Rabbi Amy Bigman
Rabbi Amy Bigman became the rabbi of Congregation Shaarey Zedek in July 2007.
Rabbi Bigman graduated, with distinction, from the University of Michigan in 1987 and was ordained a rabbi by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1992. Rabbi Bigman’s rabbinic thesis was entitled “Non-Halakhic Considerations Regarding the Treatment of the Terminally Ill Patient.”
Rabbi Bigman has served congregations in Michigan and Missouri. In addition, she was the assistant director of the Ecumenical Institute for Jewish-Christian Studies in Southfield, Michigan, from 1996-2000.
Rabbi Bigman has served on many boards and committees in the communities she has served. Among them, she was a member of the board of the Ecumenical Institute (prior to serving as its assistant director); the advisory committee of the Jewish Experiences for Families in Southfield, Michigan; and the parent curriculum committee for the Michigan Jewish AIDS Coalition. She also served for two years as the president of the Association of Reform Rabbis of Greater St. Louis.
Rabbi Bigman represented the St. Louis Rabbinical Association on the boards of the Jewish Fund for Human Needs (JFHN) and the Missouri Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (MORCRC), both based in St. Louis, Missouri. The JFHN established a Jewish presence in interfaith efforts at agencies that gave relief to those in need.
The MORCRC was the Missouri affiliate of the national Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an interfaith organization devoted to ensuring the reproductive health and rights of women. Rabbi Bigman served on the executive committee and the public policy committee of MORCRC and was proud to receive the President’s Award at its annual dinner in 2007.
She also was a member of the inaugural by-invitation-only class of the RCRC’s Clergy Institute for Reproductive Choice in 2006 where she was honored to make a presentation at a briefing on Capitol Hill.
Since returning to Michigan, Rabbi Bigman has continued her efforts in this area; she served as a member of the board, and as president, of the now-defunct Michigan RCRC affiliate and served on the national board of Faith Aloud, a pro-choice interfaith organization.
Rabbi Bigman is the founder and was the coordinator for its first three years of the East Lansing Area Clergy Association (now called the Interfaith Clergy Association of Greater Lansing). Most years she serves on the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service committee for the clergy association. She also represents the Jewish community at the annual Interfaith Day held each February and on numerous panels throughout the community. Rabbi Bigman speaks at many houses of worship in our community and welcomes to our temple building visitors from houses of worship, colleges, and schools. She enjoys meeting with these various groups as they learn about Judaism and about our temple.
Rabbi Bigman served for six years as the clergy representative on the Personal Health and Sexuality Education Advisory Board for Okemos Public Schools and has served for seven years in the same position for the Sex Education Advisory Board for East Lansing Public Schools.
Rabbi Bigman served on the East Lansing Census 2020 Complete Count Committee and was appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to a three-year term on the State of Michigan Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board (“Children’s Trust Fund”), representing the Religious Community for the State of Michigan, beginning December 2019. The CTF serves as a voice for Michigan’s children and families and promotes their health, safety, and welfare by funding effective local programs and services that prevent child abuse and neglect.
Rabbi Bigman is thrilled to be back in her home state where her loyalties to the Detroit Red Wings, Tigers, and other teams are not questioned, but rather cheered. Of course, her allegiance to the University of Michigan – Go Blue! – is somewhat questioned by her many pro-Michigan State congregants, but she handles it with good cheer.
Rabbi Bigman enjoys spending time with friends and going to the theater.
Rabbi Bigman may be reached at (517) 351-3570 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cantor Pamela Schiffer
Cantor Schiffer served as Cantor for Congregation Shaarey Zedek for eighteen years, retiring in June, 2017.
She happily remains part of the congregation as Cantor Emerita.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she began her Cantorial studies with Cantor William Sharlin at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. She also mentored there with Cantor Samuel Kelemer. She received her cantorial certification through the Cantors Assembly, served on its Executive Council and as chair of the Great Lakes and Rivers Region of the organization, and is currently Editor of its newsletter, Sacred Sounds. She is a past President of the Michigan Board of Cantors.
Cantor Schiffer has performed throughout the United States, Canada and Europe as a soloist and recitalist in both contemporary and traditional repertoire. She was an artist member and Director of Programming for the Contemporary Music Forum in Washington D.C. for over twenty years. She has premiered over forty new works and has received a Solo Recitalists Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her recordings are available on the CRI, Centaur, Capstone, McGill University and Naxos labels.
A graduate of Indiana University and Towson University, Ms. Schiffer moved to the Detroit area from Baltimore, Maryland where she was on the voice faculty of Loyola College and Towson University, Artistic Director of the Women Composers Orchestra, and Cantor at Temple Beth Israel in York, Pennsylvania for thirteen years.
Performances in Michigan include concerts for the Plymouth Community Arts Council, on the Ferndale Concert Series, at Wayne State University, on the Chamber Music at the Scarab Club series, with the Great Lakes Lyric Opera of Detroit, for the Brunch with Bach series at the Detroit Institute of Art, and Concerts in the Barn at Applewood (Tobermory, Ontario).
She is married to Dr. Charles Schiffer and proud grandmother of Kenzo and Kaito Schiffer, who live with their parents Josh and Chihana Schiffer in Seattle. Cats Alex and Burt bring their distinct energy to the family.
Cantor Schiffer may be reached at pschiffer @ comcast.net