Submitted by The Valley Temple
Rabbi Sandford Kopnick met Rabbi Solomon Greenberg when Kopnick was as a camper at Goldman Union Camp. Over 20 years later, Rabbi Kopnick would succeed Rabbi Greenberg as the rabbi of the Valley Temple. Rabbi Austin Zoot joined Rabbi Kopnick at Valley in 2019, and stayed after ordination in 2020. But that’s only part of the story.
Rabbi Greenberg and his wife, Sue, returned to Cincinnati after living in Florida for almost 20 years. And this summer, a 2nd year Rabbinic Student, Matthew Berman, served as Rabbinic Intern. Matthew is a product of the congregation. Rabbi Greenberg officiated at Matthew’s parents’ wedding. Matthew’s grandparents are Dolph and Nancy Berman, long-time Valley members. Recently, Rabbis Greenberg, Kopnick, and Zoot took soon-to-be Rabbi Berman out for lunch — sharing stories from Rabbi Greenberg’s time at Valley, and noticing how the congregation remains warm and welcoming, while evolving with the times, too.
Rabbi Greenberg became the Rabbi at The Valley Temple in 1969 after serving as an assistant rabbi at I.M.Wise Temple. Rabbi Greenberg served Valley for over 30 years, and became known for his approach to inclusive weddings and counseling. Rabbi Kopnick had maintained a friendship with Rabbi Greenberg since childhood, and became rabbi of The Valley Temple in 2001.
Rabbi Zoot hails from Chicago, and met Rabbi Kopnick while Zoot was a student at Indiana University, when they both staffed a NFTY convention. Rabbi Zoot became a Rabbinic Fellow through the generosity of the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, and then became rabbi/educator with the help of the Jewish Foundation’s synagogue engagement grant, which was recently renewed for an additional three years.
Matthew Berman grew up at Valley, and found his way to the Ohio State University Hillel where his Jewish identity became even stronger. Rabbi Kopnick remembers Matthew’s profound talent at Torah reading, first revealed at his Bar Mitzvah. Matthew thought he was going to OSU to ultimately make his way to law school. However, his Judaism called him elsewhere. After graduation from OSU, Matthew spent a year in Israel and was accepted to HUC-JIR, which allowed him to spend a second year in Israel. Sadly, Matthew will be moving to New York, since the HUC-JIR campus will no longer be assigning 2nd year Rabbinic students to the Cincinnati campus. Rabbi Kopnick hopes that Matthew will visit frequently, occasionally sharing his time and talents as Matthew did this summer.
The Valley Temple in Wyoming, Ohio has been in its current location for 50 years. The building was significantly remodeled most recently in 2015, including a small addition and significant renovations to the rest of the building. Rabbi Greenberg’s legacy of a warm and welcoming congregation continues.