Our Team

Get to know the team of dedicated clergy and staff whose time and energy help make our community special.

wall mounted golden menorah

Our Clergy

Rabbi Smiley photo

Sarah Smiley


Rabbi Smiley is a native of Ohio. Prior to coming to Baton Rouge, she spent 11 years serving congregations in Westfield, NJ, and Overland Park, KS. She is passionate about building relationships with people and serving as a Jewish resource so people can best figure out how they want to live their personal Jewish lives.

Rabbi Smiley is originally from Columbus, Ohio, worked many summers at URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute and is a graduate of Indiana University. An early quest for Jewish knowledge eventually led Rabbi Smiley to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she was ordained in 2010. While a rabbinic student she received the Cora Kahn prize for best sermon delivery and oratory. 

Rabbi Smiley began her rabbinic career on a college campus serving as rabbi of The Ohio State University Hillel. She brings a well rounded perspective to the rabbinate, having gained professional experience as a leader in Jewish life both on a college campus and in congregational life.

Rabbi Smiley believes the synagogue is a place for people of all generations and loves helping people of all ages dig deeper into Jewish ritual, tradition and text. She has served on the NFTY GER clergy team, the URJ youth advisory council and has spent several summers on the faculty of URJ Camp Harlam.

Rabbi Smiley looks forward to continuing her love of creating Jewish meaning, finding Jewish connections and ensuring Jewish continuity in Baton Rouge. Rabbi Smiley is joined in Baton Rouge by her husband, Rabbi Josh Leighton, and their daughter, Eliana.


Barry Weinstein

Rabbi Emeritus

 Rabbi Barry L. Weinstein was ordained as a Reform Rabbi in June, 1971, and began twelve years of service as Associate Rabbi for Temple Israel in Omaha, Nebraska.   

In the summer of 1983 Rabbi Barry was elected to become rabbi of Legacy Congregation B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge, LA where he served as rabbi for over twenty years working to build a strong Jewish community in the south Louisiana region.  

Currently, Rabbi Barry serves as UJCBR’s Rabbi emeritus and as rabbi to Temple Sinai in Lake Charles, Louisiana. 

Rabbi Barry and his wife, Linda, and family have gratefully lived in Baton Rouge for over half of their lives!  In the summer of 2020 they tried to relocate to Lake Charles but Hurricanes Laura and Delta forced a return to their home here in Baton Rouge. 

Our Staff


Heather Bourgeois

Executive Director

Cathy Duplechin

Office Administrator

Erin Canezaro

Administrative Assistant


James Hickman


Religious School

Julie Tepper

Religious School

Hannah Zimmern

Office Assistant
Religious School

Rayner Learning Center

Latonia Douglas

Rayner Center

Taneisha Davis

Supervisor (Infants & Toddlers)
Rayner Center