Our Spiritual Leaders
Rabbi Morris W. Barzilai
Rabbi Morris (“Mo”) Barzilai has served has served as the spiritual leader of Sinai Free Synagogue since its inception in 1999, and as a rabbi in Mount Vernon, NY for the past twenty years. His warmth and commitment to the the congregation, staff and wider community have set a tone of openness and trust. In his own words, the rabbi's goal is “to reach out to the diverse members of the community and to show them the beauty and meaning of Judaism. I try to help individuals become more connected to Judaism and to the Jewish people, with a special focus to reach out to those who, for whatever reason, feel marginally connected.”
A trusted leader in the area. Rabbi Barzilai is extensively involved in a wide range of ecumenical and civic activities. He currently serves as co-chair of Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe Interfaith Council and has also been deeply involved as a Board member of the Community Service Associates, which runs a soup kitchen and other programs for the needy in Mount Vernon. He also serves on the Board of the Counseling Center in Bronxville. “I strive to teach Jewish values by touching people's lives, showing them that someone truly cares, and that Judaism has much to offer.”
In the Jewish Community, Rabbi Barzilai has served on the Executive Board of the Westchester Board of Rabbis and currently is a member of the Synergy Rabbinic Advisory Committee of the UJA Federation.. He has been a member of the reform movement’s URJ-CCAR Commission on Outreach and Synagogue Membership. For 13 years he has served as Rabbinic faculty at Eisner Camp/Crane Lake in the Berkshires.
In 1994, he began his tenure as rabbi of the Free Synagogue of Westchester. After his ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1989, he became assistant/associate rabbi at Temple Beth-El of Great Neck. A native of Chicago, Rabbi Barzilai has a degree in economics and mathematics from Washington University. He is married to his wife Lisa since 1986. They have three lovely children, Matti, Zari and Avi.
Cantor Elizabeth Sternlieb
Elizabeth Sternlieb, our Cantor and music director, came to Sinai Free Synagogue after serving as Cantor at Temple Emanuel of Long Beach (Long Island). Prior to that she served as part time Cantor at the Reform Temple of Suffern for Sabbath services while working as a music teacher in the Beth El Synagogue (New Rochelle) and Harrison JCC nursery schools and teaching piano and voice lessons throughout Westchester County.
Her energy, enthusiasm, vocal abilities, and versatility, combined with her love and knowledge of liturgical selections, provide us with a rich balance of warm congregation-friendly melodies and glorious cantorial solos.
Cantor Liz has a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education/Voice Performance. She has worked in community and professional musical theater, onstage and off, and continues to compose and record her own original musical works. This background enriches our synagogue programming and our children's religious school experience.
Living in southern Westchester her entire life, she has always been an integral part of our community. Cantor Liz is married and has two sons in our religious school.
Lee Schwartz, Cantor Emeritus
Lee Schwartz served as Cantor at the former Free Synagogue of Westchester beginning in 1976 and as Co-Cantor at Sinai Free Synagogue until 2002. He trained at the Third Street Settlement School in New York, and is fluent in Hebrew and Yiddish. In addition to his position as Cantor Emeritus at Sinai Free Synagogue, Cantor Schwartz's operatic baritone voice continues to enchant audiences in community and professional musical theater, light opera, and concerts throughout the world.