Our clergy are always available to meet with members of the congregational family. The spiritual and personal needs of every congregant are their main concerns. Our clergy visit members in local hospitals, at nursing homes as well as those who are home bound. Our Rabbi and Cantor are always available to meet BMH-BJ’s pastoral needs.
Rabbi Yaakov Chaitovsky
Rabbi Yaakov Chaitovsky was born in Philadelphia and received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University. He began his rabbinic career at Baltimore’s Beth Tfiloh Congregagtion and then served Annapolis, MD’s Knesseth Israel Congregation. He spent 10 summers on the rabbinical staff of the B’nai B’rith Leadership Kallah in Starlight, Pennsylvania. Rabbi Chaitovsky also received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law. He was the rabbi of BMH-BJ from 1995-2001 and returned to the synagogue and community he always loved in time for the Yamim Noraim in 2014 and then full-time at the start of 2015.
During his years away, Rabbi Chaitovsky was the Senior Judaic Educator and then School Rabbi and Director of Jewish Life at the Shoshana Cardin High School, a pluralistic community school, in Baltimore. A very popular and informative presenter, he has spoken to numerous teen and adult audiences around the world on a wide range of popular and scholarly topics. Rabbi Chaitovsky has extensive interest in Jewish ethics and contemporary society, and he is committed to the unity and diversity of the Jewish people. He also is an accomplished musician and an avid tennis player.
Cantor Joel Lichterman
Born in South Africa, at age 5 Joel was studying piano and by 16 was a national award winning pianist, accompanist, and musical arranger. His cantorial career began at age 13 and he soon became a sought after student cantor for Festivals and High Holidays. He furthered his education at the University of Cape Town, University of South Africa (UNISA), and Royal Schools of Music, London. Whilst pursuing intensive cantorial studies with his father, Chazzan Jakub Lichterman z”l, he studied voice with Professor Lloyd Strauss-Smith. Joel helped establish the newly formed Milnerton Hebrew Congregation becoming its first cantor in 1978. He developed and directed The Cape Town Jewish Choral Society into an acclaimed 60 + mixed voice choir. He also implemented various multicultural and inter-denominational outreach programs for the Jewish community of Cape Town.
Cantor Joel Lichterman held prestigious senior cantorial positions with The Great Synagogue of Cape Town and the Green & Sea Point Hebrew Congregation – South Africa’s largest synagogue. He received his investiture as Chazzan-Minister through The Cantors Assembly.
On relocating to Denver, CO in 1995, Cantor Joel, as he is fondly called, quickly integrated into the community by bringing a fusion of traditional and contemporary Chazzanut and Jewish music into BMH-BJ Congregation. His skill and energy raised cantorial music and musical programming to a new level. This led to the creation of the annual interactive Shabbat Shira service and program which continues to attract large numbers from throughout the Denver community.
He founded and is musical director of the BMH-BJ Male Choir, which sings at selected services, weddings and special events, a highlight being their extensive and unique High Holiday repertoire. From this emerged the Kidz Korus connecting children to prayer through music, delighting and inspiring the congregation and strengthening the cycle of continuity from generation to generation. As a classically trained musician he rearranges and edits much of their repertoires to meet modern tastes.
Having captured many congregant’s interest in diverse Jewish music and culture Cantor Joel founded and chairs BMH-BJ’s Cantor’s Cultural Committee to showcase internationally acclaimed Jewish performers such as Rami Kleinstein, The Adler Trio, Shlomo Gronich, Naava Piatka, Voices for Israel, Beatachon, and the Johannesburg Jewish Male Choir with whom, amongst many others, he has performed.
Cantor Lichterman has appeared in concert with the Colorado Hebrew Chorale and continues to perform as guest artist countrywide. His lyrical tenor voice inspires and entertains audiences throughout the USA, Canada, England and South Africa. He has served as an integral member of the Rocky Mountain Cantor’s Association (RMCA). In 2008, as an active member of AIPAC he was invited to sing the National Anthem at the annual AIPAC conference in Washington DC. He collaborates with the Consulate General of Israel in various high profile Israel Awareness initiatives.
Believing deeply in the power of Jewish education Cantor Joel leads a weekly Chumash class, presents regular adult education courses, teaches and mentors many bnei and bnot mitzvah, as well as oversees our Preschool and Hebrew supplementary school musical programs. He continues as friend and confidant to many of his students of all ages.
He has published several synagogue and Festival guides to encourage participation in and understanding of our prayers. Cantor Joel is an eloquent public speaker and presenter to Jewish and interfaith audiences such as Denver Institute for Jewish Studies (DIJS), The Abrahamic Institute and Metropolitan State University.
Recently he envisioned, created and led the synagogue’s highly successful interactive Sunburst Shabbat & Festival Experience building a large energized synagogue community.
In addition to being our senior Cantor, he has led successful Jewish heritage trips abroad. In June, 1997, he and his brother, as part of a mission to Eastern Europe, led Shabbat Services in Warsaw’s Nozyk Synagogue where their father, Chazzan Jakub Lichterman z’l, officiated until 1940. This theme continued in July, 2009 when the brother Cantors launched the historic Cantors Assembly mission to Poland by leading the opening ceremony and service in the same Nozyk Synagogue. The mission culminated in the release of the critically acclaimed documentary, “100 Voices”, an Academy Award contender produced for the Cantors Assembly, featuring among others, Cantor Joel Lichterman and his brother.
For many years he balanced dual careers in cantorial and corporate life. This experience, with his engaging personality and ability to connect, enables him to effectively participate in and often lead forward planning and fundraising efforts. Over the years Cantor Lichterman has, in the absence of a Rabbi, served the congregation in this capacity.
In 2005 Cantor Joel Lichterman was honored by our congregation at a Gala event “Thank You For the Music” in recognition of his outstanding leadership.
He and Elaine are the proud parents of two sons, Justin, married to Pilippa; and Asher, married to Lori; and the grandparents of Jakub, Eitan, and Dalya.
Through his open door approach, Cantor Joel Lichterman is readily accessible to congregants and the wider community.