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JCV Clergy & Leadership

Rabbi Ben Shull

Rabbi Ben Shull and his wife Dr. Stacy Lang came to Venice a little over twenty years ago when the rabbi served as the High Holy Days rabbi of the JCV. They were living in Tampa, Florida, at the time and the rabbi was working as the Executive Director of the Tampa Jewish Family Services. Both Rabbi Shull and his wife fell in love with Venice and always hoped to return one day as residents.

Their life journey subsequently took them to several locations on the East Coast with stops in Virginia Beach, VA, Rivervale, NJ, and Rockville, MD, where Rabbi Shull served congregations in each community. Finally, in the fall of 2019, they decided to move to Sarasota County and, as luck would have it, Ben was able to fill the rabbinic vacancy here at the JCV.

The rabbi has a Masters Degree in Social Work and was ordained as a rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He loves teaching Judaism and guiding the JCV as it continues to build a supportive and welcoming Jewish community in this lovely part of the world.

A Passover Greeting from Rabbi Shull

Cantor Marci Vitkus

Marci Vitkus has served the JCV since October 5, 2001. She grew up in the Chicago suburbs and moved to Sarasota in 1993. Coming from a career in Early Childhood Education background, cantorial singing was not in her life plan. But nonetheless, this job was presented to her at just the right time and a shidduch (match) was made. It is here in Sarasota that her husband, Andy, and she brought up their two children, Max and Sadie.

It is also here where she discovered she was from a long line of cantors. She knew of her father’s role as hazzan and choir director. She knew of her grandfather, Hyman Reznick, a pillar of the Chicago Jewish community. But she soon learned her cantorial lineage goes back possibly 17 generations. One of the things she hopes to do when she finds some spare time is to investigate a long line of shochets (ritual slaughterers) and shalliach tzibburim (prayer leaders) also in her lineage. For now, she loves being a part of the family life cycle events that occur in a synagogue: births, namings, anniversaries, b’nai mitzvahs. They all bring joy. Even being there for a family in their most difficult hours is a gift she treasures in the circle of life.

By far the best part of her job is leading the congregation in song. They smile, they sway, the feel the same deep connection to their heritage as she does. Music is a balm to the soul.

In October 2021, we celebrate 20 years with Cantor Marci!

Click here for more from Cantor Marci Vitkus


President  Eli Rapaport
1st Vice President Steven Kleinglass  
2nd Vice President Mardi Skoegard  
Secretary Judy Haran  
Treasurer Meg Antine
Immediate Past President Harvey Cohen  
Parliamentarian Annette Blum  
Member at Large Deborah Rosen  
Member at Large Barabra Katzenstein  
Adult Learning open  
House and Grounds Jeff Weisenberg  
Membership Nessa Kleinglass
Ritual Susan Litwer  
Ways and Means Judy Rapaport  
Sisterhood  Debbie Jefko  




Mon, May 16 2022 15 Iyyar 5782