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Section 5

posted Apr 10, 2015, 2:30 PM by Ezrath Israel   [ updated Apr 10, 2015, 3:08 PM ]

The People of Actors' Temple

We're very diverse

We have people from all walks of life, all kinds of professions, education, non-profit, politics, etc.

We're Not just for Actors

We're not just for actors, singers, dancers, performers, musicians, artists and writers, although we have many treasured and creative members in those professions!

Everyone is Welcome

Whether you are a creative professional, an aficionado of the performing and literary arts, or simply someone looking for an opportunity to socialize and network with other like minded people, you are welcome to our community.

And we're a Theater, too!

And don't forget that our sanctuary is also an off-Broadway theater space!

We are part of the New York performing arts community, and proud of it.

Our Core Principles

posted Jul 31, 2014, 8:32 PM by Ezrath Israel   [ updated Apr 10, 2015, 2:39 PM ]

The Values that define the Actors' Temple Today

Spirituality, Acceptance, Creativity

Philosophy: In our House of God all are welcome!

The Actors' Temple is a place where the enduring values of Judaism translate into human connections. Our congregation is progressive and egalitarian.

We welcome Interfaith Families


We welcome all those in the LGBT Community

Rediscover your Jewishness – Where the Lost Tribes Pray!

  • The Actors’ Temple, Congregation Ezrath Israel, is a place where spirituality meets creativity, where acceptance and inclusion are core principles, and where the enduring values of Judaism translate into human connections.
  • We provide community and self-expression, deeds of loving kindness and caring.
  • We look for fresh approaches to enliven worship while maintaining a connection to our Jewish roots.
  • Our warm community welcomes all people who are searching for a deepened relationship to God and Judaism, for self-expression, learning, and friendship.
  • In our house of God, all people are included and appreciated.
  • Our congregation is progressive and egalitarian, a place where your mind, heart, and soul can be nourished.

What We Offer

posted Jul 30, 2014, 4:57 PM by Ezrath Israel   [ updated Jan 24, 2017, 2:03 PM ]

A Brief List of our Offerings

A brief list of our offerings

  • Vibrant, open, upbeat programs and staff
  • Accessibility to the Rabbi and Board of Trustees
  • Real Spiritual Growth
  • Shabbat and Holiday Services
  • Special events on major Holidays
  • Full prayer, study, pastoral, and life cycle coverage
  • Torah discussions every week, Torah reading opportunities once a month
  • Lectures and presentations by experts in Jewish topics
  • Family education through our Hebrew School
  • Bar & Bat Mitzvah for children and adults
  • Performance opportunities at services for creative artists
  • Discounts on High Holiday Tickets
  • Discounts at the Actors’ Temple Theater (an Off Broadway theater).
  • A variety of performing arts events, including music, dance, choral works, poetry, and more!
  • Opportunity to purchase cemetery plots.

What others are saying

New York Times article from Nov 19, 2011 about the Actors' Temple.

Houston Chronicle article about Rabbi Jill and the Actors' Temple.

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Subscribe to any or all of the RSS feeds on our Events page, and they will automatically show up in your news reader.

Our Rabbi & Cantor

posted Jul 23, 2014, 4:01 PM by Ezrath Israel   [ updated May 13, 2017, 2:03 PM ]

Rabbi and Cantor Jill Hausman

A Message from the Rabbi:

Shalom! And welcome to The Actors’ Temple.

It is a great privilege and pleasure for me to serve in this historic house of God, where the vibrant, happy energy of all those stars of the stage and screen who worshiped here can still be felt. Our accepting, inclusive community is a place where people come first and where everyone feels welcomed and comfortable. I lead a Reform-style service from the Conservative prayer book, with a little bit of Chassidic wisdom to add warmth and Jewish spirituality. We pray, sing, learn, and celebrate together.  I invite you to come and visit me at a service or event. If there is ever anything that I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to call upon me.

At the Actors’ Temple, we are creating a dynamic spiritual and creative community together. The most important thing to me is that religion is welcoming to everyone. God welcomes each person, and the synagogue must be a place of acceptance and love, of learning about Torah and history, socializing, giving back to the community, and creating beauty. It is a place where religious questions are honored and debated in a thoughtful way.

To me, the spirit of the law is more important than the letter of the law, and love for one's neighbor precedes all else. The universal aspects of religion take precedence over the particular aspects, which serve to embellish observance and enrich it rather than dividing people or excluding them.

Each congregant is precious at The Actors’ Temple; each person is important to the synagogue community. Our synagogue, in addition to being a part of old New York history, is a place of being there for each other. It is a refuge and somewhere to turn to for life cycle events and support. It is a place where families can come to teach their children about the beauty and meaning of their Jewish heritage.

My aim is to give people a reason for being at the synagogue: a bit of rest, song, learning, validation, or of appreciating each other’s creativity. People may not know why they came to the synagogue, but in retrospect, they should know that they received something valuable, and that they want to return. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of help or of service to you.

“Rabbi Jill” is a New Jersey native. Before coming to The Actors’ Temple in 2006, she served for twelve years at Boro Park Progressive Synagogue as Cantor, and for two years, also as Assistant Rabbi. She has a background in classical singing and acting, and serves as both Rabbi and Cantor of The Actors’ Temple. Rabbi Jill is a graduate of Smith College and received her Semicha from the Rabbinical Seminary International, under the aegis of Rabbi Joseph Gelberman (z''l). She is married, has two sons, and lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She can sometimes be seen riding her bike to the office.

Spiritual Action, Our Rabbi's Blog

Visit Rabbi/Cantor Jill Hausman’s Blog "Spiritual Action" to read her sermons, and/or take a look at some snippets of recent posts right here.


I'm a religious naturalist. As a former scientist, I do actual experiments and see the results. All religion is experiential.

No one can prove God's existence to anyone else, but each person can prove it to themselves.

If you take a step toward God, God will take a step toward you.

If there is to be a time of peace and harmony, surely God and we have dreamed it together.

Service is a very high form of love.

The wound is the cure.

Love is the spiritual currency of the world. The entire world works on the principle of Love.

In human relations, we are meant to be the oil, and not the grit, between the gears.

There are 3 categories of Torah:  the Written Torah, the Oral Torah, and what I call Newly Created Torah: the guidance that God sends to us in our own hearts and souls.

Board and Staff

posted Jul 23, 2014, 3:52 PM by Ezrath Israel   [ updated Mar 2, 2021, 2:29 PM by Actors Temple Information ]

Board of Directors and Operations Staff Members

Board of Directors

  • Carol Ostrow, President
  • Daniel C. Miller, Vice-President
  • Mike Libien, Treasurer
  • Joan Finkelstein, Secretary
  • Andrew Alkon
  • Bob Greenberg
  • Alan Kifferstein
  • Robert J. Reicher
  • Joseph Rosenthal
  • Karen Hofstein-Heyman
  • Stan Kravitz
  • Paul Kravitz
  • Harry Cohen
  • Millicent Kaye

Past Presidents

  • Robert J. Reicher
  • Dan Feld
  • Alan Kifferstein

Board President Carol Ostrow


Executive Director Ben Sumrall

As an actor who has always believed the theatre to be a form of sacred ritual, Ben is thrilled to be joining the team at The Actors' Temple: a place where religious congregants, as well as secular theatregoers, can gather together to celebrate the wonder of life.

Superintendent Angel Villoda

Angel helps to keep our synagogue clean and functioning. His watchful eye is on it, and we mean that literally: he can see the synagogue from where he lives. (It's close!) He can pretty much open up the building during a TV commercial, and not miss the show.

Like many of our members, trustees, and staff, he's got some creative talent as well. We've seen him strumming some pretty mean guitar.

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