Rabbi Marcelo Kormis
Our beloved Rabbi Marcelo Kormis works hard to inspire people of all ages to engage in Jewish tradition, to be moved to work for social justice, and to experience prayer and life-cycle events in a vibrant and meaningful way. In Rabbi Kormis’ own words: “I don’t imagine my Rabbinate as a job; to me it is a vocation. I serve this vocation with all my soul.”
Rabbi Kormis joined Beth El as its spiritual leader in August, 2012, after serving as Associate Rabbi of the Circulo Israelita congregation in Santiago, the largest (900 families) conservative congregation in the city. Prior, he served as the head of Judaic Studies at the Instituto Hebreo, the main Hebrew Day School in Chile with 1,500 students. He studied at the Seminario Rabinico in Buenos Aires (ordained 2003), as well as Haifa University in Israel (B.A. Bible and Jewish Thought), the Hebrew University (Senior Educators Program), and Machon Schechter (M.A. Judaic Studies).
In 2008, Rabbi Kormis was chosen among the 100 most influential young leaders of his country by the prestigious national newspaper, El Mercurio. He and his wife Fernanda Auba have four beautiful children, Mijael, Ari, Leah, and Clara.
Hazzan Brian Baruch Shamash, Cantor and Education Director
Since joining the Beth El family in 2016, Hazzan Brian Baruch Shamash’s passion for Jewish music has infused services with enthusiasm, vibrancy and beauty. He has a magnificent voice, deep knowledge of both Ashkenazic and Sephardic music, and unique and original ways of helping our hallowed prayers come alive.
An accomplished recording artist, Hazzan Shamash has helped teach our world to pray through his Jewish Follow and Sing-Along Video series. He also enjoys composing and arranging music for schools, concerts, and services, incorporating middle-eastern hand percussion instruments, guitar and sign language in the classroom.
The Hazzan holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in music from the University of Maryland and the University of Miami respectively, as well as a certificate of Hazzan-Minister with the Cantors Assembly. He served the South Huntington Jewish Center in New York, B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, and Temple Israel of Greater Miami. He and his wife Emily have three beautiful children Ella, Maya and Ethan.
Kate Luedtke, K’tanim Preschool Director
Kate Luedtke brings over 20 years experience in Early Childhood to her new role as leader of our wonderful K’tanim family. At the Westport Community Nursery School, she developed and managed the Kindergarten program, after having served as the school’s Curriculum Coordinator, and the Head Teacher of a 3’s classroom, a 4’s class, and a mixed aged group of 3’s/4’s. She has also made a positive impact on the Stratford Public Schools working with their School Readiness program, and put her extensive experience to further use in teaching ESL (English as a Second Language).
In addition to having earned a Masters in Elementary Education and a BA in Psychology, her credentials also include a Child Development Associate (CDA) Degree in Early Childhood, a Connecticut Head Teacher’s Certificate and the Connecticut Director’s Credential at a Master’s Level. She is also a trained Music Together teacher.
Born and raised in Trumbull, Kate still lives there with her husband Brad and two sons Logan and Braeden.
Having spent 27 successful years in New York’s fashion industry in sales, merchandising and administration, Susan Mittag joined Beth El in June 2002, bringing together her professional strengths as an administrator with her love of Judaism. She is immersed in all areas of synagogue life, from assisting the clergy, lay leadership, and committee chairs with events to preparing the weekly kiddush when needed.
An integral part of Bar/Bat Mitzvah planning at Beth El, Susan was inspired to embark on her own spiritual journey, learning to read Hebrew with five other women and becoming a Bat Mitzvah herself in June 2012. The service was attended by family, friends, and fellow congregants who all knew Susan to be an exemplary administrator, but were equally impressed with her enthusiasm and performance on the bimah.
Susan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Brooklyn College. She and her husband, Barry, have two grown children, Nathan and Rachel, as well as two beautiful grandchildren.
Beth El’s Board of Directors ensures that all voices of our congregation’s membership are heard in the governance and fiduciary oversight of every aspect of the synagogue, including worship, religious education, and programming. General board meetings are held monthly at the synagogue and are open to all congregants.
Additionally, all committees welcome congregant input, and most are currently accepting new members. Please feel free to contact Board members or committee chairs directly at any time by clicking on their names below.