Steven Denker, Rabbi
Steven L. Denker has been rabbi of Temple Emanu El since July 2004. Rabbi Denker loves bringing traditional texts to life in today’s world and helping students of all ages and backgrounds discover the eternal meanings in Judaism and the beauty of Jewish life. Favorite teaching topics include Biblical Hebrew, Jewish History and the Jewish Legislative Tradition.
An Adjunct Professor of Religion Studies and Jewish Studies at Kent State University, Rabbi Denker teaches courses in World Religions and in Hebrew Bible. He has served on several committees of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and was co-chair of the Rabbi/Evangelical dialogue group.
A lifelong Zionist, Rabbi Denker is an active member of AIPAC. He believes that travel to Israel is the most effective way to connect participants to the real Israel of today and build long-lasting relationships among our congregants across all age groups. His most recent trip was a very successful interfaith tour, co-lead with Rev. Shawnthea Monroe of Plymouth Church, Shaker Heights.
Born and raised in New York City, Rabbi Denker graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School, holds a BA from the City University of New York, a Masters of Hebrew Letters and an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, where he received several academic awards. Before entering rabbinical training, he was Director of Community Relations for the New York City Chapter of the American Jewish Committee and had served on the staff of the late Congressman Stephen J. Solarz. Following ordination at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, in 1984, Rabbi Denker served at Temple Sholom, in Chicago; congregation Beth Shalom – Northern Illinois Jewish Community Center in DeKalb, Illinois; and Congregation Kol Ami in Chicago’s Water Tower Place. He taught, part-time, at both DePaul and Loyola Universities.
Rabbi Denker is married to Lisa Arlyn Lowe, an attorney in private practice. They have adult children.
Daniel Roberts, Rabbi Emeritus
Rabbi Roberts has been a leader of our congregation for over 35 years. His passion for Judaism and his leadership qualities are constantly demonstrated within the Temple family and in the greater community.
An expert in the field of bereavement, Rabbi Roberts often lectures locally, nationally and internationally on death and dying. He holds a doctorate in this area and is certified as a Fellow in Thanatology. He is currently treasurer of the national Association of Death Education and Counseling. He is currently working on a book about the mourning that some go through when they retire from the work force.
Rabbi Roberts is committed to educational programs especially for our youth. He frequently uses storytelling as a means of teaching and communicating with children and adults. Rabbi Roberts has spearheaded the production of a multi-media presentation on teenage suicide entitled “Inside, I Ache.” He served on the National Committee on Teenage Suicide Prevention was a board member on the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation.
He is a past president of the Heights Interfaith Council and the Cleveland Board of Rabbis and remains active in both organizations. He served on the national Rabbinic Cabinet of the State of Israel Bonds and was Chair of the Task Force on Pre-Marital Education of the Central Conference of American Rabbi’s. He is currently on the board of the Jewish National Fund of Cleveland. He has been highly involved in Social Justice issues over the years.
In his years with Temple Emanu El, Rabbi Roberts has gained the respect and admiration not only of temple members, but also of colleagues regionally, nationally, and in the State of Israel.
Cantor David Malecki is delighted to join the Temple Emanu El family as of July 2019. Since his ordination at HUC-JIR in 2016, Cantor Malecki has been living in Cleveland and enjoying the rich diversity of cultural, ethnic, and natural amenities that make Cleveland feel like home. Having served another area congregation in a part-time capacity since arriving in Cleveland, Cantor Malecki is thrilled to begin his first full-time position at Temple Emanu El.
Choral singing has been a lifelong love, both as a chorister and choir director, inside the synagogue, as well as in the greater community. While living in New York City, Cantor Malecki sang with the prestigious Zamir Chorale of New York as a chorister and soloist, and he has been a long-time attendee of the North American Jewish Choral Festival where he has the pleasure of drinking in the energy that communal singing affords, as well as staying abreast of the newest offerings of the numerous Jewish composers who attend. Cantor Malecki hopes to bring that energy and incomparable sense of community to our Temple with new programs for young and old alike.
Originally from London, Ontario, Cantor Malecki’s musical endeavors began at the age of six with accordion and violin lessons with choral singing following at age 10. His first career was in high tech after graduating from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He lived and worked in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, for 15 years while always being involved in music, both sacred and secular.
Today, Cantor Malecki lives in Pepper Pike with his husband, Leon Mendlowitz, a veterinarian, and his stepson, Rafi who attends Mandel Jewish Day School.