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About us

CBS-CS Values​


With Torah at the heart of the congregation’s life, we strive to be blessings for one another - Kehilah Kedosha – קהילה קדושה

We meet people where they are and respect multiple paths in Jewish life - Ba’asher hu sham – באשר הוא שם and Kol Netivoteha Shalom ––נתיבותיה שלום כל

We embrace Jewish learning and teaching opportunities, for people of all ages, as avenues to celebrate, deepen, and transmit our Jewish heritage – Talmud Torah K’neged Kulam – תלמוד תורה כנגד כולם

We enhance Jewish life by blending innovation and tradition - Masoret/Hidush – מסורת/חידוש

We collaborate actively within the congregation and community –Shutafut – שותפות
We promote Tikkun Olam and Tzedek, including healing and justice for all – תקון עולם andצדק

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Mission Statement​


Congregation Beth Sholom – Chevra Shas is an egalitarian Conservative synagogue. We are a participatory community inspiring Jewish values: spiritual, educational, and social. CBS-CS is dedicated to creating positive and memorable Jewish experiences for its members.

Vision Statement​

We envision five steps for sustaining a multi-generational community that embraces one another as we study, play, and celebrate Jewish life together.

We value the diversity of our membership and connect all through programs, services, activities, and life-long learning.

We develop funding to support programming and leadership while meeting the cost of current and future operations.

We promote CBS-CS and expand our membership through outreach, invitation, and appreciation of one another.

We provide diverse opportunities for adults and youth to experience the legacies, joys, and rhythms of Jewish life.

We welcome all to join us in community collaborations, celebrating authentic Jewish experiences in Central New York and beyond.

Clergy & Staff

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Dr. Oren Z. Steinitz

Rabbi Dr. Oren Z. Steinitz is the new spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Sholom Chevra-Shas. He was ordained in 2014 at the Mesifta Adas Wolkowisk Rabbinical Academy, and is a member of OHALAH Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal.

In 2020, after years of rigorous studying of the laws of conversion to Judaism and Jewish divorce, Rabbi Oren became the sixth Jewish Renewal rabbi to receive advanced rabbinic ordination as Dayan -- Mediator and Adjudicator of Jewish Law -- from Rabbi Daniel Siegel and ALEPH Canada's Integral Halacha Institute. He is one of a handful of non-Orthodox rabbis trained as a mesader gittin, an administrator of Jewish divorce.

Rabbi Oren holds a doctorate from University of Calgary‘s Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (Religious Studies, Communications and Israel Studies), researching the attitude towards the “Other” in Jewish and Islamic legal websites. In addition, he holds BA and MA degrees from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev (Israel). He taught at the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University and The ALEPH Ordinations Program as well as in different synagogues and Jewish Community Centers. His fields of expertise include the history of Jewish-Muslim relations; modern Jewish fundamentalism; Jewish and Islamic Law; and the religious online world.

He recently relocated to Central New York with his wife, Adar Steinitz and their children Eytan (12) and Eliana (8).

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Administrative Assistant

Jennifer Strickland

Jen has served the CBS-CS congregation since 2015. It is her passion to help and serve others. At CBS-CS she's served at holiday events, celebrations, and many Saturday morning kiddush meals.


Her journey with CBS-CS started in the kitchen where she eventually worked her way up to become kitchen manager. She attended MedVance Institute in Stuart FL for Medical Office Administration. She also has a CDA State Certification with Childcare Solutions in Infant Toddler Education and a Life, Accident and Insurance License with New York State.

Fun Facts About Jen include she raced Yamaha Jet Skis (co-ed sport class). She enjoys water skiing, kneeboarding, and tubing. She loves fishing, family. She can play the guitar, string bass, cello, and likes to sing. She is a mother, wife and dog mom of 2. Her motto is "Do It Yourself!" If there is a will, she will find a way. Jen likes to create art in many forms, painting, planting, building and writing. If you search the web you might stumble into some Harry Potter Fan fiction.


As the CBS-CS administrative assistant, Jen is available to help the Congregation and the community. Feel free to contact her via email with any questions you might have or assistance you might need.

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Director of Youth and Education

Kelly Bernhardt Klapper 

Kelly moved to this area in 2018 and has been a CBS-CS member ever since. She graduated from Wake Forest University with honors in English and Religion. 

She brings many years of experience as a teacher of students from the pre-k level all the way to 12th grade. She has a passion for building relationships and learning about each unique student. Kelly also has experience in leadership and supervisory positions in which she was in charge of staff, budgets, and event planning. 

Kelly has taught in our Shul School and served on the Board of Trustees. Her creativity and passion for learning and faith will greatly enhance the CBS-CS students. Kelly loves being a part of this congregation and is looking forward to being able to give back to CBS-CS as she feels it has given so much to her and her family, Louis and Calder.


Rabbi Emeritus

Daniel Jezer


Rabbi Daniel Jezer spent the majority of his career as a rabbi in Syracuse. “I had a strong concern that each individual congregant, no matter where they were on the religious spectrum, be made to feel included and that I was there to help them find their own growth.


Rabbi Jezer is one of the founding members of the local Labor-Religion Coalition whose major issues are a living wage, worker rights and healthcare. He was president of Interfaith Works, is an emeritus member of the Roundtable of Faith Leaders and past president of Onondaga Pastoral Counseling.


For 27 years he has been on the faculty of LeMoyne College. Rabbi Jezer received the Bebe Merenti Award from LeMoyne College and was adjunct union president for eight years.


His spouse, Dr. Rhea Jezer is a noted environmental educator, policy advisor, and consultant. They both very adventurous travelers and chroniclers of the world around us, their most recent trip being to Uganda.


Executive Director

Melissa Harkavy

Melissa Harkavy joined Congregation Beth Sholom - Chevra Shas as the Program Director in 2017 and was promoted to Executive Director in 2019.

During her time at CBS-CS, Melissa won the 2018 Tzafon USY Eleanor Bloom Memorial Award for Youth Director of the Year. In 2019, she was selected to be a NewCAJE LEEP Fellow (Leadership for Emerging Education Professionals) 
and was awarded a USCJ Rising Leaders Summit Scholarship.  

Melissa also serves on the Federation of CNY's Board of Trustees, the faculty of the Epstein School for Jewish Studies, and is a proud member the Gender Equity Advocates and Training Network.

Before starting her career in Jewish education, Melissa took a winding road through the field of geography, where she discovered her passion for education and social justice. One of her prized accomplishments was serving as the Research Coordinator for the non-profit Black Women’s Blueprint. Their work resulted in the inclusion of gender-based violence against Black women in the US Department of State’s report to UNCERD (United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination). She studied Geography and Africana Studies at Penn State and earned a Master of Arts degree in Geography from the University of Colorado.


When she's not working, Melissa loves going on adventures with her partner Zach and Angel, the geriatric Maltipoo.



Donna Constance

Brought to You By...

Lay Leadership


President - Jarrod Bagatell

Executive Vice President - Bob Tornberg


Adult Education - Marc Beckman and Marty Schaeffer

Finance - Steven Wladis
House - Jim MacCrindle
Ritual - Gwen Kay
Youth & Education - Joely Kuss and Michal Juran

Membership - Arel Moodie and Yolanda Febles

Social Action/Tikkun Olam - Vacant

Corresponding Secretary - Ora Jezer

Recording Secretary - Karen Morton
Men's Club President & Sisterhood Liaison 


Penelope Pooler Eisenbies, Herb Goldman,
Daniel Kornfeld, 

Rachael Porter, Eric Rochelson, Mark Savad, Deb Sikora, Mark Watkins,

Lois Weiner,  Kate Werner, Nance Wilson

Join US!


The value of membership in CBS-CS is the value of belonging to a Jewish community that provides its members with the level of engagement and support that each individual wants and needs. For many members, it is about friendship and activities with friends. For others, it is about access to religious services and a rabbi. Still, others value the Religious School programs and a place for their children to have enriched Jewish experiences with children their own age. Whatever your need, we strive to find a place for you.

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