Serving as The Emanuel Synagogue’s dynamic, caring, and supportive spiritual leader since 2002, Rabbi Small has more than 30 years experience as a rabbi.
Rabbi Small shares his passion for Jewish life, Jewish values and spirituality with all ages. Rabbi Small is a gifted teacher; he excels in applying Jewish wisdom to contemporary issues. Ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary and with a B.A. from Yale University, Rabbi Small also studied at The Hebrew University, the Shalom Hartman Institute, and holds an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
An enthusiast of Jewish summer camping, Rabbi Small has served as a bunk counselor, drama specialist and lifeguard and swim instructor at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and New England. He has served as a Trustee of Foodshare, on the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Ethics Committee, and on the Vaad haKavod ethics committee of the Rabbinical Assembly.
Rabbi Small was wed to Debbie Chameides here at the Emanuel Synagogue in 1988; David and Debbie are proud parents to three grown children and two dogs. An avid animal lover, Rabbi Small also enjoys cycling, hiking, reading, writing poetry, vegetarian food, travel and conversation.
CONTACT RABBI SMALL ABOUT: spiritual growth, pastoral support, upcoming simchas, Jewish learning and observance, conversion, Israel, interfaith relations, family issues or any concern or question important to you. Click to email Rabbi Small, or call (860) 236-1275 Ext. 115.
Hazzan Daniella Risman joined The Emanuel Synagogue as Cantor, July 2021.
Hazzan Risman graduated in 2021 from the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary with a Master of Sacred Music. She also has a Master of Music in Voice from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College. She was awarded the Richard W. Briskin Cantor-in Residence Award, presented annually to an outstanding student at the H. L. Miller Cantorial School.
During her studies, Hazzan Risman served as a Cantorial Intern at Ansche Chesed in Manhattan where she lead services, assisted in choir rehearsals and Torah tutoring and served as a Chaplain Intern at The New Jewish Home in New York City where she provided pastoral care and led Kabbalat Shabbat services. She has also served as a Cantorial Soloist and Guest Cantor at several congregations in the United States and Europe. A lyric soprano, she played the role of the Countess in Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” and Micaela in Bizet’s “Carmen.”
Hazzan Risman enjoys singing varied genres including opera, art song, chazzanut, Yiddishkeit, jazz and liturgical music. She was born in Israel and raised there and in California. She is an avid traveler and lover of languages, having studied seven languages and sung in still more. She enjoys delicious kitchen projects and hiking. She and her husband, Eric Hoffman, are the proud parents of Zehava and Judah.
Click to email Hazzan Risman, or call her at: To contact 860-236-1275 ext. 114.
Moshe Pinchover serves as Ritual Director at The Emanuel. Moshe’s fluid Torah reading and warm minyan welcome endears him to all in the Emanuel congregation.
Born in Tiberias and raised in Jerusalem, Moshe holds degrees in Economics, Accounting, and Jewish Studies from Bar Ilan University. Completing his professional music studies through the Mentorship Program of the Jewish Theological Seminary Cantors Assembly, Moshe was ordained in 2014. Moshe served in the Israeli Defense Forces, and each year leads the community-wide Yom Hazikaron memorial service at the Mandell Jewish Community Center.
CONTACT HAZZAN PINCHOVER REGARDING: Shabbat morning and holiday aliyot, reading Torah/Haftarah, daily minyan support, yahrzeit plaques, and ritual questions. Click to Email Moshe Pinchover, (860) 236-1275 Ext. 117.
Known for his warm smile and depth of soul, Rabbi Lazowski is a beloved figure in the Greater Hartford Jewish community, who initially came to The Emanuel in 2009, serving as our spiritual leader during Rabbi Small’s sabbatical. In 2011, he and his wife Ruth were honored by The Emanuel, at which time Rabbi Lazowski was named Rabbi Emeritus of The Emanuel Synagogue. Ordained by the Academy of Higher Jewish Learning, Rabbi Lazowski began his rabbinic career in 1954 at Hartford’s Congregation Beth Sholom Synagogue, later serving as spiritual leader of Bloomfield’s Beth Hillel Synagogue until 2000. A retired Chaplain for Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, the Hartford Police, and the Connecticut State Senate, Rabbi Lazowski holds a Bachelor of Religious Education from the Teachers Institute of Yeshiva University, a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Brooklyn College and a Master of Science Degree from Yeshiva University’s Graduate School of Education. Awarded a Doctorate of Jewish Literature from the Jewish Teachers Seminary and People’s University, as well as a Doctorate by the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Lazowski has authored and published 14 books. A Holocaust survivor who hid for almost 3 years in the White Russian woods, Rabbi Lazowski is married to Ruth (Rabinowitz) Lazowski, and has three sons and seven grandchildren.
Meet Emanuel’s New Student Rabbi, Sassoon (“Sass”) Orol Brown
We are excited to announce the appointment of our next Student Rabbi, Sassoon “Sass” Orol Brown (they/them), a third-year rabbinical student at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
Sass will conduct our Youth and Family High Holy Day services and will come to Emanuel one weekend a month during the school year to work with our young people and to support services and learning for all ages. Sass will also serve Emanuel via online access on a weekly basis, including Shabbat Babayit on Fridays at 5:30 p.m., and weekly adult Torah study on Shabbat afternoons.
Before coming to New York, Sass grew up and worked in the Jewish community in Raleigh, NC. Sass ran youth groups and programs for Beth Meyer Synagogue, taught Jewish music at the shul’s preschool, and worked as the song leader for their childhood JCC day camp. Sass also organized with Carolina Jews for Justice.
In summer 2021, Sass completed their first unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, working as a chaplain intern for The Fortune Society and The New Jewish Home. During this past school year, they worked as a Slifka-Nadich rabbinical student intern with USY, and served as the advisor to USY’s Jews of Color, Indigenous, Sephardi, and Mizrahi teen cohort. Sass participated in JTS’s first Gender, Torah, and Tradition Fellowship. They were also selected for a Wexner Graduate Fellowship.
Sass studied Communications and Creative Writing at UNC-Chapel Hill, where they received an Academy of American Poets prize. Sass also earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from North Carolina State University. While at NC State, they wrote a book of queer and Jewish-themed poetry called “The Shortest Skirt in Shul,” published by Ben Yehuda Press in 2021.
Sass and their partner, Sari-Rose Brown, just welcomed the birth of their first child, Henya. Sass loves writing songs and poems, playing long board games, and cooking their grandparents’ recipes.
Hazzan Cohn retired as full-time cantor of The Emanuel in June 2020 but continued to tutor B’nai Mitzvah students as well as hold a special place in the hearts of our Emanuel community.
Sadly, Hazzan Cohn passed away May 22, 2022 / 21 Iyyar 5782. Our congregation mourns the loss of our beloved Cantor of over 20 years and offer our heartfelt wishes of Nehama to his family and all those who loved him.
Rabbi Gerald B. Zelermyer is Rabbi Emeritus of The Emanuel Synagogue, retiring in 2002 after serving for nearly twenty years. Rabbi Zelermyer’s guidance was tested early when a vandal damaged The Emanuel’s facility and several Torah scrolls, requiring burial, cleanup, rebuilding, and consequent fundraising efforts. Rabbi Zelermyer is a graduate of Middlebury College, with an honorary doctorate in divinity from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a certificate in gerontology from St. Joseph’s College.
He and his wife Heske reside in Silver Spring, MD, and have two sons, Hazzan Gideon Zelermyer and Salo Zelermyer, and six grandchildren.