Clergy & Staff
Rabbi Sandford Kopnick has been the spiritual leader of the Valley Temple since 2001. He served congregations in Fort Wayne, IN and Chicago, IL prior to becoming Valley’s rabbi. Rabbi Kopnick served at the chair of the CCAR Youth Committee, chair of Goldman Union Camp’s development committee, a faculty member of GUCI, an instructor of homiletics (sermon writing) at Hebrew Union College, and as an instructor in the JCC’s Melton Adult Education Program. Prior to Ordination from HUC-JIR in Cincinnati, Rabbi Kopnick received a B.A. from the University of Michigan.
Click here to read Rabbi Kopnick’s Erev Yom Kippur sermon.
Wendy Walsh has been the administrator of the Valley Temple for over 30 years. She holds a B.B.A. from the University of Cincinnati and is a member of NATA, the National Association of Temple Administrators. Wendy has a unique way of helping our members feel at home in our congregation as she supports the mission of the Temple and keeps track of the many administrative issues connected with running our synagogue.
Alison Weikel was a member of Valley before she became our director of education. With both a B.S. and an M.S.in education from the University of Pennsylvania, Alison has brought a love for Jewish learning and wonderful creativity to our school. Alison is the 2014 winner of the Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education for Cincinnati and one of six winners chosen for North America. Alison is a member of NATE, the National Association of Temple Educators and the Cincinnati Jewish Educators’ Council. She partners with Rabbi Kopnick and our Religious School Committee to create a safe and happy place for our families to explore Judaism.
Brian Nelson is our rabbinic intern. Brian was raised in Minneapolis, MN and earned a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. He has worked with the communities of Temple Israel, Mount Zion, and Bet Shalom in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Brian is a rising fourth year student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and taught for our religious school during his second and third years. He recently completed an M.A. in Religious Education from HUC-JIR. Brian will bring his passion for learning and teaching to his position at Valley where he will lead the Mitzvah Corps (the middle school program) as well as assist Rabbi Kopnick with pulpit and pastoral responsibilities.
Jessica Wainer is our Rabbinic Fellow. Jessie is a rising fourth year student at HUC-JIR. In her role as music intern, Jessie will help Rabbi Kopnick coordinate the Friday Night Live band, teach music in Religious School, songlead and led music a few times at services, and coordinate the Teen T’filah Team (our Friday Night Live style teen music group).Jessie hails from the Chicago area and has experience songleading and working with music at URJ Olin Sang Ruby Union Istitute Camp. She has a love of music and will bring some new energy to many of our programs. We are grateful to the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati for funding this Rabbinic Fellow experience.