Rabbi Sharyn H. Henry
Contact Rabbi Henry:
(412) 621-6566 x126
Rabbi Sharyn H. Henry has been a rabbi with the Congregation since 2004. Her rabbinic focus is social action, inclusion, and worship. Rabbi Henry was presented with a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2013 by the Hebrew Union College for 25 years teaching “the faith, culture and ethics of Reform Judaism.”
Having begun her work with Rodef Shalom Congregation in 1999, she first served as the Religious School Principal, a position that evolved into Youth and Education Director. Prior to joining Rodef Shalom, Rabbi Henry held the positions of Rabbi and Educator at Temple Ohav Shalom in Allison Park, PA, and Assistant Rabbi at The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah in Overland Park, KS, where she was the only female rabbi in the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan area.
Rabbi Henry received her Rabbinic Ordination (1988) from Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion with a Master’s in Hebrew Letters (MAHL, 1987). She earned her undergraduate degree, with honors, in Psychology (1980) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Rabbi Henry was recognized by Community Living and Support Services (CLASS) with a Humanitarian Award for her advocacy of equality and inclusion. Additionally, she is a member of the Community Day School Board of Trustees.
Sharyn and her husband, Dennis Grinberg, have two sons, Avi and Asher. They make their home in Regent Square.
Dr. Rabbi Walter Jacob
Contact Dr. Jacob:
(412) 621-6566 x125
In a career now spanning seven decades, Dr. Jacob has not only served this Congregation, but has also advocated on behalf of the oppressed, minorities, and the disabled; addressed local, national, and international concerns; and engaged in the on-the-ground work of improving interfaith relations and our world one person at a time. In his more than 60 years as a pulpit rabbi, Dr. Jacob combined significant scholarship with a generous and empathic spirit. Dr. Jacob has written more than 1,300 articles, reviews, and essays and is the author or editor of more than 45 books. He spent decades translating the Torah commentaries of his grandfather Benno Jacob, whose significant work was obscured by the chaos of World War II.
Locally, he taught at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, the University of Pittsburgh, and Chatham University. In 1989, he founded the Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah, which publishes an annual volume of essays on Jewish law. A recognized leader in Reform Judaism, Dr. Jacob served as president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) and vice-president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), and chaired the CCAR's Responsa Committee as well as the International Responsa Committee of the WUPJ.
An avid gardener, Dr. Jacob, in concert with his wife Irene (z"l), created the Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden. The first of its kind in the country, the Biblical Botanical Garden educates visitors about our shared Biblical history and fosters greater understanding among all faiths. One of the accomplishments closest to Dr. Jacob’s heart is the role he and his wife Irene played in establishing Horizon Homes, the first group home for adults with disabilities in Western Pennsylvania and a precursor to Mainstay Life Services.
In his eighties, Dr. Jacob returned to the country of his birth to establish the Abraham Geiger College, the first rabbinical seminary in the heart of post-Holocaust Europe. For reestablishing rabbinic education and thereby encouraging the vitality of Jewish life in Europe, Dr. Jacob was made a Knight Commander of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1999, and was portrayed on an Austrian postage stamp. In 2005, he received from His Holiness Pope John Paul II conferred the papal rank of Commander of the Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great on Dr. Jacob.
Dr. Rabbi Walter Jacob is Rodef Shalom's Rabbi Emeritus and Senior Scholar. Born into a rabbinic family that dates back some 400 years, Dr. Jacob’s early years were lived under the foreboding shadow of mid-20th century Germany.
His grandfather, Benno Jacob, was a Biblical scholar of great renown and his father, Ernst, was a district rabbi in Augsburg, Germany, where the Jewish community had deep roots. Following the events of Kristallnacht in 1938, the Jacob family fled to London and later immigrated to the United States. A precocious student, Walter earned a BA from Springfield’s Drury College in 1950 and enrolled at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati, from which he was ordained in 1955. Significantly, Walter's rabbinic ordination made him the sixteenth generation in his family to earn the title of rabbi.
Following his studies, Rabbi Jacob assumed a temporary position under the guidance of Dr. Solomon B. Freehof, the senior rabbi of Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh. After a two-year hiatus, during which he served as a US Air Force chaplain in the Philippines, he returned to the congregation permanently. After earning a Doctor of Hebrew Letters from HUC-JIR, Dr. Jacob succeeded Solomon Freehof as Rodef Shalom’s senior rabbi. He held this position until his retirement in 1996, whereupon he was named Rodef Shalom’s Rabbi Emeritus and Senior Scholar.
Cantor Toby Glaser
Contact Cantor Glaser:
(412) 621-6566 x123
Cantor Toby Glaser grew up in Melbourne, Australia. He studied at the University of Melbourne, majoring in German and Music History with a Diploma of Modern Languages in French.
After working as a cantorial soloist at several Reform synagogues in Australia, he pursued his passion for Jewish music at Hebrew Union College first in Jerusalem in 2015, and then in New York, graduating in 2020.
Cantor Glaser sang as a student cantor at Greenwich Reform Synagogue in Connecticut before working as Cantorial Intern at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan for three years. He has also taught at Central Synagogue, Temple Shaaray Tefila and the Jewish Community Project Downtown. On graduation, he began his career at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco, California before commencing his tenure here at Rodef Shalom Congregation in July 2023.
Cantor Glaser has always had a passion for classical music and has studied with leading voice teachers both in Australia and Germany and performed with many of Australia’s leading opera companies including Victorian Opera, Melbourne Lyric Opera, Melbourne Chorale, and numerous choirs and vocal ensembles. In his worship services, Cantor Glaser loves infusing traditional and well-loved melodies with contemporary flair, leading the community in a variety of musical styles with percussion instruments and guitar. His style is always eclectic, but draws heavily on traditional prayer modes and Jewish chant with an emphasis on improvisation and innovation.