skip to Main Content

Clergy & Staff

Lauren Grabelle Herrmann


Lisa Shapanka Arbisser


Debra Fricano

Director of Education & Family Engagement

Rabbi Michael Strassfeld

Rabbi Emeritus

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 has a grown son, Kyle, who is making his own way in the world and a daughter, Izzy Rose, who is enrolled in an international high school program in Israel. Rachel is happy to be back home in New York and join the vibrant SAJ community. Rachel can be reached at

Fred Jusino

Head Building Caretaker

Head Building Caretaker, Fred Jusino, came to SAJ in 1982, via the 92nd Street Y.  From basic maintenance, and a little catering to some repairs, and liaising with contractors for larger jobs, Fred has taken care of the building and our congregants  with pride. Fred’s goal has always been to ensure the building is ready for services, and all other events.

As a marine in the Marine Corp for 20 years, and retiring in 1994 from Marine Corps reserves,  leadership and management comes easily to Fred. He served in Operation Desert Storm from December 1990 to May 1991. Even while overseas, Fred managed the building operations via snail mail. Fred is married, has three daughters and four grandchildren.

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

Noah Rubin Blose

Immediate Past Rabbinic Intern at SAJ

Noah Rubin-Blose lives in Philadelphia and is in his third year of rabbinical school at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He is originally from Durham, North Carolina (the homelands of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation) and he spent the last fifteen years there working as a chef, baker, and community organizer. He is a maker of queer ritual, builder of interfaith coalitions, teacher and facilitator, and lifelong student-participant in Southern movements for racial justice. He is the author of Making the Table: Vegetarian Recipes to Nourish Community, and currently serves as a Talmud teaching fellow with SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva. When he’s not teaching or studying, you can probably find him walking by a river or cooking up something tasty in the kitchen. He is excited to be working at SAJ as the Rabbinic Intern for a second year! Noah can be reached at

Back To Top