Our Emeriti

Dov Peretz Elkins

Rabbi Emeritus of The Jewish Center

Rabbi Elkins graduated from Gratz College for Hebrew Teachers (1958), received a B.A. from Temple University (1959), and received a M.H.L. from the Jewish Theological Seminary (1962).  He was ordained in 1964. He later received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from JTS, and was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Gratz College.

In 1976, Rabbi Elkins received his doctorate in counseling and humanistic education from the Colgate Rochester Divinity School.  Rabbi Elkins has served as a military chaplain, authored over fifty books, including the New York Times best-selling CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE JEWISH SOUL  He received numerous awards from Israel Bonds and many other organizations.

During the years 1992 - 2005, he was the spiritual leader of The Jewish Center of Princeton. During that period he served as President of the Princeton Clergy Association, the Princeton Medical Center Committee on Ethics, the Rabbinical Assembly Committee of Jewish Law and Standards, and many others. He was primarily responsible for helping TJC acquire 3 new Sefer Torahs, the two lots of land adjacent to the present site, and the Computer Learning Center in the Religious School.

Rabbi Elkins is married to Maxine, a former teacher in our Religious School, a Jewish and Israel activist, and owner of “Israeli Crafts.” They have six children and twelve grandchildren, in New York, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.


Murray E. Simon

Cantor Emeritus of The Jewish Center

Cantor Murray E. Simon is a native of Philadelphia, PA where he earned the degree of Bachelor of Music in Performance from Temple University. In 1980, Cantor Simon was honored by Temple University as its "Alumnus of the Year" of the College of Music.

Recognizing his love for interpreting the liturgical music of the synagogue, Cantor Simon enrolled at the Hebrew Union College - School of Sacred Music in New York City in order to prepare for a career in the cantorate. He was elected president of the student body and was certified and commissioned as a cantor in addition to receiving his Bachelor of Music cum laude.

Cantor Simon served several prominent congregations in the New York City and Boston communities before coming to The Jewish Center. He has been a lecturer in Jewish music and liturgy at Brandeis University and Hebrew College, Brookline, MA among others. He also attended the Boston Conservatory of Music where he received his Master of Music degree in Voice.

Cantor Simon is on the faculty of the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York City where he received the P’nei Torah Faculty Award in May 2009. He has served as Vice-president of Communal Affairs for the Princeton Clergy Association, National president of the Cantorial Alumni Association of the Hebrew Union College, national president of the American Conference of Cantors; president of the New England Jewish Music Forum; and is currently a member of the National Executive Council of the Cantors Assembly.

He is the producer of the highly-acclaimed historic DVDs, "Great Cantors of the Golden Age" and "Great Cantors in Cinema" in conjunction with the National Center for Jewish Film at Brandeis University.

Cantor Simon is the recipient of two honorary Doctor of Music degrees  (Hebrew Union College and the Jewish Theological Seminary) in recognition of his many achievements and contributions made to the cantorate.

Fran Amir

Principal Emerita of The Jewish Center

Fran spent her entire professional life in the field of education and youth programming, coming to The Jewish Center after having taught Social Studies in the New York City school system for 25 years.

She graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.A. in History and an M.A. in Secondary Education. In the field of Jewish education, Fran did additional graduate work in Jewish Studies at Wayne State University and took numerous courses at conferences and workshops to enhance her  own Judaic background and the educational programming at The Jewish Center. She is also a graduate of the Meah program and became an adult Bat Mitzvah at The Jewish Center. She taught in Religious Schools in New York, Michigan, Toronto, and at The Jewish Center and also directed teen programs both in Jewish summer camps and in after school programs. In addition, she was on The Jewish Center Board of Directors as the Co-Chair for Youth and Family Programs for five years.

As Principal of the Religious School from 1997-2010, Fran was a member of the Principal's Cooperative Exchange and was its President for five years. She was also a member of the Principal's Council of Princeton, Mercer, Bucks, and the Jewish Educators Assembly.  Fran was honored as a Jewish National Fund Ambassador and under her leadership the Religious School was awarded the prestigious Kehillah Award for Community Service from Jewish Family and Children's Service in 2008.
She is currently involved in volunteer programs at Jewish Family and Children's Service of Mercer County, the Jewish Chaplin's office at the Princeton Medical Center and Kidsbridge, The Museum of Tolerance. for Children.
Fran and her husband Assaf, live in Plainsboro. They are the proud parents of three grown children and proud grandparents of four grandchildren.