Klei Kodesh (Leadership)
We call our central synagogue leadership “Klei Kodesh” (instruments of holiness). They each share the common agenda of the synagogue – to transmit the wisdom, ethics, beliefs and practices of Judaism to a variety of seekers. How the Executive Director helps someone register as a member explicates Jewish theology, how the President works with a board committee demonstrates Jewish ethics, and of course, our Rabbi and Cantor provide spiritual leadership to all.
Rabbi Ben Freed is thrilled to be a part of the wonderful Keneseth Israel community. His rabbinic work is guided by his commitment to engagement with Jews of all backgrounds, an innovative approach to Jewish learning and ritual, and bringing out the joy inherent to Jewish practice. He is passionate about sharing stories that deepen our connection to each other and our tradition..
Rabbi Freed was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York where he also earned an M.A. in Jewish Thought. Through the prestigious Gladstein Fellowship in Entrepreneurial Rabbinic Leadership, Rabbi Freed served as the student rabbi of Congregation Agudath Achim in Little Rock, Arkansas for two years and was a rabbinic intern at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale, New York and at Kehilat Ramot Zion in Jerusalem. He also has completed extensive training in pastoral care through the University of Michigan Hospitals and in community organizing through JOIN for Justice. Prior to rabbinical school, Rabbi Freed earned degrees in journalism and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Texas and worked as a reporter, yoga instructor, Uber driver, and Bar Mitzvah DJ.
Rabbi Freed shares his home with his wife Ariane Barrie-Stern. In his spare time he enjoys dancing (especially tap), sports (playing as well as watching), and exploring Louisville and the surrounding areas. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, learning opportunities, concerns, bourbon recommendations, or if you need a place for shabbat dinner!
Cantor Sharon Hordes received a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Indiana University School of Music. She received her cantorial training through a joint program established by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Gratz College. In June 2002, she became the first cantor to become invested through the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
Cantor Hordes served as cantor at Ramat Shalom in Plantation, Florida for six years. She relocated to Louisville, Kentucky — the hometown of her husband, George Schuhmann — to teach Hebrew & Judaica at Eliahu Academy. She became the cantor of KI in 2008.
Cantor Hordes performed at both of Mayor Greg Fisher’s interfaith services in honor of his inaugurations. Cantor Hordes recorded her debut solo album of Ladino and traditional Sephardic music, Mi Coraçon Sopira, in 2015. She and her band, Transito, have performed at a variety of venues in the greater Louisville area. Her CD is available for purchase through the Keneseth Israel gift gallery.
Cantor Hordes is a member of the Cantors Assembly and the Women Cantors Network and just finished up a term serving on their board. She has also served on the board of the National Council of Jewish Women, Louisville section and is currently on the board of the Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (KRCRC).
She is married to Louisville native, George Schuhmann, and together they have two daughters, Leah and Melody Schuhmann. In her spare time, Cantor Hordes enjoys reading, swimming, yoga and performing.
Our Executive Director
Yonatan Yussman, Ed.D., is the congregation’s executive director with responsibility for working as a team member with clergy, other professionals, and lay leaders in building and managing the congregation’s resources. He is responsible for day-to-day operations, finances, administrative staff, and facilities, as well as managing relations with congregants and the entire community.
A native Louisvillian, Yussman left Louisville for college. He spent his first year at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, then returned to the U.S. to earn his B.A. in psychology from Boston University. After BU, he immigrated to Israel, during which time he served in the Israeli Army, earned an M.A. from Hebrew University and studied for three years at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, and later earned an an Ed.D. in educational leadership. He has also about 20 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in pluralistic Jewish Day Schools, and has collaborated with top leaders at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Bar Ilan University’s Principals’ Center and the Hartman Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.
He has three daughters, Gefen, 18; Maya, 16; and Noa, 14.
Our Board of Directors
President: Leigh Bird
President Elect: Cindy Diedenhofen
Vice President: Scott Nussbaum
Treasurer: Beth Haines
Parliamentarian: Sharon Czerkiewicz
Men’s Club President: Gary Levin
Sisterhood President: Vacant
Harriet Frankel Firkins
Cemetery – Sheldon Yoffe
Membership – Lois Podgursky and Theresa Foss
Personnel – Sarah Farmer, Aaron Pedowitz, and Scott Weinberg
Ritual – Nathan Goldman
Finance – Beth Haines
Programming – Max Green
Facilities – Harry Morris