MEET OUR RABBI & STAFF

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Rabbi Michael Werbow 

Rabbi Werbow hails from Buffalo, New York, from a conservative Jewish household where the discipline, as well as beauty of Judaism, was taught. His parents fostered teenage children from disruptive inner-city homes for periods of two to three years. He has fond memories of this loving environment growing up and the fun weekends of the family going camping and observing Shabbat at campsites.

Although Rabbi Werbow initially went to college to study accounting, his work with special needs campers at Camp Ramah in New England began his transition into Jewish professional life. He was active in USY (United Synagogue Youth) in high school and spent his first year of college in Israel with NATIV, an academic leadership program. Rabbi Werbow holds a bachelor's degree in Special Education and a master’s degree in Jewish Education. A position as Youth Director working with teens in Lexington, MA, motivated him to attend the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University (formerly University of Judaism) in Los Angeles, where he was ordained in May of 2006.

He moved to Pittsburgh to serve as Congregation Beth Shalom’s Assistant Rabbi before assuming the position of Rabbi in 2009. Being cognizant of changing needs in the community, one of his endeavors was a collaboration with lay leaders and local professionals to design a joint Jewish Education Program for his Conservative congregation and a neighboring Reform synagogue.

Asked how he met his wife Melissa, he smilingly said, "literally, across a crowded room.” He was a student at the rabbinical school in Los Angeles and she was studying for her Master's at Hebrew Union College in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Service. The Werbows have three children - daughter Maya, 12; son Lev, 8, and Asher, 5.

In addition to teaching, preaching, and the standard rabbinic endeavors, Rabbi Werbow is known for his warmth and openness. He is excited to be at the helm of the largest conservative synagogue in this area and is involved with community activities along with his rabbinical duties.

Nancy Hendricks 

Business Director

Nancy likes the challenges that come her way on a daily basis. With her attention to detail, experience and "can do" attitude, it has created a winning combination for her and TBS! At TBS, she handles the day to day business needs of Temple Beth Sholom, staff, and board relations. She is the liaison between the staff and the TBS Board (including committees). She handles member needs regarding statements & membership concerns and deals with business vendors and suppliers for TBS. All with the help of her dog, Finn (pictured left). Reach out to Nancy if you have questions about billing, your current membership, or the temple in general at nhendricks@templebethsholomfl.org.

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Kelly Nester

Rabbinical Assistant

Kelly grew up in Englewood and has a beautiful family with her husband of 32 years including two children and a grandson! She loves outdoor activities such as hiking & swimming as well as reading. She also loves TBS! She assists the rabbi with all needs, including synagogue calendar, rabbi’s schedule, announcements, bulletins, congregant interaction with the rabbi, and new member needs and updates. She is the main contact and keeper of the TBS calendar and first step in scheduling a meeting, program, dinner, event, etc. Reach out to her if you need help scheduling anything or have questions regarding the rabbi, high holidays, calendar, or events. Contact Kelly at knester@templebethsholomfl.org.

Lex Calaguas

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Lex just joined our team in April. She recently completed her Master's degree in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is also addicted to travel. She works with the rabbi and program committee on any special events and programming.  She handles the outreach/PR/marketing materials for the synagogue including the TBS website, The Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, JNET, newspapers, Visit Sarasota, and other media outlets. She works with the Rabbinical Assistant on joint needs including PREP, Youth, and religious events. She will handle TBS volunteer relations and coordination as well. Contact Lex about marketing, The Messenger, social media, PR, and the TBS website at lcalaguas@templebethsholomfl.org.

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Jaci Babin

Executive Administrative Assistant

Jaci handles donations, tributes, and questions regarding billings. She assists Men’s Club and Sisterhood with minor administrative needs as well as bulk mailings.  She also works with the Cemetery Committee on those needs including plaques. Reach out to her for questions about donations, tributes, yahrzeits, or questions about the Temple Beth Sholom Cemetery. Contact Jaci at jbabin@templebethsholomfl.org.

Susan McCann

Exectutive Catering Coordinator

For years, Susan lived and worked in West Palm Beach. She has three daughters, four grandchildren, and five dogs. She's found happiness in Sarasota and within the TBS family! Susan is in charge of our TBS kitchen and handles all of our in-house catering needs from small luncheons to shabbat dinners to elaborate kiddishes. She also prepares and serves our community Passover Seders. Susan enjoys working with our devoted TBS Kitchen Krewe who always lend a hand in our many catering preparations. Susan, along with Rabbi Werbow, assures a clean, kosher kitchen. As a certified food service manager, Susan runs a food safe, well-functioning kitchen at all times. Contact Susan at catering@templebethsholomfl.org.

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Phyllis Weitzner

Messenger Associate Editor

Phyllis and her family have been members at TBS for many years. Although she is trained as an architect, she graciously helps us with our monthly publication of The Messenger. She corresponds with our contributors and acts as an editor. Feel free to contact Phyllis at tbsmessenger@gmail.com.

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Evie Shen-Tal Ostrowski

Chalutzim & Kadima Advisor

Evie grew up in Israel and has been teaching and tutorng both adults and teens in Hebrew as well as for their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs for the past 16 years. In her free time, Evie enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending time in nature. 

As the Chalutzim & Kadima Advisor, she helps plan, run, and organize all of our youth programs and events including our Shabbat Shaboom and Youth Havurah. Contact Evie at eviesrqwork@gmail.com.