Rabbi Boaz Heilman recently joined our congregation – excited to lead our diverse, yet close-knit, community in services and worship, Mitzvot, and education. Diane Firestone, our Cantorial Soloist, brings music into our services, religious school and lives. Stacey Jessen begins as our Religious School director this fall, continuing a long tradition of a great educational program which has always been a mainstay of the congregation.
The leadership of B’nai Torah is also provided by a board elected by the trustees. Our Board meets monthly and sets the agenda and the course for the congregation. However, the leadership of our community is much more than just our Board of Directors. We are community based and community led – everyone has a stake in making our congregation great.
Rabbi Boaz Heilman
Born in Israel in 1949, Rabbi Heilman moved to the United States with his family in 1961. Trained in classical music and learning piano from an early age, he studied at UCLA and SMU, earning a Bachelor of Music and an Artist Diploma in piano performance from SMU in 1971 and 1973, respectively. In 1973, Rabbi Heilman rejoined his family in Israel. Between 1973 and 1977 he concertized in Israel and abroad and made several recordings for the Israel Broadcasting Authority. During that period he also fulfilled his military duty, serving as a medic in the Israel Defense Force.
Rabbi Heilman returned to the United States in 1977 to continue his music studies. He received a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1979. In 1980, he married Sally Finestone, then a rabbinic student at Hebrew Union College. Rabbi Heilman’s and Rabbi Finestone have two children, Hannah and Jonathan.
Rabbi Heilman was accepted into the rabbinic program at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City in 1995. In 1997 he received his Master of Arts in Hebrew Literature and was ordained as Rabbi in 1998.
From 1995-2015, Rabbi Heilman served as Rabbi at Congregation B’nai Torah in Sudbury, MA.
Between 2015 and 2019 he served as the rabbi of Temple B’nai Israel in Laconia, NH.
Rabbi Heilman still plays the piano (though not much in public any more). He enjoys photography and hiking. He is the author of several Purim spiels and has written divrei Torah (commentaries) on every portion in the Torah, all published in his blog, https://parshahnote.blogspot.com. A frequent visitor to Israel (where he still has family), Rabbi Heilman has contributed op-ed pieces and observations on the social, political and security situation in Israel and the Mid-East.
(Story Courtesy of Hal Slifer, email@example.com.)
Cantorial Soloist – Diane Firestone
Diane has served in the position of Cantorial Soloist since 2006. She leads the music during services, teaches in our religious school and helps to prepare our students to become bar/bat mitzvah.
Diane joined B’nai Torah in 2000. She was elected to the synagogue’s board in 2001 and served as president from 2002 to 2006. She continues to serve CBT as chair of the Membership Committee and as a member of the Ritual Committee.
Diane is a retired Family Nurse Practitioner. For 27 years she worked with adults with developmental disabilities and mental illness, providing primary care and specializing in seizure control.
Diane loves her role as mom and Nana.
President – Scott Raynes
Scott Raynes and his family have been members of B’nai Torah since 2004. Scott has served on the congregation’s Board of Trustees since 2012 and has managed the website since 2013.
Scott is a Certified Records Manager (CRM), Information Governance Professional (IGP) and Certified Information Professional (CIP), working for Navarro Research and Engineering, supporting the Department of Energy.
Scott and his wife, Ilene met at the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Their sons, Chance and Nolan, have both attended the URJ’s Goldman Union Camp in Zionsville, Indiana. In his spare time Scott enjoys antiquing, photography and spending time with his family.
Board of Trustees
CBT is lead by a Board of Trustees, made up of members of our congregation. The Board coordinates events, manages our business affairs and represents the overall interests of the congregation.