Rabbi Laurence P. Malinger
Rabbi Malinger was born in Philadelphia and raised in Florida, Virginia and Texas. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics in 1987. He completed graduate work at Trinity University in Master of Education with School Psychology in 1988. In 1991, Rabbi Malinger completed his unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. He received his Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters degree and was ordained Rabbi in 1992 and 1993 respectively, from the Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Ohio. Upon ordination in 1993, Rabbi Malinger became Assistant Rabbi and Director of Education at Congregation Beth Emeth in Wilmington, Delaware. He was promoted to Associate Rabbi in July, 1997. In June of 1999 Rabbi Malinger was elected as senior Rabbi of Temple Shalom of Aberdeen, New Jersey.
He is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the New Jersey-West Hudson Valley Association of Reform Rabbis (NJWHVARR), and the Bayshore Ministerium. He is also involved as a member of the CCAR Committee on Accessibility and Inclusion, serves as regional clergy for NFTY-GER (Garden Empire Region), serves as a member of the advisory committee for URJ Camp Harlam, and he is involved in the Campaign for Youth Engagement with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).
Rabbi Malinger has been involved in many civic activities in New Jersey including Garden State Equality, serves as a rabbinic advisor for the Jewish Addiction Resource (JAR) of the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County as well as the Monmouth Center of World Religions and Ethical Thought (MCWRET). In 2018, Rabbi Malinger was awarded a Doctor of Divinity, Honoris Causa, for his tireless service to the Jewish community as rabbi for more than 25 years. Rabbi Malinger is married to Samantha Jablo Malinger, a MSW with a specialty in geriatrics. They are the proud parents of Aly and her husband, Samuel; Joe and David.
Cantor Sarah Zemel
Cantor Sarah A. Zemel’s passion for Cantorial music and Jewish music of all types was sparked during her studies at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, from which she earned her Masters in Sacred Music and was ordained as a Cantor in May, 1998. A native of Commack, New York, Cantor Zemel attended Duke University, from which she graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Religion and a certificate in Judaic studies. A member of both the Cantors Assembly and the American Conference of Cantors, she has served congregations in Westchester, Long Island, and New Jersey. She has been a featured performer of traditional Cantorial music, Yiddish, Ladino, Israeli folk and art songs, and American Theater songs in a variety of settings. She studied conducting in a summer course at the Westminster Choir College, and taught a semester-long choir class to Cantorial students at the Academy for Jewish Religion. Cantor Zemel is an active member of Kol Hazzanim: Westchester Community of Cantors (her local Cantors group). She continues to study voice with Jane Olian in NYC, and also enjoys playing the violin in the St. Thomas Orchestra. Cantor Zemel lives in New Rochelle, NY with her husband Marc, and children Avital, Eitan, and Eliana.
David Gronlund-Jacob, Religious School Director
David Gronlund-Jacob is Temple Shalom’s Religious School Director. After a career in sales and sales management, David returned to school and received a MARE from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2004. He has been the director of the Religious Schools in Westfield, Chester, and most recently with Temple Rodeph Torah in Marlboro.
David has been married to his wife, Judy, for over 40 years. They have two children, Noah and Sarah. Noah is a high school history teacher in Brookline, Massachusetts, and Sarah is a Hebrew school teacher and mentor with Hebrew Helpers in Los Angeles.
David’s favorite holiday is Shabbat, and he bakes his own challah every week. In his free time, he plays, repairs, and builds wooden musical instruments; he has built and repaired acoustic and electric guitars, ukuleles, and mandolins. David loves the arts: If he ever found himself independently wealthy and didn’t have to work, David says he would support young artists, mostly printmakers, and build an art collection.
Jennifer Rapp, Office Manager
When we first met Jennifer, we knew she would fit in well here at Temple Shalom. Her warm personality and compassion for others was apparent, but it was her attention to detail and strong belief in customer service that sealed the deal.
Before coming to work with us she was the credit manager for an electronics company and ran the office at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd & Good Shepherd’s Children's Center.
If Jennifer was independently wealthy, she would open water swim, bike & run all day long. She is a triathlete and plans to do an Ironman next October in North Carolina!
Jennifer, a real Jersey Girl, grew up in Old Bridge. She and her husband, Mike, have been married since 2013 and live in Hazlet with her daughter, Jordan Nicole (23), born on New Year’s Day, and Rhea, a 100lb Red Doberman. Her newest hobby is riding a fat tire bike on the beach & trails; it’s super hard but so fun. She also enjoys power yoga, HIIT workouts, tattoos and her “Cricut” (she personalize everything).
John Balme, Choir Director
He has served as the General Director of Boston Lyric Opera, the Lake George Opera Festival and as Music Director of the Liederkranz Foundation in NYC. John has participated as conductor and/or producer in over 300 productions and has appeared as a guest conductor throughout the United States, conducting in Hawaii, Atlanta, San Diego, Fort Worth, Syracuse, Rochester, Boston and many other major cities. John received critical acclaim for producing and conducting Wagner's Ring Cycle in both Boston and New York City. Other activities have included concert appearances as a pianist accompanying singers such as Carlo Bergonzi, Nicolai Gedda, Jerome Hines and Deborah Voigt. John has also played for Beverly Sills, Shirley Verrett, John Vickers, Sherrill Milnes and many other internationally acclaimed singers.
John has served on the faculties of the University of Texas (Austin), the University of Connecticut, New England Conservatory of Music and Northeastern University. John attended Oxford University, the Royal College of Music, the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University. John is an adjunct professor of piano at Brookdale Community College.