Norm Frankel - Executive Director
Norm Frankel was born and raised in Burbank, California. Norm’s family was members of Temple Sinai of Glendale. His family traces its history in Southern California back to 1852. Norm spent much of his youth as an active participant in his temple youth group and in SCFTY and NFTY activities. Norm brings to Beth El a life-time commitment to Judaism, to Jewish learning, and to Israel. Norm and his wife Jan met at U.C. Santa Cruz where they were students active in the Jewish community. Norm graduated from U.C.S.C with honors in Politics in 1976.
Norm and Jan married in 1977 and that same year made aliyah. They lived on Kibbutz Gezer in Israel for 23 years, building a young kibbutz, raising 3 children, and being deeply involved with the diversity and complexity of kibbutz life and Israeli society. On Kibbutz Gezer Norm worked as a farmer and irrigation specialist, growing cotton, corn, sunflowers, wheat, and many other field crops. He managed and was the animal nutritionist for a multi-million dollar animal feed center. Norm also filled many managerial positions on the kibbutz, including Mazkir (general secretary), Farm Manager and Financial Manager.
In the year 2000 Norm and Jan returned to California to help care for their aging parents. In December of 2000 Norm began a new career as the Executive Director for Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo. In his 8 years there Norm was involved in every area of synagogue management. He worked together with the clergy and lay leadership to develop innovative programs for membership recruitment, integration, and support, with the emphasis on creating a welcoming community. Norm supervised the renovation of the temple sanctuary, a $2,500,000 project that was completed on time and on budget, and gave the congregation a beautifully renovated sanctuary, and a deepened sense of commitment to the growth of the Temple community.
Norm was also the President of the Bay Area Temple Administrators for three years. In that position he worked closely with his colleagues at other Bay Area synagogues and has an in-depth working knowledge of the Bay Area Jewish community. In his spare time, Norm enjoys, hiking, gardening and reading. Norm is excited to be part of the Beth El community and to have the opportunity to work with a dedicated team of lay leaders, Rabbi, Jewish professionals, and staff to build and grow a vibrant Reform Jewish community in Berkeley.
Debra Massey - Director of Education
Debra joined the Beth El family in January 2008, having grown up in the Reform Movement. Originally from Los Altos, Debra's youth was shaped by her involvement in Congregation Beth Am's youth programming, NFTY and Camp Swig. Following her undergraduate degree at UCSD, Debra spent a year volunteering in Israel as an Otzma fellow, working with youth and families throughout the country. Debra received her Joint Masters Degree in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Service from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. As a long-time believer in informal education, her first job after HUC was as the Associate Director of URJ Camp Swig and Newman from 1999-2002. Feeling a "pull" to the Midwest, Debra moved to Cleveland to serve as the Family Educator at The Temple-Tifereth Israel. There she met her husband Oren, and had their oldest son, Zev. Together they made aliyah to Israel and lived in the Reform Movement's only yishuv, Har Halutz. Their youngest son, Ari, was born in Zefat a few months before they returned to the Bay Area.
Maguy Weizmann McGuire - Early Childhood Education Director
Maguy Weizmann McGuire has been in the field of Early Childhood for 35 years and each year she finds it to be more miraculous than the year before. Maguy is honored to be the Early Childhood Director and looks forward to a great year teaming up with Rabbi Kahn, the teachers, parents and their children. Maguy is a proud mom of two amazing girls: Aviya who will soon complete her 5th year at U.C. Berkeley and Maya who is a registered nurse (a graduate of Samuel Merritt Nursing School in San Francisco) who was recently accepted at Valley Press (in the L.A area) in their Labor and Delivery Department. Maguy recently moved from Pasadena after living in the L.A. area for 40 years. She absolutely LOVES being in Berkeley! Maguy enjoys the Bay Area weather and does not miss Los Angeles summers at all! After many years spent navigating L.A. traffic, Maguy could not be more thrilled that her commute is only 10 minutes and to such a wonderful place! Maguy enjoys nature and all that it brings particularly gardening, which Maguy finds relaxing and soothing to her soul. She is excited about the opportunity of growing vegetables and fruit at Beth El's new community garden and can't wait to get her green thumb working again. Maguy thanks the BENS families and the whole Beth El community for making her feel welcome! She is truly honored to be a member of Congregation Beth El. Maguy is in her office from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm and invites everyone to stop by and introduce themselves!
Zach Landres-Schnur - Director, Camp Kee Tov
Zach joined the Beth El staff in Fall 2009, but has been part of the Beth El community for over 20 years. He is a graduate of Beth El religious school, became a Bar Mitzvah in 1997 and has spent amazing summers at Camp Kee Tov since 1989. After nine years as a camper, he is going on his 12th year as Camp Kee Tov staff. His roles have included two years as a rosh, three as a Program Director and the 2009 summer as the Assistant Director. Camp Kee Tov is in Zach’s blood. Over 10 family members (siblings, parents, cousins, uncles and aunts) have all been CKT staff members. Some have called the Schnur family the Kennedys of Kee Tov. (Not really). With a degree in Communication and Journalism from the University of Washington, Zach was a sportswriter at a major newspaper and worked at numerous schools before becoming Beth El staff. An "obsessive" sports fan (not his words!), he avidly roots for the San Francisco Giants and the Washington Huskies (his alma mater.) Zach is so excited to be working in a community he has called home for years and to welcome all to the Beth El and Camp Kee Tov family.
Rebecca DePalma - Administrative Coordinator, YAFE & Youth Group Advisor
Margee Burch - Communications Coordinator, Main OfficeMargee Burch is honored to be part of the Beth El community. She brings with her a commitment to lifelong Jewish learning, interfaith relations and a love of Berkeley. Margee received her undergraduate degree from Mills College, after which she joined the Jewish Community Relations Council of the San Francisco Bay Area. Margee is active within the Jewish LGBT community and loves politics, religion, law and many other things that “shouldn’t” be talked about on first dates. She lives with her wife, the love of her life, two dogs and three cats in their recently-purchased Berkeley home.
Molly Daniels - Adminstrative & Communication Coordinator, Main OfficeMolly initially joined the Beth El team as a teacher for the Saturday morning family program, Chug Mishpacha, in 2010, following her upbringing in the Reform Judaic world of NFTY-GER, URJ Harlam, and as president of her her temple youth group. Molly holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College, and has spent her time before and after in the professional Jewish arena. She is active in the local arts, poetry, theater, and music scenes. Molly is a direct descendant of Menachem Mendel Morgensztern of Kotzk, aka the Kotzker Rebbe, which may explain certain things! She is proud to help support Beth El and its staff and congregants in maintaining and elevating their reputation as a welcoming and inclusive synagogue.
Emily Schnitzer - Administrative Coordinator, Camp Kee Tov
Emily is very excited to join the Beth El staff after being a part of the community for many years. She became a Bat Mitzvah in 2001, attended years of Berkeley Midrasha, and has enjoyed countless summers filled with Ruach at Camp Kee Tov. After spending her childhood summers as a camper at Kee Tov, Emily happily joined the staff in 2003 to continue her experience. She spent 1 year as the Giborim Rosh before moving to 2 years as the Program Director. She could not be more excited to take this next step as the Kee Tov Administrator. Emily graduated from UC San Diego in December of 2010, studying Biology and Education Studies. She hopes to return to school to get her Teaching Credential and Masters in Early Childhood Education before entering a Bay Area school district as an Elementary School Teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking in the greater Bay Area, spending time with family and friends, and attending Country Music concerts. Emily is eager to be part of the Beth El staff, and looks forward to continuing her involvement in the Kee Tov and Beth El community.
Juliet Gardner - Clergy Assistant & Administrative Coordinator, Main Office
Juliet joined the staff in the spring of 2011, but grew up in the Beth El community. She attended religious school and became Bat Mitzvah here and attended and worked at Camp Kee Tov. In the old building, there were mother and child raccoons that she painted on one of the murals when she was ten. Between then and now, Juliet graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in English, taught in Berkeley Midrasha and on the CJLL teen retreat programs, and served as Director of Education at Temple Beth Torah in Fremont and Director of Midrasha in Fremont (now TVTC). In 2005, Juliet earned her teaching credential at Mills College. She taught 7th through 12th grades in the Oakland and San Lorenzo Unified School Districts before playing hooky for 6 months in Mexico. She still enjoys reading young adult fiction, and finds time to garden and shop at farmer’s markets, and cook up the results.