Rabbi David Novak
The TBI Board is delighted to welcome Rabbi David Novak as our interim rabbi. Rabbi Novak
comes to us from Vermont where he served a rural congregation for a decade. He is a second-career
rabbi after leaving a prosperous strategic communications business at age 38 to fulfill his
lifelong dream of becoming a rabbi.
Born in Manchester, New Hampshire, Rabbi Novak grew up where most of his waking moments
outside of school were consumed by Jewish life at his synagogue and the JCC. To this day he
affirms that almost all of his blessings have come from being part of the Jewish People. The
rabbi was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2007. His
childhood rabbi presented him for ordination.
The rabbi’s husband Yuval, a Jewish educator, will be visiting him throughout the year and
plans to relocate to Clearwater at the end of the academic year.
to read his résumé, examples of divrei Torah, and more.
He looks forward to meeting all of you and being a part of your lives.
Cantorial Soloist Laura Berkson
Laura brings to our congregation a lifetime of engagement with the Reform movement from her own childhood involvement in NFTY
and Eisner Camp to congregational work as an adult. For 11 years, she served as the Cantorial Soloist of Temple B’nai Jeshurun
in Des Moines, IA, and comes to us most recently as the Cantorial Soloist of Temple Emanuel in Andover, MA. With a strong
background and knowledge of Jewish music and a beautiful, sweet singing voice that many of us enjoyed on her visit here, Laura
utilizes music as a gateway to spirituality and to connect with congregants. She plays guitar, piano, banjo, and a variety of
percussion instruments, and is a nationally recognized and respected songwriter in the Jewish music world.
Laura holds a BA from Vassar in Psychology and an MA in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis. She loves to connect with members
through building relationships, pastoral visits, and delights in working with youth and adults of all ages.
Rabbi Daniel Treiser z"l
Rabbi Daniel Treiser joined the Temple B'nai Israel family as its rabbi in July 2008. Prior to coming to Clearwater, Rabbi Treiser served as
the Associate Rabbi of Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El in Plantation, FL. He came to Florida in June 2000, following his ordination at the Hebrew Union
College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Rabbi Treiser was born and raised in Queens, NY, and is a product of the Reform synagogue,
youth and camp movements. While earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Queens College in NY in 1993, he worked with various
youth groups and was a counselor and senior staff member at URJ Camp Eisner, the regional Reform Jewish camp. Upon graduation, Rabbi Treiser
dedicated a year of his life to community service in Israel on Project Otzma, working in various communities throughout the country. When he
returned to the States, Rabbi Treiser served as a Hillel program coordinator and Assistant Chaplain at Hofstra University and Adelphi
University on Long Island before being accepted to the Hebrew Union College.
After his first year of rabbinic study in Jerusalem, Rabbi Treiser went to the Los Angeles campus of HUC, where he earned his Master of Arts
in Hebrew Letters in 1998. While there, he served as student rabbi of Temple Bat Yam in South Lake Tahoe, CA for two years, and was the Wexner
Summer Rabbinic Intern at Sha'arei Am: The Santa Monica Synagogue. He also was a part of the Interfaith Chaplaincy Program at the City of Hope
National Medical Center in Duarte, CA. Upon transferring to the New York campus of HUC-JIR, Rabbi Treiser became the rabbinic intern for Temple
Sinai of Bergen County in Tenafly, NJ.
Inspired by the rabbis who taught him throughout his youth and served as the visiting faculty at summer camps, Rabbi Treiser committed
his career to reaching out to Jewish youth, engaging them in creative and informal educational opportunities that demonstrate how Judaism
can have a positive impact on their lives. He served on the rabbinic faculty of URJ Camp Coleman for more than ten years, and was a member
of Coleman’s Clergy Advisory Board. He also served as a rabbinic advisor to the NFTY-STR, the regional Reform Jewish Youth Group.
Rabbi Treiser shared his passion for Jewish learning with Temple and community members through a wide variety of Adult Education opportunities,
and his love and commitment to the State of Israel by leading an ongoing series of congregational trips to Israel. In 2011, he contributed
an article to the Union for Reform Judaism’s “Ten Minutes of Torah” Torah commentaries.
On a community level, Rabbi Treiser was involved in a wide variety of activities. Within our own community, Rabbi Treiser was a member
of the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis, was an active supporter of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties, the JCC Suncoast and
Gulf Coast Jewish Children and Family Services, and participated in several different interfaith community programs. He also served for
many years on the board of SEACCAR, the South East Association of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, working as Youth Committee Chair,
Kallah Coordinator, Newsletter editor and Regional Vice President.
Rabbi Treiser was married to Rachel, a Pinellas County Schools Kindergarten teacher with a Master's Degree in Elementary and Special Education.
He was the proud father of Elana and Ethan.