Rabbi Matthew Cutler
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"Rabbi Matt" joined Congregation Gates of Heaven as its spiritual leader July 1, 1995. Rabbi Matthew S. Cutler was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City in 1990, where he also obtained his Master of Arts and Hebrew Letters. He graduated with honors from State University of New York at Binghamton, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in History and Judaic Study. Prior to his arrival in Schenectady, Rabbi Cutler served as Associate Rabbi at Temple Shalom in Newton, Massachusetts.
Rabbi Cutler models his rabbinate after a quote in Pirkei Avot: "Find yourself a teacher; acquire yourself a friend." According to Rabbi Cutler, a Rabbi is first and foremost a teacher of Torah, though he believes Jewish education is not limited to the classroom. In his professional experiences, Rabbi Cutler seeks to create many different avenues of informal Jewish education. He has been an active member of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations Joseph Eisner Camp-Institute for Living Judaism in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In addition, Rabbi Cutler has served as Chair of the Regional URJ-CCAR-NATE Joint Committee on Jewish Education and currently serves on a national Joint Commission on Synagogue Music.
Rabbi Cutler is active in the community. He is a member of the Capital District Board of Rabbis, and served as President of their Board. He is involved in Union College Hillel, a member of the United Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York's Board of Jewish Education and Chair of the Federation's Scholarship Committee and served on the Jewish Federation's Linkages, (outreach and support) to Jewish Gay/Lesbian Community.
Rabbi Cutler is also very involved in social action issues. In 1984, Rabbi Cutler was one of the recipients of the United States Presidential Award for Exemplary Community Service. He serves on the Bethesda House Board, a day shelter for the homeless and working poor. He is on the Board of the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission. He is one of the founders of the Community Crisis Network, an alliance of religious institutions and social agencies to help the underprivileged with dignity.
Rabbi Cutler currently resides in Niskayuna with his wife, Sharon, and their children, Benjamin, Micah and Julia.
Adjunct Rabbi Eleanor Pearlman
Rabbi Pearlman graduated from Boston University, College of Liberal Arts, with a Bachelor of Arts in the Teaching of Chemistry. Concurrently, she earned a Bachelor of Jewish Education from Hebrew College in Boston. She took junior year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she also attended the Hayim Greenberg Institute. She earned a Masters degree in Contemporary Jewish Studies at Brandeis University and a Master of Science in Social Work at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She was ordained at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic seminary, in May, 2008.
Rabbi Pearlman has utilized her education in various ways. She has taught all levels of Hebrew and Judaic studies to varying groups, from young children to adults. She has taught chemistry and physical science in high school. She has been a therapist for approximately twenty-five years and still maintains a small private practice. For many years she worked as an instructor at Community Health Plan, where she facilitated groups in parenting, stress management, couples communication, and also taught others how to lead groups. She now is working with the venerable elders of our congregational community in organizing their monthly programs, prayer classes, and prayer leadership opportunities. Rabbi Pearlman also facilitates our very popular Senior Moments Luncheon Program.
Rabbi Pearlman lives in Niskayuna with her husband Dr. William Pearlman, a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Rabbi Emeritus Bernard Bloom
Rabbi Bernard Bloom served our congregation from 1984 to 1995. He earned a B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1952, and was ordained at Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1957, where he also received Bachelors and Masters degrees in Hebrew Letters. He was awarded the Honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1982. Rabbi Bloom resides in Saratoga with his wife, Bailey. They have three children, Jeremy, Margo and Joel.
Student Cantor Lilah Sugerman
Lilah Sugarman is a native of Los Angeles, California. She grew up working and volunteering at her home synagogue Kehillat Israel. Lilah attended San Diego State University where she graduated with high honors in Music, English, and Dance. Lilah is currently a Cantorial Student at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. She has taught religious school for almost ten years at synagogues including Temple Emanu-El in San Diego, and Brooklyn Heights Synagogue. In 2012, Lilah spent eleven months studying in Jerusalem. Lilah has spent the past two years serving as the cantorial intern at Jewish Center of Northwest Jersey. She also is a B’nai Mitzvah tutor at Central Synagogue in Manhattan. While at Gates Lilah leads services alongside Rabbi Matt, and she teaches music in the religious school. Lilah restarted the adult volunteer choir which meets monthly and sings in services. Additionally, Lilah leads a yoga minyan once a month, which blends ancient Jewish Spiritual practices, Jewish music, and yoga. Lilah lives in Brooklyn with her husband Benjamin and their three cats. Ben is currently completing his masters in social work at the Silberman School of Social Work.