Rabbi Bruce Kadden
Bruce Kadden has served as rabbi of Temple Beth El since July, 2004. A native of Oakland, California, he received his B.A. in Religious Studies from Stanford University with honors in Humanities. He was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1981. After serving as Assistant Rabbi at Mount Zion Temple in St. Paul, Minnesota, he moved back to California where he served as rabbi of Temple Beth El in Salinas for 20 years. He taught interfaith Bible study classes for many years and served as Jewish Chaplain at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, California. Rabbi Kadden has been active in community activities, serving on the board of the Fair Housing Center of Washington and on the steering committees of the Puget Sound Interfaith Youth Camp and the Habitat for Humanity interfaith build. He is a member of Tacoma Sunrise Rotary and past president of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis.
Bruce and his wife, Barbara, a nationally-known Jewish educator, have been married since 1978. They have written extensively in the area of Jewish education, including co-authoring three books: Teaching Mitzvot: Concepts, Values and Activities; Teaching Tefilah: Insights and Activities on Prayer; and Teaching Jewish Life Cycle: Traditions and Activities.
The Kaddens have two adult children: Alana and Micah.
You can find Rabbi Kadden's sermons here.
Cantor Leah Elstein
Religious Education Director
Cantor Leah Elstein grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, where she discovered her love of Jewish music singing in her home temple's choirs. She was a long-time camper and counselor at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, the Reform summer camp in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. In college, she continued to hone her voice and guitar skills, earning a BA in Music.
After college, Cantor Elstein devoted herself to teaching and social action as a member of the Teach for America corps in Greenville, Mississippi. She taught high school general music and choir. She also earned a Masters Degree in Music Education from Delta State University. Following Teach for America, Cantor Elstein taught middle school music and choir at a private school in Chicago, where she was also a soloist, music teacher, and youth group advisor at her childhood congregation.
Having decided to devote her career to Jewish music and the Jewish community, she entered cantorial school at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. During one year in Jerusalem and five years in New York City, she served as a student cantor at Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom in Reading, Pennsylvania, and Moses Montefiore Congregation in Bloomington, Illinois. She wrote her cantorial thesis on Salomon Sulzer, one of the great Jewish composers of the nineteenth century. She earned her Masters of Sacred Music in 2009, and was invested as a cantor in May 2010. Cantor Elstein joined Temple Beth El as the new cantor-educator in July 2010.
In July 2012, she married Jacob Elstein. They currently share their Tacoma home with two dogs, Lulu and Baxter. In her spare time, Cantor Elstein enjoys visiting Tacoma’s farmers’ markets, dining out (especially for good Mexican food), and anything from Starbucks.
Andrea (Andy) Mauer joined the Temple Beth El staff in September, 2000. She was born and raised in the Puyallup/Sumner area. She is married and has resided in Fircrest for the past 27 years. Her daughter is currently living in Maryland, with her husband, who is in the Air Force, and their first and only granddaughter. She just recently completed her master’s degree in education and is looking forward to teaching. Her son is currently in the Coast Guard Reserves. He recently graduated from Seattle University and is looking for employment in police work or the state department. Andrea and her family take pleasure in family get-togethers and yearly, extended-family campouts. Andrea enjoys being part the TBE community.
Rebecca Kendziora has been the administrative assistant at Temple Beth El since 2003. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Rebecca has been in office administration for nearly 20 years after making the transition from retail management and human resources and enjoys it very much. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and has a passion for Cirque du Soleil and the performing arts. Rebecca has enjoyed being a part of the Temple Beth El family and its extended community.
Shelley is the religious education administrative assistant and works three days per week. She is married and lives in Gig Harbor with her husband, dog and two cats. Her daughter and son-in-law also live in Gig Harbor, along with their two children. Shelley attends all of her grandchildren’s athletic activities. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, attending exercise class, reading and trying new recipes, and working all kinds of puzzles.