Rabbi Steven Edelman-Blank

2016-05-08 17.58.33

Bob Blanchard Photography

Rabbi Edelman-Blank has been the rabbi of Tifereth Israel Synagogue since 2009. He received his Ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California. Previously, Rabbi Edelman-Blank graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies. His eclectic experience includes interning at Burbank Temple Emanu El in Burbank, California, directing youth programs at Congregation Beth El in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, assisting with research in the field of psychology at Boston University, serving in AmeriCorps and an array of community service. His passions lie in community development and making Torah meaningful in our daily lives.

Rabbi Edelman-Blank is a board member of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, a board member of the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, a member of the Advisory Committee of the UnityPoint Clinical Pastoral Education Program, and a member of the Social Outreach Committee of the Des Moines Area Religious Council. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Drake University. Rabbi Edelman-Blank’s wife, Deborah, is a clinical psychologist in Des Moines. They are raising a daughter. For a selection of articles and reflections written by Rabbi Edelman-Blank, please click on the posts at the bottom of the website.


Lay Cantor Patrick Courtney


Patrick Courtney has served as the Lay Cantor of Tifereth Israel Synagogue since 2014, after having previously served the congregation as both Youth Director and Administrative Assistant. A native of Texas, Patrick has also lived and contributed to Jewish communities in California and Kentucky. Building on a self-taught foundation, Patrick has since studied Jewish prayer, ritual, and music with several rabbis, cantors, and professional Jewish musicians. Patrick has a deep interest in mystical Judaism and Jewish techniques of meditation and mindfulness.

Patrick’s Jewish story is relatively non-traditional; he grew up in a mixed-faith family, and his wife, Kara, is an ordained pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination and leads a local Christian congregation. As a result of this unique experience, Patrick has a deep interest in and commitment to interfaith dialogue and education. He teaches a class at Kara’s church and is a regular guest speaker at other houses of worship when he’s not serving as a teacher and songleader at Beit Sefer Shalom. He also sits on the board of Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, an organization dedicated to inspiring and equipping people of faith to become leaders in finding solutions to climate change. Patrick and Kara have a two-year-old son, Aedan, and a second child due in the fall of 2016.


Cantorial Soloist Deirdre Farr


Cantor Emeritus Pinchas Spiro, z”l


Cantor Spiro received his Cantorial Ordination from the Jerusalem Cantorial Institute. He previously attended the Julliard School of Music and graduated from Syracuse University. Cantor Spiro’s musical talents placed him in the forefront of Jewish musical liturgy in the United States. Cantor Spiro served congregations in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Cleveland as well as authoring numerous books in the field of Jewish liturgical music. Among the major works that Cantor Spiro introduced to Tifereth Israel and the Des Moines community include: Retell the Story, a Hanukkah musical, the oratorios Haggadah and Havdalah, and the premiere of the Kristallnacht Oratorio Stars in the Dust.


Staff & Volunteers

Barbara Berven, Executive Director


Kristin Davis, Administrative Assistant



Executive Committee

Will Rogers, President
Jacob Lederman, Vice President
Margo Nechtow, Secretary
Aaron Beckerman, Treasurer

Board of Trustees

Harvey Giller, Past President      

Robin Bear
 Barbara Leventhal-Beckerman, Women’s League Representative

Gloria Bernstein
Jill Cantor

Marni Duitch
Josh Engman, Cemetery President

Deirdre Farr

Mollie Giller
Dory Goodman
Matthew Homonoff

Jody Jacklin

Nashi Khalastchi
Frank Marcovis

Michael Mintzer
Brian Pearl

 Justin Schoen
 Toni Urban
John Zieman