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Farewell Gala to Mark Rabbi Don Cashman’s Retirement After 35 Years at B’nai Sholom

A gala celebration honoring Rabbi Donald P. Cashman, rabbi emeritus of Albany’s B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation, is set for Sunday, June 26, at the Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center, 340 Whitehall Road, Albany, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Cashman led B’nai Sholom for 35 years, retiring in 2020. This celebration of his leadership and accomplishments was planned for 2020 but postponed due to COVID restrictions. The brunch will feature a kosher dairy menu and remarks and tributes from distinguished community members.

Cashman has been engaged with the wider Capital District community throughout his career at B’nai Sholom. In addition to overseeing some 1,500 weekly services and 324 bar and bat mitzvahs at B’nai Sholom, he served on the steering committee of the Reform Jewish Voice of NY (now RAC-NY) and the Capital District Board of Rabbis, serving as president for two terms and twice as its treasurer.  He also was founder and president of the Capital District Jewish Genealogical Society, and he served on the boards of the Jewish Historical Society of Northeastern New York, Mifgash, Albany’s Jewish Community High School, Hebrew Academy of the Capital District and the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York. He served as lecturer in the Judaic Studies program at the University at Albany for nine years. In 2010, Cashman was honored by the Albany Jewish Community Center as one of its “Pillars of the Community.”

Cashman served on the board and executive committee of Family Planning Advocates of NYS and on the board of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, which he chaired for two years. He helped establish the meditation room at the Albany International Airport, served as secretary of the Interfaith Social Action Coalition and has been active in seeking gay rights legislation. Cashman worked on Mayor Kathy Sheehan’s transition team, in community engagement.

Cashman was president of the Alumni and Friends of the UAHC Kutz Camp, served on the Kutz Camp Commission and twice staffed the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY)  convention.

Born in Newburgh, Orange County, Cashman graduated from Boston University and pursued graduate work at New York University and at Hebrew Union College (HUC) in Jerusalem. He was ordained by HUC-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1983, earned a master’s degree in Hebrew literature and was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2008.

A connoisseur of capsaicin, Cashman delights in tending to his vegetable garden, chiefly tomatoes and chili peppers.

Since 1984, Cashman has been married to Sharona Wachs, who is retiring this month as associate librarian at the University at Albany and affiliated faculty with the Judaic Studies program.  They are planning to relocate to Jerusalem this fall.  The couple have three children – Avraham, Eliana and Ayelet – who live in the Boston area.

The cost for the brunch is $36 adult, $18 for children ages 5-16. Purchase tickets at

For more information, contact the B’nai Sholom office: or 518-482-5283.

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