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STAFF

​​David Rothenberg: Executive Director

David and his wife Lorraine have been members of Congregation Beth El for fifteen years. Their children, Isaac and Isabella, were b'nai mitzvah at Beth El. Isabella is a counselor at Camp Kee Tov. David was born in Chicago, grew up in Southern California, and was a Bar Mitzvah at Temple Ahavat Shalom. He attended Hebrew High School at Temple Judea, where he played the role of Will Parker in an all-Hebrew version of Oklahoma!  The Los Angeles Times described the musical quality of his stand-out performance of "Everything's Up to Date in Kansas City" as "OK". Professionally, David has served in a variety of management positions helping mission-driven organizations adapt, grow, and succeed.  David was most recently the Chief Operating Officer of the Foundation for National Progress, the non-profit organization that publishes Mother Jones Magazine.  David also served as the Executive Director of Playworks, a national youth services organization dedicated to improving the health & well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. Before embarking on a career in non-profit management, David was the president and CEO of Nolo Press, the nation’s largest and most trusted provider of legal tools and information for consumers and small business. David began his career with global public accounting and consulting firm Deloitte, LLP where he worked with companies in the consumer finance, healthcare, and entertainment fields, in addition to serving nonprofit and government clientele. David studied marketing and accounting at the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley. He lives in Berkeley with his wonderful wife Lorraine and their two usually amazing children.

CONTACT DAVID

Jodi Gladstone: Director of Early Childhood Education

 

Jodi Gladstone has been teaching young children for over 20 years. She is currently the Director and Jewish Resource Specialist at Beth El Nursery School. Jodi has been a member of the BENS staff for 10 years. She has taught in the three-year-old and four-year-old classrooms as well as the Kindergarten class of Kadima. Before moving to the Bay Area in 2003, Jodi was the Artist in Residence for Pinat Shorashim, a hands-on learning center and biblical park located at Kibbutz Gezer in Israel. There she created curriculum and community art experiences for children, teens, families, and educators based on nature and Torah. She enjoys combining her love of art, nature, and Judaism to make meaningful and memorable educational experiences for children and their families.

Jodi holds a Bachelor in Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and attended the WUJS post-Graduate Institute, in Arad, Israel in 1994 where she studied Hebrew and Judaism. She is a graduate of the first cohort of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Institute (JECELI). She received her Jewish Early Childhood Education certification from Gratz College. Jodi has won the Diller Education Award in Early Childhood Education (ECE), an annual award recognizing excellence in Jewish educational programming. Jodi has been a nature and art materials workshop presenter at Jewish ECE conferences nationwide. She can be found dancing and making whimsical works of art in her spare time. She lives with her husband, Gordon and their two sons, Gefen and Nitzan.

CONTACT JODI

Julia Straws: Associate Director of Early Childhood Education

Julia has a B.A. from Sonoma State University. She has extensive experience as a preschool teacher and was involved in a home co-op preschool for her own children. After some time away from the Bay Area, Julia is pleased to be back home in the community where she was raised. She is excited to be a part of the Beth El staff and provide the BENS community with a nurturing and fun learning environment, in addition to supporting the BENS teachers as they inspire the children through play and exploration. When not at work, Julia enjoys spending time with her kids and re-exploring all the beautiful places the Bay Area has to offer.

CONTACT JULIA

Juliet Spear Gardner: Director of K-5th Learning and Engagement

Juliet grew up and became a Bat Mitzvah at Beth El and was a camper then counselor in Camp Kee Tov. She completed her B.A. at Columbia University, and got her teaching credential at Mills College. She has taught students of all ages in public and supplementary Jewish education and served as the Director of Education at Temple Beth Torah in Fremont. Previously, she worked as the Clergy Assistant for Beth El. She is the coordinator for Chug Mishpacha, Beth El's Saturday Family School, and teaches in Kadima. She is also a BENS parent! In her spare time, she likes to cook, craft (someday I’ll finish my first quilt), and develop family costumes. She is excited to be back on the admin staff at Beth El!

CONTACT JULIET

Brianna Sommer: Director of 6th-12th Learning and Engagement

Brianna Sommer graduated with an MSc in Outdoor, Environmental, and Sustainability Education from the University of Edinburgh, focusing her dissertation on Eco-Jewish education. During the masters, she was elected President of the University's Jewish Society, as well as elected the Executive Officer for the Israel Engagement society, in which she worked with and represented the Jewish and Israeli student community. After moving to the Bay in 2018, Brianna worked as a Lead Outdoor Mentor with Wilderness Torah and as the Director of Club J, the fourth and fifth grade afterschool program, with JCC East Bay. Her current role at the JCC as Director of Youth and Teen Programs continues her responsibility to cultivate a vibrant community, serving and engaging youth. She is an avid nature photographer, dancer, and an enthusiastic krav maga-er.

CONTACT BRIANNA

Debbie Barack: YAFE Administrator

Bio coming soon...

CONTACT DEBBIE

​Sam Cantrell: Camp Kee Tov & Youth Director

Sam is a Berkeley native who has been in the Jewish afterschool and camp world for the better part of five years.  He received his BA in English Literature from San Francisco State University, and has also spent time teaching English in Japan and Mexico.  Sam could not be more excited to be joining the Beth El and Kee Tov communities, and looks forward to continuing the ruach for the next generation of Kee Tov families.  When he's not at Beth El, you can find Sam playing soccer at the Gilman fields.

CONTACT SAM

Rosie Rokeach: Camp Kee Tov Assistant Director

Rosie is a Berkeley native who went to every single session of Camp Kee Tov possible as a camper. She became a Bat Mitzvah at Beth El and continued her journey as a counselor for three summers at Camp Kee Tov in Rishonim and Giborim. Rosie graduated from UCLA with a BA in Fine Arts. During her time in between being a counselor at Camp Kee Tov and now, Rosie worked in arts education with adults and a cooking program with children, as well as filling roles as an art gallery coordinator and sales representative.

Rosie spent this last summer going on the birthright program, connecting her deeper to her Jewish identity, and exciting the ruach within. After some time away from Camp Kee Tov, Rosie is excited to return to ruach and is looking forward to using her expertise in arts education to have the messiest messy day yet and to pour the finest fuzzy milk to drink.

CONTACT ROSIE

Ashleigh Ordin Rubinsky: Community Engagement Manager

Over the past 10 years, Ashleigh has worked in and supported Jewish organizations in the Bay Area, most of that time providing operational and administrative support to early care and education and Jewish summer camp programs. Her professional passion extends from her personal values of supporting families with small children and the rich Jewish communities she grew up in. When not working she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Ashleigh holds a B.A. from UCLA.

CONTACT ASHLEIGH

Alana Haim: Community Engagement Administrator

Alana grew up in the Bay Area and worked in various jobs in account management & customer service in technology over the last 10 years. She has a B.A. in English from Colorado College and loves connecting with the Jewish community. Outside of work, you’ll find Alana hiking, camping, and backpacking around California with her husband, gathering with family and friends, and devouring new books.

CONTACT ALANA

Marlee Marshall: Clergy Assistant

Marlee's a Bay Area transplant but is no stranger to Jewish life. She grew up at Temple Akiba, in Culver City, where she became a Bat Mitzvah and was involved in youth programs. Marlee studied Psychology and Music at UC Santa Cruz. She spent the last four years working as a Prek-8th grade Music Educator with various schools throughout the bay area. When Marlee isn't at Beth El, she is playing piano, singing, baking bread, painting, gardening, or wandering through nature.

CONTACT MARLEE

Hayley Rae Hart: Front Office Administrator

Hayley Rae Hart is a hapa haole with degrees in English Literature, Theater Production, and Dance from Notre Dame de Namur University. Before making the shift to become the friendly face that greets congregants at Congregation Beth El's Front Desk,  Hayley Rae worked as a Financial Advisor and devoted nearly 20 years to stage management. When she's not working, she can be found painting, reading comic books, teaching her cat, Linus, new tricks, or forcing her partner, Don, to sit through yet another awful-yet-ironically-avant-guard B-Grade film. 

CONTACT HAYLEY RAE

Sat, December 3 2022 9 Kislev 5783