Temple Israel is led by an ordained rabbi, Rabbi Moshe Elbaz, Ph.D., for the past 18 years. Prior to his post in Valdosta, he served the Central Florida community for 26 years. Since 1967, Rabbi Elbaz served Jewish communities across the United States as a Jewish educator, associate professor at UCF and as a spiritual leader. His college education includes studies in Hebrew College and Boston University, University of Nebraska at Omaha, and the University of Central Florida. He received his ordination in Yeshivat Or Ha’Chyim, Jerusalem. He has received numerous awards including: The Shalom Award from JNF, The Shema Award from Israel Bonds, The Sinai Award of Congregation Beth El of Central Florida, The Jerusalem 3000 awards from the city of Jerusalem. He is married to Penny Elbaz with whom he has three children, Shuli Mesa of Knoxville, TN, Yamit Rashkind of Winter Garten Florida and Yoni Elbaz of Los Angeles, CA and they are proud grandparents of six grandchildren.