Rabbi Chezi Zionce
Rabbi Zionce provides spiritual guidance, counseling, insightful sermons, and assists in our lifecycle events. Rabbi Zionce has a wealth of experience and successes in developing synagogue communities. He was most recently the rabbi at Beth Tikvah Congregation in Naples, Florida (2007-2011) and prior to that, Synagogue Emanuel in Charleston, South Carolina (2000-2006). Rabbi Zionce has recently returned to his native Toronto where he was the Hebrew school principal at Holy Blossom Temple (1984-86) and the spiritual leader at First Narayever Congregation (1986-1998).
Since his return to Toronto, the Rabbi has been an active speaker and volunteer at JACS Toronto, an organization which provides support to individuals in the Jewish community who are dealing with alcohol and drug dependency issues. Rabbi Zionce has also been serving as Associate Religious Leader at Habonim Congregation. We have great confidence that his outstanding people skills, his ability to bring great meaning to the study of Torah and be engaging with adults and children, will bring great benefit to our kehilla (sacred community).
Rabbi Zionce is originally from Toronto and a graduate of CHAT. His post secondary studies were at Yeshiva University in New York and York University in Toronto, He received his Rabbinic Ordination in Israel in 1996 under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate. In 1986-1998 he was spiritual leader for First Narayever Congregation located in downtown Toronto. From 1999-2011 Rabbi was spiritual leader at synagogues in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Charleston, South Carolina and Naples, Florida.
The rabbi is the proud father of three children , Jacob, Micah and Shira.
Other career highlights:
- High Holiday Cantor : Satellite Beach, Florida; Thunder Bay, Ontario, and York University
- Group Leader: Numerous trips to Israel
- Spiritual Leader: March of the Living
- Founder and Rabbinic Leader: Downtown (Toronto) Jewish Day School
- Rabbi and Judaic Teacher: Camp Ramah
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Cantor Eli Bard
Eli Bard has traveled thousands of miles over the decades, and puts the "I" in "International".
Eli was born in Shanghai, China. The Bard family fled the Communist occupation in mainland China in 1949, heading to Israel as refugees. Family reasons moved the Bards again to Buenos Aires, where they settled in 1954.
Eli completed a Bachelor of Optics Degree at the University of Buenos Aires, and after marrying Ester z"l, they chose to move to Israel. Eli received a Bachelor's degree in Industrial and Management Engineering from the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), but was forced to abandon his Master's studies in order to serve as a tank commander for eight months during the Yom Kippur War at the Egyptian and Syrian fronts.
Back into civilian life, Eli was manager of the R & D department of a newly started Israeli contact lenses company. There, he helped develop and design special intraocular lenses which were tested and approved by international surgeons, and also, due to his fluency in Russian, English, and Spanish, became instrumental in the absorption of new immigrants into the labour force. When Eli arrived in Toronto in 1990, he obtained his licence as a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario, and is currently employed by Global Upholstery Inc. with the title of Director in charge of industrial engineering functions.
While in Buenos Aires, Eli and Ester had been founding members of Comunidad Bet El. This was their first "community project" in their young lives, under the mentorship of Rabbi Marshall Meyer Z"L which inspired them to become deeply rooted in the ideals and vision of the Conservative movement. Eli led the very first Kabbalat Shabbat at Bet El on March 1963 and, together with Ester, developed the cantorial department and support for all religious services. Eli also led the inaugural service on the occasion of the opening of the Jewish Theological Seminary - Latin-American branch.
In Israel, Eli led services, mainly at Bet Knesset Moriah, Haifa. Together with Ester and their son Uriel, he was invited to lead High Holy Day services at Congregacion Bet El Guatemala, and a thoughtful invitation brought him to Bnei Jeshurun, NY, to lead the High Holy Day services together with Rabbi Meyer. Eli has been the cantor of Beit Rayim since Shemini Atzeret 5755 (1994).
Eli and Ester z"l, have three sons - Uriel, Shalom, and Daniel.
Assistant Cantor Jaclyn Cepler-Klimitz
Jaclyn’s passions have always been the intersection of Judaism and Music, beginning in her early days as a student at USDS (now called Robbins Hebrew Academy) and later at CHAT. In her capacity as Assistant Cantor at Beit Rayim she leads Shabbat services, reads Torah and Haftorah, participates actively in the High Holidays services and studied regularly with Eli Bard to expand her cantorial skills. She also teaches Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons to the adolescents in the congregation. She has experience leading services at lifecycle events including baby namings, weddings and shiva services. With her expertise in reading and speaking Hebrew, and her love of both singing and teaching, she is excited to increase her role in Beit Rayim life.
Jaclyn celebrated her Bat Mitzvah at Beit Rayim in 1998, where her parents have been members since 1992. Jaclyn obtained her undergraduate degree in Music Education as a Vocal Major at the University of Western Ontario. Jaclyn also holds a Master’s Degree in Musicology from U. of T. where she focused on the Jewish Liturgical Music in the Italian Renaissance and on musical memorials of the Holocaust in the music of Darius Milhaud. She completed her Bachelor of Education at OISE in Intermediate/Senior Music and Social Science. Jaclyn also has her ARCT in Vocal Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Jaclyn was the head of the Music Department at the Kimel Campus from 2012-2017 and has been teaching there since 2010. She conducted the five school bands and its concert choir. In 2011, Jaclyn started the vocal program at the Kimel Campus and it has grown exponentially since then. Next year, she will teach the vocal courses at the merged campus of “TanenbaumCHAT”. She has substantial experience teaching students of all ages how to explore their singing voices and giving them confidence to perform. She has experience teaching in the History, Social Science and Special Education Departments.
Jaclyn is currently on her second maternity leave and enjoys spending time with her husband, Jesse, and her two children Isabel and Nathan.