Our Rabbi and staff strive to inspire our Beth Israel
Congregation with their passion and love for Judaism.
Rabbi Jon Cutler
Rabbi Cutler, a native of Philadelphia, earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Temple University in Religious Studies. He earned a Master of Hebrew Letters and received his ordination as a Rabbi from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, PA. He then earned his Doctor of Ministry (Counseling) from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.
On September 1st, 2015, Rabbi Cutler become the rabbi of Beth Israel Congregation of Chester County and continues to serve the members of Beth Israel.
Rabbi Cutler’s extensive pulpit experience includes serving four congregations in his civilian career – Congregation Bet Tikva, Flemington, NJ (1993-1999); Congregation Tiferes B’nai Israel, Warrington, PA (1999-2007); Darkaynu, Warrington, PA (2009-2015); and an interim rabbi at Congregation Beth Hatikva (JRF) in Summit, NJ (2013-2014).
Rabbi Cutler retired (2017) as a Captain in the U.S. Navy Reserves after serving 32 years. He served on active duty for five years - Philippines, Camp Lejeune, NC and Japan.
As a reservist, his last assignment was Deputy Chaplain for the US Marine Corps (2015-2017) at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. He served as the Force Chaplain for Naval Sea Systems Command and as Deputy Force Chaplain, Commander Navy Installations Command in Washington, DC (2013-2015) and Deputy Command Chaplain for the US 6th Fleet, U.S. Forces Europe and Africa (2012-2013). In addition, he was mobilized to East Africa, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa as the Force Chaplain and Director of Religious Affairs (2011-2012); mobilized to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Al Anbar, Province, Iraq as the only Jewish chaplain for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (2008-2009); ministered to military and civilian personnel at the Pentagon in Arlington, VA, after the September 11 attacks; and during Desert Storm with the First Marine Expeditionary Force and the only Jewish chaplain for Marines and Navy in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (1991).
Rabbi Cutler served as a hospice chaplain for Abramson Center for Jewish Life. He is an adjunct professor teaching Judaic Studies at Gratz College in Melrose Park, PA, Philosophy and Religion at Philadelphia University in Philadelphia, PA, and Counseling Psychology (graduate program) at Holy Family University in Philadelphia, PA.
He is a recipient of various awards, including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), and the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4 awards).
He is married to Thierry Steenberghs and has a son (Thomas), daughter in law (Crystal), a granddaughter (Ariel), and a step-son (Cedric).
Joan Sharp, Religious School Director
Joan Sharp, our Religious School Director, is a long time member of our community with a dedication to Jewish education. She has successfully led our school since 2004. Joan completed Gratz Hebrew High school, earned her teaching certification and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Special Education from The Pennsylvania State University. Prior to working with Beth Israel, Joan taught Emotional and Learning Support students for 15 years, while teaching Hebrew School and tutored students with learning differences for their b’nai mitzvot.
Joan and her family have been members of Beth Israel since 1992 and feel a deep connection with the congregation. She and her husband, Robbie, have three children, who received their formal Jewish educations from preschool through Confirmation at Beth Israel Religious School.
Joan is able to offer a unique balance of experience in teaching, sensitivity to students’ learning differences, and emphasis on the importance of helping our students gain an understanding of their Jewish history, while inspiring a pride and love of Judaism. She is happy to answer any questions you might have about Beth Israel's Cohen Family Religious School, its programs and activities, or any specific concerns relating to the Religious School curriculum.
Adrianne Liebman, Pre-School Director
Adrianne Liebman, Director of Beth Israel Preschool and Kindergarten, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders from The Pennsylvania State University, a Director’s Core Credential, and permanent teaching certification.
What started as a desire to have her child attend a high-quality preschool in a Jewish setting developed into a full-time career, resulting in Adrianne working with preschool-age children since 1991. This has allowed her to share her knowledge, passion and true love of children with preschool-age children and their families and has also fulfilled her need to live Jewishly and to help families stay in touch with their heritage. Adrianne has devoted a great deal of time developing a sound curriculum that implements a “hands-on” philosophy where children create, explore, construct, and investigate in a warm, nurturing environment. It is vitally important to create an atmosphere where children develop the social skills necessary for self-expression and are encouraged to build their independence. She thoroughly enjoys getting to know each student and their family and strives to make each family feel that they are an integral part of our community. When we give children the opportunity to develop a positive self-concept and encourage their independence as well as learn how to follow classroom routines and socialize in a group setting, we have laid the foundation for building life long learners.