Clergy & Administrative Staff
Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Lisa Grushcow, D. Phil.
Rabbi Lisa Grushcow received her B.A. from McGill University in 1996. She was then named a Rhodes Scholar and spent three years at Oxford University, where she earned a master’s degree in Judaism and Christianity in the Greco-Roman World, and then a doctorate. She was ordained a rabbi in 2003 at the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, where she studied as a Wexner Graduate Fellow.
Upon graduation, Rabbi Grushcow joined Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City, where she served as Associate Rabbi. She held this position until July 1, 2012 when she assumed the role of Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom in Montreal. She is the author of Writing the Wayward Wife: Rabbinic Interpretations of Sotah, and the editor of The Sacred Encounter: Jewish Perspectives on Sexuality. She is a contributor to The Torah: A Women’s Commentary and the Torah Treasures videos for children, and is a regular columnist with the Canadian Jewish News.
Rabbi Grushcow is a sought-out speaker in the Montreal Jewish community. She is an active member of the Christian Jewish Dialogue of Montreal, the Montreal Board of Rabbis, the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus, and the Human Rights Committee of the Montreal Holocaust Museum. She is a member of the President’s Rabbinic Council of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and is involved in the Reform movement on an international level. In 2015, The Jewish Daily Forward nominated Rabbi Lisa Grushcow as one of the 33 America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis. Read the article here.
Rabbi Ellen Greenspan
Rabbi Greenspan is thrilled to be a member of the wonderful team of professionals at Temple. Having moved from New Jersey in 2014, she is thoroughly enjoying living in Montreal – even during the winter!
Before arriving in Montreal, Rabbi Greenspan worked for 19 months as the interim director of Mountain Top Preschool at Temple Har Shalom in Warren, NJ. Prior to that, she served as the rabbi of Temple Micah in Lawrenceville, NJ for 20 years. It was a part-time pulpit, but Rabbi Greenspan did it all – from running the religious school to leading High Holy Day services and everything in-between. While at Temple Micah, she always had another part-time job. She served for seven years as Assistant Director of Admissions and Marketing at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union, (now called Golda Och Academy), in West Orange, NJ, and prior to that, she was the Israel Experience Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.
Rabbi Greenspan was ordained at the Hebrew Union College, (HUC), in New York. She received two Masters Degrees from HUC in Los Angeles: a Masters of Hebrew Letters and a Masters in Jewish Education. She did her undergraduate work at Smith College in Northampton, MA where she graduated with honors in Religion.
Rabbi Greenspan lived with her daughter, Adina, in Randolph, NJ from 1998 until her move to Montreal. Adina is currently living in New York City, working backstage in theater.
Rabbi Leigh Lerner, Rabbi Emeritus
From Minneapolis, MN, Rabbi Lerner received his A.B. from Duke University and was ordained at Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio. His first pulpit was at Mount Zion Temple in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he soon became Senior Rabbi. There he was instrumental in renewing Black-Jewish dialogue.
In 1989, Rabbi Lerner was appointed Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom. Here he learned French, became a Canadian, and earned a vital place in the hearts of our congregants. Rabbi Lerner’s activities in the Montreal community include:
- President of the Montreal Board of Jewish Ministers (now Board of Rabbis) (1992-95);
- President of the Canadian Region Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform)
- Twice president of Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Montreal, where he developed an international conference on Nostra Aetate
- Vice-President of ARZA Canada (Canadian Association of Reform Zionists)
- Member of the Board of Editorial Contributors of the Montreal Gazette
- Chair, Montreal Jewish Healing Project
During Rabbi Lerner’s 23 year tenure at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, among his contributions are Minhag Canada English/French/Hebrew Siddur; Interactive 2nd Day Rosh Hashanah services; Temple Docents for 1000’s who visit our sanctuary speaking either French or English; Temple art committee to build an edifying and inspiring collection of art; High Holiday food drive; friendly visitors program; won Temple bylaw changes to open doors wide to LGBT community; strong advocate for Temple Committee Against Human Trafficking; numerous articles and editorials.
Rabbi Lerner received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Hebrew Union College in 1997 and retired to become Rabbi Emeritus in 2012. Through 2015, he has been volunteer rabbi at Beth Shalom Milano and Shir Hadash Firenze, Italian Reform congregations.
From 2016- he has worked as volunteer rabbi at Shir Hadash Firenze and taught conversion classes at Beth Hillel Roma.
Executive Director Shellie Ettinger
Shellie Ettinger grew up in Montreal, having graduated from Jewish Peoples School and West Hill High School. She attended Sir George Williams University, where she obtained her certificate in Family Life Education and a Bachelor or Arts in Applied Social Science. She earned her Master of Social Work degree at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University in New York.
Shellie has enjoyed a successful career in the Jewish community. From 1976 until 1983, she worked in the Group Services Department at both the Davis and Laval branches of the YM-YWHA. From 1985 to 1998, she was the Senior Coordinator of Programs at National Canadian Jewish Congress and responsible for the outreach and development of small Jewish communities across Canada.
From 1998 until March 2002, Shellie served as the Assistant Director of the Montreal Federation CJA Community Planning and Allocations Department and from January 2002 until March 2008, as Executive Director of Jewish Immigrant Aid Services Montreal. In April 2008, Shellie joined the Temple family as its Executive Director.