Our Clergy & Senior Staff

Rabbi Dana Magat
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Rabbi Dana Magat became Temple Emanu-El’s Senior Rabbi in July 1999. Prior to that, he served four years as Associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego. Rabbi Magat’s first pulpit was in Miami where he was the Assistant Rabbi/Director of Education for Temple Israel of Greater Miami. Before his ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1993, he earned a Masters in Education from the Fingerhut School of Education at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles.

Rabbi Magat is actively involved in interfaith relations. He is currently the Chair of the Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice for Santa Clara County. He has served as President of the Cantors and Rabbis Association of Greater San Jose. Rabbi Magat has been a board member of Hillel of Silicon Valley, Chai House, the Jewish Community Center and the Pacific Association of American Rabbis. He currently services on the board of the Northern California Board of Rabbis as well as various other committees.

Rabbi Magat is married to Cheriel and he has two children, Shira and Raya.

 

Cantor Amanda Edmondson
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Cantor Amanda Edmondson grew up in Roanoke, Virginia where there was a small Jewish community, being one of only eight Jews in her high school.  Despite this, she was highly involved in Temple youth group as a founding member with her closest friends also being involved.  Her rabbi at the time was one she greatly looked up to and encouraged Amanda to go to Kutz Camp, a Reform Jewish youth leadership camp in Warwick, New York.  During her time spent embracing Judaism at camp and getting to know some cantors, she knew, at the age of 15, that she wanted to pursue the cantorate in the future. Having previously been involved in school choirs, in musical theater, and in Temple choir, music was already a love for Cantor Winter from a young age.

When it came time for college, Cantor Amanda attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics, with minors in both Music and Spanish. While there, she was involved in Hillel, and also became a religious school teacher and choir member at the Temple near campus. She was able to return to Kutz Camp as a staff member in the summer of 2005. Throughout the entire time in college, she was wholeheartedly committed to becoming a cantor—it just felt right, saying “I knew I loved music, I knew I loved to teach, and I knew I loved Judaism.” 

When she graduated, the rabbi in Roanoke, who was Amanda’s mentor as a teenager, offered her a position at her home Temple.  The job description included:  cantorial soloist, B’nei Mitzvah tutor, office assistant, camp assistant director, junior youth group director, preschool teacher, and plenty of unnamed roles!  When it was finally time to submit the application for cantorial school, she felt much better equipped and ready to begin the great journey ahead of her. 

Cantor Amanda moved to Jerusalem in the summer of 2008, where she began her studies as a cantorial student. In the fall of 2009, she continued her studies in New York City until the spring of 2013. During that time in school, Cantor Winter held student pulpit positions in Bloomington, Illinois, Port Washington, New York, and Neponsit, New York. She also had the great opportunity to spend some time on senior staff for two summers at another Reform camp:  Camp Newman in Santa Rosa, California. For the past three years she has been the full-time cantor at the Temple Congregation Shomer Emunim in Sylvania, Ohio. Cantor Amanda Winter made the difficult decision to leave this warm congregation, as she met the love of her life, Ted Edmondson. He and his family live in California, and Cantor Amanda and Ted are very happy to be living closer to them.

 

Stephanie Pollock
Executive Director
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Executive Director Stephanie Pollock joined Temple Emanu-El in 2011 as their communications and facility director and was promoted to the role of Executive Director in 2015. Prior to joining the staff of Temple Emanu-El, Stephanie worked in the awards department of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles. When she moved to the Bay Area, Stephanie wanted to connect with the local Jewish Community and lend her management, marketing, and communications expertise to a synagogue. She was overjoyed to have found such a wonderful community at Temple Emanu-El and is proud to foster the growth of this great institution.

Stephanie was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and holds a degree in English from UCLA. She now lives in San Jose with her wife Sarah, their daughter Maya, and their dog Fritz.

 

Barbara Smead
Director, Early Childhood Education
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Preschool Director Barbara Smead has over 30 years experience in early childhood education and as a preschool director. She is the founding director of Temple Emanu-El Preschool and opened the doors in 2001.

Barbara has held a position on the board of the Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism and was the local chair of the 2008 National Conference. In addition she was instrumental in receiving the San Andreas Regional Center’s Community Outreach Award of Excellence in 2006.

Barbara holds a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in organizational management. She is a native of San Jose and spends her spare time with her boys and volunteering in the community.

 

Phil Hankin
Director of Education
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Phil Hankin, who joined us as the Director of Education on July 1, 2015. Phil has had long history with the Jewish community in the SF Bay Area. His formative years were spent in Fremont, attending Temple Beth Torah. He attended UAHC Camp Swig as a camper, CIT, and staff person, and was very active in NFTY as a teen. He stayed active with his Judaism during college and beyond by working as a religious school teacher, Israeli Folk Dance Instructor, and youth group advisor at multiple synagogues throughout California.

Following completion of his Master’s Degree in Jewish Education (May 2001) from Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, Phil served many institutions within the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Community.  Before coming to Temple Emanu-El to serve as the full-time Director of Education, his prior posts included serving as Education Director at Congregations B’nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek and Kol Shofar in Tiburon, Project Director of the East Bay Jewish Teen Foundation, Youth Educator at Temple Sinai in Oakland, Camp Director of Camp Kadima in Pleasanton, and Associate Camp Director at URJ Camp Newman. Phil is an avid sports fan and enjoys participating in many sports (e.g. golf, tennis, softball, soccer, poker – is that even a sport?). In his free time, Phil enjoys spending time with his two lovely children, Zachary and Sophie, and his wife Dina, whom he first met at a NFTY retreat at Camp Swig in 1985.