Becky Skoff will join Temple Emanu-El of Closter as its new executive director beginning April 25, and Gabe Cohen will be its assistant rabbi starting in July.
Becky Skoff joins Temple Emanu-El from the 14th Street Y in Manhattan, where she has held a variety of roles since 2009. Most recently, she was associate executive director and oversaw programs across three different sites, including a senior center, summer camps, and a preschool, as well as led her team in finance, operations, and administration. She was also the program manager there for the launch of LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture, an artist Beit Midrash program that is now a global artist network with hubs in New York City, the San Francisco Bay area, Berlin, and Buenos Aires. She developed and produced a wide variety of Jewish and cultural programs, including a theater and dance series, teen theater camps, Jewish family programs with PJ Library, and the Downtown Jewish Life Network, and was elected as a fellow in the second cohort of the Ruskay Institute for Jewish Professional Leadership. Outside the Jewish world, she worked for many performing arts organizations, including the Roundabout Theatre Company, the Philips Center for the Performing Arts, the New Harmony Theatre, Chamber Theatre Productions, Boch Center for the Performing Arts, and the Writers Theatre of New Jersey. Becky is the co-founder of the New Roman Theatre Group, an avant-garde theater company devoted to breaking down the barriers between performers and audience.
She grew up in Tampa, Fla., graduated from the University of Florida, and earned her master’s degree at Boston University. She lives in Teaneck with her husband, Judah, and her son, Benzi.
Gabe Cohen, born and raised in Hillsdale, is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers University and will earn his rabbinic ordination, master’s in education, and a certificate in pastoral care from the Jewish Theological Seminary in May. He graduated from the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Milford, was influenced by his USY experiences, and spent his gap year in Nativ, the Conservative movement’s program in Israel. After graduating from Rutgers, he went on to staff that program. His rabbinic path also was influenced by the eight summers he spent on staff at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, also where he met his wife.
Mr. Cohen worked as a rabbinic intern in a variety of communities, including Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley in Woodcliff Lake, Congregation Sons of Israel in Nyack, and the United Synagogue of Hoboken. He also worked for two summers at the Educational Alliance NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community), providing spiritual care to seniors during the pandemic.
Gabe Cohen’s wife, Deb Pollack, a graduate of Barnard College and the Davidson School of Jewish Education at JTS, is in her final year of social work school at Wurzweiler. For more information go to templeemanu-el.com.