Meet Our Incredible Clergy
Rabbi Ethan Prosnit, Senior Rabbi
Rabbi Ethan Prosnit is a graduate of Clark University with a BA in African History and a Masters in Teaching. He received his Rabbinic Ordination and his Masters in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). Rabbi Prosnit is passionate about pursuing social justice and making connections with global Jewry. He currently is the co-chair of Reform Jewish Voice of New Jersey, an arm of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), working with Reform Jews across New Jersey to join together with a strong and effective voice. He is a Rabbi Balfour Brickner Fellow through the Religious Action Center and served on the Joint Distribution Committee-Entwine board. Prior to becoming a rabbi, Ethan taught eleventh grade United States history and coached boys tennis in the Worcester public schools, worked at Tufts University Hillel, and partnered with American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Rabbi Prosnit is an avid sports fan, rooting hard for the Jets, Mets and Toronto Blue Jays (usually to no avail) and is a tennis player, skier, and loves the outdoors. Rabbi Prosnit joined the Temple Emanu-El community in the summer of 2014. He lives in Westfield with his wife Arielle, son Caleb and daughter Zoe.
Cantor Martha Novick, Senior Cantor
Cantor Novick received a Bachelor of Science in Music Performance and a Master of Arts in Music Education from New York University. She also received a Bachelor of Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College, School of Sacred Music, where she was invested as Cantor in May of l983.
Cantor Novick has performed leading roles in opera for the Metropolitan Opera Association, the National Shakespeare Theatre, CBS and PBS Television, NYC Radio, The Center for New Music in New York, and the Liederkranz Opera Workshop. She has been soloist with the Jerusalem Symphony, The Brooklyn Philharmonia, Musica Hebraica, Sela and the Hebrew Arts Chorale. Cantor Novick has served on the Board of the American Conference of Cantors, the Commission on Synagogue Music, the Advisory Board and Review Board of Transcontinental Music Publishing, and currently serves as Vice President of the American Society for Jewish Music.
Cantor Novick had the distinction of being the first female Cantor to perform in a traditional Cantorial Concert in a major concert hall in New York. She made a CD of Yiddish Art Songs Music for the Miliken Foundation Archives of Twentieth Century American Jewish Composers, and a CD of High Holiday Music for Transcontinental Music Publishing.
Cantor Novick is a member of the faculty at The Hebrew Union College, School of Sacred Music and The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Miller Cantorial School.
Rabbi Victor Appell, Associate Rabbi
Rabbi Appell, a native New Yorker, grew up in the Reform Movement. In high school, he served as a regional NFTY president. After working in sales and marketing, Rabbi Appell pursued his lifelong dream of becoming a rabbi. After ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he served congregations in Illinois and New Jersey. Rabbi Appell then joined the staff of the Union for Reform Judaism where over the years, he served as the Director of Small Congregations, Co-Director of the Joint Commission on Synagogue Management, Outreach and Marketing Consultant, Congregational Marketing Director and editor-in-chief of Ten Minutes of Torah. Most recently, Rabbi Appell served as Reform Community Rabbi and Senior Jewish Educator at Rutgers Hillel.
Rabbi Appell’s writings have appeared in Achim Magazine, Torat Chayim, Ten Minutes of Torah, Kulanu Handbook, The Gender Gap, and The Still Small Voice – Reflections on Being a Jewish Man.
Rabbi Appell, his husband and their two sons live in Metuchen, NJ.
Cantor Anna Ott, Interim Adjunct Cantor
Cantor Anna West Ott is thrilled to be joining the Temple Emanu-El family after 21 years at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple and becoming their first Cantor Emerita. She brings a great love for teaching and collaboration, whether it be music or Torah. After a yeshiva education through high school, she earned the BA with honors from Douglass College in Music Education and Piano while studying Hebrew in the Jewish Studies department. She then taught for ten years in the public schools of Piscataway Township, Vocal Music in the elementary grades. After a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance from the College of New Jersey, roles with Plays-in-the-Park and the Middlesex Opera and lots of choral singing and directing, fast forward to a mid-life career change and sitting in a classroom in the Academy for Jewish Religion’s cantorial program, culminating with ordination in 1998.
At Anshe Emeth, she expanded the music program to include 3 choirs, 2 bands, a concert series called “Ohavei Tarbut” (Lovers of Culture), and an active schedule of congregational participation in worship via singing or playing. She innovated a class guitar instruction program, which has encouraged the emergence of many songleaders at youth group events, camps, and their colleges.
Her community activities have included co-directing Makhelat Hamercaz, the Jewish Choir of Central Jersey; singing with the New Jersey Cantors Concert Ensemble and serving as their Education Chair and Librarian; directing Kol Halayla, the Jewish a cappella group at Rutgers; and founding and directing the Anshe Segulah Men’s Chorus. The first Cantorial Concert she ever hosted, in February 2002, included Cantor Martha Novick in the cast!
She has coordinated music and directed joint choirs for many interfaith events including services for Thanksgiving, MLK Day, and Earth Day. She has taught at the North American Jewish Choral Festival on the subject of music appropriate for interfaith events, a workshop called “We Are the World 2.0.”
In her role as Interim Adjunct Cantor at Temple Emanu-el, Cantor Ott will be working with Bar and Bat Mitzvah students and their families, as well as singing at services. She will be accompanying herself on both piano and guitar. She is a huge fan of Jewish Rock Radio!
Cantor Ott lives in East Brunswick, NJ. She has three adult sons, with wives and partners, and two grandchildren.
Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff, Rabbi Emeritus
Rabbi Kroloff served as Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El for 36 years, from 1966 until his retirement in 2002. He and his wife, Dr. Terry Kroloff, still reside in Westfield. On his retirement, the new educational wing of the Temple was named The Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff Center for Jewish Learning. He is the past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the largest rabbinic organization in the world.
Rabbi Kroloff currently is Vice President for Special Projects of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. He remains active in the Westfield area, through leadership in Temple Emanu-El’s I Have A Dream program in Plainfield and the Westfield Foundation as past president, speaking at area synagogues, and providing rabbinic life cycle services.
Rabbi Kroloff earned his B.A. magna cum laude at Yale University and rabbinic ordination at Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati. Before coming to Westfield, he was Assistant Rabbi at Temple Israel, Boston, and Rabbi of Community Reform Temple, Westbury, NY. A past president of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, he was a member of the governing boards of the Jewish Agency, Hebrew Union College, and the Union for Reform Judaism. He was a founder of the Interfaith Council for the Homeless of Union County and, following retirement, Interim Rabbi at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, New York City.