Rabbi Stephen Cohen
Rabbi Steve Cohen has served as the senior rabbi of Congregation B’nai B’rith since 2004, after nineteen years as the rabbi and Executive Director of the Hillel Foundation at UC Santa Barbara.
In his capacity as senior rabbi, Steve’s primary responsibilities include teaching adults and youth, guiding the development of the congregation’s educational, worship, social action and cultural programs, providing pastoral counseling for congregants in need, helping families move through the great passages of life (birth, coming of age, marriage and death) with love and meaning, and working closely with the volunteer leadership of the congregation to build a vibrant Jewish community.
Rabbi Cohen has written two short books distilling his approach to Judaism: “Through the Open Door: Another Introduction to Judaism,” (2004) and “Seven Circles: A Framework For Shared Jewish Life”(2nd edition, 2009) which you can find and read here on this website. His primary scholarly interest is in midrash and classical Torah commentary. An archive of Rabbi Cohen’s sermons, 2004-2011, can be accessed here. Also see Rabbi Cohen’s Archive.
A native of Rochester, New York, Rabbi Cohen was born in 1957. He received his undergraduate degree in American History from Harvard University in 1979 and Rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1985. He and his wife Marian have been married since 1986 and have two grown children, Rachel and Ari.
In recent years, Steve and Marian have taken up long-distance backpacking and in 2013 they hiked the entire 211 miles of the John Muir Trail through the High Sierra. In his free time, Steve enjoys studying Torah with friends, going to the movies, listening to a wide range of music, and davening at sunrise with the birds in his backyard.
Cantor Mark Childs
Cantor Mark E. Childs has served as Cantor of Congregation B’nai B’rith in Santa Barbara, CA since 1991. His duties as Cantor encompass all facets of life at Congregation B’nai B’rith from pulpit to preschool, cradle to grave. In addition to being part of the Temple’s clergy team, he is also the coordinator of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah program, director of the Music Program, and a teacher.
In addition to his position as cantor, Mark is a touring recitalist in Jewish art song, folk song, and all vocal music of the Jewish people as well as classical, operatic and musical theater repertoire. He has appeared as featured soloist with the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony (Zeisl’s Requiem Hebraica), the Portland Symphonic Choir (Bloch’s Sacred Service), the Santa Barbara Symphony (Bloch’s Sacred Service, Holdridge’s American Hymn), the Santa Barbara Grand Opera (Die Fledermaus, Don Giovanni), the Santa Barbara Master Chorale (Mendelssohn’s Elijah), and the Aspen Music Festival.
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A past honoree of the ADL’s “Distinguished Community Service” award, Cantor Childs’ work in the community includes serving on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Initiative of SB County, Project HEAL, and ECOFaith, and as the music director of the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. He is a member of both the American Conference of Cantors and The Cantors’ Assembly.
He is ordained as Cantor and holds his Master of Sacred Music degree from Hebrew Union College-School of Sacred Music in New York City (class of 1991). He received a B.A. in music from U.C. San Diego.
Cantor Childs lives in Santa Barbara with his wife Shari, and sons David (now attending UCLA) and Adam. Visit Cantor online at www.cantorchilds.com.