Temple Israel of Lehighton, 194 Bankway Street, Lehighton, PA 18235, Phone: 610-379-9591, E-mail: contact@templeisraeloflehighton


Rabbi Rachel

Temple Israel of Lehighton welcomes Rabbi Rachel Rembrandt!

Rabbi Rachel Rembrandt, or Rabbi Rachel, is excited to be serving Temple Israel of Lehighton, PA. She recently moved to the Allentown area with her husband, Jeff who is the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley. She is incredibly proud of her children, Jason and his wife Molly, Micah and Hannah.

Some say that they feel they have been born into their job. Rabbi Rachel really was. When her father was in rabbinic school at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, she was there, being babysat by other rabbinic students. As she once told the Cleveland Jewish News about her brother and herself, "Our growing up, formative years were centered around my parents' love of Judaism. They made us realize, Judaism was a gift, something that gave our lives a sense of richness, meaning and direction." Her choice to become a rabbi was obvious; watching her father allowed her to understand that the rabbinate can have a positive and heart-warming impact on people's lives.

In searching for ways to widen that impact, Rabbi Rachel's career has evolved in a variety of ways. She has served three congregations as rabbi and educator in New York, New Jersey and Ohio, including one as the first ordained rabbi of a small LGBT congregation in Cleveland. As the Regional Educator of the Union for Reform Judaism, she consulted with 68 congregations regarding their educational needs from early childhood to adulthood. During that time she also worked as Assistant Regional Director leading workshops on vision and mission to help congregations grow in their understanding of their own way to share the gift of Judaism. Finally, Rabbi Rachel has been privileged to guide people of all faiths as a Spiritual Counselor in three hospices in Ohio and Massachusetts.

Throughout all of these jobs and throughout all of these personal interactions, Rabbi Rachel continues to give the gift of Judaism. Her love of teaching, counseling and leading others in prayer comes through as she shares her heart and soul. She looks forward to opening her arms to all those who come through the doors of Temple Israel of Lehighton.

Rabbi Rayzel Raphael

Rabbi Emerita:

Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael has served Temple Israel of Lehighton, Pennsylvania. Rabbi Rayzel originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee. She brings with her southern charm and an open-hearted hospitality to welcome newcomers to Temple Israel.

Calling herself an "unorthodox rabbi", Rabbi Rayzel stays on the creative edge through music, art and performance. Her services are never dull - but rather joyous and filled with music. Rabbi Rayzel is a visionary artist and an award winning singer/ songwriter - with five recordings to her credit. If you have been alienated or turned off in any way, come meet our Rabbi to see if she can help heal your connection to our tradition . . . she makes it fun.

She loves teaching about "The Mysteries": spirituality, angels, the soul, dreams, and kabbalah. Her spiritual path has been to serve the Shechinah, the Divine feminine, as a way of bringing healing to herself, her people and the planet. Convinced the angels are working in her life, Reb Rayzel is grateful to be lead to Temple Israel. If you are at all a "seeker", this is the rabbi for you.
Reb Rayzel has sojourned to various places to learn and grow. She first went to the Midwest where she received a BA from Indiana University in Religious Studies. Her ambition then took her to Brandeis University to complete a Masters in Contemporary Jewish Studies. The lure of adventure lead her to live in another country - and she became the Director of the Jewish Student Federation of York University, Toronto, Canada. The call of a deeper journey compelled her to live and study in Israel - at Machon Pardes and the Melton Center for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem - where she then made the decision to come to Philadelphia and go to the Reconstructionist Rabbinical School. She graduated in 1997.

Adept at creating rituals and ceremonies, today Rabbi Rayzel also has a private practice of counseling and performing life cycle rituals such as baby namings and funerals, Jewish and interfaith weddings. She also serves as a chaplain for senior citizens. In her spare time, she gardens, paints silk tallitot - and if she's lucky - gets a good night sleep!

In her words: "My intention is to create an open, accepting, loving Jewish community at Temple Israel, filled with joy and spiritual nourishment for all members and their friends/family, in order to be a beacon of sacred light to the area and the world."

Her life partner is Dr. Simcha Raphael, a psychotherapist, teacher and specialist in Jewish Views of the Afterlife (simcharaphael.com). They and have two children: Yigdal and Hallel - and a cute Pomeranian, Sherlock.

For more information of all her creative projects see her website www.shechinah.com and http://www.interfaithjewishweddings.com

Rabbi Melody Davis

Rabbi Emerita:

Rabbi Melody Davis – or 'Reb Melody' as she prefers to be called - is a 'local' girl, (depending on whose definition of 'local' one follows.) She has lived in the Lehigh Valley for 23 years. Home is a 260 year old stone farmhouse nestled by the Little Lehigh in Emmaus. She lives there with her husband Edwin - who refers to himself as her "Hubbitzen" - and their three children: Spencer, Jonathon and Annelise.

She jokingly refers to her previous careers as 'past lives.' She worked sporadically as an actor, singer and director, then returned to college. While managing her husband's photography studio, Reb Melody taught traditional and contemporary holiday music in Hebrew, English and Yiddish to grades Pre-K through 6. She has also instructed children from 4th through 6th grade in a three day a week after-school Talmud Torah program.

In her quest to share 'yiddishkeit' - Jewish life, customs and practices, Reb Melody is also the rabbi of Temple Covenant of Peace in Easton, Pa. She also serves as the Jewish Chaplain at the Country Meadows Retirement Community in Allentown.

Reb Melody has a deep and abiding love for Judaism. She seeks out comfortable and joyful ways for people to come closer to God. She believes that each individual has a different way to approach The Eternal. Some of the modalities that she hopes to share are drama, inter-linear Torah chanting, music, poetry, dance, literature, chanting and meditation.

Reb Melody is not only a teacher, but the perennial student. She enjoys learning from people of all ages. Her door, mind and heart are open to you.


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