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Meet our Clergy

 RABBI STEVEN W. ENGEL

Email: swengel@crjorlando.org

As the Rabbi of Central Florida’s largest Reform Jewish congregation, Rabbi Engel is actively involved both inside and outside the synagogue. Rabbi Engel has brought his creativity, dynamism and relationship building skills to our congregation since 1997. Outside of CRJ he presently serves on the Board of New Hope for Kids-Grieving Center for Children in Maitland, Florida and is a founding member of The Interfaith Council of Central Florida.  He has served as an adjunct professor of religion and a guest lecturer at Rollins College and the University of Central Florida.

Rabbi Engel received a B.A. in Physics from Rutgers University and a Masters Degree from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. He received Rabbinic Ordination in 1988 and a Doctorate in Divinity in 2013 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. His Rabbinic thesis was entitled “A Critical Psycho-biography of Kivie Kaplan Against the Backdrop of Black-Jewish Relations in the 20th Century”.

Rabbi Engel has been prominent on the national scene as well having appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, US News & World Report, CNN, Larry King Live and on the Today Show. 

Rabbi Engel is married to Beverly, a gerontologist and they have three children. He is an avid cyclist, woodworker, baseball card collector, and loves his work as a Rabbi as he finds it challenging and invigorating.

cantor bryce megdal

Email: bmegdal@crjorlando.org

Cantor Bryce Megdal was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She attended a Jewish day school from first through eighth grade, where she developed a lifelong love for Judaism and the Hebrew language. She began her singing journey in fourth grade, when she joined the Tucson Jewish Youth Choir in its first year.

After she had her Bat Mitzvah, through high school, and through college, Cantor Megdal remained involved at her temple with a growing list of roles. In May 2012, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Judaic Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art at the University of Arizona. A year later, she moved to Los Angeles to attend the Academy for Jewish Religion California (AJRCA). In May 2015, she received a Master’s Degree in Jewish Studies with an Emphasis in Music in Jewish Life from ARJCA, and in August 2015, she transferred into the Cantorial Program. On May 27, 2019, Megdal was ordained as a Cantor.

From September 2013 to February 2020, Cantor Megdal was one of two B’nai Mitzvah teachers at Kehillat Israel (KI) Reconstructionist Synagogue of the Pacific Palisades. In her last two years of Cantorial School, Cantor Megdal interned at Temple Akiba in Culver City and Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) in Encino. She has remained involved with both of them as well as other congregations at which she has led services or served in other capacities.

While Cantor Megdal fully supports keeping traditional Jewish worship elements alive, such as nusach (the traditional mode of Jewish prayer chant) and older pieces of hazzanut (the traditional music of the Cantorate), and sincerely enjoys singing with a classical style, she also believes it is important to teach new and modern musical settings of Jewish liturgy. She is a Jewish music nerd through and through, always eager to learn new renditions of Jewish text. As such, one of Cantor Megdal’s passions is writing and composing Jewish music. Creating and sculpting her own musical interpretations of Judaism's ancient text and core Jewish concepts nourishes her soul; she hopes her music nurtures others’ souls as well. Cantor Megdal released her first album of original Jewish music, entitled Shine Forth, in May 2016. She has written many new songs since then and is SUPER ready to record another album once settled in Orlando.

During this difficult time of uncertainty and transformation, Cantor Megdal is looking forward to becoming a part of CRJ’s community and family. Along with Rabbi Engel, she will do all that she can to be a guiding presence and radiant light for those whom she serves. She cannot wait to meet all of you!

In addition to the above, Cantor Megdal is an avid photographer, graphic designer, and swimmer. She lives with her husband, Marc Tanne, who is a software engineer.

To listen to Cantor Megdal’s album or watch videos of her in action, visit www.brycemegdal.com.

Mon, October 26 2020 8 Cheshvan 5781