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Meet Our Clergy

Rabbi Michael Birnholz
Email: RabbiBirnholz@tbiclearwater.org


Rabbi Michael Birnholz joined Temple B'nai Israel in July 2024. Before his arrival, he served as the rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom in Vero Beach, Florida for 22 years. 

Rabbi Birnholz enthusiastically shares his ruach and koach - spirit and strength - with the many diverse generations and facets of the Jewish community. From the Biblical Garden to Tot Shabbat, from Brotherhood breakfast to Adult Learning while making challah, Rabbi Birnholz is proud to be part of the vibrant and meaningful life of his congregation.


Rabbi Birnholz was born and raised in Mississippi. His early life was shaped as the Rabbi’s kid in a small Jewish community in the post-Civil Rights Deep South and summers in the amazing, creative Jewish environment of (then) UAHC Henry S. Jacobs Camp. On one hand, Rabbi Birnholz learned about being Jewish in a very non-Jewish environment as one of only five Jewish children his age. On the other hand, Jacobs Camp offered incredible experiences in an immersive Jewish environment, appreciating nature, arts and crafts, and lots of creative expression. When Rabbi Birnholz was in middle school, his family moved to Tampa, Florida, where his parents still reside. Rabbi Birnholz attended middle school and high school in Tampa and then went on to study at the University of Florida in Gainesville, earning a bachelor's degree with honors as he studied Sociology with a focus on Education and Jewish Studies.

In Gainesville, he met Jill, who he would marry when they returned from Israel after the first year of study at Hebrew Union College. While at the Cincinnati campus of HUC-JIR, Rabbi Birnholz served student pulpits in Billings, Montana, Columbus, Mississippi, and Marion, Ohio. The pulpit in Mississippi was a vital experience as this allowed him to return to his roots and work on his Thesis: The Cemetery in a Community’s Life, Death, and Afterlife: A Study of the Cemeteries of Extinct and Nearly Dissolved Jewish Communities in Mississippi and Louisiana. This research into the fragility and resilience of small community Judaism has been an interest and passion throughout Rabbi Birnholz’s life.

Rabbi Birnholz has two college-aged children currently studying at the University of Florida and one child living and working in Boston, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Jill, reside in Safety Harbor.

 
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.

 
Sun, July 14 2024 8 Tammuz 5784