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Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus

Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus, son of Holocaust survivors, was raised in an Orthodox environment in Boro Park, Brooklyn. A graduate of Brooklyn College with a degree in philosophy, he earned a Master of Education degree from NYU and was ordained at Yeshiva Beth Meir of Tel Aviv in 1972. Rabbi Wainhaus served congregations in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and in Manhattan prior to becoming Congregation Or Shalom’s first and only rabbi in 1981. He has two children: Maya, a graduate of Barnard College, and Rafi, a graduate of Green Mountain College in Vermont.

Rabbi Wainhaus has immersed himself in the Jewish and secular life of the community and is highly regarded as a spiritual leader, educator, and lecturer on a wide range of religious and secular issues. His involvement in interfaith activities throughout Greater New Haven has earned him the respect and admiration of Jews and non-Jews alike.

The Rabbi is also well-known as a professional musician who performed and made numerous recordings with the late Hebrew folk singer Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Most recently, Rabbi Wainhaus recorded a disc to accompany a text of Biblical Hebrew, published by Yale University Press.  Rabbi Wainhaus frequently incorporates his inspirational and traditional music into his sermons and services. He is fluent in Yiddish, and is a noted lecturer on Yiddish humor.

In 2005, Rabbi Wainhaus was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary of Conservative Judaism in New York City for his contributions to the Jewish community.

You can email Rabbi Wainhaus at

Rachel Steigleder

Synagogue Administrator

A graduate of Joseph A. Foran High School in Milford, Rachel earned her college degree at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield.

Her professional background is in marketing and management, having worked in the health insurance field and for non-profit organizations.

For the past 13 years Rachel has been a full-time mom while working part time as the Program Director for Hope After Loss and the last 5 as the office administrator for Church of the Good Shepherd in Orange.

Rachel has two daughters, Megan and Allison. They reside in Orange and have been members of Or Shalom for many years. When Rachel is not working she is attending her daughters dance competitions or volunteering.

Ileane Kaczynski

Administrative Assistant

Ileane  takes on many roles at the Synagogue. She is an Administrative Assistant and takes on many tasks in the office; she is also our "shopper" for Onegs and Kiddush. Ileane can be found on Wednesdays and Sundays helping the Hebrew School out.

Before coming to Or Shalom Ileane was a substitute teacher for the Milford School System.

Her many hobbies include, volunteering, book club, seeing movies and enjoying her husband and three daughters.

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