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Our Temple Professionals
Rabbi Emeritus Hershel Brooks
Rabbi Emeritus Hershel Brooks studied in Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland and Torah Vodaath in New York, ordained with honors in May 1951. After receiving Smichah, he continued at the Jewish Theological Seminary, attended New York University and Brooklyn College, receiving his BA from University of Miami. He became a member of the Rabbinical Assembly in 1963, received his Doctor of Divinity, Honoris Causa (1984). He Served on numerous pulpits before joining BKB in 1998. Retired in June 2011, he remains an active member of BKB.
Choir Director Timothy Cooper
Holds bachelor degrees from the State University of New York and the University of Pisa, Italy, and a master’s degree in Concert Organ Performance, from the University of Colorado. Renowned in the Las Vegas arts community as a keyboardist, conductor and composer, his original soundtracks for the Excalibur's, “King Arthur's Tournament,” the Luxor's, “Winds of the Gods,” and the Aladdin's,“Abracadabra,” have been enjoyed by millions.
Cantor Jonathan Friedmann, PhD
My involvement with Bet Knesset Bamidbar began in the spring of 2005. The congregation was looking for a cantor to join Rabbi Hershel Brooks and the BKB Choir two Fridays per month, plus High Holidays. I was a graduate student at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), and the long commute was a daunting proposition. Plus, the headshot I sent with my audition CD, featuring my twenty-four-year-old baby-face, didn’t win over the search committee of the mostly senior congregation. My prospects of getting the job seemed slim. However, at the urging of my cantorial mentors, I was granted an unlikely audition.
Now, almost eleven years later, I’m returning to the pulpit that launched my cantorial career. My role is a little different. I’m now Kol Bo: I lead the speaking and the singing. I’ve changed quite a bit as well. I was married at BKB on the Friday afternoon before my second official service; my wife and I now have two beautiful children. I’ve earned an M.A. in Religious Studies from CSULB, a Master of Jewish Sacred Music and Ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJRCA), and a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from North-West University (South Africa). I’m currently Professor of Jewish Music History at AJRCA in Los Angeles—I’m still a commuter—and I’ve published sixteen scholarly books on sacred music and general musicology. I’ve also managed to stay active as an instrumentalist (cello and mandolin) and composer/arranger.
I'm thrilled to be reconnecting with my BKB family, and look forward to our bright future together. I'm eager to apply my skills and experiences to our services and to help steer our collective energy to exciting new heights.