The Temple Beth Sholom Professional Staff
Cantor David Reinwald
Cantor David Reinwald, a Chicago native, has been the cantor of Temple Beth Sholom since 2010. With a passion for music of all styles, Cantor Reinwald considers himself a music aficionado. He holds a Bachelors in Music, Media, and Jewish Studies from Indiana University – Bloomington and was ordained as a cantor by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York City in 2006.
Cantor Reinwald is inspired by Jewish and cantorial music that is both classic and contemporary, and also has a specialization in music written and performed during the Holocaust. Out of his masters thesis research, Cantor Reinwald created an hour long transformative experience and performance entitled Cabaret of the Holocaust: Notes of Satire from the Stages, Cafes, and Streets of the Ghettos. His research is archived in the collections of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and at Yad Vashem in Israel.
Prior to joining the TBS staff, Cantor Reinwald has served Temple Anshe Sholom of Olympia Fields, IL, Congregation Beth Israel of Austin, TX and Temple Beth-El of Jersey City, NJ. He also spent a summer working as a hospital chaplain at Beth Israel Hospital in NYC’s East Village. He is a member of the American Conference of Cantors Executive Board, where he has served on various committees, and is also a past chair of the student recruitment committee of the HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Alumni Association. The cantor’s debut album, Here I Stand, was released in September, 2011. He is the creator and host of the unique podcast Tropeful, studying Torah through the perspective of the trope (cantillation) system. Cantor Reinwald is an advocate for foster youth through CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Orange County and a passionate representative for the work this incredible organization does on behalf of children in the foster care system. Cantor Reinwald loves connecting with people through the universal language of music and is proud to call TBS his congregational family and spiritual home.
Ruth Irving, MBA has joined Temple Beth Sholom as our Executive Director. As a native Southern Californian, Ruth was active in her synagogue growing up. She has been working in Synagogues for over 10 years and is proud to join the staff at Temple Beth Sholom. With a degree in religious studies and an MBA in Nonprofit Management from American Jewish University, she has a passion for working in the Jewish community. Prior to TBS, Ruth most recently worked at Beth Chayim Chadashim in Los Angeles. She also worked at Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles and Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills before that. Having moved from Los Angeles, Ruth and her husband, Ben, are enjoying Orange County.
Ruth is eager to meet our congregants and to help us all connect to our temple community and to our Judaism. Please be sure to stop in and say hello when next you come to TBS.
Director of Youth Education
Johannah Sohn has spent the entirety of her career working in the field of Jewish education; “it is my passion and I believe it is my calling,” she says. Johannah has had the opportunity to work with every age group from newborns to adults and loves helping to make Judaism come alive for everyone! She worked in many Jewish educational settings from religious schools, to camp, to Hillel and even a Jewish day school.
Johannah is a nationally recognized visionary and educational leader known for redefining elementary education through the conception of the Zebrack Design Lab (an innovative classroom environment based on Design Thinking principles). She has extensive experience in strategic planning, change management, curriculum development, and facilitation. As a flexible and adaptable professional with a proven history of working with diverse constituencies, her work includes coordinating, organizing, and inspiring both lay and professional leadership.
Committed to lifelong learning, Johannah has a master’s degree in education from American Jewish University, a doctorate in education from Northeastern University and is a proud alumna of the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI) at The Jewish Theological Seminary.
Director of Early Childhood Education
Tamara Levin nurtures a lifelong passion for working with young children in an educational environment. After earning her degree in education from the University of Cape Town, she started her career teaching deaf children at an elementary school in Cape Town, South Africa. Tamara immigrated to Boston Massachusetts where she continued her studies in Early Childhood Education. She worked at Temple Emanuel Preschool in Newton, MA for nineteen years and was the preschool director at Temple Emanu-El in San Diego for four years.
Tamara is committed to creating a warm inclusive community that works together to foster a love for learning filled with curiosity, wonder, and joy. To this end, she is constantly reflecting on best practices to mentor and support teachers, children, and their families. She invites you to visit our campus and witness our Early Childhood Center in action.
Rabbi Emeritus Shelton J. Donnell
Rabbi Shelton J. Donnell served Temple Beth Sholom as Senior Rabbi from 1991-2005. A native of Southern California, Rabbi Donnell grew up in the San Fernando Valley, and graduated from Chadwick School in Palos Verdes. He completed his undergraduate studies at Pomona College in Claremont, where he studied Religion and Bible. It was there that he decided to become a rabbi, though he planned to become an academic. He was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York in 1977 and was a congregational rabbi in California for over 30 years. He served the congregations of the Sephardic Hebrew Center and Wilshire Boulevard Temple, in Los Angeles.
TBS granted him the title of Rabbi Emeritus in 2005, when he and his wife, Wendy Bocarsky fulfilled a life-long dream to make Aliyah to Israel. They lived in Jerusalem, from 2005 until 2015, where he was on the staff of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. There he taught Liturgy and served as the rabbi of the “Year-in-Israel Program” for entering rabbinic, cantorial and education students of HUC-JIR’s North American programs. Since 2015, Rabbi Donnell and Wendy have lived, with their three dogs, Louie, Barney and Angel, in Beaverton, Oregon, where Rabbi Donnell teaches Torah Study and Adult Education classes for Congregation Beth Israel.
Mark Thompson, his wife, Elizabeth, and two children have been members of the Temple Beth Sholom family since 1994. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Master of Arts from California State University Long Beach. He has held the position of Cantorial Soloist at Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs and has served as guest soloist in many locations in Southern California. In addition to his responsibilities at Temple Beth Sholom, Mark is a vocal coach, playwright and actor. He has written and produced one-man shows on the lives of famous scientists and philosophers, such as Galileo Galilei and Baruch Spinoza, which he has performed on university campuses across the country. Complementing his love of singing, he plays the guitar and lute and has a special interest in Early Music. He is also an avid amateur astronomer.