Sign In Forgot Password

Clergy and Staff

Rabbi Jennifer Romano Greenspan, Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Greenspan received her Master of Arts in Rabbinic Studies and Rabbinic Ordination in 2019 from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University and received the Henry Fisher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Jewish Studies. From 2019 to 2022, she served as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis, Indiana. Rabbi Greenspan became a member of the Beth Shalom community on July 1, 2022.

Rabbi Greenspan is a Southern California native and grew up as an active member of the Los Angeles Conservative Jewish community. In her youth, she spent summers at Camp Ramah in California and her school year in USY, serving as Chapter President at Temple Ramah Zion in Northridge, California.
She earned her bachelor’s degree with a double major in Psychology and Feminist Studies with honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz. As a student, she worked with the LGBTQ+ community and served on the committee that worked to ensure that the student health program included coverage for the needs of transgender students.

Rabbi Greenspan returned to Southern California to work for Camp Ramah initially as the Finance Assistant and later found herself drawn to a desire to pursue Jewish leadership and enrolled in the Ziegler School in 2014. While in Rabbinical School, she interned at Adat Ari El of North Hollywood, California, and at Congregation Beth Am of San Diego, California. She continued to spend summers and many weekends working at Camp Ramah and spent six years on the planning committee for Ruach Nashim, Ramah’s Women’s Shabbat retreat.

In her down time, Rabbi Greenspan enjoys knitting, board games, and cooking shows. 

Cantor Rebecca Apt

Born and raised in Olney, MD, Cantor Apt grew up as the daughter of a Conservative Rabbi and has been leading services since before she can remember.

After graduating from the Joint Program between Columbia University and Albert A. List College, where she received degrees in Music and Midrash, respectively, the H.L. Miller Cantorial School was the obvious choice. She received a Master’s degree in Sacred Music and was invested as a Hazzan in 2013. She has worked as a High Holiday cantor in Ambridge, PA, and Albany, NY; as a cantorial intern at Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, VA, as a B’nai Mitzvah tutor, as a Torah reader at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, and as a student cantor at Temple Beth Ahm of Aberdeen, NJ.  Since graduating from cantorial school, she has been a music teacher and B’nai Mitzvah tutor at B’nai Israel Congregation Talmud Torah in Rockville, MD, served as B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator and Teen Program Coordinator of the Hill Havurah in Washington, DC, and Music Teacher at the Aleph Bet Jewish Day School in Annapolis, MD. Prior to joining Beth Shalom, Cantor Apt served as Hazzan of Shaare Tefilah Congregation in Olney, MD.

Cantor Apt is married to Andrew Apt, a Social Studies teacher; plays piano and guitar, and loves cooking, stand-up comedy and singing Broadway show tunes and Disney songs in her spare time! Cantor Apt and Andrew are proud parents of Reena Naomi.

Rabbi Susan Grossman, Emerita

Rabbi Susan Grossman is an accomplished speaker, author, and storyteller who offered her congregants a rare blend of spiritual energy, joy, intellectual stimulation, and pastoral compassion. Identified by The Forward and the New York Jewish Week as one of the forty-five Jewish leaders to watch in the 21st century, Rabbi Grossman serves on the prestigious Committee for Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement and is nationally recognized for her work on women’s health and ritual. She was honored for her work bringing people together across faith, race, ethnicity, and gender differences by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission in Howard County, where she champions interfaith and intercultural cooperation, particularly around diversity in our public schools and school calendar.

Rabbi Grossman was one of the first women ordained as a rabbi by Jewish Theological Seminary and the first woman to lead her own congregation in both Westchester, New York and Howard County, Maryland. Perhaps best known for her work as one of the editors of the Conservative Movement humash, Etz Hayim Torah and Commentary, Rabbi Grossman has written many articles on the role of women in Judaism and co-edited with Orthodox activist Rivka Haut, the anthology Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue published by Jewish Publication Society.

Before entering the rabbinate, she directed Holocaust programming for the National Jewish Resource Center (now CLAL) under Rabbi Yitz Greenberg and worked for many years as a journalist and editor. She has a Doctorate in Ancient Judaism from Jewish Theological Seminary and has served as spiritual leader of Beth Shalom Congregation since 1997.

She retired from Beth Shalom after 25 years of service on June 30, 2022. You can continue to enjoy Rabbi Grossman’s sermons here.

Ilissa Nelsen, Education and Youth Director

Ilissa Nelsen is a dedicated Hebrew and Judaics Educator and Director, with an impressive 37-year tenure in the field of education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Arts in Psychology from Pepperdine University. Her commitment to Judaic education led her to a year of intensive studies at the University of Judaism, where she immersed herself in Judaics Education and Administration, as well as their Rabbinical program.
 
Most recently, Ilissa served as the Director of Education and Programming at Temple Beth El, West Palm Beach, FL, where she played a pivotal role in shaping the educational journey of students and engaging the community through innovative programs. She also managed the YjPN (Young Jewish Professionals Network) program, fostering connections and leadership among young professionals.
 
Ilissa is a strong advocate for Israel and recently participated in a Mishlachat Areyvut, a profound trip to Israel to bear witness to the atrocities of October 7. This experience has further solidified her commitment to educating others about the importance of Israel and its history.
 
Beyond her professional achievements, Ilissa is a loving wife and proud mother of four children. Her passion for teaching and her extensive educational background reflect her commitment to fostering a deep understanding of Hebrew and Judaic traditions in her students.
 
In her free time Ilissa enjoys reading, taking walks and spending time with her family.
 

Ruthann Klem, Bookkeeper

Ruthann has been a dedicated staff member at Beth Shalom Congregation for over 20 years. Not only is she available Tuesday through Thursday, but you can often find her during Shabbats and holidays acting as Beth Shalom’s facility staff. When she’s not at Beth Shalom, she’s spending time with her daughter, Samantha, husband Tim, or new puppy, Bowie.
 

Jessica Schultz Elkin, Administrator


Jessica started her tenure at Beth Shalom as Rabbi Grossman’s Assistant, and after several years, took on the roll of Synagogue Administrator. She knows the ins and outs of Beth Shalom and works to keep the facility up and running. As the Synagogue Administrator, Jessica makes sure the building is in order and is available to assist with congregant and community needs. Jessica attended Franklin & Marshall College and received a degree in Psychology. She is married to Dmitry (Dima) and has a beautiful daughter, Zoya.
Thu, July 25 2024 19 Tammuz 5784