Rabbi Stephen Grundfast

Rabbi Grundfast received his undergraduate degree in Marketing with a minor in Social Work from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. He was ordained as a Rabbi in June of 1979 from The Academy for Jewish Religion in New York City.

While in rabbinical school he served as the student rabbi for the Wyckoff -Franklin Lakes Synagogue in Wyckoff, New Jersey. In addition, he also held the position of assistant to the director of Hillel at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ. He has taken graduate courses in Jewish Studies at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ and at Gratz College in Philadelphia, PA.  He is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis.  In December, 2007 the Jewish Theological Seminary awarded him a Doctor of Divinity degree, Honoris Causa.

Rabbi Grundfast’s first full time pulpit was as the associate rabbi of Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston, Texas, for nine years. While in Houston he served as the secretary of the Houston Board of Rabbis. He helped found and later served as president of the Rabbinical Assembly, Southwest Region. He also served as president of the Kallah of Texas Rabbis, the oldest on-going interdenominational rabbinical retreat program in the nation. He was also very active in the Soviet Jewry movement, having visited the Soviet Union to meet with Refusniks in October 1984.

In 1988 he and his family moved to Savannah, Georgia where he assumed the pulpit of Congregation Agudath Achim and served there for four years.  Rabbi Grundfast became the rabbi of Congregation Ohev Shalom in Wallingford, PA in 1992 and served until June of 2001. While in Wallingford, he helped found The Main Line Muslim-Jewish Dialogue group in Philadelphia. Rabbi Grundfast was an active member of the Swarthmore-Wallingford Interfaith Ministerium where he served as President during the 1998-1999 year. He also served as secretary of the Rabbinical Assembly of Greater Philadelphia.  Rabbi Grundfast served as rabbi at The Jacksonville Jewish Center for three years from 2001-2004.

Rabbi Grundfast assumed the pulpit of Beth El Congregation in Akron in August of 2004. He is a past-president of the Ohio, Western PA and KY region of the Rabbinical Assembly. In Akron he is a board member of the Akron Jewish Community Federation and The Lippman Day School.

Rabbi Grundfast is married to his wife Judy and they have two children, Rachel (Dr. Justin) and Joseph (Deana). Off the pulpit he loves to spend time with his family, read, play golf, and work out at the JCC fitness center.  His passion is to spend as much time as possible with his grandsons, Gavi and Elliot.

Hazzan Stephen Stein, emeritus


Erin Katz Ford, Director of Programming & Education

Erin Katz Ford comes to Beth El after previously serving as a Family Educator and Religious School Director for a congregation in Cleveland. She holds a Masters in Jewish Education from the Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies and Bachelors from The Ohio State University. Erin has been at Beth El since 2011 and has a passion for service learning. 

Erin is married to her husband, Kevin. Together they have two small children and a lovable golden lab. Erin is involved in the Akron Jewish Community as well as volunteers at Weathervane Playhouse, where she met her husband. 

 Arlyne Bochnek, Office manager

Arlyne comes to Beth El after many years as CRUSY's regional Youth Director. Arlyne is excited to be working at Beth El. 

Sat, June 24 2017 30 Sivan 5777