A Unique Approach to Jewish Affiliation


Chai Center is thrilled to have wonderful clergy who support us, teach us, and inspire us.  

They are available to our families for officiation at all life cycle events, including B’Nai Mitzvah, baby namings, weddings and funerals. 


Rabbi Joshua Goldstein is Rabbi Emeritus at Temple Sha'arey Shalom in Springfield where he served as spiritual leader for 30 years. He also served as a rabbinic leader at Sha-arey Ha-Yam in Manahawkin. 

Rabbi Goldstein has been active in a number of local and national organizations, including the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA), the Rabbinic Advisory Committee of Camp Harlam, and the Board of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He is a Past President of the Springfield Clergy Association.

He received his undergraduate degree from Temple University, and his rabbinical degree from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In 2000, he was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree.


Rabbi Goldstein is a warm person with a great sense of humor. His passions run from a love for Israel and books to Tar Heel basketball and a fascination for Africa. He loves teaching all ages, sharing his love for our Jewish heritage and our Jewish homeland. He is married to Sally Reiter Goldstein and has two sons and two granddaughters. 


Cantor Cathy Lawrence was ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion in Riverdale, NY in 2003, a seminary known for its pluralistic approach to Judaism and richly diverse faculty and student body. She then served as cantor in Stamford, Connecticut’s Temple Sinai, where in addition to leading Shabbat services and teaching an average of 40 B’nai Mitzvah students each year, she was the creator of innovative programs such as a teens’ tefillah band and a cohort of student cantorial assistant volunteers.  

Cantor Cathy studied at The Barrow Group Theater Company in Manhattan and received her Masters degree in voice and opera from the Mannes School of Music – The New School. She has served on their faculty, and continues to guest lecture. She served as the staging director for Citywide Youth Opera in NYC and the Summer Arts Festival in Albany.

In addition to giving private voice lessons, and conducting singing & acting classes and workshops, Cantor Lawrence proudly serves as the coach and manager of the cover band The NY Troubadours, which her two sons are a part of.

Cantor Lawrence enjoys interfaith work, taking pleasure and pride in providing a welcoming Jewish presence to newcomers of all religious persuasions.  She lives in Manhattan with her husband, music composer Stephen Lawrence. 


Rabbi Debra Smith (Reb Deb) is the founding rabbi and spiritual leader of Or Ha Lev Jewish Renewal Congregation in Succasunna. She is also a clinical social worker and multicultural family therapist. She has served as director of a private clinical practice, “Human Solutions,” for many years.  

Reb Deb received her rabbinic ordination through the ALEPH Jewish Renewal Rabbinical Seminary. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish Studies from Gratz College in Philadelphia and a Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University.

Her work serving the Jewish community is extensive:  she teaches at several JCC's and synagogues in the area and is on the faculty of ALEPH Tikshoret Connections where she teaches courses in Mussar studies. 

A major focus of Reb Deb’s work is deep ecumenism and multi-faith dialogue. She serves as Rabbi in Residence at the Drew Theological School in Madison; She currently serves as co-chair of the NJ Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee and is a co-chair of the Morris County NJ chapter of the Sisterhood of Salaam-Shalom. She is a frequent facilitator of interfaith dialogue work and is a lecturer and teacher at many local mosques and churches.

Reb Deb is a recipient of the prestigious Leo Brody Award, given to an outstanding professional in the field of Jewish Communal Service.  She is a member of OHALAH, Organization of Trans-denominational Rabbis, where she serves on the ethics committee; She is married to Dr. Neil Smith, and is the mother of two grown daughters. 


They may not look it, due to Nick's beard and glasses, but their amazing vocal blend proves that they are, in fact, identical twins. As teens they backed up their cantor mom in the synagogue, and now they co-lead High Holy Day and Shabbat services in and around the NYC area, in addition to serving as dual lead singers for their acoustic cover band, The NY Troubadours. 

Sam and Nick lead several of Chai Center's Friday evening Shabbats and are available to play for B'Nai Mitzvah ceremonies, and parties,either as a duo or separately, as well as with their band. In addition to singing, they play guitar (Nick) and bass (Sam). Their friendly, low key presence and bred-in-the-bone musicality help to make events very special.