Clergy

Rabbi Eric Woodward joins TBI after being the assistant rabbi at Congregation Tifereth Israel in Columbus, Ohio. He is passionate about deep Jewish prayer and learning, about welcoming Jewish communities, about pastoral care, and about fostering our love for Israel. In 2015, he was named by the Forward as one of America's Most Inspiring Rabbis. He loves to talk to people over coffee or a bagel, to hear their stories, and to build relationships.

Eric grew up in Los Angeles, and attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, from which he graduated in 2003, and where he met his wife, Katharine Baker. He was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2013. Eric and Katharine are the parents of two young daughters.

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Cantor Elizabeth Shammash joined Tiferet Bet Israel in July 2007. She received her investiture and Master of Sacred Music from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in May 2007. During this time she explored Jewish music from classical hazzanut to Yiddish and Ladino repertoire, and wrote her Master’s thesis on contemporary Israeli art song composers from the Zionist pioneers to the present. She previously served as cantor of Congregation Mount Sinai in Brooklyn Heights, New York, High Holy Day cantorial soloist at Congregation Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, PA and Falmouth Jewish Congregation on Cape Cod, MA. Cantor Shammash feels fortunate to have found her calling in the vast and beautiful world of Jewish music and loves to share this passion with congregants of all ages, in music of diverse genres, connecting them to our rich liturgical and cultural tradition.  

Her work in opera has taken her to major roles with companies including New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Berkshire Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, and the Beijing Music Festival. Concert and chamber music appearances have included the China National Symphony, Mostly Mozart Festival, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony, Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, Los Angeles Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Early Music Vancouver, Tanglewood and Marlboro festivals.

Cantor Shammash's recordings for the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music (Naxos) include two discs of Yiddish Theatres songs with conductor Eli Jaffe and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, David Stock's A Little Miracle for mezzo-soprano and orchestrawith conductor Gerard Schwarz and the Berlin Radio Orchestra, Hermann Berlinski's Avodat Shabbat, Thomas Beveridge's Yizkor Requiem and Yiddish Art Songs of Lazar Weiner. One of her first projects at TBI was to record and produce an album of our Friday night service, entitled Yedid Nefesh:Friday Night at Tiferet Bet Israel.

Cantor Shammash served on the Executive Committee of the Cantors Assembly from 2010-2013, and is a member of both the Cantors Assembly and American Conference of Cantors.

In addition to Jewish Theological Seminary, she holds a Master's degree in Music and Voice Performance from Manhattan School of Music, an artist diploma from Boston University's Opera Institute and a B.A. in Italian Studies from Brown University, including a year of study at the Universita di Bologna in northern Italy. She received certification as a yoga teacher from Om Yoga Center in New York City in 2003. She lives with her husband, David Reed, in Philadelphia.

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