- Lisa Pavlovsky - President
- Martin Konopken - 1st Vice-President
- David Rudnick - 2nd Vice-President
- Rob Leonard - Treasurer
- Rachel Mercer - Secretary
- Suzanne Alpert
- Ben Argov
- Bob Bleckman
- Julia Dvorin
- Debi Geller
- Lani Gershik
- Laurie Kimball
- Brad Lakritz
- Anna Lushtak - Jewish Living and Learning Committee co-chair
- Jon Marker
- Lisa Newmark
- David Rudnick
- Lynne Simon
Susan Goldwasser - Women of Rodef Sholom President
Hali Croner, Past President
BOARD BIOGRAPHIES IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
Suzanne has been an educator and administrator at several Bay Area independent schools for the past 20 years and has an M.A. in Educational Policy Analysis and Evaluation from Stanford University. Currently, she is the Director of Development at The Marin School in San Rafael. She is also the secretary on the Board of the Tamalpais High School Foundation; and serves on the SF Federation's Diller Jewish Educator Award Committee.
For years, Suzanne's involvement in Jewish life was hosting Chanukah parties and Seders plus attending the short service at the end of religious school. But over the years, she came to realize that those 15 minutes at services were a highlight of her week. Her involvement then changed dramatically after a sudden loss in their family, when she began to accompany her husband to Shabbat services every week for a year. This experience transformed her connection. Since then, she has attended family camps, celebrated both her daughters becoming Bat Mitzvah, traveled to Israel on a Rodef Sholom family trip and became a Bat Mitzvah herself in April 2017.
Suzanne also serves on Rodef Sholom's Development Committee, which she loves, and was very involved in the 60th Anniversary Celebration and the Tradition of Giving Campaign. She is interested in using her skills as a professional fundraiser to help congregants find more ways to engage with each other and for the congregation to continue to grow, thrive, and be a light for future generations of Jews in Marin County.
Ben is one of the owners of IWA Wine Accessories, which is a retailer and manufacturer of wine-related products, gifts and accessories. As President of the company since its inception in 2004, Ben has guided its rapid rise through a combination of organic growth and strategic acquisitions. Prior to 2004, Ben spent five years as a CPA in Arthur Andersen’s small business practice and almost seven years as an investment banker for Morgan Stanley. Ben lives in Tiburon with his wife Bryn and their three teenage boys. They moved to Tiburon from San Francisco in 2007, and joined Rodef Sholom shortly thereafter. As the son of Israeli parents, Ben spent every summer growing up in Israel, as well as 10th grade in an academic year-long program on Kibbutz Kfar Blum. Like many of the other Board members, Ben is thrilled at the opportunity to give back to Rodef Sholom, with its amazing clergy and incredible community.
Bob has been in finance and sales for over 30 years, running various banks' regional offices. He is a founding member of Union Bank Bay Area Leadership Council, organizing outreach between bank personnel and local charities as well as local businesses.
Raised in New York, Bob's family was very involved in temple life. He served as a youth leader and feels that being part of a Jewish community is deeply ingrained in him. This feeling of connection is something that he tries to impart to his children as well. Bob's involvement in Rodef Sholom has primarily been through his children's participation in religious school, but traveling with the synagogue to Israel last year deepened his personal resolve to become more engaged. And this past year, his son introduced him to the REST program, which has now become a permanent fixture in his schedule.
As his children are now older, Bob finds himself with more time and energy to devote to the synagogue. He hopes that his years in finance can contribute to the Board, but he has interests beyond "crunching numbers" and he looks forward to becoming involved in other meaningful ways.
Hali is CEO of The Croner Company, specializing in compensation consulting for almost 30 years. She has been active in many volunteer aspects of Rodef Sholom including serving as a member of the Rodef Sholom Religious School Board and the Rodef Sholom Strategic Visioning Committee. In 2012, Hali was in the Adult B'nai Mitzvah group, taught by Cantor David. She regularly attends Friday night services and keeps up with all sorts of other activities at Rodef Sholom either through her kids’ school or teen programs, retreats at Camp Newman and with the Sisterhood, trips to Israel, adult education programs, or hanging out with the incredible friends she has made in the community.
She feels deeply connected to the members of the Rodef Sholom congregation and is grateful for the many ways that Rodef Sholom enhances her own Jewish experience, and that of her children. She also is deeply appreciative of the unwavering support and social involvement of her husband Eugene Palmer who is not affiliated. Hali is particularly excited to use her organizational leadership and strategic planning skills to help Rodef Sholom implement its vision and to ensure that Rodef Sholom can continue to serve as a vibrant center of Jewish community, religion, values, education and action long into the future.
Julia Dvorin is a writer and artist who lives in Lucas Valley with her husband Joshua Archer and their two boys, Eli and Isaac. She holds an MA in Sociology from UCSB and has also worked in Education, Consumer Products Licensing and Web Design. Julia was born in Washington DC but moved with her family out to the Bay Area when she was two. Shortly after moving to Marin, her family joined Rodef Sholom. As a kid, she attended Rodef’s Religious School and was confirmed, and a decade later she and her husband Joshua were married by Rabbi Barenbaum. About a decade after that, she and Joshua decided to re-join Rodef Sholom when they were looking for a synagogue affiliation to support raising their young family in a Jewish mindset. In the close to a decade since re-joining Rodef Sholom, she and Joshua also helped make the current Rodef Sholom website, and she has been a project coordinator for Mitzvah Day, a pioneer member (along with her family) of Kol Hamishpacha, a member of the Welcoming Committee, a member of the Chevra Kadisha, and a planner for/performer in the Purim Shpiel. Julia was also part of the adult B’nai Mitzvah class in 2013, and she continues to look for ways to deepen her Jewish practice and connection to the Rodef Sholom community.
Julia is deeply honored to have been nominated for the Rodef Sholom Board and is eager to serve such a special community. She hopes that her enthusiastic and creative personality and her well-honed communication, relationship-building, presentation and problem-solving skills will enable her to contribute in a meaningful and helpful way to the sacred community of Rodef Sholom and help others connect to each other and to their own Jewish values and practice.
Debi has been a recruiting and staffing professional for the past 11 years and is involved in HR and Organizational Development. Debi grew up at Rodef Sholom and it has always been a central part of her life. Her daughters have also had the opportunity to gain part of their Jewish education at Rodef Sholom and she appreciates the way that she has been able to create a Jewish village through this community. Although Debi is involved in many organizations, synagogue involvement has been central throughout all stages of her life starting as a child, a young married couple, a family raising children, a newly-single mother, and now an empty-nester. For Debi, there is no substitute for the connection that she feels to this community.
Debi's involvement at Rodef Sholom is extensive. She is currently on the Engagement Committee, Board Nominating Committee and was the co-founder of the Rodef Referrals group, where she continues to work hard helping many of our community members find work and/or promote their business through her professional connections. She has also been involved in the JCC, Chabad of Mill Valley and Chabad of Novato, JCF IGG committee, BHDS, and Jewish Community High School of the Bay. In addition to her volunteer work in the Jewish community, Debi currently serves on the San Rafael Chamber Board of Directors and on the Marin Economic Forum Board of Directors.
Debi enjoys fundraising and looks forward to sharing her experience. She is also happy to do outreach for our community and to represent the Board at events and services. She can also consult regarding hiring and staffing decisions. Debi can also serve as a liaison to the local business community given the breadth of her connections and her skill set as a networker extraordinaire!
Lani has been closely involved with Rodef Sholom for over 20 years. She cites the example set by her parents-in-law, Marty and Marlene Gershik, z”l, as the guiding model for her desire to be part of something larger than oneself and to contribute to the life of our community. She has taken responsibility for reaching out to new synagogue members who live in Novato to ensure that they have a point of contact. Lani and her husband David also host an annual Chanukah party for Novato congregants.
Lani’s activities include cooking and delivering meals to the Carmel Voyager Center and supporting Camp Tawonga. She volunteers at the Sinaloa Middle School in Novato and at the Marin School in San Rafael.
In additional to a thoughtful and well-organized approach to the work of the Board, Lani brings dedication and commitment to being part of the Rodef Sholom community. She points especially to the pride she feels in watching her children grow up at the synagogue and become b’nai mitzvah.
Susan is excited to be the incoming president of the Women of Rodef Sholom. She served on the Sisterhood board for two years and was co-chair of fund raising last year. Susan served on the Rodef Sholom school board for four years.
She is grateful for the Jewish education her three children have received at Rodef Sholom. She appreciates the beautiful music at services and our inspiring clergy. Being part of a Jewish community, having a strong Jewish identity and enjoying holidays and Shabbat together is extremely important for her and her family.
Susan is a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist and is in practice in Mill Valley with her husband Richard. She is honored to have the opportunity to serve on the congregational board.
When Laurie first joined Rodef Sholom, she was active in the Women of Rodef Sholom. When her older son turned two, she took him to Yad b'Yad at the JCC, and after that enrolled him in the ECE program at the JCC. Her younger son also participated in Yad b’Yad when he was very young and also graduated from the ECE program. Laurie was very involved in the Visioning Process at Rodef Sholom and served as the lead of the Engagement Team. She continues to be involved at Rodef Sholom, for her children and for herself, to make them aware of the world around them and to show them the importance of giving back.
Laurie was born in New York, raised in Arizona and now lives in Larkspur with her husband, Louis, and her two sons, Sammy and Jordan. Laurie spent 16 years as the Event Planner and Convention Director for The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona . She spends much of her time volunteering at her children’s school and is currently the PTO President at Neil Cummins Elementary School in Corte Madera. Laurie is also a Substitute Teacher at the JCC Preschools in both Tiburon and San Rafael.
She and her family have been members of Rodef Sholom for over ten years and she is very honored to be on the Board.
Martin has over 25 years of experience as a corporate counsel, most recently as a Senior Corporate Counsel at Autodesk. He served for six years on the Board of Directors of Legal Aid of Marin. He is a former board member of the Business Software Alliance with four years as chairman of the Operations Committee, with responsibility for the oversight of the BSA budget. Aside from serving on the Legal Aid Board, he has also done many hours of pro bono legal work.
Martin has been on the Rodef Sholom Board since 2012. In the past his husband Rich and he assisted Rabbi Lezak in mentoring prospective Jews by Choice through the conversion process. They are frequent participants in Shabbat services. He studies trope with Cantor David and chants at services from time to time.
Martin has extensive experience in the business world including a significant amount of relevant board experience, such as dealing with tight budgets. He is a committed member of Rodef Sholom, who is greatly interested in issues facing synagogues and who has read and thought a lot about them. His service on the board, he feels, may perhaps, also, in a small way, bring an added element of diversity to the board.
Brad lives in San Rafael with his wife Dena and their three children Emily, Noah, and Mia. His family grew up at Rodef Sholom and they are very involved in synagogue life.
As a Jewish educator, Brad has worked and volunteered in some capacity in the local Jewish community for most of the past 28 years, including 11 years as a full-time Jewish educator at the Bureau of Jewish Education in San Francisco. Brad was also the faculty advisor to the Jewish Student Union (“Jew Crew”) at Marin Academy for 13 years.
Brad’s connection to Rodef Sholom includes serving as an educational consultant through the BJE (now Jewish Learning Works), teaching in Midrasha, serving as a member of the school board, and is a long time member of the congregation.
Rob is an experienced financial analyst and investor. He has studied and invested in a broad range of industries and has spent a great deal of time conducting due diligence on corporate governance and managerial decision making. He has served on Rodef Sholom's Finance Committee since 2008.Rob has an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a BA from the University of Virginia.
Rob has deep ties to Rodef Sholom and considers it a second home to his family. He cares deeply about the future of our community and hopes to honor and preserve our Jewish traditions and our congregation's heritage.
Rob has been an active member of Rodef Sholom since moving to the Bay Area in 2001. He has two children in religious school who are both enthusiastic participants in the community. He enjoys volunteering his time through the synagogue and has been honored to serve on the Finance Committee. Rob and his family plan on going on the Israel trip this summer and he is looking forward to experiencing Israel with his community. Rob also is a volunteer coach for multiple youth sports and a committed fan of his children's teams and activities.
Rob hopes to leverage his financial background and historical perspective on the temple's finances to bring an analytical approach to problem solving and to bolster the board's long-term financial planning.
Anna has been serving on the Congregation Rodef Sholom religious school board for the past two years and is currently one of the board’s two co-presidents. She has also served on the boards of the Ross Recreation Auxiliary (including a term as president), the Ross Parks and Recreation District and the Ross School PTA. Anna is currently chairing the Faculty/Staff Appreciation Committee at the Branson School and will co-chair the next Branson School Auction.
Anna is deeply committed to Jewish education for adults and families. She believes that Jewish education is a way of deepening one’s sense of belonging and connection to the rich heritage of Judaism, and of linking one’s life to the Jewish community of today. Anna grew up in an assimilated Jewish family in the Soviet Union, lacking any sense of Jewish knowledge or community. After coming to America, she relates that she found in Judaism and Jewish life her identity and her source of strength and hope. She strongly believes that Jewish living requires Jewish knowledge and active participation in the community. She believes that she has found in our congregation “community, knowledge, connection and the opportunity to be involved and give back.”
Additionally, Anna is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program, a grader for the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, and is a member of the JFCS Émigré Committee.
Jon currently serves as CEO of Youth Leadership Institute, a nonprofit working to engage 1,200 youth across California in leading community change efforts. Formerly he was a program officer at the Jim Joseph Foundation, which invests $45 million annually in Jewish Education across the United States.
Jon's interest in synagogue life is rooted in his upbringing. His parents raised him with a keen eye towards how to engage in the community in which you choose to live. Since moving to Marin four years ago with his family, Rodef Sholom has been an important part of the village that is helping to raise his growing family and he is eager to live his values through investing in and contributing to this wonderful synagogue community.
Rodef Sholom has felt like home since the first time he and his family came to services in 2012. Seeing the youth leading alongside the adults was a beautiful display of authentic partnerships and the type of community that he hopes to contribute to in raising his family. Following those services, he started to realize that Rodef Sholom was literally all around him. From sitting behind Judi Sheppard at a Bruce Springsteen concert to finding numerous neighbors who are congregants, his sense of community immediately began to swell. Since 2012, his family has jumped in deep with Rabbi Lezak's social justice work through the partnership at Venetia Valley and looking at Prison Reform as ways of putting our Judaism into practice. He has also participated in Rabbi Elana's Makor Marin programming and in Rabbi Stacy and Rabbi Lezak's course focused on congregational leadership. His son Cole will start at the JCC ECE program this June.
Jon looks forward to sharing his passion for equity and social justice as a lens that ties into the remarkable ways Rodef Sholom already engages the world beyond our congregation. He believes that he can bring his expertise working with youth to partner with our robust youth programming and leadership. In addition, when he worked at the Jim Joseph Foundation he spent a significant amount of time analyzing best practices for innovative Jewish education focused on 13-30 year olds. Lastly, as a member with a young family he looks forward to bringing the perspective of that demographic to the board table.
Rachel has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and problem solving. She is currently a Senior Vice President at ALC.com. She believes that her experience in the retail, catalog and insurance industries, together with her analytical and technical skills, demonstrate her capacity to link strategy and translate data into actionable insights.
Rachel feels that synagogue life is an extension of her family's daily lives. For her it provides an emotional and physical sanctuary, and she is deeply connected to CRS. She has been serving as Rodef Sholom's meals coordinator for Homeward Bound - Voyager Carmel Center (for the Mentally Ill) since 2010, and has worked with CRS’s Chevra Kadisha since in its inception. She considers it a privilege to participate in tahara and as a shomer for members of our community when their families have requested it.
Among the attributes that Rachel believes she will bring to the Board are the ability to see patterns and connections in information that others miss, the capacity to keep focused on the end goal and an occasionally irreverent sense of humor.
For the past 15 years Lisa has been the Employment Program Coordinator for Integrated Community Services, a non-profit organization that provides services for individuals with disabilities.
Lisa has a Masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from San Francisco State and a BA in Jewish Studies from UCLA.
Her involvement with Rodef Sholom led Lisa to regard our synagogue as one that could provide her with the kind of Jewish community that was missing from her life. She states that as she started to experience Rodef Sholom for herself, from the welcoming and warm Shabbat services to the meals delivered to her door following her daughter’s surgery, she knew that she had come to the right place. She feels that in the eight years that she has been a member, her life has changed immeasurably. “Synagogue life has provided me with a myriad of blessings, most of which are contained in the beautiful friends I have made; the discovery that I do have a spiritual bone in my body and the re-connection with my Jewish self that I had neglected for far too long.”
At Rodef Sholom Lisa has been a participant in the Kulanu Committee, whose purpose was to make the synagogue an more inclusive congregation for people with disabilities. She additionally is a member of the Chevra Kadisha and serves on the High Holy Day Sanctuary Services Committee.
Lisa has been active in the area of education and personal development for over 25 years. She has worked as a teacher, director of admissions, program manager, life coach and community facilitator. As a founder and director of Beyond Borders at Marin Country Day School, Lisa created, managed and executed all aspects of running a cross-cultural program for a diverse group of 4th-6th graders. Lisa is a board member of Can Do!, the Dixie School District fundraising organization. She holds an M.A. in Education from Stanford.
Lisa’s contribution to the life of Rodef Sholom has been extensive and well-recognized. Besides teaching a Midrasha girls’ group and working on new member integration and senior transportation programs, she filled in as Director of Community Connections during Moji Javid’s maternity leave. Having grown up at Rodef Sholom, Lisa states that “I have experienced the power of this synagogue time and time again throughout my many years of involvement.” She expresses the desire to help others access all that she had gained from our synagogue. She hopes her Board membership will enable her to be involved in helping others “to see the reality of all that Rodef Sholom can be for them and their families.”
David has served on the board of directors of the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center and is currently serving on the governing board of Marin Cancer Care. He is also a member of the High Holy Day Sanctuary Service committee at Rodef Sholom. David is a physician whose practice serves patients in Marin and Sonoma counties.
David says that since his childhood, synagogue life has been at the center of his involvement in the Jewish community. He is keenly interested in the religious aspect of Judaism and how it speaks to us in modern times. Additionally, he states that he and his family are dedicated supporters of the Jewish Federation, the Osher Marin JCC Center for Jewish Peoplehood and JCFS. He and his family are deeply interested in Israeli affairs and are frequent travelers to Israel.
David believes that his strong interest in strategic planning, his excellent organizing skills, his ability to distil complex problems into key issues, and his general business experience will enable him to make a meaningful contribution to the Board and to the life of Rodef Sholom.
Lynne has over 25 years of experience in Vice President and Director-level positions in marketing and sales and has been called a rainmaker for businesses and non-profits. Departing form the traditional corporate world five years ago after caring for and losing both parents, Lynne then refocused her time and talent on concerns closer to her community and her heart.
Connecting to Congregation Rodef Sholom was part of this change. She committed herself to observing every Jewish holiday and became actively involved with Living and Learning, welcoming new members (Moreh Derech), working on the Women's Mikvah, volunteering for the Tradition of Giving campaign and being present for sweet Shabbat services most Friday evenings.
Lynne is committed to social justice and finds meaningful connections through food. Professionally, Lynne is one of the first hires for Byte, a rapidly growing startup that provides corporations with healthy food for their employees in internet-connected refrigerators. As Byte's forager, Lynne works with the makers, procuring and creating healthy foods. Pro-bono, she is a founding member of Extrafood.org, a food rescue organization in Marin. Through her relationships, Lynne developed perpetual partnerships with all Marin Farmers Markets, Marin County Schools, grocery stores, caterers and food providers, recruited volunteers and developed marketing collateral including the iconic aprons. Byte is one of Extrafood's largest food donors - one of the circles of sustainability that Lynne delights in.
Lynne is looking forward to using her marketing, sales and fundraising skills in combination with her love of the community to help CRS grow and thrive.