Rabbi Michael Pincus

Rabbi Pincus joined Congregation Beth Israel in 2004 as Assistant Rabbi and assumed the responsibilities of Senior Rabbi in 2011. Inspired by a love of Jewish stories and music and the power of Judaism to guide his life, he is committed to helping create a warm and welcoming community for all with opportunities for spiritual growth and engagement with the world.

Rabbi Pincus was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2004. He received a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Master’s Degree in elementary education and secondary social studies from the University of Virginia. During his years at HUC, Rabbi Pincus served as a student rabbi in Fredericksburg, Virginia, River Edge, New Jersey, Newton, Massachusetts and as the family educator at the Reform Temple of Forest Hills, New York. Since arriving to West Hartford, he has served on the Commission of Jewish Education and Leadership, Hartford Hospital’s Pastoral Advisory Committee, University of Connecticut’s Institutional Review Board panel, and the Greater Hartford Rabbinic Association.

Rabbi Pincus is married to Randi, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and NYU Law School, and has three sons: Jonathan, Ari, and Benjamin. He enjoys hiking, camping, cooking, and travel, and is still trying to learn how to play the guitar.

Contact Rabbi Pincus: 860-233-8215 x2280, rabbipincus@gmail.com

Rabbi Andi Fliegel

Rabbi Andi Fliegel joined Congregation Beth Israel in July of 2016. She was ordained in May 2016 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she received Masters degrees in Hebrew Letters and Religious Education. She grew up in the Reform movement in St. Louis, Missouri and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin. Reflecting on her educational experience at Hebrew Union College, Rabbi Fliegel commented, “I embarked on a journey that would enable me to explore my passions as an educator, pastor, and pursuer of social justice through various internships and fellowships in congregations, camps, hospitals, and campus Hillel work. These opportunities have broadened my sense of spirit, sense of self, and my sense of the rabbinate.”

Contact Rabbi Fliegel: 860-233-8215 x2260, afliegel@cbict.org. 

Cantor Lauren Phillips

Cantor Phillips joined Congregation Beth Israel in July of 2016 after previously serving as Cantor at Congregation Sinai in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At CBI, Cantor Phillips has helped bring innovative musical groups to our community including musicians from Nava Tehilah, an Israeli prayer community specializing in contemporary worship. She spearheaded CBI’s adoption of Mishkan HaNefesh, the Reform movement’s updated liturgy for the High Holy Days, and oversees The Tribe, CBI’s group for young professionals and graduate students. Cantor Phillips was ordained by the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2013. She completed undergraduate studies at Tufts University and earned a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from The Boston Conservatory.

Contact Cantor Phillips: 860-233-8215 x2340, lphillips@cbict.org. 


Clergy Emeriti

Cantor Siskin’s voice has been heard all over the world – from her scholarship studies in Rome to her singing contract with the Royal Opera House in London, to the Israel National Opera, to the QE2 cruise ship, to being chosen as a finalist in an international vocalist competition held in Bulgaria. Yearning for more spiritual fulfillment, she decided to become a cantor and moved to the United States in 1985 to enroll at the Hebrew Union College. Upon graduation, Cantor Siskin became the cantor and educator for Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, New Jersey, where she served until coming to Congregation Beth Israel in 1998.

Cantor Siskin introduced new religious, musical and pastoral programs at Beth Israel. She provided meaningful and uplifting musical offerings at Shabbat services and High Holy Days. Under her tutelage, the synagogue’s annual Purim Spiel was transformed into a much anticipated highlight of the year; and she produced a broad range of musical events, ranging from cabaret to opera to spiritual theater, featuring the congregation’s adult choir, youth chorus and instrumentalists.

In addition to her cantorial duties, Cantor Siskin directed the congregation’s religious school from 2003 – 2013, during which time she restructured the program and inspired students to find deep connections to Judaism. She also nurtured the synagogue’s Mitzvah Corps, a team of volunteers who assist those in need, and created SAGE, a well-loved arts and education program for the congregation’s seniors.

She was awarded a Doctor of Music, honoris causa from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2014.

Cantor Siskin retired in June, 2016 and moved to Florida with her husband, Jerry. They have two children, Eve-Alice and Joel.

Rabbi Fuchs served as Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel from 1997-2011. Following his retirement from Beth Israel, he began an appointment as President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ). He traveled the world while serving in that role until October 2012.

Currently, Rabbi Fuchs writes and lectures extensively, both domestically and abroad. He has worked hard to convey that the essence of Jewish values are found in gemilut hasadim—concrete acts of caring and kindness that make a difference in the lives of others.

Rabbi Fuchs’ first book, What’s in it for Me? Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives, was published in 2014 and translated into German in 2015 and into Russian in 2016. His second book, ToraHighlights, a collection of short comments on each weekly Torah portion, is forthcoming in the fall of 2016 and will be published in both English and German.

In addition to his books, Rabbi Fuchs has published more than 100 articles, essays and book chapters on subjects pertaining to Jewish life and Jewish/Christian relations. Copies of his book and the sermons that he delivered while Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel are available in our Learning Center. You can read Rabbi Fuchs’s blog here and access his writings on ReformJudaism.org here. Rabbi Fuchs is a graduate of Hamilton College and was ordained a rabbi at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion where he also received Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Hebrew Letters and a graduate certificate in Jewish Communal Studies. In 1992 Rabbi Fuchs earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Biblical Interpretation from Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and in 1999 HUC-JIR awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity.

Prior to his service at Beth Israel, Rabbi Fuchs was Senior Rabbi at The Temple Congregation Ohabai Sholom in Nashville, Tennessee for 11 years, and was the first full-time spiritual leader at Temple Isaiah in Columbia, Maryland, for 13 years.

He is a past chair of the Central Conference of American Rabbis Committee on inter-religious affairs. He participated in the historic meeting of Pope John Paul II with Jewish leaders in Miami, Florida, in 1987. Rabbi was also among 90 leaders invited to the White House for breakfast with President and Mrs. Clinton and Vice President and Mrs. Gore in 1993 and 1997.

Rabbi Fuchs was elected by the Central Conference of American Rabbis to serve on the National Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Foodshare, the regional food bank for Hartford and Tolland counties; the Hartford Rotary; and was an adjunct faculty member at the Hartford Seminary and Saint Joseph College.

Rabbi Fuchs had an instrumental role in ensuring the successful passage of SustiNet, legislation that ensures access to quality, affordable health care to Connecticut residents.

In the Spring of 2004, Rabbi Fuchs received the first annual Judaic Heritage award from the Charter Oak Cultural Center. In October 2006 he was awarded the “Legion of Honor” award by the Chapel of Four Chaplains. This is a national non-profit organization which gives this prestigious honor to those who exhibit outstanding volunteer service to one’s community and fellow human beings without regard for faith or race.

Rabbi Fuchs and his wife Vickie, a retired public school teacher, have three children, Leo, Sarah, and Benjamin, and five grandchildren.