Meet the Leadership Team of Congregation B'nai Israel

In an intimate congregation, everyone has a chance to take on a leadership role, investing themselves in the betterment of our Congregation and our community. Presently, this is the leadership team of CBI, including our Executive Committee and our Board of Trustees.

Please get to know us, as we are eager to get to know you:

Rabbi Peter Kessler

Congregation B'nai Israel Rabbi - rabbi@cbigalveston.org

Rabbi Peter Kessler was born and raised in Chicago and received his B.S. degree in Business Management from the University of Illinois. He received his Master’s Degree and Ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1995 and 1996, respectively. Rabbi Kessler received his Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) in May of 2021. Rabbi Kessler is the proud father of his son Floyd, an art student at Alfred University in upstate New York. 

 

Rabbi Kessler is proud of his extensive work in interfaith and community outreach and his vision for a congregation that is open and welcoming to all types of Jewish families. His decision to come to Congregation B’nai Israel in Galveston is predicated on the warm and cohesive community he found during his search for a new pulpit. “I fell in love with the people at Congregation B’nai Israel”, said Rabbi Kessler, "and I look forward to being part of the wonderful community of Galveston”

Rabbi James (Jimmy) Kessler

Congregation B'nai Israel Rabbi Emeritus - emeritus@cbigalveston.org

Rabbi James “Jimmy” Kessler is a native Houstonian and a graduate of the University of Texas. Ordained from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972, Rabbi Kessler went on to found the Texas Jewish Historical Society in 1980 and wrote his first doctorate on Texas Jewish History in 1988. For 32 blessed years, Rabbi Kessler served as the Jewish spiritual leader for Congregation B’nai Israel as well as the city of Galveston, participating in countless charitable causes, social action initiatives, and civic groups. He continues to honor our congregation with his knowledge and presence as Rabbi Emeritus. Rabbi Kessler is married to Shelley Nussenblatt, a native of Galveston. Together, they have two children and three grandchildren, who bring them immense joy!

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Rabbi Todd Doctor

Interim Education Director - educator@cbigalveston.org

Rabbi Todd Doctor, a Houston native, is a dedicated educator who passionately believes that knowledge empowers individuals and shape lives.  He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Rabbi Doctor went on to earn his Rabbinical Ordination from Zeigler School of Rabbinic Studies, Masters of Arts Degree in Rabbinic Studies, and Masters of Arts Degree in Education from the Fingerhut School of Education at the University of Judaism (AJU).

Rabbi Doctor has served as a teacher, consultant and educational leader for a number of Jewish schools and agencies, across the country.  Rabbi Doctor founded Minds of Tomorrow to mentor and coach a variety of age groups and those of diverse religious backgrounds. He is committed to creating innovative approaches designed to enable children, adults, families, and groups to achieve their full potential by becoming conscious of who they are as a person through the process of mentoring and coaching to consciousness.

Rabbi Doctor moved to Galveston in 2011. He is married to Sarah Shabot and they have two fabulous children, Caleb and Jacob, and their dog, Dudley. Rabbi Doctor also serves as a Chaplain for the Galveston Police Department and lectures on Violence in Sacred Spaces.

Rabbi Doctor is excited for the upcoming Religious School year.

 

Congregation B'nai Israel Executive Committee

Todd Masel
 

President

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Ann Masel

Treasurer

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Jon and Nancy Sheiman

1st Vice President

Randi Betts

Secretary

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Benjy Shabot

2nd Vice President

Steve Hoffman

Past President (ex officio)

 

Congregation B'nai Israel Board of Trustees

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Steven Cohn

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Jayson Levy

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Fredell Rosen

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Allison Cowan

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Kelly Masel

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Joseph Sonstein

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Suzanne Klimberg

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Hal Rochkind

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Susan Steinberg

Congregation B'nai Israel Program Chairs

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Nancy Sheiman

Membership

Robert Goldhirsh

Cemetery

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Debbie Shabot

Caring Committee

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Tom and Allison Cowan

Special Projects co-Chairs

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Esther McKenna

Margie Wardian

Inclusion

Adult Programs