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Clergy & Staff

Lauren Grabelle Herrmann


Lisa Shapanka Arbisser


Vanessa Lacker

Executive Director

Debra Fricano

Director of Education & Family Engagement

Debbie Rudt

SAJ Administrative Director

Debbie Rudt has been SAJ’s Administrative Director since 2013, after having been the Communications and Programming Associate since 2006. She oversees all operational aspects of the synagogue, including lifecycle events, programming, communications and human resources. Before coming to SAJ, Debbie worked as an account representative and video producer at a large public relations agency, a sales representative for Israel Bonds and as a floral designer.   Debbie is a member of the Reconstructing Judaism Executive Directors Learning Network.

Debbie holds a BA in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania and lives on the Upper West Side with her husband and two children, who both had their B’nei Mitzvah at SAJ. Debbie can be reached at

Rachel Bitterfield

SAJ Administrator

Rachel Bitterfield’s experience comes from a diverse range of industries ranging from professional theater production here in New York City, founding an ISP in Boston, to administration of a Jewish Montessori School in Atlanta and purchasing agent for a research lab, also in Atlanta.  Rachel is happy to be back home in New York and join the vibrant SAJ community. Rachel can be reached at

Léah Miller

Rabbinic Intern at SAJ

Léah Miller [they/them] lives in Philadelphia and is in their second year of rabbinical school at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Léah is a crafter—of mended denim, knit creatures, Judaica and jewelry, blessings, and theatrical lighting. They hold virtual sacred space on Zoom for courses and services for a number of organizations. They spent the summer supporting amazing Jewish kids and staff at Eden Village Camp. When Léah’s not learning Torah or tying tzitzit, they’re stringing up fairy lights, piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, or getting covered in paint. They are so thrilled to be at SAJ during this historic centennial year as the Rabbinic Intern. You can find Léah at
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