Keynote Speaker

 judge Gergel   The keynote speaker is the Honorable Richard Gergel, United States District Judge for South Carolina. His speech is titled, “From Francis Salvador to Max Heller:  Jewish Public Service in South Carolina.”


Rabbi Jeremy Master was born and raised on Long Island. He graduated with a BA in Religion and the College of Social Sciences from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. After college, he attended the Hebrew Union College and was ordained in 2004. Before coming to Temple of Israel, Rabbi Master served as assistant rabbi at Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton, NJ.While in his first year in Rabbinical School in Jerusalem, Rabbi Master met his wife, Rabbi Alana Wasserman. They are the proud parents of Peri Rose and Dara Ann.

Marc Howard Wilson is a rabbi, essayist, and community activist.  He has served congregations for four decades.  He is a weekly columnist in The Columbia State, and his commentaries have appeared the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune, and Jüdische Allgemeine (Germany.)   He is a summa cum laude graduate of DePaul University and was ordained by the Hebrew Theological College.  He was a Graduate Fellow at the Chicago Institute of Pastoral Care.  He is a founder of Greenville Faith Communities United, and founding chairperson of St. Baldrick’s Day for childhood cancer research. 

From service as a chaplain to the pulpit, Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz has been afforded a great number of opportunities to celebrate his heritage through writing, speaking and music. His great interest in Science Fiction and Paleontology has provided numerous lectures and articles. Prizing interfaith work, such as dialogues with Buddhists and the Christian communities. Rabbi Liebowitz continues to explore how we may extend that discussion with the Islamic faith. Some of that interfaith work has been through music. He has formed several folk duos and trios over the years including collaboration with a Pastor –Rabbi duo called “The cap and the collar!” Rabbi Liebowitz has a B.A. in Psychology along with graduate courses in Psychology and Paleontology. He has recently completed his 30th year in the rabbinate and was awarded his second Doctorate of Divinity by HUC-JIR.

Dr. Melinda Menzer is a professor of English at Furman University. In 2003, Dr. Menzer traveled to Lithuania to learn more about where her grandfather's family had lived and to see where they were killed. On the trip, she visited museums and archives, talked to historians and survivors, and went to the places where the Jews of Lithuania were murdered. Dr. Menzer is married with two children. She is a congregant at Temple of Israel and serves as the GAIHN coordinator. She has lived in Greenville since 1996.

PJ Library sends free Jewish children's books to families across the world every month. We know that something magical happens when parents sit down together to read with their children. PJ Library shares Jewish stories that can help your family talk together about values and traditions that are important to you. A program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library is made possible in the Upstate region through the generousity of the Greenville Jewish Federation. Families with kids ages 6 months through 11 years old with Judaism as part of their lives, are welcome to sign up. PJ Library welcomes all Jewish families, whatever your background, knowledge, family make-up, or level of observance may be. Sign up today at our table in the vendor hall!


The Temple of Israel ShalomFest Choir will give 2 performances. The first will feature traditional Jewish songs along with a set of songs for Sabbath evening worship. The second will be “Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs: A ‘Classical’ Celebration.” Highlights  include music by Louis Lewandowski and selections from Mendelssohn’s Elijah, to be sung by an interfaith ensemble featuring the Temple Choir,  the Travelers Rest United Methodist Church choir, plus singers from Beth Israel and area churches.

The OLLI Consort is an SATB recorder ensemble comprised of participants in Furman University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The group will perform a set of liturgical pieces for Shabbat, then a set of popular songs from Israel.

The Charlotte Israeli Folk Dance has been in existence for 17 years and performs at area festivals, presenting the folk dances of Israel and the Jewish people in the Diaspora. The troupe will give two performances. In both they will showcase different styles of Israeli dance from Yemen, Eastern Europe, United Estate, Persia, Spain, and Morocco.

Bandana Klezmer Band is a group of musicians from Western NC. Klezmer is Eastern European Jewish celebration music, played at weddings and other happy events. It expresses both the joy and sorrow of the Jewish experience, alternating between major and minor keys. Bandana Klezmer plays old time klezmer music in the traditional style, featuring accordion, fiddle, guitar, cello, harmonica and tsimbl.

Greenville International Folk Dancers members will lead audience participation dances and showcase Israeli dances from modern and legacy Israeli choreographers. GIFD is a recreational folk dance group aimed at promoting dance as a fun and accessible fitness activity and as a vehicle for international understanding. GIFD is affiliated with Greenville Parks and Recreation and meets Monday evenings.

Sleightly Illusional Magic by Marty Marty Shapiro has been amazing people for over 40 years with his humorous sleight of hand shows. In addition to a stage show opening ShalomFest, he will be walking around the event performing "Strolling Magic" to entertain all.