Join us in celebrating our 2021 Graduates!

It is with tremendous honor and gratitude that our Board of Directors, Faculty, and Administration congratulate our newest ordinees and graduates: four Rabbis, three Cantors, one Chaplaincy graduate and two Master of Jewish Studies graduates.

We are deeply proud of our graduates and ordinees and all that they have accomplished during their years of study at the Academy.

Please see our Program below and scroll down to read more about this year's graduates and hear from them in their own words.

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Our Rabbis


Jamie Hackel Hyams

"To be a rabbi is to guide people toward lives filled with awe, gratitude and community; to provide a lens of Jewish ethics and ideas, through which each moment is filled with meaning and purpose."

Thesis: "Towards Understanding: A Journey in Search of God"

Read more about Jamie here.


Deborah Lynn Lewis

"As a rabbi, I will work to create inclusive spaces for all who seek Jewish thought and tradition. Encouraging curiosity, creativity, and critical thought while inspiring and facilitating Jewish and human journeys, with the hope of a more compassionate, equitable world."

Thesis: "The Intersection of Wealth, Religiosity and the Strength of Religion Identity"

Read more about Debi here.


Amiel Tuvia Monson

"As a rabbi, role model and educator, I will be a compassionate, empathic listener, always encouraging and helping others to navigate their life’s journey. I hope to both connect and inspire with my passion for teaching and love of Judaism."

Thesis: "Gray Hair is a Crown of Splendor: An American Jewish Perspective on Today's Aging Population"

Read more about Amiel here.


Cantor Samuel B. Radwine

"The words recited daily -- lilmod ul’lamed, to learn and to teach -- have guided my many years in the cantorate, and will continue to inspire me as I find new ways to serve our people as a rabbi."

Thesis: "Revolution or Evolution: 4 Case Studies of Challenges to the Jewish Establishment from Within"

Read more about Cantor Sam here.


Our Cantors


Abby Gostein

"As a cantor, I will work to create sacred community and connection to the traditions of the Jewish people and to God through musical prayer, pastoral support and lifelong learning experiences."

Thesis: "Creating a Singing Congregation"

Read more about Abby here.


Jacqueline Shoshana Rafii, JD

"As a cantor and composer with Persian heritage, I aim to create, share, and engage others in sacred, multi-cultural music and initiatives, invigorating and increasing connection and belonging within Jewish communities."

Thesis: "Music of an Ancient Jewish Family: Recovering, Preserving, and Disseminating the Prayer Music of Persian Jews"

Read more about Jackie here.


Alyssa Helaine Rosenbaum

"As a cantor and composer, I aim to facilitate meaningful Jewish experiences. Using my love of music, language, history, and learning, I hope to illuminate pathways for my community to connect to Judaism, the Divine, and each other."

Thesis: "The Evolution of Niggunim: Exploring the World of Wordless Jewish Music and the Scope of Its Influence"

Read more about Alyssa here.


Our Chaplain


Adam Robin Kinsey

"Becoming a chaplain for me has always meant being a hospice chaplain. It is a privilege to walk the path with people at these tender moments in their lives, and to support my coworkers in knowing their work is holy."

Thesis: "Listening as Revelation: The Presence and Practice of Listening in the Torah and at the Bedside, as Heard by a Chaplain"



Our Master of Jewish Studies Graduates


Linda Rose Bernstein, PharmD

"My journey begins with a Master of Jewish Studies emphasizing music in Jewish life and continues with rabbinical and cantorial studies. I will creatively merge my Jewish scholarly and musical passions to offer the world spirituality, strength and hope."

Thesis: "COVID-19 Pandemic National Synagogue Survey of Ritual Activities and Programming"

Read more about Linda here.


Jonah Herbert Sanderson

"As a proud graduate of the Academy, I aim to create spaces for outreach that uplift both communities and individuals. By bringing a sense of purpose and meaning to all who crave hope, I look forward to serving."

Thesis: "Together We Are Stronger: A Multi Faith Approach to Mental Wellness"

Read more about Jonah here.


32 thoughts on “Join us in celebrating our 2021 Graduates!

  1. I’m excited and proud of my niece, Abby Gostein! My heartfelt mazel tov and best wishes for a long and successful career as a cantor.
    With much love, Aunt Ann

  2. I am thrilled to see Abby Gostein have the title of Cantor officially bestowed upon her. She is one of the reasons our temple thrives. I love singing in the Kol Hakavod Ensemble with Abby as our leader. Mazel Tov!

  3. Mazel Tov….and so the journey begins again.
    Love you Jamie. I am very proud to be your friend.

  4. I look forward to watching and, of course, smiling when Cantor Sam Radwine officially becomes a rabbi. He was the cantor at Congregation Ner Tamid in Palos Verdes, CA when my children had their Bar Mitzvah. And for my own Bat Mitzvah many years ago!

  5. To our dear Alyssa Rosenbaum,
    Baruh HaShem that your dream of being a cantor and composer is coming true. Few are the blessed people who come to realize and get to live their dreams. You are one of them, thank God. Go for it! Be the light and a role model to others.
    Thank you for all the times you have visited Ahavat Torah Congregation and shared with us your beautiful heart and voice.
    Ali Ve’Hatzlihi! Be elevated and succeed in all your holy endeavors. Amen.
    Loving hugs,
    Rabbi Miriam

  6. Dear Jacqueline, by finding your path and going through the long journey of becoming a Cantor, you also thought us a valuable lesson.
    Thank you for being brave and thank you for always be a source of pride for all of us.
    Mazal Tov my dear daughter!

  7. What a wonderful journey for Cantor Radwine who was responsible for the Jewish education of my two daughters. Teaching and being a mentor and role model to so many more going forward will be a continued blessing.

    Mazal Tov to all the graduates!

  8. What a wonderful journey for Cantor Radwine who was responsible for the Jewish education of my two daughters. Teaching and being a mentor and role model to so many more going forward will be a continued blessing.

  9. Dear Sam,

    I am so happy for you that you achieved your newest role as a Rabbi, as well as being a cantor. I was very impressed when meeting a few years ago with how you presented yourself and I know that those who will hear your words will feel the spiritual energy that it will bring to them and all those around them. How lucky they will be! Wishing you continued success in all that you do.


  10. Cantor Rafii,
    I am so happy for you and your family on this landmark occasion. Your love of Judaism through sacred music has inspired me so often and has brought me closer to experiencing my neshama and reaching out to all other neshamot before me. Your help with my Torah reading and learning the maariv service, as well as the thoughtful discussions we share about the nature of music and the divine, will enlighten the path of my lifelong Torah learning. I speak for my entire congregation when I tell you that you are an angelic voice that takes us to heights we could never reach on our own. May your wisdom and love of the other only grow so that your path will always leave wonderful notes of gemilut hasadim.

  11. dear Jackie, you continue to amaze and inspire me with your beautiful voice and your amazing smile. I’m so excited for you and I’m thankful for knowing you and for the music you create

  12. Looking forward to many years of learning and enjoying Debra Lewis as our Rabbi. She inspires and makes even our Zooms a very special time.

  13. To see one of my dearest friends grow from Cantor to Rabbi, I am so proud and filled with love for Sam Radwine. He has always shown great wisdom and warmth. I know his parents, Leila and Harry are smiling down with pride and love. He will guide with wisdom and grace as he assumes the two roles close to his heart. I love you so my friend

  14. It has been an honor and a pleasure to have known Sam Radwine as a Cantor. From being a student in his first B’nai Mitzvot class at Congregation Ner Tamid to watching him be a teacher to my niece and to my grandsons at their Bat and Bar Mitzvah, Sam has always been the BEST !!! Congratulations, Sam… You’re Terrific !!

  15. Our family and congregation Ner Tamid couldn’t be happier for Cantor Sam Radwine and his fellow graduates! Cantor Radwine has been such a big part of our families history and we’re thrilled to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment! We love you!

  16. Dear Sam,
    We are all so proud of you. You will be a wonderful rabbi. You have a kind heart and a willingness to listen. We remember all the wonderful years you served as our cantor and educator.Our very best to you. Loni and Harry

  17. We wish you a heartfelt Mazel Tov on your ordination – one of many accomplishments which you wear well. We wish you good health and much joy during the upcoming years. You’ve left all who know you much love and warm friendship.

  18. To know you and having had the wonderful experience of you being a part of our lives and life cycle events has been a blessing.
    Mazel Tov!!
    Judy and Stan Tobias

  19. To Deborah Lewis–

    What a joy it has been to know you and watch you over the last 25 years, since we first met in our Introduction to Judaism class. You have grown immensely in your knowledge and spirituality, and those who know you have been in awe of you.
    Mazel Tov on your graduation!

  20. Sam; Toby and I send our love and kisses and warmest congratulations on your Ordination.
    Ed and Toby Trabin

  21. To our friend Deborah, congratulations on taking this awesome journey and inviting us to be a part of it. We are so happy that you have met your goal and will move forward with much compasssion and grace.

    ~Dave & Sam

  22. In much love and with great pride, I wish my niece, Cantor Abby Gostein, Mazal Tov and look forward to her continued growth and leadership in her Austin community and throughout our entire world.

  23. Congratulations Adam Robin Kinsey on becoming a Cantor. I know your family, those with us and passed, is proud of you. Now you will step onto the path that life has actually honed you for. Your hard work and determination is an example to those around you.
    Mazal Tov!
    And, (fully vaccinated) hugs and kisses!
    We love you,
    Paul and Robin Kinsey

  24. Wow, Cantor Jackie.
    There are a million words I could write about the Excitement I feel for this Wonderful Milestone. For now, I shall state that your Heart to “create, share, and engage others in Sacred, multi-cultural music and initiatives, invigorating, and increasing connection and belonging within Jewish communities…” Is Just what You did and do to have me feel a part since that First Kabbalat Shabbat I Virtual Visited Shomrei Torah… from the East Coast in Pennsylvania! Here we are, friends through digital means, 11+ months later, and I get to Celebrate the Truth of how your Angelic Voice and Heart Blesses the World Over, brings us such Divine and Anointed Melodies, and brought me again and again to Shomrei Torah…
    We all, Together, Kvell– Your Parents, Loved Ones, and Shomrei Torah Family to include, of course, Cantor Ron Snow, Of Blessèd Memory… Mazal Tov, Yasher Koach, and Kol HaKavod, Dear and Beautiful Ḥazzan Jacqueline Shoshana Rafii! Todah Rabah, Adonai… Baruch HaShem ♡ Racheal רחל

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