2021-2022 Board Member Biographies

Keri Bahar

Keri and her family joined BHBE in 2013. She is completing a two year term as EVP and previously served as Vice President of the Academy, Chair of the Rabbinic Search Committee, Chair of the Education Director Search Committee, and as a member of the Academy Board. She founded KSB College Consulting in 2011 and, each year, helps approximately 40 to 50 high school seniors and their families navigate the college admissions process. Keri and her husband, Phillip, who is CEO of the Chicago Humanities Festival, live in Evanston and have three children: Zachary, a graduating senior at ETHS, Chana, a rising Senior at ETHS, and Talia, a rising Freshman at ETHS.

 

Greer Braun

B.A.Ed, University of Michigan, M.A. Ed, University of Southern Connecticut, MBA Lake Forest College. My husband, Arthur and I have been members of BHBE for 29 years. We have three grown children, two who live in the Chicago area, and a son who lives in Israel. We have 10 grandchildren. As a teacher I taught elementary  school, Hebrew school, and designed an art appreciation program for for grades K-6. I am currently retired from our family real estate investment firm. I have served on the BHBE Board over several terms in the past as V.P. of Ways and Means, serving on the House and Grounds Committee, and organizing many fundraisers. In addition I have been active in Sisterhood throughout the years. My interest in rejoining the Board of Directors is to contribute to our creative growth to keep our wonderful community engaged, committed, and strong.

 

Leah Buchbiner
Originally from southern California, Leah has been a happy Midwestern transplant for 14 years. Leah and her husband Avi are parents to Eli (7) and Zev (4). Leah works in the nonprofit sector as grant writer and program administrator and has degrees from the University of California, Irvine and DePaul. She loves to schmooze at shul while watching kids run around, bake, read, and is committed to egalitarian Jewish practice in a way that brings meaning to modern lives.  Fun fact: Leah and Avi got married at BHBE, many years before moving to Skokie and joining the synagogue!

 

Wayne Caplan

Wayne Caplan has been in the commercial real estate brokerage & advisory industry for the past 20 years and serves as Senior Vice President tor for SVN Chicago Commercial, providing disposition, acquisition, leasing and consulting services to both private and institutional clients. He previously was the Midwest Regional Manager for Jennifer Convertibles, a large national furniture retailer where he was responsible for 47 stores in seven Midwest states. In addition to previously serving BHBE as a board member for 6 years, and on various committees including Budget & Finance, Wayne has substantial experience working with non-for-profit organizations having served for 6 years as a member of the board of directors for the Chicago Association of Realtors (CAR), and also on the board for the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Wayne currently is on the board of directors of the Near South Planning Board in Chicago and the Illinois chapter of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Government Relations committee. Originally from New York City, Wayne has lived in the Chicago area since 1991. He currently resides in Glenview with his wife Diane, and their two sons, Michael and Charlie, both of whom attended the academy at BHBE. They have been members of BHBE since 2009.

 

Beth Chiet

Beth and her family have been members of BHBE for the past 13 years. Prior to joining the board, Beth served as Youth Commission Chair. She lives in Skokie with her husband Jeff, daughters, Jenna (17) and Alexis (15) and her puppy, Daisy (14). When she’s not at BHBE, she works as an event coordinator helping clients make the most out of their mitzvahs, weddings, fundraisers, and special events. She loves being able to ensure that the host and hostesses as well as the guests can enjoy their special days seamlessly. She is also a teacher by trade and has a passion for making education engaging and exciting. Beth is looking forward to joining the board and helping BHBE be the best it can be!

 

Dan Chodrow

Dan Chodrow and his wife, Kate, became members of BHBE in 2017 after moving to Wilmette from Chicago. In the congregation, they found an exciting community and a good academy for their daughters, Olivia and Mimi. Dan has spent most of his career in advertising, crafting big brand ideas for everything from diapers to whiskey to banking, and is currently engaged as a creative executive at a large multinational agency. Most days, the work is fun. Some days, the work is work. These days, the work happens at home. In this new reality, Dan has become a bit of a quarantine cliché: baking bread, inventing cocktails and trying to remember enough elementary education to help home-school his kids. This is hardly necessary, since they are vastly more intelligent than he, as are most children. If elected, Dan looks forward to helping the congregation thrive.

 

Jon Clemens

My wife Katie, son Gabriel (4), daughter Orly (3), and I joined BHBE in 2019 and my kids attend the BJE preschool as well. In the short time we were members before COVID shut everything down our family became active members in the Synagogue and even after we have continued to participate as much as possible virtually. I have been on numerous boards, most recently I was President and Property manager of our condo association overseeing all aspects of association finances, maintenance, and operations for 5 years until we moved to Skokie. Professionally I am the director of the Education IT Services practice at Konica Minolta. I work with schools and religious institutions across the country to align and implement technology to meet their organizations goals. This expertise if elected I would bring to BHBE.

 

Ira Dubin

I have been a member of BHBE for over 25 years. I was brought up in a traditional synagogue but had an issue with the fact that they would not allow women on the bimah. I started to research different synagogues and realized that after my traditional upbringing, reform was too extreme and the conservative movement seemed to meet my needs. It was the late Mike Rosen who convinced me that BHBE would be right for me.  When I came for Shabbat services, Mike befriended me and I have never forgotten that. I raised my children here and they both had their bar mitzvah’s here. I have made some terrific long time friendships through the synagogue. I have been on the board off and on for numerous years. I currently live in Skokie with my wife Colleen and our dog Ranger. I have an accounting practice, also located in Skokie.

 

Gail Schnitzer Eisenberg

Gail Schnitzer Eisenberg is the granddaughter of Trude and the late Julius Schnitzer who joined Beth Hillel in the 1960s. She grew up running on the ramp and now watches her six-year old Julia and four-year old Hunter so the same and helps lead services for young families. Gail works as a civil rights attorney focusing on workplace discrimination and harassment.  Gail is active in the community, serving as an elected New Trier Township trustee, on the CRC for Wilmette School District 39, on the Administrative Committee for the JUF, and as co-chair of the Legislative Committee of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers. Gail also regularly volunteers with the ACLU, Women Employed, WeWill, and March of Dimes. She graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern Law and summa cum laude from the University of Illinois with her MA/BA in Political Science.

 

Laurie Feinstein

Laurie and Joel have been members of BHBE since 1991. They live in Wilmette and have 3 children, Joshua (27), Jeremy (24) and Ocean (22) who all celebrated their B’nai Mitzvot at the synagogue. They have been active members since they joined. Laurie has been on the board in previous years and has been involved on many committees. Those include a Cantor’s search committee, Educational Director search committee, the Youth Commission, Sisterhood General Board and the Rabbis’ welcoming and Installation committees. Laurie was also instrumental, back in the mid-90’s, in forming Chavurot.  Outside synagogue life, Laurie is an Occupational Therapist, working in a school district.

 

Jill Feldman

I live in Skokie with my husband Freddie, two kids, Jack 13 & Leah, 10 and rescue dog Oliver.  I have been a Sales Manager for a children’s shoe wholesale company for 12 years, I love my job and traveling the country to meet with my accounts.  Prior to serving as Academy VP for the last two years, I served on the Academy Board for two years.  l love being a part of the BHBE community and I am excited to serve on this executive board!

 

Dan Galvin

Dan lives in Glenview with his wife Katie and four children — Eliza (13), Noah (10), Hannah (7), and Sadie (7). Born and raised in Rochester, NY, Dan is currently an Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University, where he has taught since 2006. He has a Ph.D. from Yale University and B.A. from Brandeis University. Dan and Katie joined BHBE in 2014 and Dan has served on the Academy Board since 2016. The Galvin family loves being part of the BHBE community and Dan looks forward to serving on the executive board.

 

Sandy Goldberg

Sandy Goldberg (along with his wife, Judy, and their now-adult children, Gideon, Ethan, and Nadia), has been a member of BHBE for 13 years.  He has served in a variety of roles at BHBE, most recently as President.  His daytime job is as professor of philosophy at Northwestern University.

 

Adam Goldfarb

Adam Goldfarb, CPA, is a senior tax manager at KPMG in the real estate practice. Adam is originally from Minneapolis where he attended Jewish day school from kindergarten through 10th grade and now lives in Glenview. Adam graduated from UW-Madison with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting. Adam is married to Lia Lehrer Goldfarb and they were married by Rabbi Tucker in 2015. Adam is passionate about Conservative Judaism and loves attending Tot Shabbat each week with Lia and their daughter, Serena. Adam’s hobbies include travel, exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods and restaurants, and growing his new hosta garden (but he is a long way from having a green thumb). Adam looks forward to serving the BHBE community as a board member.

 

Dianne Goldman

Dianne Goldman received her Ph.D. in Musicology from Northwestern University in 2014. Since then, she’s taught at the University of Maryland, Elmhurst University, and Columbia College Chicago. Her classes include music appreciation, a survey of western music, and several topical classes like Latin American Music and the history of opera. Her main research area is Mexican music of the 18th century. She and her husband, Steve, have been members of BHBE for almost ten years. She has been a member of the BHBE board for four years. Steve and she live in Glenview and have a 6-month-old Great Dane named Rachel.

 

Minnie Goldsmith

Minnie has been a member of BHBE since 1982. She has been an active member and leader in our synagogue and looks forward to continuing her work on the board.

 

Jay Goldstein

Jay has been a member of BHBE for over 10 years and his family has belonged since 1967. Jay has served for 5 years as VP of Ritual and is looking forward to joining the Executive Board.

 

Steve Krause

Steve is married to Marla Krause and has two children, Ross (31) and Daniel (30). He has been a Wilmette resident since 1984 and a member of BHBE since 1995. Steve is a Senior Director of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BS in Accountancy from the University of Illinois. He holds his CPA.

 

Jay Lawrence

Jay is excited to continue his work on the Executive Board as President of BHBE’s Men’s Club. Jay grew up in Rogers Park. His wife and their 3 children have been a part of BHBE since 1993. Previously Jay has been VP of the Men’s Club and in charge of events.

 

Rochelle Leff

My husband, Alan and I joined Beth Hillel in 1968. Our children, Edward and Lauren attended Hebrew School and had the Bar and bat Mitzvahs at Beth Hillel. I had my Adult Bat Mitzvah after studying with Rabbi David Lincon. Edward lives in Melbourne Beach, Florida and is married to Lisa and he has two daughters. Emily will receive her Doctorate in June and Sarah will receive her Masters Degree next May. Lauren is married to Michael and they have two children, Ilana and Jacob. They live in Buffalo Grove. Ilana graduated from College of DuPage with an Associates Degree in Applied Science in Cosmetology. She will continue her education at DePaul University in the fall and will receive her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management. Jacob is a Junior at Buffalo Grove High School. Over the years, I have served on many committees, both Congregational and Sisterhood. At the present time, I’m Corresponding Secretary for Sisterhood with the responsibility of writing the bulletin. I am on the Congregational Ritual Committee and serve as co-chairman of the High Holiday Honors Committee.

 

Michael Lehrer

Michael has been a member of BHBE for most of his life. At BHBE, he sings in the choir and occasionally leads davening, and has served in the leadership by being a member of various committees and on the Board of Directors, most recently as its Secretary. Michael graduated from Northwestern University, where he was a mathematics major and Jewish studies minor. He also played saxophone in the marching band, was active in the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, and coordinated the conservative minyan at Hillel. Professionally, Michael combines his passion for math and sports by ensuring that high profile clients in the sports industry have all the data they need. Michael and his wife Rachel Sacks, who runs a public health consulting firm, live in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago.

 

Cynthia Lerner

Cynthia Lerner has been a member of BHBE for about ten years.  During that time she has been a member of the BHBE Board, served three years as President of the BHBE Sisterhood, and is the Central Great Lakes Region Vice President of Membership.  Cynthia is an avid knitter–and zoom knits with her BHBE Sisterhood friends Tuesday mornings. She enjoys zooming with her family: Josh Garfinkel, Sam and Katie Garfinkel and their 8 month old Benjamin, and Rachel and AJ Zylberfink who are looking forward to the birth of their daughter, the end of June.  Cynthia was the Director of Enrollment at Solomon Schechter Day School for about 15 years and also worked at Moriah Preschool for two years.  She earned a Masters of Administration in Jewish Professional Services from Spertus Institute in 2011.

 

Alan Littmann

Alan and his wife, Jessica, joined Beth Hillel Bnai Emunah approximately 6 years ago, and in that time the congregation has become an integral part of their lives. Alan has served on the board for the last four years, including the last two years as Chair of Building and Grounds. He also served on the Rabbi search committee and co-chaired the Executive Director search committee. Outside of shul, Alan is a Partner at a law firm downtown (or in his dining room, depending on the status of the global pandemic). Jessica and Alan live in Evanston and have three daughters: Mira (16), Orli (11) and Dalia (7).

 

Marsha Lyons

I’ve been a member since 1995. I’ve held a myriad of leadership positions including Sisterhood President 2010-2012 and BHBE President 2016-2018. I’m currently on the General Board as the representative for the Past Presidents. I miss seeing everyone in Shabbat . Hope we’re totally back very soon.

 

Joan Meyers

My family has been part of the BHBE family for almost forty years.  Both sons attended and graduated from the Academy and attended Hebrew High. All of our family’s life cycle events including our children’s weddings, grandchildren’s brit and baby namings and sadder events were all officiated by our BHBE clergy. I became involved in BHBE through classes and through our Sisterhood; eventually, I became Sisterhood president and was Sisterhood Valued Volunteer of the Year through our Central Branch conference convention. I headed several Sisterhood nominating committees, coordinated the Lox Box for many years and worked on the Synagogue Book Fair.  I’m also a graduate of the Melton two-year learning program.  I previously served on the Congregation and Executive Board as recording secretary.  I am now completing a two year term as Congregation Board member and am looking forward to the next two year term. Presently, I can be found in the Sisterhood Judaica Gift Shop (for the past ten years) as Co-Manager.

 

Harris Miller

I have worked six years in customer service for Autohaus on Edens Mercedes-Benz in Northbrook. I bring in well over 100 outbound appointments per month into the service department and talk to people from all over the North Shore. I am civically involved in our community through several non-profit organizations. I serve as Secretary for the Morton Grove Historical Society (MGHS), Secretary for the Northeastern Illinois Historic League (NEIL) in Northbrook and board member for the Norwood Park Historical Society (NPHS) in Chicago where I run their Long Range Planning Committee (LRP). I created a Maintenance Spreadsheet for the NPHS’ LRP Committee to determine when appliances need to be replaced and when building maintenance should be done. I also completed several Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analyzes for NPHS and NEIL. Additionally, I conduct Chicago area history presentations to groups and run the “Go Explore Chicagoland” Blog.  As for my second home BHBE, I became a member with my family in 2000 to attend our Hebrew School and later our Ruach, Kadima and USY youth groups. After graduating from Lake Forest College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in History, I became active with the Social Action and Inclusion Committees. In 2018, I became an independent BHBE member after moving from my parents’ Morton Grove home to my apartment in Evanston and became a first term board member the same year. In 2021, I joined the Strategic Planning Committee where I serve on their Communications subcommittee and remain active with Social Action and Inclusion.

 

David Mogul

David Mogul lives in Winnetka with his wife Karen Schneider (an anesthesiologist) and more recently (… just in time for the Covid special) his three adult children Alexandra, Eli and Natalie. David is a professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He and the family have been members of Beth Hillel Bnai Emunah since 1994.

 

Jennifer Oppenheimer

I  have been a member of BHBE since 2002 and have served on the executive board as Treasurer and many committees over the years and am grateful for all the wonderful people I’ve met as part of those experiences and being part of the BHBE community in general.  Currently I am active on the social action, inclusion and finance committees and serve as chair of the investment committee.  I have particularly fond memories of many congregational retreats over the years.  I have lived in Skokie since 1992 and Chicago has been my home since college but I grew up in Dayton, Ohio where my family still lives. Professionally, I have worked over 20 years for Optima, Inc.. a real estate development company where I serve as a Senior Vice President.

 

Larry Plawsky

Larry Plawsky and his wife, Rachel, have been members of BHBE since 2017, not long after they moved from Chicago to Wilmette with their 2 children, Ben and Allie, who enjoy attending the Academy.  Larry is excited to work with other congregants to expand and enrich the BHBE community, while remaining faithful to Conservative Judaism. Larry is a long-time supporter of the Jewish United Fund, and when he was “young,” he served as President of the Young Leadership Division of JUF and as a member of the Governing Commission of the Hillels of Illinois.  Larry is currently an executive vice president at Ticketmaster, where he runs the company’s Marketplace.  He and his wife spend a substantial amount of time and treasure attending their kids’ soccer, baseball, and basketball games, along with numerous recitals and plays.

 

Harold Primack

Harold and his wife, Aileen, have been members of BHBE for 22 years.  He is currently the Chair of the House Building and Grounds Committee and was Chair of the committee in the past.  Harold was also President of the BHBE Men’s Club and is currently the Treasurer of the Men’s Club.  Outside of BHBE, Harold is active in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Northwestern University where he just completed a term as Evanston Campus Chair of the Advisory Council. He also coordinates study groups at OLLI.  He is Chair of the Skokie Commission on Family Services and a Trustee on the Skokie Police Pension Board.  And if that isn’t enough, Harold and Aileen babysit for three of their grandchildren twice a week.  Prior to all this, Harold earned degrees in Chemical Engineering and worked for BP Corp. in several roles including Process Design Engineer where he designed petroleum refinery units and Environmental Business Manager where he managed a portfolio of over 400 contaminated marketing sites.  Harold and Aileen have two grown children, a son, Ross (41), living in Texas and a daughter, Cheryl (38), living in Highland Park.

 

Bev Reinglass

I have been a member of BHBE for almost 45 years. During that time I have been honored to serve in a variety of volunteer roles:  VP of Administration, Ways and Means, Membership, Secretary, have been appointed to the Executive Committee by 2 Presidents, served as Sisterhood President and First Lady to President Howard Reinglass. All three of our children have been married by Beth Hillel clergy. I consider our BHBE friends like family and look forward to years of ongoing religious, educational and social growth.

 

Sheldon Reis

My wife, Judy, and I have been members of BHBE since 1992. We have a son, Lewis, and daughter-in-law, Rebecca, who live in Chicago. I am currently serving my third 2-year term on the BHBE General Board. I have been the Men’s Club Ritual VP since 2009. This year I added the role of Chairman of the BHBE Legacy Committee, which works to build the BHBE Endowment Fund by encouraging our members to leave a legacy bequest to BHBE in their estate plans. I retired in 2016 from my career as an Information Technology manager at Bank of America. Since then, I’ve been enjoying travel, golf, and Lifelong Learning programs at Northwestern and National Louis Universities, along with my BHBE activities. I’m especially looking forward to resuming in-person morning and evening minyans.


Harriet Robbins-Ost 

For 24 years, BHBE has been an integral part of my family’s life. We happily have celebrated our children’s b’nai mitzvah, grandchildren’s baby namings, and many other smachot with our BHBE family. I have been involved in many areas of our community, some of which are choir, school board, sisterhood executive board, LGBTQ inclusion committee, cantor search committees, and chanting Hebrew Scripture for the congregation. I bring a diversified professional background to my responsibilities on the Board of Directors: I have experience as a lawyer, religious school teacher and education director (kindergarten through 10th grade and adults), and secular high school teacher in English, history, and law. As I enter my second year on the Board, I look forward to continuing to serve by drawing on my skills, life experience, and devotion to our congregation. I am honored to work alongside the other board members to help keep our synagogue vibrant and at the forefront of the Jewish community.

 

Gail Schneiderman

Gail was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and came to the United States as a youngster with her parents. She and her husband Irwin have been members of BHBE since 1978. Their son and daughter celebrated their b’nai mitzvahs at BHBE and the next generation – two of their eight grandchildren, as well. Gail, a former primary and art teacher, has been on the Sisterhood and Board of Directors boards for many years, serving in various capacities, including nominating and search committees.  On the Sisterhood board she was in charge for 20 years of creating themed decorations for their events and is their publicity chair. Gail has been the synagogue’s publicity person for over 30 years.  Her fascination with publicity work began as a volunteer for Wilmette area schools and later for organizations such as Hadassah and Women’s League for Conservative Judaism. So the next time you’re reading about BHBE in the newspaper, on-line or watching a news story about our synagogue on TV, you’ll know who spread the word.

 

Robin Smulson

I, Robin Smulson am the shaliach tzibur at Tuesday morning minyans.  Once a month on Saturday mornings,   at the start of Shabbat Services and on the High Holy Days I chant Pseukai  D’Zimra . I am a past Central Branch Region President, Sisterhood President, and Atid-Shalom Hadassah President.  I graduated the two year Melton educational program.  I was on the Rabbi’s search committee.  I am currently co-manager of BHBE Judaica Shop. I am married to my wonderful husband, Paul, a retired oral surgeon.  We live in Wilmette, IL where we raised two daughters, Gabrielle and Randi.  Gabrielle is married to David having two adorable boys (Chase-9 Ethan -7).  Randi is married to Zachary having two beautiful daughters (Anabella- 7 Alexandra-5).

 

Helen Stopek

Helen Stopek was on the board of Congregation B’nai Zion and also after the merger with Shaare Tikvah, when we became Shaare Tikvah B’nai Zion.  At BZ, when I retired from teaching in 1963, I became Sisterhood president.  As president I attended all branch conferences and Women’s League conventions.  When we became STBZ in 2002, Shaare Tikvah had not had a Sisterhood in about 10 years and I invigorated the women to join Sisterhood, and they were pretty active until the membership of the congregation began going down, then it became difficult to do much.

 

Barbara Ungar

Tom and I joined BHBE in 2003 with our children Allison, Jonathan, and Megon. I was welcomed into Sisterhood by a group of wonderful women. Serving on the BHBE Sisterhood board I started as the culminating dinner co-chair followed by VP of Programming and am proud to say I am the current Sisterhood president. My husband is also active in the Men’s Club and serves as one of the vice presidents in the organization. Two of our children are married. Jon and his wife Meaghan live in New York. Megon and her husband Luke live in Philadelphia. Our oldest daughter Allison lives in Los Angeles and just signed her first contract as a film writer. To keep us busy, we have two dogs – Augie a Fox Terrier and Mackenzie a Kerry Blue Terrier. I am retired from my teaching job in Wilmette. I taught for 8 years in fifth and second grades and for 22 years was a school librarian for students in kindergarten through fourth grade. I am currently a library consultant for several school districts, helping them with their library curriculum and redesigning their library spaces. In between my teaching careers, I owned and operated a dessert catering business for 10 years. My three favorite hobbies are reading, cooking, and gardening.

 

Jennifer Wertheimer

I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and immigrated to the United States in 1976, together with my parents and siblings. I have two children, Michael and Leslie.  Michael is engaged to be married in June 2022 and lives in Chicago. Leslie and her husband live the U.K. My late husband Jay, and I joined Beth Hillel about 30 years ago.    Jay served on the both the general board as well as the executive board and I served on the Beth Hillel education board for several years. My children were bar and bat mitzvahed at Beth Hillel and in between their special days I joined the adult bar and bat mitzvah class and was bat mitzvahed at Beth Hillel too. Jay died in November 2004. I decided to return to school and received certification in Non-for-Profit Management and also certified in medical and research grant writing. I joined the Division of Gastroenterology at NorthShore University HealthSystem in September 2006 to create Continuing Medical Education programs for the division, and served on the Pancreatic Cancer research team. I also assisted both Cardiology and Internal Medicine with the development of their Continuing Education programs. In 2012, I was instrumental in founding a Gastroenterology Fellowship.  I managed the fellowship until my retirement in December 2020. I look forward to becoming involved again and keeping our synagogue vibrant, and very necessary.

 

Beth Zadik

Since 2012, my family and I have been enjoying BHBE. Our three children celebrated their bar/bat mitzvot and completed the Academy. Since my favorite part of the synagogue is our community, I strive to give back. I have been on many committees throughout the years and I am pleased to serve on the Executive Board. My life outside of synagogue… 25+ years working in management consulting and corporate learning and development. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, exploring new cities, making art, playing games, and walking. My side gigs include doing energy work and IamWhoIMeet.com (platform to share gratitude for people who’ve inspired your growth and learning).