Chochmat HaLev is blessed to be a dynamic spiritual community, rich in diverse approaches to Jewish learning and practice. In addition to our Congregational Leaders, Maggid Jhos Singer and Shlichat Tzibbur Julie Batz, we have many gifted service leaders and teachers who offer their skills and experience to the community.
Our Congregational Leaders, Maggid Jhos Singer and Shlichat Tzibbur Julie Batz, design and lead Shabbat and Holy Day services together. They bring a diverse and deep set of skills to our bima, classroom, boardroom, and onegs. Through writing and teaching, counseling and organizing, davenning and singing, they support and guide our congregation, inspiring strong and engaged participation.
Julie Batz, Shlichat Tzibur
Julie creates engaging and inspiring Jewish spiritual practice and ritual. She studied with Hazzanim Marc Dinkin and Pamela Sawyer and brings 16 years of congregational leadership experience to her work at Chochmat HaLev. With practical wisdom and heartfelt ritual facilitation, she supports our community as we welcome children, mark rites of passage, celebrate partnership, and move with grace through illness and death. Julie’s love of ritual, history, liturgy, and those she serves is palpable.
In addition to her congregational work, Julie’s independent bnei mitzvah training and facilitation practice primarily serves families who have not been members of synagogues, offering them the opportunity to (re)connect Jewishly in their families and the larger Jewish community.
Maggid Jhos Singer
Jhos a dynamic preacher, storyteller, pastoral counselor, and musician. He has a unique ability to translate Torah and Jewish tradition in ways that are accessible, relevant, and compelling. He is a rogue scholar: on the one hand, he holds a BA in Music from UCLA and an MA in Jewish Studies from the Graduate Theological Union—and on the other, he also finds as much wisdom in pop culture, mixology, home gardening, or taking in a fine afternoon with friends and family. His love for all things Torah, his congregants, and their trust in him fuel his desire to serve.
In addition to his congregational leadership, Maggid Jhos also serves part time as the Maggid of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco; he writes and teaches in the Bay Area and nationally; and as an out transman, he advocates for deepening understanding of the role of gender in spirituality.
Sacred Music Director
Reb Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks is our Sacred Music Director. He leads services for the third Friday Shabbat, leads the B’nei Mitzvah program, and teaches meditation and leads the High Holy Days choir. Inspired by Martin Buber’s writing while procrastinating from piano practice at High School Jazz camp, Brian Yosef began a quest for finding the inner truths of Judaism, beyond dogmas and tradition. Finding that Truth ironically led him back to tradition.
He holds a Bachelor in Music from Eastman and received s’mikha from Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi as Minister of Sacred Music and as Jewish meditation teacher from Chochmat HaLev. His band, Captain Zohar, plays original Jewish devotional and concert music. He lives with wife Lisa and two children, to whom he owes constant gratitude for keeping him far from cheap, egocentric substitutes for G-d.
JANET FALK has been actively involved in CHL since 2003, attending services, meditation, and classes. She previously served as Board President from 2006-2008. Janet has been involved in Jewish Renewal for 25 years. Janet’s professional life has been the development of nonprofit affordable housing since 1975 and she has served on several nonprofit boards. Along with Jeffrey Kessler, Janet leads the third Saturday Contemplative Shabbat Services.
ESTELLE FRANKEL is a practicing psychotherapist and spiritual advisor who blends depth psychology with the healing wisdom and spiritual practices of the Kabbalah. Ordained as a Mashpiah-Maggidah by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Estelle has taught Jewish mysticism in Israel and throughout the U.S. for over forty years and is currently on the faculty of Chochmat HaLev and Lehrhaus Judaica in Berkeley, Ca. Estelle is a popular public speaker who has been hosted by many institutions including: the Cape Cod Institute, University of Judaism (L.A.), Academy of Jewish Religion, Naropa’s Wisdom University (Oakland, Ca.), Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, New York Open Center, and the 92nd St. Y in NYC. She leads a monthly Contemplative Friday night service at Chochmat, co-leads the Open Faith Salon, and teaches courses in: Kabbalah as Sacred Psychology and Musar, Mindfulness and Positive Psychology. Estelle is the author of numerous essays that have been published by academic journals and popular magazines and the award winning book Sacred Therapy: Jewish Spiritual Teachings on Emotional Healing and Inner Wholeness. Her latest book, The Wisdom of Not Knowing: Discovering a Life of Wonder by Embracing Uncertainty, will be released in Jan., 2017.
LAURA GOLDMAN is a psychotherapist and spiritual director in private practice in Berkeley. She teaches meditation and Mussar throughout the Bay Area, as well as leading contemplative worship at Chochmat HaLev. She is influenced and inspired by multiple faith traditions, and is particularly interested in the areas where they overlap and intersect. Along with Jeffrey Kessler, Laura has been leading Contemplative Shabbat Services and meditation classes at Chochmat Ha Lev and teaching Mussar for several years.
JEN MIRIAM KANTOR has a rich and unique background as an early childhood educator, musician, teacher, performer, puppeteer and therapist. She has a passion for Judaism and especially loves to create experiences where people of all ages can celebrate together. She leads Tot Shabbat at Chochmat HaLev, is a member of Octopretzel and a ketubah artist. Visit Jen Miriam’s website.
JEFFREY KESSLER is a longtime practitioner and teacher of meditation, Tai-Chi, and Chi Gung, who also does individual Somatic Therapy and Body-Based Spiritual Direction. Along with Laura Goldman, Jeffrey has been leading Contemplative Shabbat Services and meditation classes at Chochmat HaLev and teaching Mussar for several years.
RABBI SARALEYA SCHLEY served as the congregational rabbi of Chochmat Halev from 2008-2014, when she stepped back from her Rabbinic role at Chochmat HaLev due to increased responsibilities as a physician. She will continue to guide the community as Rabbi Emerita.