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Our Clergy

Rabbi Jack P. Paskoff

Welcome everyone! Let me tell you a little about myself. I was raised in suburban New York where my family belonged to a Reform congregation. From the time I was in high school, I was headed toward becoming a rabbi. Along the way, I did a great deal of work in youth groups and Jewish camping, serving on the staff of our Reform movement camp in the Berkshires.

I graduated from Brandeis University, and then spent my first year of Rabbinical School in Jerusalem, before returning to the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York campus. I was an intern at Temple Judea of Manhasset, where I met Risa. We’ve been married since 1986.

I also served student congregations in Bradford, PA and Brooklyn, NY. After I was ordained in 1988, I became the associate rabbi at the Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, NJ. I spent 5 years there learning and growing and completed a unit of CPE (Clinical Pastorial Education) to hone my skills in dealing with illness and grief. My son, Ari, was born there in 1989.

After 5 years, it was time for me to move to a congregation of my own. We moved here to Lancaster in July of 1993, and have been here ever since. Our family grew with the birth of Gadi in 1994. Most recently, Danielle became part of our family when she and Ari were married. We are pleased to have grown along with our congregation, and I continue to try my best to reach out to our congregants and to the community at large, focusing my efforts on education for people of all ages and on Tikkun Olam (our efforts to repair the world). I am also especially proud of the music program we have developed at Shaarai Shomayim.

I enjoy getting to know our congregants, and would look forward to meeting people who are new to the congregation or community. Just give me a call (717-397-5575) or send me an e-mail at jpaskoff@shaarai.org. Shalom!

Contact Rabbi Paskoff at jpaskoff@shaarai.org or by calling the Temple office at 717-397-5575.

Cantorial Soloist Steve Dropkin

Steve Dropkin has been a songleader and involved with Jewish music since he was 14 years old. An alumnus of the URJ Eisner Camp in Massachusetts, Steve was a camp and NFTY songleader during his college days and beyond in the late ’70s and ’80s. His writing and composing came a bit later. While most people often start writing music very early, Steve started writing in his mid-30s. He appeared on several NFTY recordings prior to his own projects.

Steve has served as the Cantorial Soloist at Congregation Shaarai Shomayim since 2020. Before returning to the East Coast in 2020, he served as the Cantorial Soloist at the Santa Monica Synagogue for six years after serving for three years as Hazzan Sheini and choir director in Boca Raton, FL. He also served as the Ba’al Shira for two years in Fresno, CA, and as the Music Director at the Valley Beth Shalom Day School in Encino, CA from 2014 to 2020. Steve has recorded six albums of original Jewish music and his songs are found in more than a dozen Transcontinental Music Publications books, choral sheet music, and CDs.  

Steve has two grown daughters, one living in D.C., and one in Las Vegas.

Contact Steve Dropkin at sdropkin@shaarai.org.

Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784