Rabbi Karen Companez is pleased to be Temple Beth-El’s rabbi. Her passion for community-building fuels her rabbinate and she relishes the opportunity of leading Temple Beth-El into its next phase, welcoming new people through its doors, and accompanying its members, whether relatively new or long-time, along life’s path with all the attendant joys and trials that life brings, and doing this within the sheltering and nurturing tent of Judaism.
Rabbi Companez brings her informal youth movement background and love of Hebrew and Israel to Temple Beth-El, as well as her inclusive, collaborative, approach to leading. She hopes to inspire Jews and members of their families with the timeless beauty, relevance, and treasures of Judaism.
Until June 2015, Rabbi Companez served Temple Beth El in Flint, Michigan since her ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2002, where she wrote her thesis on Rabbi Alexander Schindler. In a previous life, she worked as an administrative assistant to the Director of Development of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, in Melbourne, Australia, amongst other positions. Prior to her rabbinic education, Rabbi Companez received a B.A., majoring in Philosophy, from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
Rabbi Companez was active in many voluntary capacities in the Jewish community of Melbourne, Australia. She was instrumental in the founding of a lay-led Reform Jewish congregation, Kedem, which is over 20 years old. She was one of the founding members of the Reform Zionist youth movement, Netzer, in Melbourne, Australia. This movement now has branches world-wide.
Rabbi Companez lived in Israel for over four years, visits Israel often, and is fluent in Hebrew.
She and her husband, Howard Steinberger, are pleased to be a part of the Jewish community of South Bend, Indiana