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Temple Sinai Clergy

Senior Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin

Rabbi Mates-Muchin joined the Temple Sinai community in 2005. Serving initially as our Associate Rabbi and, since 2015, our Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Mates-Muchin feels blessed be in this community, and is proud of the warmth, dynamism and commitment of our congregants to Temple Sinai.

Rabbi Mates-Muchin focuses her efforts in serving our community through teaching, worship, pastoral care, social justice work, and encouraging the recognition of the vast diversity within the Jewish community. As the first Chinese-American Rabbi, she has lectured broadly on the changing nature of the American Jewish community and how established Jewish institutions can become more inclusive. She is actively engaged in the general East Bay community through interfaith and other organizational work. Nationally, Rabbi Mates-Muchin served as a Central Conference of America Rabbis (CCAR) representative to the Board of the Union for Reform Judaism for six years, and she services on the CCAR Taskforce working on recommendations for a new code of ethics for Reform Rabbis. 

Prior to her service at Temple Sinai, Rabbi Mates-Muchin served as the Assistant Rabbi in Buffalo, New York for three years. She was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in 2002 and received numerous awards for her academics and service. Her thesis entitled "The Analects of Confucius and Its Parallel in Early Rabbinic Thought" was a reflection of her Chinese and Jewish traditions. 

Rabbi Mates-Muchin is a native of San Francisco and enjoys connecting with those who attended her alma mater, Lowell High School. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with high honors and while in Santa Barbara met her husband, Jonathan. They live in Oakland with their four wonderful children.  

Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin
(510) 451-3263 x332  

Senior Cantor Ilene Keys

Cantor Keys is a native of California and aspired to become a cantor since her Bat-Mitzvah. She studied Jewish music from a young age under the tutelage of her own cantor in Los Angeles, Cantor Nathan Lam. Cantor Keys received an undergraduate degree in Jewish Studies and Hebrew from UCLA, and spent a year in Israel studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After graduating UCLA, Cantor Keys attended the School of Sacred Music-Hebrew Union College where she received a Master of Sacred Music and Cantorial Ordination in 1995.

As a cantorial student, Cantor Keys served Temple Beth Shalom of Arnold, Maryland, Temple Beth-El of Hillsborough, New Jersey and Beth Haverim of Mahwah, New Jersey. While studying in Jerusalem, she was actively involved with Kol Haneshama Synagogue, a progressive Israeli congregation. Cantor Keys began serving in 1995 as cantor of Temple Sinai, First Hebrew Congregation of Oakland and is now the longest serving cantor in the congregation's history.

Cantor Keys has served as board member and past president of the Northern California Board of Cantors. In addition, she has acted as the American Conference of Cantors Representative to the Union of Reform Judaism of the Northern California Council. She is a member of both the American Conference of Cantors and the Cantors Assembly.

Cantor Ilene Keys and her husband David Bobrowsky are blessed with three children: Seth, Stella, and Solomon.

Cantor Ilene Keys
(510) 451-3263 x331

Associate Rabbi Julie Bressler

Rabbi Julie Bressler serves as the Associate Rabbi and Educator at Temple Sinai. She is thrilled to join this enthusiastic, committed, and caring community! She comes to us from Temple Beth Shalom (TBS) in Needham, Massachusetts, where she served as Assistant Rabbi. At TBS, Rabbi Bressler spearheaded the congregation’s social justice and social action programming, supported the synagogue’s educational programs, and connected with congregants through pastoral care, worship, lifecycle events, and more. 

In May 2019, Rabbi Bressler earned her ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles and also received a Master of Arts in Jewish Education from HUC in 2017. Rabbi Bressler is a Bay Area native, growing up in the Reform movement as an active member of Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, a camper at URJ Camp Newman, and a NFTY teen program participant. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2010 with a degree in Women and Gender Studies and American Culture Studies. Before attending rabbinical school, Rabbi Bressler worked as a youth and teen programming professional in St. Louis and the Bay Area.

Rabbi Bressler is a passionate teacher, community builder, and social justice advocate. She enjoys supporting others through their Jewish journeys, sharing the power of Jewish tradition, and asking and discussing big questions. She can’t wait to meet you!

Rabbi Julie Bressler
(510) 451-3263 x333

Rabbi Emeritus Rabbi Steven Chester 

Rabbi Steven Chester is married to Leona. They were married in 1969 and have two children, Adam and Shira. Adam and his wife, Keng, are the parents of Rabbi and Leona's granddaughters, Anna and Amanda. Shira and her husband, Daniel, are the parents of Rabbi and Leona's granddaughter, Trinity.

Before coming to Temple Sinai in 1989, Rabbi Steven Chester served congregations in Jackson, Michigan (where he also served as the prison chaplain for the Jewish prisoners of the State of Michigan) and Stockton, California. He has taught Hebrew at Jackson Community College, Bible at Spring Arbor College and Bible and Judaism at the University of the Pacific, where he was named Adjunct Professor in the Religious Studies Department.

Rabbi Chester received a B.A. in History from UCLA (1965), a B.H.L. from Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles (1967), an M.H.L. from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati (1971), and an honorary doctorate from HUC in 1996. He was ordained in 1971. His Rabbinic thesis was "Eli Wiesel: Rebbe for our Generation."

Rabbi Chester retired in June 2011, and is a Rabbi Emeritus of the congregation.

To reach Rabbi Chester, please email Betsy or call (510) 451-3263 x301.

Sat, June 15 2024 9 Sivan 5784