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Clergy at SAJ

Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann, SAJ Rabbi

The SAJ Community extends a warm welcome to our new rabbi, Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann, who began her term on July 1, 2015. Rabbi Lauren spent the year from 2015-2016 getting to know the congregation and the SAJ community, and is now presenting a vision for the years 2016-2021. Click here for the Vision Statement. 

Lauren Grabelle Herrmann graduated from The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College inJune 2006. After serving in rabbinic internships in Indiana, New Jersey, New York City, and Boston, Rabbi Lauren founded Kol Tzedek Synagogue in West Philadelphia in 2004, along with a handful of community members. Utilizing her training in community organizing through the Jewish Organizing Initiative & Network (JOIN), Rabbi Lauren built the community through individual meetings and leadership development. Today, Kol Tzedek is a dynamic, diverse, and growing community, with over 140 household units (with members ranging from ages 25 to 95) and with over 60 children in its religious school.

Learn about Rabbi Lauren by clicking here.

Please contact Rabbi Lauren at 212-724-2721 or at


Cantor Lisa Arbisser, SAJ Cantor

Cantor Lisa Shapanka Arbisser brings a passion for Jewish music and a profound dedication to Jewish community life and learning to her role as cantor of the SAJ.

In addition to co-leading services with Rabbi Lauren, Cantor Arbisser teaches music in the after-school education program, Jewish Journey Project at the SAJ and runs the B'nei Mitzvah program.

Learn more about Cantor Lisa by clicking here.

Please contact Cantor Arbisser at 212-724-7247 or


Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Michael Strassfeld has been prominent in the American Jewish community for nearly forty years, dating from his involvement as co-editor of the first Jewish Catalog in 1973. He graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University (1971) with honors in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, after having spent his freshman year at the Rabbi Isaac Elhanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. He also holds an M.A. degree from Brandeis in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, and completed his doctoral coursework in Jewish History at Brandeis. He received his ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1991. Rabbi Strassfeld was very active in the Havurah movement, having been the founding chairperson of the National Havurah Committee from 1979 to 1982.

Before coming to the SAJ, he held various positions at Congregation Ansche Chesed on the Upper West Side, including Director of Program and Development, Executive Director, and Rabbi of the congregation. Rabbi Strassfeld led the SAJ from 2001-2015.

Learn more about Rabbi Strassfeld by clicking here.

Sat, April 21 2018 6 Iyar 5778