Our Volunteer Leadership

Board of Directors

President — Paul Sugarman

Paul Sugarman and his wife Susan joined Congregation Beth El in September 1979.  Paul has been an active volunteer at the synagogue for more than 20 years, initially joining (and then chairing) the Kee Tov Committee, and later serving for eight years as Vice-President of Fundraising, a member of the Oxford Street Project Steering Committee, and Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign which raised $4.25 million to help fund the construction of our synagogue.  More recently he served on the Rabbi Search Committee.  Paul is currently a member of the Budget & Finance Committee and is concluding a four-year term as Trustee.  He has served on the Beth El Board for 16 of the past 18 years, and on the Executive Committee for eight years while an officer.

1st Vice President — Jill Dodd

Jill Dodd and her husband Martin  have been active members of Beth El since 1988. Their two daughters, Sarah and Lizzie (now grown) took advantage of the full range of youth activities at Beth El, from the Nursery School to the Religious School (each becoming Bat Mitzvah) to Camp Kee Tov (starting when each were 5 and continuing through junior counselor positions).  Lizzie was also confirmed at Beth El.  Jill  had a prior stint on the Board as Recording Secretary about 20 years ago, served on the first Interfaith Committee, and, most recently, was a member of the Committee that re-wrote the Bylaws a few years ago.  In her day job, Jill is a non-profit, and  trusts and estates attorney with a particular focus on philanthropy.

Vice President Membership — Lisa Feldman

Lisa Feldman has a passion for creating collaborative environments and enjoys putting her energy and enthusiasm toward contributing to Beth El’s success.  With a background in high tech marketing and services strategy, Lisa is currently the Director of Recruiting in MBA Career Services at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.  In that role, she leads a team of account managers who ensure that employers experience world-class service when hiring Berkeley MBAs.  Originally from Cleveland, Lisa is a proud Emeryville homeowner and has been a member of Beth El since 2009.  She attends Torah Study and Shabbat services regularly and has graduated from Rabbi Zellman’s Torah chanting class.  Lisa has served on Beth El’s Strategic Planning Committee and has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2010.  Lisa received her undergraduate degree from Brown and also has an MA in Victorian Studies from the University of Toronto.

Vice President Development — Jim Offel

Jim Offel, wife Nancy, and daughter Bryn have been members of Congregation Beth El since 2004.  Jim is currently Chief Operations Officer at the Jewish Community Federation in San Francisco.  A graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz, Jim had a successful 25 year career in marketing communications and operations before moving to the nonprofit sector.  Jim’s volunteer work has included board seats on a variety of nonprofit organizations including the East Bay Agency for Children, the Child and Family Therapy Center, and the Custom Content Council.

Vice President Personnel — Amy Resner

Amy Resner grew up in Berkeley, and attended Berkeley public schools. She has degrees from Smith College, and the Boalt Hall School of Law. She has worked as a Deputy District Attorney for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, as the Chief of Staff to Mayor Shirley Dean, and as a Speechwriter for Chancellor Bob Berdahl at UC Berkeley. For 8 years, she was primarily a mom and an active volunteer in the public schools. Currently she is on the teaching staff at Berkeley City Ballet (she was one of the original members, over 35 years ago!) and is the Coach for the Mock Trial Team at El Cerrito High School. Her family has belonged to Congregation Beth El for 9 years.  Both her children had their Bat/Bar Mitzvahs at Beth El. She has served on the Board for two years.

Recording Secretary — Abigail Rudnick

Abigail Rudnick joined Beth El with her husband Craig in August of 2010 (after moving from Tucson).  Abigail became an involved and active member from the start. She's a member of the Ritual committee, brought Chardonnay Shabbat and the Tu B'Shevat Seder to Beth El, and you can see her every Saturday at services and at holiday events. Abigail taught high school English before her "Gan Kataner," Sam, was born.

VP Program Council — Emily Marthinsen

Treasurer — Thomas Lurquin

Immediate Past President — Daniel Magid

Dan Magid has been a member of Beth El since 1967. He became Bar Mitzvah and was married at Beth El. He and his wife Robinn have four children: Josh, 21, Beth, 18, Aaron, 16, and Nathan, 10, who have done some combination of Nursery School, Religious School, Kee Tov, B'nai Mitzvah and Midrasha. Dan was the President and CEO of Aldon (a software company co-founded by his Dad in 1979), until he recently sold the business last year. Dan helped establish the Shabbat morning minyan, and attends Torah study and services weekly. He has developed and printed several of the prayer books that have been used for Shabbat, High Holidays, and the Minyan services. He was on the last Rabbi Search Committee. For a break, Dan spends time with the kids, reads/studies, bikes, hikes, listens to music, and goes to the movies.

House Chair Committee — Allen Nudel

Allen has been a member of Congregation Beth El for over six years along with his wife, Pamela, and two daughters, Avery (9) and Elise (7). Allen’s daughters have gone through the nursery school, and now attend Kadima and Camp Kee Tov. Allen is currently the chair of the Beth El House Committee, charged with helping to maintain the incredible building and grounds that the congregation has created. By day, Allen is a Principal and Structural Engineer at Forell/Elsesser Engineers in San Francisco with over 20 years of experience in construction-related industries. Allen’s project list includes everything from large institutional projects to multi-family housing, with a focus on higher education. Allen has worked with many non-profits such as the JCC’s in Palo Alto and Berkeley, the Jewish Home of San Francisco, and Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame. Allen currently volunteers for several policy and construction-related committees with the Berkeley Unified School District.

Director at Large — Leo Levenson

Leo Levenson has been a Beth El member for 6 years. Leo and his wife, Rebecca, have 3 kids at home, aged 17, 12 and 5, along with one who has already left the nest and lives in Colorado Springs. Leo is a Berkeley native and is a finance executive with the City of San Francisco. 

Director at Large — Marv Pearlstein

Marv Pearlstein is an attorney who has been a member for 12 years. He practices law with the firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in San Francisco with a focus on real estate and financial services (they were Steefel, Levitt & Weiss until they merged into Manatt last year). He is the father of a 16 year old who was Bar Mitzvah'd and graduated from religious school at Beth El in 2010, and who is now participating in Midrasha at Beth El. He has served on the Beth El Board as Secretary and as a member of the Finance Committee. Marv has sat on several other nonprofit boards, and currently is also on the Bentley School Board of Trustees. Prior to law school he lived in Israel for 2 years and led tour groups of American high school students to Israel. 

Director at Large — Jeffrey Seideman

Jeffrey Seideman was born in Queens, NY but moved to San Lorenzo, CA when he was four years old. One of three boys, he was brought up and had his Bar Mitzvah at Temple Beth Shalom in San Leandro. Jeff graduated from UC Berkeley in computer science. Jeff and his wife, Elisabeth Wechsler, have lived in Berkeley for almost 15 years. Jeff is a software engineer at Luidia, a startup computer company in San Carlos, CA. He is an avid Oakland A's and Cal football fan, and enjoys playing folk-rock guitar with high school friends. Jeff and Elisabeth joined Congregation Beth El in June 2011. He is head of the Daley Scenic Park neighborhood's emergency preparedness group in North Berkeley.

Director at Large — Steven Resnik

Steven Resnik and his wife Katherine (along with their cat Tigger) live in El Cerrito, and joined Congregation Beth El in 2010.  Steven currently serves on three Beth El Committees – Finance, Israel, and Revenue Enhancement. He holds degrees from Colgate, UC Berkeley and Columbia, and spent over 20 years working in the Bay Area biotech industry, including positions in marketing, sales, business development and strategic planning. Since retiring in 2004, Steven has been a volunteer for Jewish Family & Children’s Services of the East Bay, and more recently for Sutter Hospice. He is an avid, and regular hiker, reader of non-fiction, and dreams of someday being proficient at the classical guitar.  



Ending 2019 — Gene Milstein

Gene Millstein  together with his wife Robin Millstein have been Beth El members since 1975.  Their three sons all had their Bar Mitzvah at Beth El and were active in Camp Kee Tov.  Gene owns a real estate company in Berkeley.  His community Jewish involvement has centered on Tehiyah Day School where he was on the board for twenty years and served as president when Tehiyah built its expansive auditorium and gymnasium.

Ending 2016 — Michael Fajans

Michael didn't escape from Berkeley after getting a degree in urban planning at Cal. Michael grew up in Southern California, has lived in Berkeley for 35 years, and his wife and he have been Beth El members for 30+ years.  Both of their daughters went through religious school, Bat Mitzah, and camp kee tov at Beth El.  Past involvement at Beth El has included stints as financial secretary and as chair of the design committee for the building.

Life — Odette Blachman


Program Council Committee Chairs

Program Council Co-Chair — Emily Marthinsen

Adult Education Co-Chairs — Harry Margulius; Barry Silverblatt

Camp Kee Tov — Felicia Cole

Israel Co Chairs — Laurie Swiadon; Norm Postone

Library — Scott Spear

Marketing & Communications — Jeff Seideman

Men's Club — Andy Ganes

Mitzvah — Bonnie Roditti

Nursery School — Jenn Brysk

Ritual — Ruth Ehrenkrantz 

Women of Beth El — Cathy Stevens

Youth — Peg Winkelman