Rabbi Michael Birnholz arrived at Temple Beth Shalom in Vero Beach in 2002 following his ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Over the ten years that Rabbi Birnholz has been in Indian River County, he and his family have had a chance to grow in body, mind and spirit right along with Temple Beth Shalom. Rabbi Birnholz enthusiastically shares his ruach and koach -spirit and strength – with the many diverse generations and facets of the Jewish community. From the biblical garden to tot shabbat, from men’s club bowling night to adult learning while making challah, Rabbi Birnholz is proud to be part of vibrant and meaningful life of his congregation. Rabbi Birnholz has also enjoyed his wide variety of community opportunities to teach and preach Jewish values and wisdom, in person at various events or through his column in the Vero Beach Weekly. His hope is to build Temple Beth Shalom into a House of wholeness, completeness and peace and see these efforts spread caring, compassion and harmony to the whole Treasure Coast.
Cantor Sara Kheel hails from Los Angeles, CA. She began her involvement in the Jewish community early in life, studying at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge, CA and spending her summers at Habonim Dror Camp Gilboa. She grew up at Temple Judea in Tarzana, CA, where she also sang and led services as a young adult. It was there that she began her trajectory toward the cantorate. She received her B.A. in 2007 from the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Theater and Performance Studies and minoring in Spanish Language and Literature. Prior to enrolling at cantorial school, Cantor Kheel worked as the Programming and Engagement Director at Hillel at Pierce & Valley Colleges. She was a founding board member of Valley Ruach, a Jewish young professionals’ organization affiliated with Temple Adat Ari El in North Hollywood, CA. She was also Assistant Director and President of Los Angeles-based Jewish a capella group Shir Ba’ir. She spent three summers as a songleader at URJ Crane Lake Camp and one summer as the Assistant Limud Director and T’filah Coordinator at URJ Eisner Camp. Cantor Kheel was ordained from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2017. During cantorial school, she held pulpit positions at Garden City Jewish Center in Garden City, NY, Congregation Or Hatzafon in Fairbanks, AK, Temple Beth Shalom in Arnold, MD, and Temple Beth Israel in York, PA. Immediately following ordination, she spent a year as a chaplain resident at NYU Langone Hospital – Brooklyn. She is passionate about creating meaningful worship, composing new Jewish music, and pastoral care.