Board Biographies

Carla Banoff

My husband Neil and I live in Skokie and have been members of BHBE since 1997.  BHBE closely matches my upbringing. I grew up in the Conservative movement, attended Anshe Emet Day School, & Synagogue and often read Torah/Haftorah. 

I thoroughly enjoy singing in the BHBE High holiday choir. I have served both on the Executive and General boards of the Sisterhood. One of the Sisterhood committees that I helped to coordinate is the Sisterhood Kugel baking for Shiva houses. I am currently coordinating the Sisterhood planting of JNF trees in memory of loved ones.

I chaired the Zumba Special interest group in addition to serving on the Adult Education Committee.

All 3 of our daughters, (Lisa, Jenna, and Rachel) went to Solomon Schechter, celebrated their Bat Mitzvahs at BHBE, and were very active in USY.

Lisa and my son-in-law Matt Rothenberg were married at BHBE and have three children (Leora-6, Ayelet-4 ,  Ariel -21 months).

One of my favorite things to do on Shabbat at BHBE, is to spend  time with my grandchildren in the thriving Tot Shabbat and the Mini  Minyan community!

My educational background is BBA Accounting / MBA Finance. I am honored to serve on the BHBE Board of Directors.

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 partner in a creative agency and executive creative director of a food startup. Most days, the work is fun. Some days, the work is work. These days, most of the work happens at home. Dan doesn’t miss commuting every day, though he does miss the free office snacks.  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.

Ken Cohen

Ken Cohen’s involvement with BHBE began in 1973 as a post-Bar Mitzvah teen when his family moved to Wilmette from Long Island, and resumed in 1999 when he and his then-young family (wife Elizabeth and children Lauren and Alex) moved back to Wilmette.  Professionally, he is a psychiatrist in private practice after 20 years of leading a multidisciplinary team at a University training clinic treating the seriously mentally ill. At BHBE, he helped develop the Children’s High Holiday Service prayerbook before serving for 4 years as Academy VP and on various committees including Membership, Finance, Nominating, Capital Campaign and Rabbi Search. After a 7-year hiatus from synagogue leadership work, he brings perspective with renewed energy and enthusiasm to help lead the congregation during this period of transition.

Tim Comar

Timothy D. Comar has been a member of BHBE since 1998. Both of his children attended BHBE Academy. He grew up in Wilmette and currently resides in Wilmette. At BHBE, he has previously served on the Board and served for many years on the School Board. He also served for six years on the Board of Jewish Education. Professionally, he has spent most of career as a mathematics professor, and currently, he is a professional mathematics tutor for students at the middle school, high school, and college levels.

Fran Diamond

Fran has been a member of BHBE since 2005. Her son Sam became a Bar Mitzvah and was confirmed at the Academy. She has previously served on the Executive Board as VP Academy Chair, and on the School Board, Membership, and Library committees, as well as 6 years on the General Board. She has also served frequently as gabbai at Shabbat services, participated in choir and Purim spiels, and enjoys leyning Torah (with enough notice!). She lives in Skokie with her husband Eric and works full time in advertising and marketing strategy. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois (BA in history and English) and Northwestern University (MS in Integrated Marketing).

Laurie Feinstein

Laurie and Joel have been members of BHBE since 1991. They live in Wilmette and have 3 children, Joshua (30), Jeremy (27) and Ocean (25) 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, LGBTQ inclusion, 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, who used to work with students in various school districts, but in 2022 chose to retire and is now enjoying her free time and retirement.

Adam Goldfarb

Adam Goldfarb, CPA, is a managing director at KPMG in the real estate tax practice. Adam is originally from Minneapolis, where he attended Jewish day school, followed by UW-Madison, graduating 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 and Lia moved to Glenview from Lakeview in 2018. Adam is passionate about Conservative Judaism and loves attending Tot Shabbat each week with Lia and their daughters, Serena (6) and Mae (3). Adam’s hobbies include travel and gardening. Adam looks forward to serving the BHBE community as treasurer and also as the “Kiddush Enthusiast”.

 Andrea Graham

Andrea Graham, PhD, is thrilled to have joined the BHBE Board. She and her family became members of BHBE in 2023 and have loved getting involved in this warm and welcoming community. Andrea is Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and is Co-Director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies. She is involved in the Jewish United Fund, currently serving on the Young Women’s Board. Originally from South Florida, Andrea completed college and graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis. She lives in Evanston with her husband Josh and their two sons, Myles and Rafi. 

David Greenstein

Allison Kamen

Allison, her husband Mike McElwee, and daughter Molly started attending Tot Shabbat at BHBE in 2015. It was clear this is where they wanted to be. Molly is active in Junior Congregation and loves her Academy class. Allison is the niece of the late Dolly and Herb Moline and grew up celebrating many family events at BHBE. She even had her Bat Mitzvah party in Spak. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in Behavioral Sciences and Law and Sociology and is currently a Health and Benefits Consultant. Most recently, Allison participated in the BHBE Strategic Planning committee and Membership committee. Allison grew up in Highland Park and now lives in Evanston with her family.

 Joan Kripke

I was reared in an observant, Conservative household in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin and then Birmingham, Michigan and attended Camp Ramah in Wisconsin from 1965-1973,and 1975-76, as a camper and staff member.  I attended the University of Michigan, receiving an A.B in 1973, an M.U.P. in 1978, and a J.D. in 1986.  In all the years as a student in Ann Arbor, I worked for Beth Israel Congregation as a teacher, or (and mainly) as a Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor.  Coinciding with my sophomore year, I met Rabbi Kensky, when he came to Ann Arbor to lead his first congregation. After almost 30 years as an appellate prosecutor for the State of Illinois, I retired on December 31, 2019.  I am married to Malachy Gunther, a life-long Chicagoan, Cubs fan, and retired Chicago police officer.

I am an avid reader and swimmer, still swimming on a master’s swim team in Elgin (where I worked). I swam in the 2009 Maccabiah in Israel on the master’s team, and have 9 medals stashed in a drawer.  I also am an avid, but lousy, bridge player.

Rochelle Leff

My husband, Alan and I joined Beth Hillel in 1968. I had my Adult Bat Mitzvah after studying with Rabbi David Lincoln. 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.

 

Cynthia Lerner

Cynthia Lerner has been a member of BHBE for about eleven years.  She has been a member of the BHBE Board and served three years as President of the BHBE Sisterhood.  Cynthia is finishing up a two-year term as Ritual Chairperson and enjoys seeing more and more people attending Shabbos morning services here at BHBE.  Cynthia is currently the co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and looks forward to presenting the committee’s two years of work to the congregation.  She is an avid knitter and also loves to read.  She enjoys spending time with her family in Chicago, Josh Garfinkel, Sam and Katie Garfinkel and their almost three year-old son Benjamin, and in Boston, Rachel, AJ and two year old Charlie (Charlotte) Zylberfink.

Steve Levin

Steve Levin became a bar mitzvah at Bnai Emunah and is thrilled to be back in the BHBE community. He has been active in the Chicagoland Jewish Community, previously serving as co-chair on the Young Adult Division Board at Anshe Emet Synagogue. Steve is also a graduate of the Glass Leadership Institute (GLI) within the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and met with congressional staff as an ADL volunteer during federal lobby days. He is also an in-house CPA at a law firm in Chicago and a freelance trumpet player. Steve lives in Skokie with his wife, Cathy, and children, Hannah and Alyssa.

Jessica Littmann

Jessica, her husband Alan, and their daughters Mira, Orli, and Dalia have been members of BHBE since 2015. Jessica graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in history and holds an MsEd from Northwestern. She has taught humanities and English language arts at several public and private schools in the area. For the past several years, Jessica has worked as a freelance writer and editor. She is always looking for book recommendations, great restaurants, and her keys. Jessica has served on the Academy Board, the Retreat planning committee, the Strategic Planning Facilities Task Force, and other BHBE committees.

 

Joan Meyers

My family has been part of the BHBE family for over 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 and coordinated the Lox Box for many years.  I’m also a graduate of the Melton two-year learning program.  I previously served on the Congregation and Executive Board as recording secretary and am now completing my last year term as a Congregation Board member.  I’m currently Sisterhood’s Ways and Means Vice-President with Marsha Lyons and can be found in the Sisterhood Judaica Gift Shop (for the past 15 years) as Co-Manager with Robin Smulson.

 

Harris Miller

I became a BHBE member with my family in 2000 to attend our Hebrew School and later our Ruach, Kadima and USY youth groups. In 2015, I graduated from Lake Forest College with a Bachelor of Arts in History and became active with the Social Action and Kulanu Committees, which I remain active with today. In July 2018, I became an independent BHBE member after moving from my parents’ home into my first apartment and a first term board member, which saw the beginning of the Covid Pandemic era in 2020. My second term began in July 2020 and continued through the duration of the Covid Pandemic. In fall 2020, I joined the Strategic Planning Committee and served on its Communications Subcommittee from January 2021 through June 2022. In July 2022, I became first term Recording Secretary and part of the BHBE Executive Board. In July 2023, I moved into my second apartment. As of July 2024, I’m on my second term as Recording Secretary as part of the BHBE Executive Board. I’m proud to call BHBE my second home away from home!

Stewart Miller

David Mogul

David and his family joined BHBE in 1994. He has served on the BHBE School Board as well as having had two prior terms on the General Board. Since the early 2000’s, David has also been very active in Keruv in the Conservative Jewish Movement which seeks to increase the welcoming of interfaith families to Conservative shuls.  His three children (Alexandra, Eli and Natalie) all graduated from the BHBE Hebrew School and were active in USY.  David graduated with a BS in electrical engineering (EE) at Cornell and an MS and PhD in EE at Northwestern. He was a postdoctoral fellow in Neurobiology at UChicago. He also earned an MBA at Northwestern. He has served as a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern U and at the Illinois Institute of Technology for a total of approximately 30 years, teaching and doing research in brain electrophysiology and seeking new therapeutics for neuropathologies and mental illness. He currently has Professor Emeritus status. Among its many positives, BHBE has always been an invaluable source of community and belonging. Preserving this for the Congregation is one of the most important goals for the synagogue leadership as BHBE navigates its next steps into the future. David looks forward to assisting in this mission in whatever way possible.

Shoshanna Reynolds

Shoshanna, her husband, Scott, and their three kids (Arianna, Ivy and Emmet) joined BHBE in 2018 after moving from the city to Glenview. They regularly attend Tot Shabbat and Junior Congregation, their girls are attend the Hebrew Academy, and they have all truly enjoyed becoming a part of this wonderful and warm community. Shoshanna has dedicated her entire career to fighting hate with ADL, serving as the Director of Development for ADL Midwest. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts in Judaic Studies and a minor in Sociology. She spent her junior year studying at Hebrew University, and a semester at Alexander Muss Institute for high school, both in Jerusalem.   

Harriet Robbins-Ost

For 27 years, BHBE has been an integral part of my family’s life. We happily have celebrated our children’s b’nai mitzvah, confirmations, 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 frequently chanting Hebrew Scripture for the congregation.

I have enjoyed serving for four years on the synagogue’s Board of Directors and am eager to take on an enhanced leadership role as the Executive Board’s VP Ritual and Religious Practices. I bring a diversified professional background to my responsibilities: 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.

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 and executive board members to help keep our synagogue vibrant and at the forefront of the Jewish community.

Fred Rosenwasser

My parents joined Beth Hillel in October of 1964. I was born in November of the same year. That’s how long I’ve been a member. My wife Minna and I have 2 daughters Rina and Abbi and 6 dogs. The synagogue has a lot of special memories to me and my family including my bar mitzvah, our wedding and 2 baby namings.

I consider it an honor to be a part of the board.

Elly Rouso

Our family joined Beth Hillel in 1980, and our daughters Lisa and Tammy graduated from the BHBE Hebrew School. I believe that being active in the Shul is very important for the future of BHBE, and have always enjoyed being part of the Sisterhood, and honored to serve on their board numerous times, currently as the Membership VP.

After receiving my B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago, we moved to Wilmette and raised our children here. Maurice and I opened a local business during the 1980’s, and later in life I enjoyed being a bookseller at the local Borders. I am the proud Savta to six grandchildren. 

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 mitzvot at BHBE  and the next generation – two of their eight grandchildren, as well. Gail, a former primary school 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 events and is their publicity chair. Gail has been the synagogue’s publicity person for over 35 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, online or watching a news story about our synagogue on TV, you’ll know who spread the word.

Gail Swerdlik

After retiring from 34 years of teaching in Chicago, I was asked to join the Academy board.  After five years, I was asked to be the chairperson.  When those two  years were up, I decided to focus more on Sisterhood activities.

Now I wish to return to attending Congregational Board Meetings, as well as my Sisterhood ones. My higher education is a B.A. in Music Education, a M.M. in Music Education, and a M.A. in Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management. 

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 (once again) the current Sisterhood president. I served on the BHBE Strategic Planning Committee, the Library Committee, and the past several Gala Committees. In addition, I am excited to use my creativity to design many of the publicity flyers for the congregation. Tom is also active in the Men’s Club and serves as one of the vice presidents in the organization. 

Our children are spread out coast to coast! Allison is pursuing an acting career in L.A. Jon is working in New York as a music composer. And Megon, along with her husband, Luke and their two sons, Freddie and Taron, are smack in the middle living in Highland Park. (lucky grandparents!)

We have two active terriers – Mackenzie and Schnitzel who recently made the move with us from Evanston to Deerfield. We are all still adjusting and happy to have help (anytime) unpacking boxes.

I am a retired school librarian and currently working as a library consultant for several school districts;  helping them write their library curriculum and redesigning their library spaces. I was also a classroom teacher, camp counselor, and owned and operated a dessert catering business for 10 years.

I look forward to working with the BHBE Board and Officers during this exciting time of transition.

Irving Zagorin

Originally from Lakewood, New Jersey, Irving came to Chicago to attend Illinois College of Optometry, graduating in 1969. After moving to Skokie in 1971, he joined Bnai Emunah four years later. He served on the Board for thirty years and was Chairman of the Board for the last ten. With his wife, Susan, they raised two boys and now have seven grandchildren. As he eases into retirement, he has chosen to serve in a leadership role in the congregation.