Temple Emanuel
Denver, Colorado
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Rabbi Joseph R. Black, Senior Rabbi

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Rabbi Black has been the Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel since 2010, previously serving as rabbi of Congregation Albert in Albuquerque, New Mexico from 1996-2010. He served as Assistant and then Associate Rabbi at Temple Israel in Minneapolis, Minnesota from 1987-1996. He received his Bachelor's degree in Education from Northwestern University in 1982 and his Master's degree and rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1987. In 2012 he received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from HUC-JIR.

Rabbi Black serves as a Chaplain in the Colorado House of Representatives and is past President of the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council. In Albuquerque, he was involved in many community organizations including the Albuquerque Academy Board of Trustees, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra Board of Trustees, Roadrunner Food Bank, Presbyterian Hospital Ethics Committee, The Martin Luther King Multi-Cultural Council, New Mexico Organ Donor Service, and the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Inclusion and Non-discrimination (R.A.I.N.). He has served as a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) Committee on Rabbinic Wellness and both the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)/CCAR Commissions on Religious Living and Youth. A Nationally recognized musician, he has presented and performed at many regional and national biennial conventions and has served as faculty on regional and National Spirituality Conferences. He also has served on the Rabbinic Faculty of many Reform Jewish Summer Camps. Rabbi Black was an active member of CAJE – the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education -- and was a regular contributor and performer at CAJE conferences.

Rabbi Black has had several poems and articles published in leading national literary and academic journals. He is a frequent contributor to anthologies and collections of Jewish writing. He has recorded five critically-acclaimed albums of Jewish music, two children's books, a songbook and two videos. He has performed his original music in many communities in the United States and Canada. He has received numerous honors for his performance and composition. His books and music have been featured by the PJ library and he was honored by Moment magazine as one of the top ten male performers in American Jewish music as well as one of the top ten children's performers in American Jewish music.

Rabbi Black and his wife Sue have two children: Elana, a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, and Ethan, a graduate of the University of Texas, Plan II Honors College.

Cantor Elizabeth Sacks, Senior Cantor

Raised in New York, Cantor Sacks was ordained as a cantor in 2007 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). She was a recipient of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship in Jewish communal leadership and earned several awards as a cantorial student for Traditional Hazzanut, Talmud, and Midrash. Cantor Sacks holds a B.A. in Jewish Studies and Music from Harvard University where she was active in the leadership of Harvard Hillel and music community service programs.

From 2007-2012, Cantor Sacks served as the Associate Cantor at Central Synagogue in New York, where she focused on worship, education and young professional engagement. In addition to her congregational work, Cantor Sacks was also a faculty member at Mechon Hadar - an educational institute that empowers Jews to create and sustain vibrant, practicing, egalitarian communities of Torah learning, prayer, and service -  and is the past chair of the HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Alumni Association and the past vice-chair of the HUC-JIR Council of Alumni. She is also the featured voice on the app Pocket Torah Trope. Cantor Sacks is married to Elias Sacks, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Cantor Sacks, Eli, and their children Charlie and Tova live in Denver.

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More From Cantor Sacks

Cantor Sacks explores how we can continue to create meaningful and transformative worship experiences through music and song on the Bully Pulpit Podcast.

Rabbi Emily Hyatt, Assistant Rabbi

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Rabbi Emily Hyatt came to Temple Emanuel after serving as the Director of Jewish Enrichment for BBYO International, where she oversaw the strategy and vision around elevating Jewish content, innovated Jewish experiences, and developed Jewish identity for teens around the world.

Rabbi Hyatt grew up in Denver, Colorado where she graduated from her original Alma mater, Temple Emanuel Preschool (Class of 1990). She attended DJDS and then deferred a year of college to serve as International President of BBYO. Rabbi Hyatt attended the American University, graduating with a B.A. in Constitutional Law.  After graduation, she returned to Denver and worked for BBYO as the RMR Regional Director and the Manager of International Teen Leadership and BBYO’s Global Expansion Program. She graduated in 2011 from the inaugural class of BBYO’s Professional Development Institute, receiving an M.B.A. from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and a Master in Jewish Education from the Hebrew College in Boston. She then served as the Network (Young Adult Division) Director at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation before beginning Rabbinical School in Jerusalem. 

She was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion: Los Angeles Campus, and is a member of class 25 of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. Rabbi Hyatt recently moved back to Denver with her son,  Neil, and they’re so happy to be back with family and breathing that fresh mountain air!

More from Rabbi Hyatt

Yom Kippur Sermon 2019

Rosh HaShanah Sermon 2019

Rosh HaShanah Sermon 2018

Rabbi Eliot Baskin, Associate Rabbi

Check out Rabbi Baskin’s blog here.

Rabbi Eliot J. Baskin, D.Min, DD, is the part time Associate Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Denver, Colorado.  Previously he served for two decades as Denver's Jewish Community Chaplain and the Rabbinic Director of Rafael: Spiritual Healing Center as part of Jewish Family Service of Colorado.  He served as past President of the Rocky Mountain Rabbinic Council.   He enjoys teaching Philosophy for Argosy University, volunteering as a chaplain for the Denver Police Department and the United States Secret Service, and leading Jewish holiday services for cruises on the chai seas.   

          He graduated from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1985.  He wrote his thesis on "The Development of Progressive Judaism in Australia” after serving liberal congregations in New Zealand and Australia as a student rabbi.  Following ordination he served as the Jewish chaplain at the Mayo Clinic where he completed a residency in Clinical Pastoral education.  He previously served congregations in Rochester, Minnesota, Fort Collins, Colorado, Glastonbury, Connecticut and Evergreen and Durango, Colorado as well as recently volunteering to lead Holy Days services in Guatemala, Myanmar and Bali.

          As he sees relationship to be at the heart of his rabbinate, he became the first rabbi to earn the Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Care and Counseling in 1993 at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York where he did his demonstration project in the use of Sacred Stories for Patients with AIDS.

          Originally from Toronto, Rabbi Baskin lives in Greenwood Village with his wife, Hilary, an orthodontist, where they practice "brachas (blessings) and braces."  They are blessed with two  sons, Jonah who works as a legislative aide at the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism in Washington, DC and Gabriel a Junior at Emory University in  Atlanta who share their passion for skiing, biking, reading, magic, theatre and travel, and of course, everything Jewish!

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Steve Brodsky, Cantorial Soloist/Music Director

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Steve Brodsky is Temple Emanuel’s Cantorial Soloist and Music Director.

Steve grew up immersed in the Reform Jewish community at the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, where to this day you can see his Consecration and Confirmation photos on the wall. From the age of eight Steve spent every summer at Jewish camps, and while at the Union for Reform Judaism’s Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) in Zionsville, Indiana he was inspired to pick up a guitar — and a lifelong love of Jewish music, songleading and music education was born. Throughout high school Steve was a dedicated camp and youth group kid, active in NFTY-Ohio Valley, working at GUCI, and developing his songleading skills. After graduation Steve moved to Colorado to study Environmental Design at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and soon received a phone call from Temple Emanuel’s legendary “Uncle Max” Frankel asking if he would like to songlead for Temple’s Religious School – and the rest is history.

Over the years Steve has worked at Temple part-time as a Religious School and Confirmation teacher, (while also working as an architect), full-time as Youth Director and Director of Shwayder Camp, and again part-time as Artist-in-Residence (while pursuing careers in graphic design and publishing). Steve worked for the Union for Reform Judaism for nine years as an educational consultant and in the publishing division, URJ Books & Music. In 2013 Steve returned to the Temple staff full-time as Director of Adult Engagement, and in 2015 he joined the Clergy Team as Cantorial Soloist and Music Director.  

Steve has been a fixture on the Denver Jewish music scene for over 30 years as a songleader, music educator, Cantorial Soloist, songwriter and performer. From Chanukah concerts at Park Meadows and Cherry Creek Shopping Centers to High Holy Day services at Congregation Beth Evergreen, from the Boulder Jewish Festival to the “Jews do Jews” series, Steve has performed and led worship in too many places to count around the Colorado Jewish community. He is a founding member of two acclaimed Jewish bands, Mah Tovu and Sababa, and has released six albums of contemporary Jewish music and produced and performed on countless other Jewish music projects. Steve created Shabbat Unplugged, Temple’s monthly musical Shabbat service featuring the Shabbat Unplugged band and Visual T’filah, now in its nineteenth year, which later led to the creation of Rosh Hashanah Unplugged and Sh’ma Koleinu, Temple’s contemporary High Holy Day musical services. Steve also created and has led Temple’s Rosh Hashanah retreat at Shwayder Camp since 1987.

Steve is married to Jill Katchen, a Denver native and third-generation Temple member, and together they have two sons, Ben and Ari.

Dr. Steven E. Foster, Rabbi Emeritus

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Rabbi Foster has been involved in Jewish life since his childhood. He saw the stand Jews were taking during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's and decided he needed to be there as a religious leader. After receiving a B.S. in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin he went on to get a Bachelor of Hebrew Letters, Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters and was ordained from the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in 1970.

Rabbi Foster took his first position as an ordained rabbi at Temple Emanuel in 1970 and became the Senior Rabbi in 1981. He retired in May, 2010. He brings to his rabbinate a deep commitment to social justice, Jewish education and Jewish continuity. His work in founding the Temple Emanuel Preschool and Kindergarten, Herzl Day School, Stepping Stones to a Jewish Me (an outreach program for interfaith families) in addition to his far reaching community work such as serving on the boards of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, National Council of Justice and Peace, United Way, and Allied Jewish Federation to name a few, demonstrate his commitment to the Jewish and secular community alike.

Cantor Regina Heit, Cantor Emerita

Cantor Regina Y. Heit received her Cantorial Investiture and Certification from Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion's School of Sacred Music in 1981. She was a vocal-performance major at the University of Hawaii. She served for six years as Cantor/Educator of Temple Adath B'nai Israel in Evansville, Indiana, and for eight years as Cantor/Music Director of Temple Beth Sholom of New City, New York. She was the first Cantor/Music Director in the 130 year history of Congregation Emanuel.

Cantor Heit has concertized extensively throughout the United States and has received numerous awards for proficiency in her field. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the Music Honor Society, the Rocky Mountain Cantor's Association, Hadassah and has served for 6 terms as the secretary of the Cantorial Alumni Association of Hebrew Union College. She has studied voice with Lorraine Nubar and Doris Jung Popper. She currently studies with Susan Dora-Owens. Cantor Heit, her husband Matthew, and son David live in Englewood.