July 04, 2015   17 Tamuz 5775
Temple Beth Or -- Montgomery, AL
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Our Rabbi  

Rabbi Elliot L. Stevens

Rabbi Elliot L. Stevens has brought his special blend of love for Judaism and love for educating people in Judaism to Temple Beth Or. Since assuming the position of rabbi in July 2007, he has fostered his vision of a congregation that is active on issues of social justice, and whose members are increasingly knowledgeable and comfortable with Judaism and with Jewish worship and practices. Rabbi Stevens enjoys studying and teaching on all levels, both within the congregation and in the larger community.

Rabbi Stevens has touched many lives in this community, officiating at weddings and funerals, baby-namings, birthday and anniversary blessings, and numerous special functions. He has introduced innovations in the congregation’s worship while maintaining continuity with its historic past.

As a teacher, Rabbi Stevens has offered classes in Basic Judaism, Jewish practices, liturgy, mysticism, humor, biblical commentary, the afterlife and questions of Jewish status. His program of guest presenters has brought in authors of international renown, emerging talent and exciting cultural programs. Rabbi Stevens’ leadership was instrumental in the successful merger of the temple’s religious school with the school of Congregation Agudath Israel / Etz Ahayem, the other Jewish congregation in Montgomery.

Ordained in 1975 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, Rabbi Stevens devoted the early part of his career to his work at the Central Conference of American Rabbis, where he rose to become Associate Executive Vice President and Director of Publications. As a "rabbi's rabbi," he helped countless colleagues throughout the country, while participating in Jewish communal life on a national leadership level. At the same time, he served for decades in part-time congregational positions, most recently at the Greater Southington Jewish Congregation (Southington, CT), for nine years.

It was this congregational experience that led Rabbi Stevens to pursue a full-time congregational position, to bring his experience and unique perspective on Jewish life to a community such as ours.

Rabbi Stevens has continued his communal involvement while here in Montgomery. He has joined the boards of the Montgomery Area Food Bank; the Community Council of United Way; the Montgomery Chorale, and the UAB Health Center's Internal Medicine Residency Program. Rabbi Stevens teaches classes in Jewish studies at Huntingdon College. He has also been active in numerous community and interfaith forums, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Envision 2020, Leadership Montgomery, Rotary Club, Montgomery Academy and many local church groups.

Rabbi Stevens' enthusiasm for his work and for all things Jewish has brought a new spirit to the Beth Or congregation. His combination of scholarship, expertise on Jewish life nationally and internationally and personal warmth has made themselves felt throughout our entire community.

Rabbi Stevens and his wife Sandy Lynn have 4 children.

Our Office Staff  
Gina Friday

Gina Friday has been Temple Administrator since February 2007. As Administrator, Gina maintains the congregational calendar, prepares and publishes the monthly bulletin and other mailings, keeps the temple's financial records, supervises the use of the temple facilities, and maintains temple records and directories. Her responsibility includes oversight and maintenance of temple equipment and systems. She also serves as executive assistant to Rabbi Stevens.


In the time that she has held this position, she has become such an "institution," it's hard to imagine Temple Beth Or without her. Gina's incredible organizational and people skills have been honed by years in both public and private sectors. A native of Selma, Alabama, she moved to the Montgomery area in the 1980's. She and her husband Jack enjoy their country life style. A nature lover, Gina is particularly fond of the migrating hummingbird population and has been known to have as many as 60 hummingbirds visiting her feeders at the height of the season.



Our Program Staff  
Sharon Berry

Sharon Berry is TBO Board liasion for the Kol Ami Religious School and our BOOTY Youth Group Advisor. Sharon had served as an educator at TBO Religious School since 2006 and had been principal of Kol Ami from 2008 - 2010.


She and her family first arrived in Montgomery, Alabama, in July 2005. Her husband, David, retired from the Air Force in 2006, after serving for 25 years. Their two children are active in both the Religious School and the Youth Group.

Linda Rosen Smith

Linda Rosen Smith has served as L'Chaim League Director since May 2007. While a member of Temple Beth Or for 19 years, she served on various Sisterhood committees, taught Sunday School for 6 years, and was the Sunday School Principal for 3 years. Linda has been very active in Hadassah, serving several positions, and as a Co-President for 3 years. Her greatest joy, other than her daughter Abbie, was serving as Youth Group Advisor for Young Judaea for 10 years. 


A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Linda grew up attending Agudath Israel Synagogue, where she taught Sunday School and was very active in USY. In her years of membership in USY, she held many positions, including President. She attended the University of Alabama and AUM. Linda started working at Rosen Jewelry Company before she could read, and the business remains a major part of her life. She married Jimmy in 1975, and has one child, Abbie.  

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Eric A. Kidwell and Brenda Kerwin, librarians, lend their professional expertise to the Blachschleger Library of Temple Beth Or.  Both Mr. Kidwell and Ms. Kerwin hold the terminal academic degree in the field of library science:  Mr. Kidwell from Vanderbilt University and Ms. Kerwin from the University of Alabama.  Between them they have over thirty years of professional experience in libraries, having worked in both public and university library environments in a variety of positions including reference, collection development, technical services, systems, and administration.  Both librarians are members of the American Library Association, the Association of College & Research Libraries, and several state library associations.  Ms. Kerwin has been professionally involved at the state level serving on association committees; Mr. Kidwell has been involved at both state and national levels, including holding offices within the Association of College & Research Libraries and speaking at national and state conferences on such issues as intellectual freedom, leadership, and the First-Year (college freshman year) Experience. 

Elizabeth French, Organist and Choir Director



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