Amy Robinson Katz began piano lessons at age five and continued through college where she studied under Lina Baranov, graduating magna cum laude from Biola University with a degree in Philosophy, and minors in Music and Biblical Studies.
Kelly Cooper received her Bachelor of Music Performance from the University of Southern California. She began her career as a singer, performing leading roles in musical theater and opera productions in Los Angeles, New York, and on the High Seas. She also sang in the LA Opera chorus.
Alyssa Rosenbaum graduated Cum Laude from Lawrence University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in German and a minor in Linguistics. After graduating, Alyssa served as a High Holiday soloist at her hometown synagogue, Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook , Illinois.
Cantor Abby Gostein received her ordination and Master’s Degree in Jewish Sacred Music from AJRCA in May, 2021. She holds a BA in Psychology from Yale University and an MA in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Texas, Austin.
Jacqueline Rafii is delighted to join the Valley Beth Shalom family as its new Cantor, working alongside Cantors Baron and Fox. Cantor Rafii brings her vision for building, engaging, and invigorating Jewish community through uplifting music, creative initiatives, and spiritual leadership.
Bryce Emily Megdal was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She attended a Jewish day school from first through eighth grade, where she developed a lifelong passion for Judaism and the Hebrew language. She began her singing journey in fourth grade, when she joined the Tucson Jewish Youth Choir in its first year.
Orly Campbell graduated from California State University, Northridge with a BA in Vocal Arts. Prior to beginning her journey at the Academy for Jewish Religion California (AJRCA) she was already a year into her most proud job-being a new mom. Little did she know she would not only complete her Master’s degree with one child, but with three.
Rabbi Cheri is the new spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El, having previously served as founder and spiritual leader of San Diego Outreach Synagogue, an independent “without walls” congregation. During her tenure at “SDOS” she taught B’nei Mitzvah preparation lessons, officiated at religious life events, provided support and counseling, and worked with congregants and the Jewish Family Service organization on service projects.
Michelle Bider Stone graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brandeis University with a BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and received her MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Prior to entering AJRCA, Michelle worked as an investment banker and financial consultant at Credit Suisse, Leiiman Brothers, and the Salter Group.
Lisa Peicott earned her undergraduate degree and Master’s degree in Music from UCLA, where her operatic roles included “Blanche de la Force” in Dialogues of the Carmelites, “Tina” in the west coast premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Flight. and the title role in Handel’s Agrippina. She was a two-time musical fellow at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, where she studied opera and performed in ret!ltals throughout Europe.