Temple sinai board (Click here to read the recent board minutes)





Sara Klein

is proud and delighted to be the first convert to Judaism to serve as President of Temple Sinai. She, her husband Tom, and their children Will and Julia have been members of Temple Sinai since 1999. Sara has been involved in leadership at Temple Sinai for many years, having served as a Board member from 2003 to 2011 in various at-large, ex officio, and executive capacities. Together with Janine Bloch, she co-chaired the search that led to hiring Sue Bojdak as Director of Education. With Sam Schuchat, she co-chaired the search that led to the naming of Rabbi Mates-Muchin as Senior Rabbi. Sara is a corporate and commercial attorney practicing mostly in the biotechnology industry.

Sara can be emailed at: [email protected]

Vice President



Joan Waranoff 

has been a member of Temple Sinai since 1987 where her two children, Katherine and Andy, attended Religious School. Joan currently serves as chair of the Technology Task Force and is on the Capital Campaign/Yesod leadership team. She is also a member of the Development Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Administrative Planning Committee. Prior to retirement, Joan worked in the health insurance industry in medical informatics. In her free time, she enjoys painting and yoga.

Vice President


Anne Schmitz

and her family have been Temple Sinai members since 2001. Both of her children attended Temple Sinai Preschool and Religious School and became b’nei mitzvah at Temple Sinai. Anne served on the Temple Sinai Board of Trustees both as an ex-officio Board member, in her capacity as President of the Preschool Parent Committee for two years from 2007 to 2009, and as an at-large Board member for four years from 2009 to 2012. She was a member of the Education Committee, a leader of the Re-Imagine Taskforce for the Religious School, a member of Temple Sinai’s Governance Taskforce, and one of the drafters of the 2016 amendments to Temple Sinai’s bylaws. She is currently the chair of Temple Sinai’s Personnel Committee. Anne is an attorney, and a Deputy Commissioner at the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board.



Jon Braslaw 

has been a Temple Sinai member since 2003, when he blended with his wife, Robin Flagg, who has been a member since 1998. They have four kids. In addition to his Board service, Jon is a member of the Finance Committee and Sinai Green. Jon is a senior manager with Recology, an environmental services company based in San Francisco. He also chairs the Board of Friends of the Urban Forest, a San Francisco, non-profit environmental organization.



Liz Daoust

and her husband Mark have been members of Temple Sinai since 2014. All three of their daughters—Lucy, Annie, and Phoebe—attended Temple Sinai Preschool, and have continued on as religious school students. Liz served as President of the Preschool Parent Committee from 2016 to 2017, where she spearheaded many community building events and fundraising efforts for the school. She has also served as a team captain for the Yesod Campaign and began studying for her bat mitzvah with Rabbi Mates-Muchin in 2016. Liz received her BA from Williams College and her Master’s in Education Policy and Management from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. She is a former middle school teacher and dean, and has also worked in nonprofit management, fundraising, and educational recruiting.




Matti Fromson

has been a member of Temple Sinai since 2009, with her husband, Tom Mayhew, and their daughter, Julia. Her daughter attended Temple Sinai Preschool and is now a Temple Sinai Religious School student. Matti serves on Temple Sinai's Ritual Committee and Education Committee, and was a member of the Family Engagement Taskforce. She also served on the executive committee of the Preschool Parent Committee, and created educational materials which were distributed by both the preschool and religious school to enhance family home ritual practice. Matti was part of the Leading with Jewish Values 2013-2014 cohort. She joined the Board in 2013. Matti is a criminal defense attorney, specializing in white collar criminal cases. She and her family live in Berkeley. 


Members of the BOARD OF TRUSTEES


Megan Bacigalupi 

and her husband John have been members of Temple Sinai since 2015 when they moved to Oakland from New York City and the first of her two sons started at the preschool. Now her younger son attends preschool and her oldest attends religious school. She is currently the President of the Preschool Parent Committee where she spearheads community building and fundraising efforts. She is an attorney and Legal Director at an Oakland nonprofit, Start Small Think Big.  Megan earned her BA from UCLA and JD at UC Hastings.

Calvin Gibbs 

has been a member of Temple Sinai since 2001, with his wife, Donna Gibbs, and their two children, Zoe and David. Both of his children attended Temple Sinai Religious School and became b’nei mitzvah at Temple Sinai. Calvin served on Temple Sinai’s Diversity Committee from 2010 to 2012. He collaborated with committee members to deliver the “Faces of Sinai” photo collection, was a participant in the “Creating an Inclusive Jewish Community Initiative,” and led an additional collaborative effort with the interfaith organization Building Jewish Bridges. The program was successfully covered by JWeekly in its “Men Behaving Jewishly” article. Calvin is an IT Product Professional, specializing in the delivery of desktop and mobile product applications.

Diane Grauer

and her family have been members of Temple Sinai since 2012, when the first of her two sons started at the preschool.  Both boys have now finished preschool, and will attend Sunday religious school. Diane served on the Preschool Parent Committee, both as a room parent and as Ritual Chair. She is a former senior project manager at ICON Clinical Research, currently enjoying a break from working. She and her family live in Oakland.  

Richard Hart 

has been a member at Sinai since 2000 and has somehow attended over 600 Torah Study mornings. Aside from wrestling with our texts, Richard is also the chair of Sinai Green, the group which brings you Havdallah Hikes, Tu b’shvat seders, the annual outdoor shabbat, and many temple-wide initiatives to reduce our footprint. He is also the co-chair of the annual Holiday Dinner Drive with Dan McClosky. Richard grew up in London, and is married with one daughter.

Melissa Heller 

has been a member of Temple Sinai since 2002 and currently serves on the Development Committee and Yesod as a Team Captain. Originally from New Jersey, Melissa now lives in Oakland with husband, Steven Douglas, and children Sandler and Isley as well as Newfoundland, Molly. Both of her children attended religious school, Sandler becoming a bar mitzvah in 2014 and Isley becoming a bat mitzvah in December 2017. Melissa works in Development, at George Mark Children’s House, the first freestanding pediatric palliative care facility in the US.


Neil Jacobson

and his wife Denise have been members of Temple Sinai since 1992. Neil chairs the Access Committee and represents them on the Board of Trustees. He was on the Midrasha Board when their son David attendee that program. Neil has presented at several national URJ conferences as well as at Hebrew University in New York. After 29 years of working for Wells Fargo as a disabled IT professional, he retired as a Sr. Vice President to start a disability-focused employment company that specializes in consulting on staffing and placement issues.

Joshua Kuluva

and his family joined Temple Sinai five years ago when their son, Lev, entered preschool. He is a native Californian, growing up in Los Angeles, and has been involved with Jewish organizations since he was a young child. He spent many summers as a camp counselor with Jewish youth groups and lived on a kibbutz in Israel prior to attending UC Berkeley. He has been active in the synagogue in various activities, joining two chavurahs, participating in the garden committee, and selling "shwag" for the religious school. His son currently attends the religious school. After completing his medical training in New York City, he and his wife moved to the East Bay to work at Alta Bates Medical Center and they have found a very welcoming community at Temple Sinai. Joshua is deeply committed to the survival of Jewish institutions and is looking forward to serving on Temple Sinai’s Board of Trustees. Currently, Joshua is a practicing neurologist and psychiatrist with offices in San Francisco and Oakland.

Laurie Leiber

and her husband Phil Rubin joined Temple Sinai in 1993. Their children, Sarah and Jacob, graduated from the Religious school and attended Midrasha. Laurie is a past program chair for Women of Temple Sinai, past chair of the Hospitality Committee, member of the adult volunteer choir, and helps to create programs through the Fine Arts Committee on Culture and Community. Laurie has participated in both the WTS Shabbat and the Creative Community Service.  She manages the secret society known as the Temple Sinai Bakers Guild. Laurie has a Masters in Public Health and currently works as a certified Pilates instructor and as the principal instructor for Bake Your Own Amazing Bagels.



Maya Levi

Maya Levi is a senior in high school and a 3rd generation member of Temple Sinai. Her grandparents were married at Sinai, and her mother taught Religious school and served on the board. Sinai is like a second home to Maya, as she attended Temple Sinai Preschool and religious school, and was confirmed in 2017. She is now in her 5th year as a Madricha at the religious school and is excited to have a role on the board in which she can represent youth and education at Temple Sinai. 

Jim Manheimer

and his family have been members of Temple Sinai since 2006. Both his children became b’nei mitzvah at Temple Sinai. A public school teacher and administrator, Jim brought a strong understanding of issues pertaining to youth education to his work as a longstanding member Temple Sinai’s Education Committee and co-chair of Temple Sinai’s Teen Task Force. He was deeply involved in the Religious School’s Re-Imagine initiative. Jim previously served as an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2010.

Susan Rosenthal 

has been a member of Temple Sinai with her husband, Howie Perlin, since 2000. She has served on the Education Committee, Adult Education Committee and Personnel Committee. Her son, David, became a Bar Mitzvah in 2006 and she was part of the Adult B’Not Mitzvah Group of 2015. Susan went to Israel with Rabbi Chester in 2008 and has taken many classes at Temple Sinai. Professionally she is a union representative for public sector employees and is actively engaged in locally progressive political work. The great joy in her life is her granddaughter, Lilia.

Frances Rotolo

I was born in 1957 in New Orleans, LA to a mother of spanish decent and a father of french and sicilian decent. I was raised by my catholic paternal grandparents in Harvey, LA. I joined the Navy in March of 1977 and served for 12 years in various jobs at stateside and overseas duty stations. I was honorably discharged in September 1988 due to homosexuality. That's it. No other reason. I remained in the San Francisco bay area after my discharge.

Twenty-five years ago started a relationship with a nice Jewish girl, Allyce Kimerling. We began attending services at Temple Sinai in 1994 when Allyce moved in with me in Oakland. We moved to Fresno, CA for approximately 4½ years when Allyce got a job there. While in Fresno I converted to Judaism. Well, afterall, I was living a very jewish life. When we moved back to the bay area in 2001 we became members of Temple Sinai.

I've served as the Oneg Committee Chair for several years, I'm a member of the Access Committee and am currently serving my third term on the Temple Board.

Bart Schenone

has been a member of Temple Sinai for 25 years, while his wife, Sandie, has been with Temple Sinai since her parents became members in about 1954. Their son, Ben, was a Bar Mitzvah in 2001. Bart has been active in the Brotherhood and is now serving on the Board of Trustees for a second time. In working time, Bart is a trusts and estates lawyer. You will find him at Tuesday Minyan.

Sydney Firestone Schimmel 

and her family have been Temple Sinai members since 1993.  Her two daughters attended Religious School and Midrasha and became b’nai mitzvah at Temple Sinai.  Sydney became an adult bat mitzvah in 2010.  She has served on the board of the Women of Temple Sinai as Treasurer.  She has served as an ex officio member of the Temple Sinai Board of Trustees, representing Women of Temple Sinai, and in 2017 she was elected by the Board to fill an open at-large Board position.  Sydney is currently a member of Temple Sinai’s Finance Committee and the Accounting Taskforce.  She is also on the board of the Pacific District of WRJ as its budget committee chair.  Sydney is a retired Deloitte director, where she was a forensic accountant in its Financial Advisory Services practice.  Sydney serves on other regional not-for-profit boards as well, including the Alameda County Community Food Bank.  


Debra Schoenberg

and her family joined Temple Sinai when they relocated to the Bay Area in 2009. Her daughter attended Sinai’s preschool and her son became a Bar Mitzvah at the Temple in 2014, and they both attend Sinai’s religious school. Debra is the chair of the Temple Sinai Capital Campaign and is a member of the Development Committee.  Prior to relocating to California, she lived on the East Coast and was the president of the Board of her congregation. She is the owner and principal attorney of the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., a boutique Family Law firm in San Francisco. Outside of work and Temple, she sits on the Regional Board of the New Israel Fund, is a member of Berkeley Rep’s Corporate Council, and sings with the San Francisco Bach Choir.

Andrew Shear

his wife Lynne Lazarus, and their two children, Leah and Sam, became members of Temple Sinai in 2006, shortly after they moved to California. Andrew has served on the Education Committee since 2011 and sits on the board as the current chair of the Education Committee. Andrew was also a member of the Youth Task Force that designed Temple Sinai's new teen program, SiTY. Both of Andrew's children were educated in Temple Sinai's religious school, became b'nai mitvah, participated in Midrasha, and served as Madrachim. Andrew has been a criminal defense attorney since 1994 and is currently a Deputy State Public Defender, representing death-sentenced clients on direct appeal before the California Supreme Court. 

Karen Tanner

and her husband, Randy Perrin, along with their two daughters, Tova and Hannah, joined Temple Sinai in 1989. Both girls went through Bat Mitzvah, confirmation and graduation at Temple Sinai. Karen had her Bat Mitzvah 2010!  Karen is on the board of the Women of Temple Sinai, and a member of the Adult Ed. Committee and New Member Welcoming Committee. She served on the original Special Education Committee for the Religious School. Karen toured Spain with Rabbi Chester and the Temple community in 2007. She is a Child Development Specialist and consults part time with mental health staff, educators and parents regarding young children with developmental or behavioral challenges. She also has been taking Taiko classes and loves it!


Philip Witte 

and his family have been members of Temple Sinai since 2003. Phil served on the fundraising committee for Midrasha, and is a member of both the Temple Brotherhood and a Temple Sinai men’s group. Phil has presented programs at Temple Sinai and other synagogues, and has assisted the temple’s Fine Arts Committee. Daughter, Margot, graduated from the temple’s religious school and Midrasha, and served as a student representative on the Midrasha board. Phil’s wife, Rebecca Schnier, is an architect. Phil is also on the Alumni Committee for Princeton University and volunteers for Princeton-in-Asia. In addition to his career as a cartoonist and humor writer, he is a partner at the law firm of Morison & Prough, LLP in Walnut Creek, and has received awards for his pro bono legal work. 

Erik Zwerling

and his wife, Christine, have been members of Temple Sinai since 2009. Their two boys, Xander and Levi, graduated from the preschool and currently attend the religious school. Erik was a Vision & Planning Task Force member 2015-2019 and is currently serving his 2nd term on the board. Over a 23 year career, Erik developed & managed products in the interactive entertainment and online reference industries. Erik released over 100 products for companies such as Electronic Arts, The Learning Company/Mattel Interactive, Ubisoft, Disney Interactive, and Since retiring from the tech space in 2018, Erik founded his own business, Make Life EZ, providing personalized tech support and office assistance services for individuals and small businesses in the East Bay.

Immediate Past-President



Sam Schuchat 

and his wife, Ilana DeBare, have been members of the Temple since 1993, where their daughter Rebecca was Bat Mitzvah in 2007. Sam grew up in Washington DC, where his parents founded Temple Micah, a Reform synagogue. Sam has served two terms on the Board, including stints as chair of the Personnel Committee and as Treasurer. After leaving the board he continued to serve on the Finance Committee, and he has served on Lech L’Cha, the Organizational Review Task Force, Im Tirzu, and the search committees for our Senior Rabbi and Executive Director. Sam has been part of the Mizmor Shir! band for years, and plays harmonica and saxophone occasionally at other services as well. When not volunteering at Temple Sinai, Sam is the Executive Officer of the California State Coastal Conservancy. He has held this post for 15 years, and has worked in the environmental movement in California and nationally for over 25 years.