Rabbi Leonardo Bitran is one of the few leaders of the Conservative Movement whose experience includes serving synagogues across the continent, inspiring nearly a dozen of his former students to become rabbis, and mentoring rabbinical students serving Latin American congregations.
Rabbi Bitran earned a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Economics from the University of Chile. He was ordained at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York with a Master's degree in Hebrew Letters with a major in Talmud and Rabbinics.
Rabbi Bitran grew up at the Sephardic Synagogue in Santiago, Chile. Influenced by his parents and religious leaders he began leading religious services on Shabbat and High Holy Days at Bar Mitzvah age. He attended the school of Economics at the University of Chile, the Seminario Rabinico Latino Americano in Buenos Aires and The Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York.
Rabbi Bitran served at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, Michigan, where he led its vibrant satellite congregation, B’nai Israel, for eleven years. Most recently and for ten years he served Congregation Agudas Achim in San Antonio, Texas, enabling it to achieve excellence in Jewish education. At Temple Beth El, Rabbi Bitran aspires to lead and inspire our Temple to be a model and center for Conservative Judaism. Together with his colleague, Hazzan Leubitz, Rabbi Bitran is committed to building strong relationships and a caring community, dedicated to worship, study of sacred texts and the creation of a kind environment for its members.
Hazzan Martin Leubitz served Congregation Beth Am in Cleveland, Ohio for over twenty years before coming to Temple Beth El of Rochester, NY in 1995.
A vocal performance major at the University of Akron, Hazzan Leubitz graduated from the H.L. Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1972. During his career, he has become known not only for his highly interpretive renditions of the liturgy, but also for his delightful musical programs including selections of Yiddish, Hassidic and Broadway show music.
Hazzan Leubitz has composed and published several pieces for Hazzan and Congregation, which he uses as part of the Sabbath and Holiday services. He is the featured soloist on two recordings, “High Holiday Favorites” and “Shma Koleinu.” He appeared with the Rochester Oratorio Society concert in 2005 performing the Ernest Bloch, Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) at the Hochstein Performance Hall. In addition, Hazzan Leubitz has recorded Temple Beth El’s setting of Friday Night Live.
A member of the Cantors Assembly, Hazzan Leubitz served on the national Executive Council and as chair of the Tri-State Region.
Hazzan Leubitz has been responsible for bringing excitement into our Shabbat evening Friday Night Live services. Crowds of three hundred plus representing all ages and all affiliations have regularly attended these upbeat services.
The Jewish Theological Seminary awarded Hazzan Leubitz an honorary Doctor of Music degree December 2008 for his contributions during his career in the cantorate.
In his precious moments of spare time, Hazzan Leubitz enjoys woodworking, amateur radio and photography.