This year, Rabbi Dean will team up with a host of talented scholars and musicians to present our High Holy Day services.
Read the bios below to learn more about our High Holy Day dream team!
|Rabbi Suzy Stone|
Born and raised in Minnesota, Suzy is proud to be among the “frozen chosen,” who have endured real winters and enjoyed summer days under 100 degrees. When she isn’t busy unpacking Jewish texts or reinventing Jewish tradition, she enjoys cycling, cooking, and comedy. Having lived in Boston, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and D.C., she is happy to be in the Phoenix area where her family now lives part-time.
After graduating from Brandeis University in 2002, with a B.A. in History and Art History, she worked as a community organizer. She set out to become a rabbi as a way to balance her passion for Tikkun Olam (healing the world) with her belief in the need for Tikkun HaNefesh (healing one’s self).
Most recently, Suzy served as a Senior Organizer at the Religious Action Center where she worked with Reform synagogues to restore the vote 1.5 million Floridians. As part of the inaugural cohort of the Jewish Emergent Network, Suzy served as rabbinic fellow at Sixth & I where she created innovative shabbat, holiday, and interfaith programmings for young professionals in the D.C. area.
Before moving to D.C., Rabbi Suzy enjoyed running on the beach and hiking in the mountains of Santa Barbara, where she served for four years as an Associate Rabbi at Congregation B’nai B’rith. She was ordained by the Reform Movement at HUC-JIR in 2012 and is a proud alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship
|Cantoriol Soloist Allan NaplanAllan Naplan enjoys a multi-faceted career as an arts administrator, composer and performer. As a cantorial soloist, he has served congregations around the country, including extended affiliations with Congregation B’nai Jeshurun (NYC), Congregation Beth David (San Luis Obispo, CA) and Congregation Beth Yeshurun (Houston).|
In the valley, his cantorial soloist work is frequently heard at Temple Chai and Temple Solel. As Executive and Producing Director of Arizona Musicfest (azmusicfest.org), Allan has been recognized as a “Best of Arts and Culture” winner by Phoenix Jewish News and an “Arts Hero” by On Stage/On Media magazine.
In his professional capacity, Allan leads all elements of the non-profit organization, including the programming of the popular concert series. A former professional opera singer, Allan spent twenty years in the opera business as both a performer and administrator. Recognized as an award-winning composer, Allan’s music has been performed and recorded around the world, and has been featured in concerts at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, New York City’s Lincoln Center, The White House, as well as on-board Space Shuttle Columbia, Mission STS-107. A two-time winner of the Guild of Temple Musicians Young Composers Award, many of his works are standard repertoire for cantors and congregations around the country.
|Pianist Lawrence Loeber|
Lawrence Loeber has served as principal pianist for Arizona Musicfest for 13 years. He has served in the same capacity for the Phoenix Symphony for 21 years. Larry earned degrees in music and German at Case Western Reserve/Cleveland Institute. He received a master’s in Chinese Linguistics from The Ohio State University, while continuing piano studies and working as coach/accompanist in the opera department.
With the Phoenix Symphony he has appeared as piano soloist in works by Gershwin and Saint-Saëns, as harpsichord soloist in Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and as kazoo soloist in Michael Dougherty’s March of the Metro. Larry has also soloed for Ballet Arizona in Stravinsky’s Five Movements for Piano and Orchestra. In 2010, he performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Arizona Musicfest Festival Orchestra. He is Music Director/pianist at the Congregational Church of the Valley, and maintains a private piano studio in Scottsdale.
|Cellist Jan Simiz|
Jan Simiz, assistant principal cello for The Phoenix Symphony, was born in Barcea, Romania. His musical career on the cello began by chance. In Romania, most children are introduced to music at a very early age, usually in pre-school. Simiz began at age nine, late by Romanian standards, and his only option for stings was the cello. Jan went on to study at Ciprian Porumbescu Conservatory in Bucharest, and eventually became an award-winning cellist in his native land.
In 1980 Simiz arrived in Los Angeles and won the principal cellist position with Neal Stulberg and the Young Musicians’ Foundation “Debut” Orchestra. He continued his studies at the University of Southern California, where he earned his master’s degree in cello performance. Jan’s teachers include Eleanore Schoenfeld, former head of the string department at USC, and Gabor Rejto, an eminent cellist and teacher who also performed in the Alma Trio. Additionally, Simiz took master classes with Lynn Harrell, Zara Nelsova and Ronald Leonard.
Prior to joining The Phoenix Symphony in 1985, he played with the Sacramento Symphony Orchestra.
When not performing with The Phoenix Symphony, Simiz performs in various chamber ensembles with the Red Rocks Music Festival, Downtown Chamber Series, and other venues throughout the valley. Since 1995, Jan has been the principal cellist and chamber musician for Music in The Mountains summer festival in Durango, Colorado.
In addition to classical music, Simiz enjoys jazz and some rock. He appreciates fine art, especially the Impressionists. And he enjoys a variety of fine cuisines and wines! In his free time, he enjoys photography and travel.
While at USC, he met and married Maria Lane, also a cellist, who teaches at Arizona School for the Arts. Both Jan and Maria maintain a private cello studio.