Senior Staff Bios
RABBI ANDREW BUSCH | RABBI ELISSA SACHS-KOHEN | CANTOR BEN ELLERIN | CANTOR ANN G. SACKS | RABBI REX D. PERLMETER, EMERITUS | RABBI GUSTAV BUCHDAHL, EMANUEL EMERITUS | CANTOR ROBBIE SOLOMON, EMERITUS | BRAD COHEN | JILL EISEN | JO ANN WINDMAN | ANNETTE G. SAXON
Rabbi Andrew Busch joined Baltimore Hebrew Congregation in 2008. His many areas of focus include prayer, counseling, life cycle events, education and more. Rabbi Busch received a B.A. from Brandeis University and studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was ordained at the Hebrew Union College.
Before arriving at BHC, Rabbi Busch served as Rabbi at Touro Synagogue in New Orleans. He also previously worked as Assistant and then Associate Rabbi at Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh and as Rabbi at Beth David Reform Congregation in Gladwyne, PA. Additionally, he has worked as Rabbinic Faculty for many summers at Union for Reform Judaism camps. Rabbis Busch is currently an officer on the Baltimore Jewish Council. He has also served as a board member on Baltimore’s Center for Jewish Education, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Joint Reform Jewish Commission on Worship, Synagogue Music and Religious Living and New Orleans’ Common Good, where he was a founding board member. He was a participant in the Institute for Christian-Jewish Studies interfaith clergy exploration of Israel
Rabbi Busch is married to Rabbi Debbie Pine, who serves as the Vice President for Strategic Philanthropy at The Associated. They have three children, Johanna, Ben and Ethan. Rabbi Busch’s favorite thing about BHC is our congregants, but he also loves that our history dates back to 1830, when it first became legal in Maryland to organize a synagogue.
Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen has served as a rabbi at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation since 2004. In addition to sharing teaching, pastoral and liturgical responsibilities, she is the Director of BHC Cares, and advises the Social Action Task Force, concentrating in recent years on marriage equality and civil rights issues. Rabbi Sachs-Kohen coordinates BHC’s New Leaders program as well. Rabbi Sachs-Kohen annually leads Rosh Hashanah Under the Stars, BHC’s Rosh Hashanah evening service which is free and open to the public. She earned her BA in theater and drama at the University of Michigan and received Ordination at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.
Prior to BHC, Rabbi Sachs-Kohen served as Assistant and then Associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in West Harford, CT. Rabbi Sachs-Kohen has served on the Board of Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity and as liaison for their interfaith building project, “Peace by Piece.” She was a participant in the Institute for Christian-Jewish Studies interfaith clergy exploration of Israel and was appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley to serve a term on the Maryland Commission for Women.
Rabbi Sachs-Kohen lives in Roland Park with her children Manny and Noa. Rabbi Sachs-Kohen’s favorite thing about BHC is Hillel’s quotation as we enter our Sanctuary: ”If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?”
Cantor Ellerin joined Baltimore Hebrew Congregation in 2018. His passion for building a vibrant Jewish community extends to his work both on and off the bimah. He can be found teaching adult and youth education programs, officiating at life cycle events, visiting homes and hospitals, and leading worship services. Cantor Ellerin was ordained at the Hebrew Union College and completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
Prior to joining the BHC community, Cantor Ellerin served as Cantor and Music Director at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester in Croton on Hudson, NY and formerly served the pulpits of Park Avenue Synagogue and Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan, and congregations Darchei Noam and Tzur Hadassah in Israel. In addition to his work within the synagogue, Cantor Ellerin has appeared as a guest soloist in concerts throughout the wider Jewish community, featuring repertoire spanning a wide array of classical, Israeli, Jewish, Yiddish, American folk, and contemporary music, as well as his own original works. His compositions have been performed by the URJ Biennial Choir, at the Hava Nashira Songleading Workshop, and in Jewish communities and camps across North America, Europe, and Israel. His work is published by Transcontinental Music Publishing, where he serves as an active member of their review committee, and contributed to the American Conference of Cantors’ recently published Ruach 5777 Songbook.
Cantor Ellerin and his wife, Lily, live in West Towson with their son, Samuel and dog, Larry. One of Cantor Ellerin’s favorite things about BHC is the variety of beautiful artwork on display throughout the building.
Cantor Sacks has served at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation since March of 2000. Aside from assisting the other clergy in leading services and life-cycle events, she is the primary tutor of BHC’s B’nai Mitzvah students. She also teaches adult Hebrew and works with adults in preparation for adult B’nai Mitzvah. Cantor Sacks received a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She received Cantor Certification from Hebrew Union College in 2007.
Mother of three grown children and proud grandmother of four, Cantor Sacks lives in Mt. Washington with her husband, Joel, and their two dogs. Cantor Sacks’ favorite thing about BHC is its passion for tikkun olam, hasadim tovim and tzedekah, repairing the world, reaching out in loving-kindness, and addressing social justice. She is grateful that through her work as an educator and sh'liach tzibur, leader of prayer, she has the opportunity to support and ensure the future of these Jewish values.
Rabbi Rex Perlmeter is Rabbi Emeritus of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, having served here from 1996 to 2008. The vision driving his years as a pulpit rabbi was one of creating multiple options for people to connect effectively with their Jewish identity. Prior to BHC, he served as associate and senior rabbi at Temple Israel of Greater Miami from 1985-1996.
Rabbi Perlmeter was ordained at the Hebrew Union College in 1985, after graduating from Princeton University. He has served nationally on the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Hebrew Union College and as the Rabbinic Chair of the Reform Jewish Commission on Religious Living. He was president of both the Miami and Baltimore Board of Rabbis and he served on the Executive Committee of The Associated.
In 2008, following his years at BHC, he moved with his wife, Rabbi Rachel Hertzman, and family to New Jersey, where he began work for the Union for Reform Judaism. In 2012, he founded the Jewish Wellness Center of North Jersey, a holistic program designed to help synagogues and individuals strive for wholeness in body, heart, mind and soul. Rabbi Perlmeter is a trained Jewish Mindfulness teacher and Spiritual Director, and is working toward a Masters of Social Work degree at New York University. His favorite thing about BHC has always been the passion of our leaders for their congregation.
Rabbi Gustav Buchdahl is now serving as Emanuel Emeritus Rabbi at BHC. He served Temple Emanuel of Baltimore from 1963 to 2000 and Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Emanuel from 2000 to 2016. Since 2000, he has been teaching Judaic Studies at the University of Maryland/Baltimore County. From 1972 to 1989, Rabbi Buchdahl was also a Professor of Religious Studies at Villa Julie College (now Stevenson University).
In addition to his ordination from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Rabbi Buchdahl earned an M.L.A. from Johns Hopkins University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. For 20 years, he was on the Clinical Review Board at Sinai Hospital as well as on its Ethics Committee. Similarly, he was on the Ethics Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). He served two terms as President of the Baltimore Board of Rabbis. He also served as President of the Baltimore Branch of the American Jewish Congress.
Rabbi Buchdahl’s poems have been published in Aufbau, the CCAR Journal and the New Kehilla Machzor. He has several other interests, including Jewish roles in detective fiction, BWI’s Pathfinder program and making periodic trips to his native Germany. Rabbi Buchdahl and his wife, Sheila, are the parents of Micah, Ezra and Hannah and the grandparents of Max, Sara, Lily and Benjamin. His favorite thing about BHC is just being here.
Cantor Robbie Solomon served as BHC’s Cantor from 2008 to 2017, since then serving as our Cantor Emeritus. In addition to leading worship, teaching and sharing in pastoral work, he coordinated all music programs and directed our choirs along with Choirmaster Jimmy Galdieri. He also oversaw the Bar/Bat Mitzvah program. Cantor Solomon received his B.S. from Gettysburg College and his B.H.L. from Hebrew Union College of Cincinnati, and also studied at The Rubin Academy of Music, Berkelee College of Music and New England Conservatory.
Cantor Solomon previously worked as cantor for Temple Isaiah in Lexington, MA, Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, MA and Temple Sinai in Sharon, MA. He has served as a board member of the American Conference of Cantors (ACC), and as president of the Jewish Cantors and Ministers of New England.
Cantor Solomon grew up in Baltimore and is married to Helen, with two sons, Byron and Sam, and three grandchildren, Nicolas, Leo, and Luciana. His favorite thing about BHC is the historic breadth and scope of the music sung and loved by the congregation.
Director of Education
Brad Cohen became BHC’s Director of Education in 2010. The scope of Brad’s work includes Youth Education, family education, camps youth groups, NEXTGEN: The Millie and Alvin Blum 8-12 grade program, adult education, and supervises the EB Early Childhood Director. He holds a Masters in Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, from which he also has received a Certificate in Jewish Education focusing on Adolescents and Emerging Adults.
Brad’s board and leadership involvement have included serving as Co-Chair of Professional Learning for the Association of Jewish Education 2018, GreenMount School board member 2018, Chair of Baltimore Area Reform Jewish Education Corporation (BARJE-CO) from 2011 to 2013 and serving on the Associated Task Force on Teen Engagement and Future (2014-2015), Pearlstone Program Committee (2014-2018) and the Camp Milldale Task Force (2015). Brad also spends time each summer as faculty at the Union for Reform Judaism Camp Harlam in the Poconos.
Brad was born in Boca Raton, FL and spent several years in Boulder, CO, where he graduated from the University of Colorado and, more importantly, where he met his wife, Claire. They have three kids, Elie, Zev and Olivia. Brad loves that BHC is a wonderful community that truly cares about all its members.
Director, E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center
Jill is the Director of E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center since 2016. She served Beth El Congregation in Baltimore for fifteen years as the Assistant Director of the Religious School, Director of Outreach, Director of the Neighborhood Schools and Educator of both adults and children. Jill also worked in JCCs and at Hillel. Jill attended Pennsylvania State University and earned her BA in advertising as well as minors in art and literature. She earned her Master’s in Jewish Education and Master’s in Jewish Communal Service at Baltimore Hebrew University.
Jill is the 2015 Grinspoon National Jewish Educator and the 2015 Baltimore Jewish Educator of Year awardee. She now serves on the Center for Jewish Education Baltimore Education Award Committee. Some of Jill’s most interesting chairmanships have include the Leukemia Society’s fundraiser that featured the 1992 Guinness Record of the World’s Largest Margarita and The David Herth Memorial Skifest, a volunteer-run event that raised funds for the Special Olympics and Red Cross. She has also co-chaired Israel programs and Jewish and non-Jewish book clubs. Jill was born and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She is married to a Baltimore native, Scott. They has one son, Benjamin, and a rescued dog, Belle. Jill is an avid Orioles, Ravens and Penn State fan. Jill’s favorite thing about BHC is the caring family atmosphere.
Jo Ann Windman has served as Executive Director since 2005, and in the summer of 2018 celebrated her 30th year working at BHC. Her job involves efforts in membership, building management, cemetery management and much more. Before becoming Executive Director, she served as Assistant to the Executive Director. She graduated from Milford Mill High School here in Baltimore.
Jo Ann serves on the Jewish Cemetery Association and is a Senior Member of the National Association of Temple Administrators. Before working at BHC, Jo Ann enjoyed the work and perks of being a travel agent.
She was born and raised here in Baltimore and has been married to Harry for 42 years. Jo Ann’s two children are Ilene and Beth, who is married to Brian. She is very proud of her grandchildren, Madden and Briar. Jo Ann’s mother, Betty Meyers, was a long-time BHC employee as well. Jo Ann’s favorite thing about BHC is the Hoffberger Chapel when the sun shines on the stained-glass windows and there are color reflections all around, especially on the ark.
Director of Development
Annette Saxon has worked as BHC’s Director of Development since 2010. The scope of her work here includes annual giving, strategic planning for development, planned giving, Night of the Stars and other fundraising. Annette holds a Bachelors in Journalism from the University of South Carolina.
Before working at BHC, Annette worked in various places such as The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Atari and The Saxon Agency. She currently serves on the Board of the JCC Association of North America. Her board and leadership involvement have included Chair of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore, Chair of the Associated Women’s Campaign and Co-chair of the Associated Campaign. She also served as President of the Center for Jewish Education in addition to a Board member of Port Discovery and the Baltimore Tourism Association.
She was born and raised in Columbia, SC, and is married to Michael. They have two children, Jake and Sarah. Sarah is married to Randall Rentfro. Annette’s favorite thing about BHC is our beautiful collection of historic Torahs, one of which is 400 years old.