Temple Kol Ami Staff
Emmy and Addy award-winning husband-and-wife team.
Laurel is thrilled to be a member of the Temple Kol Ami family and direct her energy towards the Jewish community. She received her B.A. in political science from UC San Diego and completed her first year of the Masters of Social Work program at UW Madison. While in Madison, she worked at UW Hillel and was an avid volunteer in the local Jewish community. Laurel enjoys spending her free time with her family, Brandon & Naomi, hiking, traveling, and exploring new places! Stop by the Temple Kol Ami office to say hello and introduce yourself!
Temple Kol Ami Staff Emeritus
Rabbi Herring was born in Western Pennsylvania, and attended Taylor Allderdice High school. As a teenager he was a president of his Temple youth group, becoming active in the National Federation of Temple Youth, where he met his wife to be, Barbara Levin. After graduation from the University of Pittsburgh, Rabbi Herring went on to Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati where, five years later, he was ordained to the rabbinate. In 1965 Rabbi and Barbara moved to Tachikawa Air Base in a suburb of Tokyo where, for the next three years he served as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force, serving troops in central and northern Japan, Korea, Taiwan and in the support hospital for Viet Nam. Among his major accomplishments was learning how to make sushi, and climbing Mount Fuji. In 1968, the Herrings moved to Phoenix with their first daughter Laura, where Rabbi Herring took a position as Assistant Rabbi at Temple Beth Israel. He was assigned the primary task of Youth Activities, so, in that time, two more daughters were born to him and Barbara. During the next twenty years, he helped found and develop Camp Charles Pearlstein, serving as its director for fifteen years. He also served as Director of National Federation of Temple Youth Southwest (SWFTY) and SWFTY Summer Institute, Beth Israel youth group (BITY), and helped found the nationally awarded Mitzvah Corp, involving Reform Jewish teens throughout the Southwest, and its Camp SWIFT, serving thousands of inner-city children. Rabbi Herring also created Beth Israel’s cutting edge contemporary worship services for Shabbat and the High Holy Days, remaining a leader in creative liturgical evolution.
In 1988, Rabbi Herring was invited to become the rabbi of the newly created Temple Kol Ami, and he accepted the position. The congregation quickly outgrew its rental home, and moved into its present facility in 1994. Rabbi Herring has written the prayer books used here for Sabbath and High Holy Days, as well as an astonishing religious school curriculum. In 2003, the Central Conference of American Rabbis awarded Rabbi Herring the prestigious Samuel Cook Award for lifetime service in the field of youth. The Herring children and grandchildren (6!) remain active in Jewish affairs in their own communities.
Raina Sinclair was born in Chicago, Illinois, the second of four children. When her father, a military officer, was stationed in Paris (France, not Texas) she had the opportunity to study piano with celebrated virtuosa, Aline Van Berentzen. Raina continued as a student at the Royal Conservatory of Belgium in Mons and obtained a premier prix de voix. Upon returning to the United States, she continued music study at the Juilliard School of the Performing Arts in New York City, followed by both music and applied art at the American University in Washington D.C.
Raina enjoyed early opportunities to perform professionally in productions that celebrated the opening of the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington , D.C. in the casts of, the then, newly-mounted New York City Opera Company’s production of Handel’s Opera “Ariodante”, and famed composer Leonard Bernstein’s theater piece, “ Mass”, commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy for the opening production. The following year, Raina was a cast member in the touring company that took “Mass” to Philadelphia, and to the Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. She was one of the performers on the original cast recording.
Raina has been involved as a Jewish educator in the valley for over thirty years. In 1996, Rabbi Herring invited her to become the first cantorial soloist in the history of Temple Kol Ami–a position she held until retiring in 2015–where she worked with the students in the Early Childhood Center, providing music and Judaic programming for the children, teaching in the Religious School and with B’nei Mitzvah students, and officiating with the Rabbi at Shabbat.
Most treasured of all project opportunities have been the creation of two sets of Torah covers (for holiday festivals and for the rest of the year), the ark valances, the holiday Torah table cover, and the cover for the Torahs when they are out of the ark during a service.
Cantor Raina and her husband Bill have lived in Scottsdale since 1974 and have four adult children and six grandchildren.