Meet Our Clergy
RABBI ANDY KOREN
Rabbi Andy Koren came to Greensboro in 2003 with his wife Michal and their children Avishai and Shiri. He served as Temple Emanuel’s first full-time Assistant Rabbi, and later was named the congregation’s Associate Rabbi. From 2003-2021, he was also Temple’s Director of Religious Education. Rabbi Koren is the 14th Senior Rabbi in the Temple's celebrated history.
During his first 18 years with Temple Emanuel, Rabbi Koren led many of the programs which impacted a generation of our community’s youth, including a highly successful high school track where upwards of 80% of B’nai Mitzvah continue their involvement through the end of 12th grade. He has presented on this issue at URJ Biennials and is regularly consulted by congregations looking to retain meaningful teen involvement through the end of high school. He served on the Rabbinic faculty at URJ camps (Camp Coleman from 2004-2009 and 6 Points Sports Academy from 2010-2015) and is currently on the 6 Points Sports Camp Committee. He is an advocate for Jewish camping and the need for increased communal funding to get more of our youth to Jewish non-profit overnight camps as a way to keep our youth connected to their Jewish heritage.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he developed an annual work/mitzvah trip to New Orleans for high school juniors and seniors. The six trips he led to New Orleans resulted in thousands of hours of service-learning for more than 125 teen volunteers, including projects such as house construction, environmental restoration, and providing meals for the hungry. This program received the Fain Award in 2011 from the Reform movement’s Commissions on Social Action.
Rabbi Koren has led numerous trips to Washington, DC over the years. He has traveled with dozens of teens to the Religious Action Center’s annual L’Taken Social Justice Seminar, bringing them to our nation’s capital to learn about public policy issues, Jewish values, and the importance of advocacy. He has been an AIPAC activist since the mid-1980s and has introduced our high school teens to Israel advocacy through AIPAC programs such as the High School Summit and the annual AIPAC Policy Conference.
Over the years, Rabbi Koren has maintained a strong connection with Israel, leading a congregational trip to Israel in February 2016. He also participated in the 2018 Greensboro Clergy Trip as well as the Greensboro Interfaith Study Mission to Israel. His two children are alumni of the URJ’s EIE semester High School in Israel program.
Rabbi Koren has lent his voice to some of the most critical social justice and civil rights concerns of our times. He marched in the NCAAP’s Journey for Justice in the summer of 2015. He has also been the Co-chair of the Greensboro Faith Leaders’ Council (2014-present), convening monthly gatherings of leaders from across the religious spectrum to work on key issues facing our city, region, and state.
In December of 2015, he teamed up with the Islamic Center of Greensboro and NCCJ of the Triad for an evening of dialogue with Jewish and Muslim teens. This gathering took place at a critical time in our country as anti-Muslim sentiments were increasingly becoming part of the Presidential campaign.
For many years, Rabbi Koren has volunteered with the Children’s Home Society (CHS), a state-wide organization that facilitates foster care placement as well as adoptions, and offers numerous programs to strengthen families. He is currently a member of CHS’s Board of Trustees and participates in the organization’s Greensboro Community Leadership Council.
Rabbi Koren has taught in numerous settings in Greensboro. He has been an instructor at the B’nai Shalom Day School, as well as at the former American Hebrew Academy. For five years, he directed and taught classes for Greensboro’s Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning. He has taught many year-long Introduction to Judaism classes and was an instructor in the statewide North Carolina Beit Midrash which was organized by Reform clergy and conducted online during the fall and winter of 2020-21. Rabbi Koren has also taught Temple’s Adult B’nai Mitzvah Program and has blessed over 5 dozen adult learners as they have reached this important milestone in their Jewish journeys.
Rabbi Koren is a native of North Miami, Florida, a graduate of Tufts University (1988), and was ordained from HUC’s Cincinnati campus in 1993. While at HUC, he was a recipient of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. He spent his first 10 years as a Rabbi working with college students, serving as the Director of North Carolina Hillel from 1993 to 1995 and as the Rabbi for the Hillel Foundation at the University of Florida from 1998 to 2003. From 1995 through 1998, he served as Program Associate for the Wexner Foundation in Columbus, OH concentrating on Jewish leadership development as well as recruitment for the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program and the fields of Jewish professional service.
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RABBI Libby Fisher
Rabbi & Director of Religious Education
Rabbi Libby Fisher was born and raised in the Chicago area, where she was brought up in the Jewish community of Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Deerfield, IL. Surrounded by amazing rabbis, cantors, and educators all year long, her Jewish path was further solidified by her 13 formative summers spent as camper, counselor, and senior staff member at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI), a Union for Reform Judaism overnight camp in Oconomowoc, WI. At OSRUI, she learned that Judaism is not confined to the four walls of the synagogue, but can be an integral part of our lives wherever we go!
With such a deep and wonderful Jewish upbringing, Rabbi Fisher was curious to learn more about other faith traditions, and so she earned a B.A. in Religious Studies and a minor in Music/Vocal Performance at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. While in college, she taught Hebrew School at the local synagogue and performed in student-run musicals. After graduating, she worked at a variety of Reform congregations and Jewish institutions around the Chicago area as a youth director, administrative assistant, b’nai mitzvah tutor, and songleader before attending rabbinical school.
As a student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), she served as the rabbinic fellow at Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati, OH, where she helped to reinvigorate the religious school family curriculum and taught the Adult B’nai Mitzvah class. She also had many powerful learning experiences through her time working at Congregation Ahavath Sholom in Bluefield, WV, Temple Beth El in Muncie, IN, Congregation Or Shalom in Vernon Hills, IL, and The Ohio Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. She also spent a summer focusing on pastoral care in hospitals and senior living facilities around the Cincinnati area. While in school, Rabbi Fisher participated in many fellowships, including the inaugural cohort of the Weitzman-Joint Distribution Committee Fellowship in Global Jewish Leadership, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Leffell Israel Fellowship, and the iCenter iFellows Masters Concentration in Israel Education. She also earned the Rabbi Sally J. Priesand Women of Reform Judaism Award, given annually on the HUC-JIR Cincinnati campus to a woman who embodies clarity of vision, commitment to excellence, passion, and perseverance, just as Rabbi Priesand has done.
Rabbi Fisher was ordained in May 2021, and is excited to begin her journey in Greensboro, where you will probably find her reading a good book, befriending a neighbor’s dog, and searching for the best coffee shop. She looks forward to bringing her passions for teaching, music, and Torah to the Temple Emanuel community!
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RABBI FRED GUTTMAN
Rabbi Fred Guttman served as the rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Greensboro, North Carolina from 1995 to 2021.
During his tenure, membership grew from 360 families in 1995 to around 600. It was also during this period that a capital campaign raised more than $8 million to build a new, 45-000 square foot synagogue and endowed the maintenance of the historic downtown Temple. During his tenure, the total amount of Temple Endowments increased sevenfold.
From 1979 to 1991, Rabbi Guttman lived in Israel and served as the rabbi and principal of Alexander Muss High School in Israel. During that time, he served in a combat unit in the Israel Defense Forces.
In addition to his Rabbinical Ordination from Hebrew Union College in 1979, he has a Master’s Degree in Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College. He also earned a Master of Education with a specialization in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida in 1994. His undergraduate education was at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. In 2004, he was awarded a Doctorate of Divinity from Hebrew Union College.
Rabbi Guttman has been involved in numerous interfaith activities.
In 1998, he helped organize 66 members of the Interfaith Clergy community to intervene on behalf of our children when the school boards and the local county commissioners sued each other over the school budget. Together with other clergies, behind-the-scenes negotiations were held which resulted in the settlement of this lawsuit, the approval of a school budget, and the opening of schools in a timely fashion.
He has organized three Interfaith Clergy Trips to Israel. His vision for the trip was to break down the religious, ethnic, and racial barriers that exist within Greensboro’s clergy and the faith communities that they represent.
Rabbi Guttman established an ongoing Hevra Torah Study which usually attracts some 50 people on Saturday morning. He created special services such as an LGBT Sabbath Service, MLK Shabbat service and Marriage Reconsecration Shabbat.
He facilitated and subsidized teens to attend the L’Taken Social Action Seminar of the Religious Action Center during all four years of their High school experience.
He is a regional director of the International March of the Living to Poland and Israel and has recruited and accompanied Greensboro teenagers on this program on seventeen occasions. In 2018, Rabbi Guttman produced the Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) service for the March of the Living. This service was held at the Krakow Opera house.
Nationally, Rabbi Guttman organized in 2015 the National Jewish commemoration of the Bloody Sunday, March in Selma Alabama. The commemoration took place in Selma on the 50th Anniversary of the March.
He was among twenty American Rabbis chosen to attend the Rabbinical Unity Mission to Israel 2018. While there, he met with Natan Sharansky and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Rabbi Guttman established, along with his wife Nancy (and Laurie Regal), the yearly Greensboro Jewish Festival. The Festival is attended by thousands in Greensboro and highlights Jewish customs, food and culture. Over 300 Temple Emanuel volunteers spend nearly one year planning this event.
Rabbi Guttman has received numerous awards and honors including the Sharon Hoard Lifetime of Service Award from the Volunteer Center of the Triad; recognition as one of the 33 most Inspirational Rabbis in North America by the Forward Magazine; recognition as one of Reform Judaism’s “50 Voices for Justice;” recipient of the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Citation Award from the National Conference of Community and Justice (NCCJ); the Champion for Children Award from the North Carolina Foundation for Public School Children; and the Rabbinical Award from the United Jewish Communities.
He has been the chair of the Israel/Foreign Affairs subcommittee of the Commission of Social Action for Reform Judaism and has been instrumental in helping draft several significant Union for Reform Judaism resolutions, including resolutions on torture and human rights.
Rabbi Guttman was the first and only rabbi ever to have been the Keynote Speaker at the Religious Emphasis Day Luncheon at the 70th North Carolina NAACP Convention.
During the Covid Pandemic, Rabbi Guttman spearheaded different programs on zoom which brought together the North Carolina Reform Jewish community. More than 10 congregations came together for a variety of programs. These included: a memorial to Ruth Bader Ginzburg, two six-week lunch and learn programs of two hours each taught by a variety of rabbis from different congregations, and a joint MLK Justice Shabbat service.
He is a regular contributor of opinion articles to the Greensboro News & Record and other publications.
He loves music and plays both the guitar and keyboard. He is married to Nancy and has three children and three grandchildren of whom he is very proud.
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Meet Our Staff
Laura Denhardt, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Brenda Henley, Director of Congregant Services email@example.com
Natasha Kobeleva, Controller firstname.lastname@example.org
Cassie Silverman, Interim Director of Early Childhood Education email@example.com
Jessi Balogh, Program Coordinator Jbalogh@tegreensboro.org
Elizabeth Elliott, Administrative Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org
Brooklyn Flatt, Religious School Secretary email@example.com
Meet Our Board
Board of trustees
Amy Epstein - President
Paul Benson - President-Elect
Elisa Liss Medlin - V.P. of Programs
Kim Freedman - V.P. of Education
David Delman- V.P. of Operations
Desmond Sheridan - Treasurer
Brian Goldberg - Secretary
Amy Thompson - Past President
Jerry Plovsky - Membership Co-Chair
Andrew Brod - Finance Chair
Erika Levitan-Browne - ECEC Chair
Barb Boyette - Education Chair
Todd Lewis - Brotherhood President