lends great depth to our community
43. You’ve built a strong connection
to this community over the past
15 years. We’re very proud of
you. Mazel tov!
Kayla, Hubert, Quincy, and Orin
Elliot, Judy, and Hila
44. People wonder about the next generation of Jewish Leaders.
We don’t! CONGRATULATIONS
Abi, Jasmine, Helena, Roma, Alexis, Julian, Natasha and Bernie.
Your gifts to our community are immeasurable and we are so proud of you.
To Rabbi Linda,
Thank you for believing in us, in Congregation Tehillah.
Thank you for gently teaching us what community is about,
what leadership is, what leading from behind looks like,
and how to trust in ourselves.
Thank you for being not only an excellent rabbi, but also treasured friend.
We love you to the moon and back,
-Matthew & Tamara & Ginger & Akiva
45. With much gratitude to Rose and Meir Beer for bringing their music, passion and
spirituality to Tehillah today and each and every Shabbat. We love you and
appreciate all that you do!
To the Tehillah Band, Sarah Banks, Nancy Dunetz, Farnoush Safavi and Daniel
Savin (led by Rose and Meir), many thanks for your incredible gifts that you share
with us throughout the year.
You are all incredibly special – thank you!
47. The Riverdale Y wants to extend a hearty Mazal Tov and
profound appreciation to Rabbi Linda for her incredible work,
dedication, and caring for Congregation Tehillah and the
broader Jewish and general community. We are honored to
partner with her on Riverdale Jewish Community Partnership
projects and in supporting deeper connections within the
Jewish community and in our interfaith community.
5625 Arlington Ave.
Bronx, NY 10471
48. Mazel Tov to Rabbi Linda on her 15th year
Anniversary at Congregation Tehillah
Your endless energy, spirituality and commitment to the
Tehillah community and its youth are an inspiration to
We are so proud of all that you have done
and continue to do!
Kathy, Marc, Susan, Michael, Adam, Philippa,
Simone and Easton, Noah and Michelle
49. IN CELEBRATION OF
our community of teachers & students
who explore religion, language,
history, and culture via text, critical
thinking, and creativity
THE TEHILLAH HEBREW SCHOOL (THS)
gratefully acknowledges the leadership of
RABBI LINDA SHRINER-CAHN
on the occasion of her 15th year at Congregation Tehillah.
Thank you for nurturing creative, caring thinkers
from year one through B’nai Mitzvah and beyond.
53. Congratulations to Rabbi Linda on her 15th year Anniversary
at Congregation Tehillah. Many thanks for all that you
continue to do for our community!
Congratulations to our honorees:
Abi, Jasmine, Julian, Roma, Natasha, Helena, Alexis and
You are an incredible group of individuals and
we are so proud of all you!
54. Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn
Guiding & Shining Light
Tehillah is so blessed to have the best Rabbi!
May you share many more years together to serve your
congregation and make this world a better place.
Rabbi Shimon Hirschhorn
55. Celebrating Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn’s 15th anniversary
Thank you for your amazing work with Manhattan College
students, the Holocaus5, Genocide and Interfaith Education
Board, and the Riverdale community. Your voice is so important to
us all. You are a star and a sparkle that shines no matter what!
Mehnaz M. Afridi
Board of HGI
Manhattan College Students
The Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education
57. Congratulations to
Rabbi Linda on your 15th
anniversary and all your
Rhoda C. Rothkopf
To Our Aspiring Young Leaders
Your Voice is the Future and We Recognize Your
Contributions. May You Continue to Go From
Strength to Strength
Thank you on behalf of our Community.
The Eiseman Family
58. Mazel tov to all the honorees!
It is an honor and a pleasure to be
part of the incredible Tehillah
Wendy Levinson and
Rabbi Bob Kaplan
Thank you Rabbi Linda and David
all you ARE and for all you DO.
Thanks to our YOUNG PEOPLE
for serving on our Board,
keeping us on our toes,
And bringing out the best in us!
With respect and love,
“Mazel Tov to Rabbi Linda
59. Mazel Tov
And especially its joyous
singing soul, Rabbi Linda.
Honors to Linda and the kids
Congratulations on 15 years, and
may you continue to go from
strength to strength!
We love being joint (grand) parents,
shmoozing, and hearing your
wise and thoughful
With love and admiration,
Bob Blumenthal and Beth Dwoskin
60. Mazal Tov Linda!
ר ָך ְ
ל ה ֵׂ
ר ֵׂב ָח ָך ְ
ל ֵׂהנ ְ
Thank you for being both
a teacher and a dear friend.
Sarah Jacobs & David Kronfeld
Mazel Tov on this special occasion
in the history of your community!
We are honored to celebrate your
young leadership and our
Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn
who is forever youthful in spirit.
-The New York Board of Rabbis
61. To our Youth: CONGRATULATIONS
To Rabbi Linda: THANK YOU
And my gaze, by teardrops blinded,
Turned from winter’s cold and gloom,
Met a brighter, fairer picture
As the firelight lit the room;
While beside me, warm and glowing,
Sweet as by-gone summer hours,
Stood a gift from friendship’s fingers—
Softly tinted, fragrant flowers.
From Musings, a poem by Miriam del
With immense pride, we honor the dedication
and leadership of Natasha and Julian Reich
over so many years.
You are the ‘fragrant flowers,’ the future!
Jessica, Patrick, Nathaniel, and Jason
62. Mazel tov Linda on your fifteen
outstanding years at Congregation
Tehillah. We are so proud of you and all
you have accomplished. Our best wishes
for many more years of serving your
With much love,
Juliet, Barry, Sam and Gabriel
"Congratulations to Rabbi
Linda on her 15th
Anniversary at Tehillah, and
thanks to the youth leaders
for all you do! –
Lee Feldman & Chris Tokar"
Yasher Koach to our
wonderful rabbi and our
amazing teens. May you go
from strength to strength.
Allen and Mindy Prenner
Congratulations to All
and Nancy Samotin
65. Thank you!
Dr Mehnaz Afridi
Rabbi Bob Caplan
Cantor Lois Kittner
Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn
66. Congregation to Rabbi Linda
on your 15th year
and Ian Benjamin
Elizabeth Glass Reich
67. Thank you to all who have brought us to this moment
For being a caring community For your love of music For your hospitality
For being a learning community For planting and building For being a holy place – maqom
For creating a place where all are welcome Fifteen years have flown quickly
May we, at Tehillah, continue on the path of becoming our best selves with our doors flung wide open
We are grateful for being on this sacred journey with all of you!
And to our family: Kayla & Hubert, Elliot & Judy Quincy, Orin & Hila
For being a source of joy, light, love and support
Rabbi Linda and David