Leadership & Staff
Andy Bachman - Senior Rabbi
Rabbi Andy Bachman lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Rachel Altstein, and their three daughters, Audrey, Lois and Minna. Andy and Rachel have lived in Brooklyn since 1990.
Born in 1963, Rabbi Bachman was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Educated in public schools in the northern suburbs of Milwaukee, he studied history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While in college he developed a deep interest in pursuing Jewish scholarship and service due to the influence of two teachers: the European cultural historian George L. Mosse, and Irv Saposnik, who directed the UW Hillel.
During those university years, Rabbi Bachman spent a year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In addition to coursework, he was privately tutored in rabbinic literature by Rabbi Hank Skirball, director of NFTY in Israel. It was Rabbi Skirball who first formally suggested Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where Rabbi Bachman was ordained in 1996.
As a rabbinical student, Rabbi Bachman served as Educator at Congregation Beth Elohim, overseeing the religious school and adult education, and working as a student rabbi. After his ordination in 1996, he served as Rabbi Educator until 1998, when he became Executive Director of the Edgar M. Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life: Hillel at New York University.
In 2003, Rabbi Bachman and Rachel Altstein, along with several friends, founded Brooklyn Jews, an innovative outreach program for the many unaffiliated Jews who have made Brooklyn their home in the past decade. Based on the principles of openness and creativity, Brooklyn Jews quickly gained a national reputation for being a fun new way to engage young Jews "where they’re at." Brooklyn Jews is now CBE’s premier outreach program for young Jews.
Rabbi Bachman was on the Newsweek and Forward 50 list. He blogs daily at www.andybachman.com.
Shira Koch Epstein - Associate Rabbi
Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband, Dr. Jason Epstein, their sons Amichai and Kobi, and their dog, Duffy.
Born in the Bronx and raised in New Milford, Connecticut, Shira received her BA from Wesleyan University and has also attended Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Birzeit University in Ramallah, and Machon Hartman in Jerusalem. She received her rabbinic ordination, MAHL and MA in Religious Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Shira has served as the Associate Director of ARZA, coordinating the Reform Zionist Think Tank and Development Initiatives, as the Family Educator of the Reform Temple of Forest Hills, and as Family Educator and Day School Teacher at Congregation Rodeph Sholom/Rodeph Sholom Day School in New York City. Having spent her youth active in NFTY and URJ camps, she has worked at the Eisner Camp, Camp Tel Yehuda, BIMA, and Seeds of Peace Camp for Co-existence and Conflict Resolution. A practiced storyteller, Rabbi Epstein has studied improvisational comedy and acting at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, Chicago City Limits, and the School for Film and Television.
Marc Katz – Assistant Rabbi
Joshua Breitzer - Cantor
Josh Breitzer feels blessed to be cantor and music director of Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, where he designs ritual, convenes worship and spirituality, and administers the AURAL TORAH educational concert series.
The 2011-2012 season saw Cantor Breitzer debut with both the Boston Jewish Music Festival in "Yiddish Art Songs of Lazar Weiner" and the New York Festival of Song in "A Goyishe Christmas to You: Yuletide Classics by Jewish Songwriters." In addition to performing in important venues throughout America and Israel, he has coached young artists at NYC Opera, The Juilliard School, and Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. The Zamir Choral Foundation recently invited him to teach at the North American Jewish Choral Festival and to form and conduct a new Brooklyn chapter of HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir.
A native of mid-Michigan, Cantor Breitzer attended Interlochen Arts Camp for five summers and earned voice degrees from the University of Michigan and the New England Conservatory. He joined the adjunct faculty of the HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music shortly after being invested there in May 2011. As a student, Cantor Breitzer interned at Temple Beth Shalom, Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, and Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. He also enjoyed collaborations with Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, Pulitzer Prize-winner Yehudi Wyner, and the late Dr. Jack Gottlieb, whose synagogue repertoire was the focus of Cantor Breitzer's graduate thesis.
Cantor Breitzer is a Storahtelling-trained "maven," an inaugural participant in Piyut North America, and an active member of the American Conference of Cantors for whom he serves on multiple committees. He consults for the Central Conference of American Rabbis Press and is a regular contributor to the URJ Ten Minutes of Torah online learning module. Together with his wife Donna, a mezzo-soprano and executive director of the Five Boroughs Music Festival, Cantor Breitzer is pleased to call Park Slope home to their infant son, Jonah.
Samantha Natov - Rabbinic Intern
Cantor Natov has served congregations in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York. Cantor Natov received her cantorial investiture from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City in May of 2006. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music from McGill University, and a Master’s of Musicology from the University of Virginia.
Gerald I. Weider - Rabbi Emeritus
Gerald I. Weider served 28 years as the Rabbi of Congregation Beth Elohim. He joined Rabbi Eugene J. Sack in 1978, just as the Brownstone Revival movement hit the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. Rabbi Weider sparked the revitalization of Congregation Beth Elohim through innovative programming and services which met the needs of urban Jewish families. Under his leadership, Congregation Beth Elohim grew to become the largest and most active Reform synagogue in Brooklyn.
Rabbi Weider is a native of the Bronx. While growing up in the Bronx he attended Yeshiva Zichron Moshe.
During his teen age years, while living in Fort Lee New Jersey, Rabbi Weider became an active participant in Young Judaea, the Zionist Youth Movement sponsored by Hadassah. It was this involvement that ultimately lead Rabbi Weider to the Rabbinate. While in Young Judaea, Rabbi Weider lead local clubs, regional programs and attended numerous national camps and institutes. In college, at Rutgers University, Rabbi Weider continued to work for Young Judaea, becoming the President of their college age program and eventually representing Young Judaea at the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem.
While at Rutgers, Rabbi Weider met Rosalie Daumann one morning in Jewish History class. (She sat in front of him!) After graduating from Rutgers University with a B.A. in History, Rabbi Weider attended the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati to study for the Rabbinate. During his first year at HUC, he married Rosalie, and settled down in the Queen City. The Weider’s first son, Avi, was born in Cincinnati.
Rabbi Gerald I. Weider was ordained in 1973 from the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati Ohio. He served two congregations before coming to Congregation Beth Elohim. His first congregation was Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline Mass. where he served as the Assistant Rabbi. His second pulpit was Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington D.C. where he served as the Associate Rabbi. While in Washington, the Weider’s second son, Alex was born.
During his first sabbatical, Rabbi Weider was granted a prestigious Merril Fellowship at Harvard Divinity School. He was in residence at Harvard Divinity for the spring semester of 1998, along with the other four Merril Fellows from all over the United States. After completing his Merril Fellowship, Rabbi Weider was granted a Doctor of Divinity degree from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in the spring of 1998. Rabbi Weider’s second sabbatical in 2006 was spent studying rabbinic literature and the Hebrew language in Jerusalem at the Hebrew Union College. In addition, he studied Islam at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Weider’s hobbies include skiing, bicycling, and travel. Rabbi and Rosalie Weider are also part time residents of Park City Utah. They have been going there since 1984 and have been involved with the creation of a synagogue in Park City, Temple Har Shalom, a synagogue that now has grown big enough to have a full time rabbi and a vibrant Jewish life.
Upon retirement from Congregation Beth Elohim, Rabbi Weider assumed the position of Senior Rabbinic Consultant to the Rabbinic Cabinet of the United Jewish Communities (UJC). In this role Rabbi Weider will work on the national level with over nine hundred rabbis (Reform, Conservative and Orthodox) in planning conferences, missions to Israel, and educational programs that explain the work of UJC and UJA to rabbinical students.
Monika I. Hamburger - Interim Executive Director
Ms. Hamburger served as the Interim Executive Director of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue from October 2008 to July 2009. She cut the synagogue’s operating budget by $995,000 and chose the new permanent Executive Director. Monika I. Hamburger also held the position of Chief Administrative Officer of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), where she carried out the sale of the 838 Fifth Avenue headquarters and the $35 million purchase of condo space at 633 Third Avenue and the move to the new headquarters, resulting in a $10 million endowment for physical maintenance of the new headquarters. Monika I. Hamburger also served as Executive Director of New York City’s Congregation Rodeph Sholom from 1985 to 1996 and Assistant Executive Director of the Park Avenue Synagogue from 1978 to 1985. She is a member of the National Association of Temple Administrators, a Trustee and former Secretary of the Reform Pension Fund, and former Trustee of the Jewish Braille Institute. Monika I. Hamburger is President of the Washington, New Jersey Business Improvement District, Vice Chairman of the Warren County Chamber of Commerce, and Trustee of an animal rescue foundation.
Jaqueline Israel - Director of Early Childhood Center
Jacqueline Israel has enjoyed a long relationship with the Early Childhood Center where she began her teaching career in 1986. Since then she has coordinated pre-k programs for several non-profit agencies and initiated the Project Reach Youth’s Universal Pre-K Program. She has also worked extensively with elementary age students with learning disabilities as a teacher at the Mary McDowell Center and as an Orton Gillingham tutor. Jaci has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s degree in Special Education. Her proudest achievements by far are her son Luke and daughter Bridget.
Pam Karlin - Assistant Director of Early Childhood Center
Pamela Karlin holds an MFA from Brandeis University and an MA in Early Childhood Education from Brooklyn College. She first joined the Congregation Beth Elohim community as a parent in the ECC when her children attended the school. She began teaching in the ECC in 2001. She also spent many years teaching Drama classes in the CBE After School Program. In 2009 she became Assistant Director of the ECC.
Marshall P. Klein - Controller
With over 25 years of Accounting and Financial management experience, Mr. Klein joined Congregation Beth Elohim in February 2012. His experience comes in the form of Media, Entertainment and Internet Publishing at (New Line Cinema, Scholastic, Inc., Sesame Workshop, Reader’s Digest and The Learning Annex), Consumer Products (Revlon and Hostess/Wonder Bread) and Not-for-Profit at Hudson Guild, a Chelsea settlement house project. Mr. Klein has worked tirelessly on projects such as the Weekly Reader magazine merger with Reader’s Digest, the launches of the Scholastic, Inc. and Sesame Workshop websites and the New Line Cinema/AOL joint venture. Marshall has served in roles with titles Chief Financial and Administration Officer, Vice-President of Finance and Development and Corporate Controller.
Bobbie Finkelstein - Director of Youth Programs
Bobbie Finkelstein has been involved in the field of school age care for the past twenty years. She came to Congregation Beth Elohim in 1987 as the director of the after school center. At that time, the program was two afternoons a week. The program has grown and so has Bobbie’s position. Currently, as the Director of Youth Programs, she supervises a five day a week after school program; two day camps (a division for elementary school age children and a travel camp for middle school age children) and three school vacation camps. Prior to coming to Congregation Beth Elohim, Bobbie worked for Children’s Aid Society and Interfaith Neighbors, a youth service agency. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the State University at Buffalo and a Master of Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work. She is on the Board of the New York State School Age Care Coalition. She loves developing new programs and believes in the power of groups.
Bobbie lives in Sunset Park with her family, husband Fred and daughters, Sylvie and Molly.
Yehudit Feinstein-Mentesh - Director, Israelis in Brooklyn, Keshet, and Keshetot
Having lived in New York since 2000 pursuing her career as an artist, educator and therapist, Yehudit has always sought out ways to create community and nourish her ties to Israel and the culture she so deeply loves. Born and raised in Israel, Yehudit holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts from The School of Visual Arts in NYC and a Masters Degree in Psychoanalysis from The Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. She has participated in many art exhibitions and her works are represented in private collections in New York and Israel. Yehudit has extensive experience as an educator, has taught in Israeli high schools and served as an Educational Officer in the Israel Defense Forces. She merged her love of teaching and mastery as an artist while working at BIMA, a Jewish arts summer program at The Berkshire Institute for Music and Art, at Williams College, Gan Shalom and at various Jewish and art programs throughout Manhattan. Yehudit joined the CBE in 2002 where she is now the Director and founder of Israelis in Brooklyn, Keshet and keshetot programs. She founded Israelis in Brooklyn in the Spring of 2010. She lives in Prospect Heights with husband Tal and her twin boys Uri and Itay.
Cindy Greenberg - Director of Programming
Cindy Greenberg joins CBE as the Director of Programming. Prior to her work at CBE, Cindy worked for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus life for fifteen years, at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, New York University where she served as the executive director of the Bronfman Center, and at Hillel's national office. At Hillel, Cindy developed expertise in program management, board and community relations, and fundraising. Cindy has her masters degree in Non-Profit Management from NYU's Wagner School and is the recipient of the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence award, Hillel's highest honor for a professional. She lives in Windsor Terrace with her husband Daniel and their three children.
Danielle Burenstein - Director of Development
Joins CBE as the Director of Development and is charged with managing the day-to-day operations of the development office,
deepening collaboration with existing partners, expanding our partnership universe and generating greater excitement, participation and funding for our Congregation. In addition to her expertise, she brings with her energy, passion and a deep commitment. Prior to joining CBE, Danielle was the Chief Development Officer at an independent tuition-free school in Harlem, where she worked collaboratively to expand major donor efforts and meet a $4.2M fundraising goal. At Philip Morris USA, she successively supported the company's corporate social responsibility initiative, building and managing industry relations, sponsorship and communication programs.
Danielle started her career as an attorney in Paris, France, working at a leading European law firm. She moved back to the U.S. to join The Legal Aid Society in the South Bronx where she represented an under-served community, working both on the ground and successfully litigating court trials and appeals. She earned a B.S. in Philosophy from Stony Brook University and a Juris Doctor from the Pace University School of Law.
Much of her family perished in the Holocaust. Her mother, a hidden child in France, was on the Exodus 1947 and served in the Israeli army. Danielle lives in Chelsea with her partner of 6 years. She loves to travel, cook, entertain, and meeting new friends along the way.
Beth Lauren Baum - Facilities and Events Manager
Beth Baum has been a fundraiser and special events consultant for a number of organizations including Cong. Beit Simchat Torah, Chernobyl Children’s Project, CARE and NARAL/NY. Beth’s passion is writing, directing film and theatre. She has written, directed and produced feature films, one of which was Fairytale of New York, which premiered at the prestigious New Filmmakers Series in NYC. She has also produced, directed and written short films. Her romantic comedy, Three Days in Dublin, is in development.
CHUCK NATHAN: PRESIDENT
Chuck Nathan, his wife Alisa F. Levin and their two children, Sam and Lillien, have been residents of Park Slope since 1984 and members of Beth Elohim since 1987. Alisa was a member of the Board of Trustees in the early 90s and Chuck has been a Trustee since 2009. Chuck was a co-chair of the Nominating Committee in 2010, and a member of the House Committee. In 2011, he was elected President of the Congregation. Under his leadership, the Congregation has made substantial progress in many areas, including: restoring the Sanctuary; embarking on the Journey Home/Capital Campaign; developing a strategic plan; implementing a new governance structure; streamlining the budgeting process; and reviewing and improving many of CBEs programs and member services. Chuck is a Partner and Senior Advisor at RLM Finsbury, and was formerly a partner and global co-chair of the Latham Mergers & Acquisitions practice group. Chuck and Alisa are also very active in the UJA, where Alisa is currently Chairman of Planned Giving, and at BAM, where they co-chair the Artists' Circle. Chuck and Alisa also founded, and Chuck currently co-chairs, the UJA sponsored Brownstone Brooklyn Study Group, which includes a large number of CBE members.
BRUCE BENDER: VICE PRESIDENT
Bruce Bender is currently a partner in the Governmental Relations firm of Bender Cantone Consulting. Until February 2012, he managed the Government and Public Affairs department for Forest City Ratner Companies [FCRC]. In this capacity, he was in charge of all community outreach as well as overseeing all interaction with local, state and federal officials on all FCRC projects. Prior to joining FCRC, Bruce served over 25 years in the New York City Council in numerous positions, including Chief of Staff for Council Speaker Peter Vallone. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Baruch College, a Masters in Public Administration from New York University and a Masters in Public Policy from the New School for Social Research. Bruce has worked closely with the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and its 25 local Jewish Community Councils to help poor, elderly and families in crisis. Bruce and his wife Amy and their family have been members of Beth Elohim since August 2001. In 2008, the Bender family generously donated a torah to Beth Elohim. Bruce is in his second term as a Trustee and is a current Vice President. During the past year, he chaired the House Committee. In this capacity, he has been responsible for successfully overseeing the Sanctuary renovations.
JONATHAN FRIED: VICE PRESIDENT
Jonathan Fried has been privileged to enjoy many simchas at CBE during his more than three decades of membership, including his bar mitzvah, both of his daughters’ namings, his older daughter’s bat mitzvah, and is now looking forward to his younger daughter’s bat mitzvah as well. He is completing his first term on the Board of Trustees, where he has been active in Nominating/Governance, Yachad, Capital Campaign and Ritual Committees. He is also a core member of the Mishkan Initiative. In 2011, he and his mother co-chaired the annual Yom Kippur Appeal. Since May 2011, Jonathan has been the General Counsel at the William F. Ryan Community Health Network, which provides affordable high-quality medical services to culturally diverse communities throughout Manhattan. Prior to joining the Ryan Network, Jonathan was a litigation associate at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP for 15 years. He graduated from NYU Law School in 1997, and earned his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1989. He has been a Park Slope resident since kindergarten, attending P.S. 321, P.S. 107, I.S. 88 and Stuyvesant High School along the way. He lives in the South Slope with his wife, Sharon Greenberger, where they are raising their daughters Madelyn and Josie.
BARBARA GROSSMAN: VICE PRESIDENT
Barbara Grossman is native of Philadelphia, a graduate of Bard College (BA) and the Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa (MFA). After a twenty-five year career in book publishing, she has spent the last ten years working as a volunteer for several not-for-profit organizations. She is a Trustee of Bard College, Congregation Beth Elohim and has recently completed a term as President of the Board at the Berkeley Carroll School. Barbara and her husband Michael Gross have been members of CBE for over thirty years; Max, Willa and Gilda Gross all attended Hebrew school and celebrated their B 'nei Mitzvot with the congregation. She is running for her second term as a Trustee and is a current Vice President. During the past year, she chaired the Development Committee. In this capacity, she has been responsible for the successful launch of the Journey Home/Capital Campaign to restore the Sanctuary and Temple House, which has met almost 75% of its goal in less than twelve months.
SUSAN KLITZMAN: SECRETARY
Susan Klitzman and her family first became involved with CBE in 1998 when her son joined the ECC. Susan joined the Religious School Committee in 2002. She served as Co-Chair from 2005-2008, during which time she helped to lead the Search Committee that resulted in hiring Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein and to develop Yachad. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2008, and is a current Vice President, Chair of the Nominations and Governance Committee, and a member of the Capital Campaign Committee. Professionally, Susan is a Professor and Acting Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health at Hunter College. She is helping to launch New York City's first public and collaborative school of public health, with a focus on urban health, health equity and population aging. She brings over 25 years of professional expertise in teaching, educational administration and program management to her work at CBE. She is honored to have the opportunity to work with CBE's many talented congregants, clergy and staff.
ROSALEE LOVETT: VICE PRESIDENT
Rosalee and her husband, Bruce, have been members of CBE since 1987. Their children, Sam and Sarah, were Bar /Bat Mitzvot and then confirmed at CBE. Their grandson Russell now attends the ECC. Rosalee has a long history of service to CBE. She has served on the Board of Trustees and on the Executive Committee. She has served as co-chair of the Religious School, Day School, and Membership Committees. She has served on numerous committees for annual spring fundraisers including co-chairing the 140th anniversary event. She has served on a number of CBE search committees. She is a current Vice President, and is the liaison to the Executive Committee with all Congregational Committees. During the past year, she has helped to launch the Sefer Torah Project, and in planning a new Program Committee, to oversee and help coordinate all adult programming Rosalee spent over 30 years on the business side of the publishing and information industry. She currently is retired from The Nielsen Company, where she was Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.
ROB RAICH: TREASURER
Rob Raich co-founded Spears Abacus in 2007. He serves as President, and functions as a portfolio manager, research analyst and client advisor. In addition to portfolio management, he has extensive experience in tax strategy, corporate finance, trust and estate administration, and financial planning. Rob joined Abacus and Associates in2001, and was named President and Chief Investment Officer in 2002. Rob received a BS in Accountancy from Arizona State University in 1992, his CPA in 1994, and an MBA from Columbia Business School in 1998. Living in Brooklyn with his wife Cara and their two children, Rob serves a number of charitable and community causes, and is a current Board Member of Toronto based Dignitas International, and Brooklyn based One Story, in addition to being a Beth Elohim Trustee. He has been a Trustee since 2010 and is a current Vice President. Over the past year, he has chaired the Education Task Force, which reviewed the Congregation’s youth education programs and has also been an active member of the Finance Committee.
MICHAEL RAVITCH: VICE PRESIDENT
Michael Ravitch was born and raised in New York City and graduated from Yale in 1989. He spent the next decade working in the AIDS world, volunteering and doing activism around research and treatment, including with the groundbreaking organization Project Inform. He is now a freelance writer whose work has been published in such places as The New Republic and the Yale Review. He co-edited an anthology of English literature called "The English Reader" that was published by the Yale University Press in 2006. He and his partner Daniel have a son, Elijah Lev, who is in Kindergarten. They moved to Park Slope at the beginning of 2008, and joined the temple at that time. Michael is currently a Beth Elohim Trustee, Secretary, and Chair of the Strategic Planning Task Force. In this capacity, he has overseen the Congregation-wide strategic planning process that widely engaged members, staff and clergy. It will culminate in a report in June 2012 that will serve as a road map to guide the Congregation for the next several years.
MARGOT SCHONHOLTZ: VICE PRESIDENT
Margot Schonholtz is a partner in the Business Reorganization and Restructuring Department of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in New York. She has more than 30 years of experience representing leading institutional creditors, agents to syndicated lending groups, large lender groups, official and unofficial creditors’ committees and commercial lenders in out-of-court debt restructurings, loan workouts, asset sale transactions, and bankruptcy matters. Margot is native of Washington, DC, a graduate of Smith College (BA) and American University Washington College of Law (J.D.). Margot and her husband Jerry Pietroforte have been members of CBE for over twenty-five years; Margot served on the early childhood committee while her 3 sons, Robert, Matthew and Gregory Pietroforte all attended. Each of the boys had his Bar Mitzvah at CBE as well. Margot is a Current Trustee and an active member of the Finance Committee.
Emily J. Drucker first became involved in CBE in 1997 when Andy Bachman officiated at her wedding to Simon Raykher. Her daughter Hannah attended EEC for many years and now she and her brother Leo both attend Yachad. Emily has been a member of the Nominating and Governance Committee, the Mishkan initiative, and also serves as CBE’s General Counsel. She is a civil mediator handling private matters and cases for the Southern District of New York, the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Supreme Court Commercial Divisions of New York and Kings Counties. For ten years prior to that she served as Deputy General Counsel to the 1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds providing legal advice on, among other things, human resources, operations, finance and investments.
Rachel Freeman has lived in Park Slope for four years and has lived in New York her entire life. She first became involved with Brooklyn Jews three years ago and also serves on the Mishkan committee. Rachel served on her temple’s youth group board, was president her senior year, and worked at the URJ’s Crane Lake Camp beginning in 1999 and as the Program Director during the summers of 2003 and 2004. Rachel also attended Birthright Israel in winter 2004/2005. Rachel graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2004, earning her B.A. in journalism and legal studies. In college, Rachel was an entertainment anchor for the school’s local radio station, WMUA and president of the Jewish Student Union as well as a Youth Advisor for a local reform temple in the area. Rachel attended Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, where she earned her J.D. and served as the Student Bar Association Vice President. Following law school, she went to work for a private firm specializing in labor and employment law, including arbitrations and unemployment hearings. In March 2010, Rachel began working as an Administrative Law Judge for the New York State Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. Currently, Rachel presides over hearings relating to unemployment insurance matters.
Since moving to Park Slope in 2002, John and his family have been involved with CBE. His younger son Simon attended the ECC for a number of years, and both of his children are participating in Yachad. In addition, his wife Teri has been on the Yachad committee for the past two years. Professionally, John runs a commercial real estate brokerage firm and is well-versed in evaluating real estate, working with various contractors and tradesmen and in understanding the real estate financing market. He has also spent a number of years practicing corporate law at a major Manhattan firm.
Tomer was born in Jerusalem Israel and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. He earned a BA in Creative Writing from SUNY Binghamton, a Masters in Japanese Literature from Cornell University and a JD and LL.M in Tax from New York University. He lives in Park Slope with his wife Jill and their three children Benjamin (12), Sophia (9) and Zoe (9), all of whom attend Yachad. Ben will be a Bar-Mitzvah this coming fall. Since joining CBE about 3 years ago, it’s become a central and consistent part of their lives. Professionally, Tomer is a partner with the law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, where his practice focuses on representing tax-exempt organizations, including many religious organizations. He regularly counsels Boards of Directors on governance issues and work closely with directors, officers, program staff and volunteers of not-for-profit and tax-exempt organizations. He has served on a number of boards of non-profit organizations. He is excited about the prospect of serving on the Board of CBE at this exciting time in the life of our congregation as we prepare the institution for the future and help shape the role CBE will play in our lives and the lives of our children.
A French national, Muriel moved to New York with her California-born husband Guy in 1998. In 2005 they moved to Park Slope with their 3 young children and joined Congregation Beth Elohim. From Friday night services to weekly Yachad classes and after-school activities, CBE has been an important part of the family's life since then. Professionally, Muriel is the head of mergers and acquisitions for Advance Publications, a privately held Media company based in New York City which includes the Condenast international group of magazines (New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ etc.), local newspapers, cable and broadband distribution company Brighthouse and an interest in Discovery Communications. Prior to Advance, she was a Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development at NBC Universal which she joined in 2000 after working at Merrill Lynch in New York and London.
Lisa Miller is a prize-winning journalist who covers religion, politics, and culture. From 2007 until 2010, she wrote a regular, weekly column for Newsweek, which won a prestigious Wilbur Award. She has written cover stories on the sex crisis in the Roman Catholic Church and the controversial mosque at Ground Zero, and she interviewed then-Senator Barack Obama about his faith in advance of the 2008 presidential election. Her 2008 cover story "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage" won numerous awards, including a GLAAD award, and a New York Press Club Award. Before establishing herself as a writer of national prominence, she was the Society Editor at Newsweek, running coverage of religion, health, medicine, education, parenting, sports, food and design. Miller arrived at Newsweek from the Wall Street Journal, where she was a senior special writer covering religion. She has also worked at the Harvard Business Review, Self Magazine, and the New Yorker. With the publication of her 2010 book, "Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife," Miller appeared on many national television and radio programs. She has lectured widely on religion and media. Miller grew up in New Haven, Conn., and attended Oberlin College. She lives in Park Slope with her husband and daughter and has been a member of CBE since 2005, when her daughter enrolled in the ECC. She attends Yachad regularly, and she recently moderated a human rights panel with fellow Temple members. She also gave a book talk in the spring of 2010. Lisa has been a Trustee since 2011. Over the past year, she has helped to lead the Congregation-wide Strategic Planning process and to draft the final report (to be issued in June 2012).
KATHLEEN HENKEL RAPHAEL
Kathy and her family have lived in Park Slope since 1984. Her son was a Bar Mitzvah at Beth Elohim in January, 1996. He also worked in high school as a day camp counselor at the summer program. Kathy and her husband Jerry have been CBE members since the middle eighties. They have always been strong financial supporters of Beth Elohim and participants in activities and initiatives. Recently, she retired as Executive Vice President and Global Head of Human Resources for Metlife. Through her diverse professional experiences, she has acquired a focus on doing what matters (prioritization), being sure not to mortgage your future (financial discipline) and capturing the hearts as well as the minds of your talent pool (leadership). She has served in many executive positions at MetLife, served on corporate, charity, professional association and co-op boards. She hopes to have the opportunity to bring her commitment, skills and energy to the Board of Trustees of CBE. Kathy is honored to be considered as a nominee to join the Board of Trustees of Congregation Beth Elohim.
DONNA M. ROSENTHAL KOLAR
Donna is a consultant in not-for-profit organizational initiatives. She has held leadership positions with the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, National Down Syndrome Society, and United Neighborhood Houses of New York. Donna received her B.A. from The George Washington University and her M.S. from Columbia University School of Social Work, where she was awarded a scholarship from the National Institute of Mental Health. Donna joined Congregation Beth Elohim in 1979 when she and her husband and married and moved to Park Slope. Over the years, she has chaired the movie committee, membership and annual gala committees, among others. She was the Congregation’s first woman President. Among her many accomplishments, the one she is most proud of was hiring Andy Bachman as student rabbi educator. She also helped to establish a day school at CBE (now the Hannah Senesh School in downtown Brooklyn). She became re-involved in CBE when Andy Bachman became the rabbi. When her husband passed away, she established the Tom Kolar Holocaust Education Fund. This past year, she has served on the Capital Campaign Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee. She is honored to be asked once again to serve as a Trustee.
Emily Sachs is Chief Financial & Administrative Officer at Safe Horizon, a 750-person NYC-based social services agency that provides services to victims of crime and domestic abuse. She joined Safe Horizon in 2008, and is responsible the Finance, IT, Human Resources, and Facilities departments. Before joining Safe Horizon, Ms. Sachs filled a similar role for the Spence-Chapin adoption agency. Ms. Sachs has previously worked in leadership positions in various businesses and nonprofit organizations, including running her own consulting firm for eight years. She has been involved in evaluating and implementing many information technology projects and well as several significant real estate and construction projects.
At Beth Elohim, she and husband Mike Wetstone regularly attend Shabbat/Yachad services with their two children who are alumni of the ECC and the CBE day camps and are now enrolled in Yachad. The Sachs/Wetstone family joined Rabbi Bachman and other CBE families and friends for the 2008 trip to Israel. As a volunteer, Emily was active in bringing email and centralized computer services to Beth Elohim and more recently in working with Treasurer Bruce Lovett to expand the Finance committee and obtain a mortgage to pay for repairs to the Temple House building.
Nick Pisano is Vice President and Comptroller of the Green-Wood Cemetery, where he oversees all the financial functions of the organization. He is responsible for an annual operating budget of $25 million. Other responsibilities include, but are not limited to, financial planning, return on investment analysis for capital projects, cost transfer allocations, yearly and monthly sales forecasts, annual capital and operating budgets, monthly financial statement analysis. He supervises day-to-day cash flow and oversees a $250 million investment portfolio. Nick also manages all professional staff functions, including human resources, accounting and sales departments.
Nick and his family became members of the temple in 2000. His three children have attended pre-school here and are now enrolled in Yachad. His sons, Preston and Maxwell, had their bar mitzvah in April. Nick is also a member of Community Board 7 and PTA President of his daughter’s school.
Tom Rosenfeld is the President and principal of CanAm Enterprises, LLC. Mr. Rosenfeld is both an attorney and certified public accountant. He obtained his undergraduate and law degrees from Temple University (Philadelphia) and was employed by Price Waterhouse (currently PricewaterhouseCoopers) in Philadelphia both before and after attending law school. During his tenure at Price Waterhouse, Mr. Rosenfeld had income tax and audit responsibilities for major clients and authored a number of the firm's educational publications. In 1983, Mr. Rosenfeld left Price Waterhouse to become a partner in a real estate syndication firm, where he remained until forming CanAm in 1987.
He and his wife, Debbie Goodstein, have been members of Beth Elohim since 2004. They have two children and are active members in Yachad and family events at the synagogue.
Jill Savitt has been a Trustee of CBE since 2007. She is a human rights advocate with expertise in genocide prevention policy. Savitt is currently on the board of the Save Darfur Coalition and founded and directed Dream for Darfur, a public advocacy initiative. She is currently the Director of the Genocide Prevention Project. Jill has lived in Brooklyn since 1998. She graduated from Yale University in 1990.
Ron Lieber is a 17-year resident of Brooklyn and a 4-year member of Beth Elohim. Ron, his wifeJodi and their 5 year-old Talia first got involved with the temple through Shir L'Shabbat, and he recently finished his second year on the temple's board, during which he chaired the search for our new cantor. In his other life, Ron writes the "Your Money" column for The New York Times and edits the paper's "Bucks" blog on nytimes.com.
Michael has lived in Park Slope since 1987, with his wife Sara and three children Max, Emily and Josh and has been a member of Congregation Beth Elohim since arriving (coming on a quarter century). His children were all educated at the religious school and had their B'nei Mitzvah at CBE. He was a member of the Ba Derech Task Force, organizing listening sessions and work groups to help CBE plan for its future.
Michael is a municipal bond specialist, working with state and local governments nationwide to finance their affordable housing programs.
Michael Leit has been a fixed income financial analyst for over 30 years and has worked at a Rating Agency and various buy and sell side firms. He recently retired from Pinebridge Investments, an $80+ billion mutual fund. Michael's passion is investing in the financial markets. Michael has been married for over 29 years to Linda Gerber Leit (a former Trustee), and has lived in Park Slope and been a member of the Temple for 27 years. Both the Leit children, Ben and Rachel, became a Bar and Bat Mitzvah at the Temple. Ben is 25 and is a Salesmen in NYC for Currenex, a subsidiary of State Street Bank. Rachel is graduating in May from Skidmore College. Michael practices Tai Chi daily and is a workout enthusiast.
Louis Mintz is a Partner at J.F. Lehman & Company, a leading middle market private equity manager. He joined the firm in 1997 and has been a principal investor for two decades. He has served as a Director on the boards of many of J.F. Lehman’s portfolio companies and currently serves as Chairman of Drew Marine, a leading global supplier of environmental and performance solutions for ocean-going vessels; Drew employs more than 375 people in 47 countries. Lou graduated magna cum laude from Duke University where he received his B.A. in Economics and Public Policy Studies and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He began his career at Drexel Burnham Lambert in the corporate finance department. His professional experience also includes five years as a developer and project manager for the successful renovation of the historical landmark railroad district in the resort town of Telluride, Colorado.