A Conservative Congregation that is anything but...


Clergy | Administration | Board of Trustees


Rabbi Wayne M. Franklin, Senior Rabbi


Rabbi Wayne Franklin, Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El since 1981, is a 1965 graduate of Yeshiva University and was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1970. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity by the Seminary in 1996. In addition to his pastoral duties, his leading services and his teaching all aspects of Judaism to people of all ages, he has served as chair of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of RI and has chaired the Rhode Island Interfaith Commemoration of the Holocaust for over thirty years. He is a member of the Miriam Hospital's Ethics Committee and its Jewish Traditions Advisory Committee. He is a co-founder of the RI Catholic-Jewish Dialogue group. He is currently Secretary/Treasurer of the National Council of Synagogues, a multi-denominational Jewish group which engages in interfaith dialogue with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Council of Churches, and a group of American Muslim leaders. He is a participant in the Providence Community, Faith, and Law Enforcement Leaders Dialogue Group. He was the recipient of the Jewish Federation's Never Again Award in 2003, and is a recipient of the 2004 NCCJ Interfaith Leadership Award.

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Rabbi Rachel Zerin


Rabbi Rachel Zerin was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2015, where she also received her MA in Talmud. While at JTS, Rabbi Zerin served as student rabbi of Temple B’nai Shalom of Benton Harbor, MI and the Flemington Jewish Community Center in NJ, intern at Rutgers Hillel, and High Holiday rabbi/cantor at Syracuse University Hillel and Temple Aliyah of Needham, MA. Additionally, she completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education through JTS at the YM&WHA, where she offered pastoral counseling to seniors. Rabbi Zerin’s interests are many, and Talmud, social justice, and interfaith dialogue. Regarding the latter, Rabbi Zerin worked for the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme’s Summer School at Cambridge University, and was founder of If We Serve, an interfaith service-learning retreat. Prior to her rabbinical studies, Rabbi Zerin studied at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and earned her BA in Voice Performance and Religion from Syracuse University. A native of Massachusetts, Rabbi Zerin is thrilled to be returning to New England and to be joining the Emanu-El community, along with her husband Sam and their toddler Ezra.

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Cantor Brian J. Mayer, Hazzan

Brian Headshot

Brian J. Mayer, cantor of Temple Emanu-El since 1989, reorganized the Temple Choir, founded the Choral Club, Kol Kesem Teen Choir, and the Junior Choir, helped foster the Kol Klezmer Band, and established a reputation for innovative, artistic, and participatory, congregant-based concerts. He conducted the adult choirs at the North American Jewish Choral Festival and Kol Kesem at the annual Hazamir Teen Choral Festival in New York's Lincoln Center. A recognized scholar of hazzanut (cantorial music), he taught for 14 years at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York as assistant professor of hazzanut and was featured in the nationally televised ABC-TV documentary "To God's Ear," which was nominated for an Emmy Award. A lecturer at synagogues and conferences throughout the United States, he holds a Doctor of Sacred Music degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was awarded the Seminary's Arthur Einstein Prize for composition.

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Rabbi Alvan H. Kaunfer, Rabbi Emeritus

AlvanRabbi Alvan H. Kaunfer is a Rabbi Emeritus at Temple Emanu-El, after serving the Temple and Jewish Community for 33 years. Rabbi Kaunfer continues his special interest in education by teaching a weekly Parashah class and continuing his research in midrash. In addition, Rabbi Kaunfer serves as an educational consultant to a number of schools, and he teaches courses in Jewish Education at the Davidson School of the Jewish Theological Seminary, and at Hebrew College in Boston . Rabbi Kaunfer was also the founding Director of the Alperin Schechter Day School in Providence . He is a graduate of Brandeis University , Teachers’ College of Columbia University, and he was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, from which institution he also holds a Doctoral degree in Education. Rabbi Kaunfer He has published articles on education and on midrash in several professional journals and books.  Rabbi Kaunfer is married to Marcia Lapidus Kaunfer and he has two sons, Elie and Oren and two granddaughters.