Sign In Forgot Password

Board of Trustee Officers

Jon Braslaw, President 
Jon has been a Temple Sinai member since 2003, when he blended families with his wife, Robin Flagg, who has been a member since 1998. They have four kids. Jon has been a member of Sinai Green and has served as Treasurer and a Member of the Executive Committee before becoming president in November 2019.  Jon is a senior manager with Recology, an environmental services company based in San Francisco.  “I enjoy connecting with our members and working to keep our community strong and vibrant.  You can contact me at president@oaklandsinai.org."

Joan Waranoff, Vice President
Joan 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.

Anne Schmitz, Vice President
Anne 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.

Andrew Shear, Vice President
Andrew, 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. 

Sydney Firestone Schimmel, Treasurer 
Sydney 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.  

Liz Daoust, Secretary
Liz 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.

 Sara Klein, Immediate Past President
Sara 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.

 

Board of Trustee Members

Calvin Gibbs 
Calvin 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.

 

Ann Gordon

 

Richard Hart 
Richard 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 
Melissa 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
Neil and his wife Denise have been members of Temple Sinai since 1992. Neil chaired the Access Committee and represented them on the Board of Trustees for many years. He was on the Midrasha Board when their son David attended that program. He was an active member of the Strategic Visioning Task Force and is now working with the Temple’s Strategic Planning Task Force. 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
Josh 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
Laurie 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.

 

Rebecca McEntee

 

Jim Manheimer
Jim 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 
Susan 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
Frances was born in 1957 in New Orleans, LA to a mother of Spanish decent and a father of French and Sicilian decent. She was raised by catholic paternal grandparents in Harvey, LA. She joined the Navy in March of 1977, served for 12 years in various jobs at stateside and overseas duty stations and was honorably discharged in September 1988 due to homosexuality. That's it. No other reason. After being discharged, Frances remained in the San Francisco bay area. Twenty-five years ago, Frances started a relationship with a nice Jewish girl, Allyce Kimerling and began attending services at Temple Sinai in 1994 when Allyce and Frances moved in together in Oakland. They moved to Fresno, CA for approximately 4½ years when Allyce got a job there, and while in Fresno, Frances converted to Judaism stating, "Well, afterall, I was living a very jewish life." They became members of Temple Sinai in 2001 after moving back to the Bay Area. Frances has served as the Oneg Committee Chair for several years, has been a member of the Access Committee and is currently serving her third term on the Temple Board.

Bart Schenone
Bart 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.

Debra Schoenberg
Debra and her family joined Temple Sinai when they relocated to the Bay Area in 2009. Her daughter attended Sinai’s preschool and both of her children attended religious school and celebrated their B’nei Mitzvah at the Temple. Debra was the co-chair of the Yesod Capital Campaign. 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, Debra sits a number of boards, including the Regional Board of the New Israel Fund, Camp Newman and Lava Mae. She is a member of Berkeley Rep’s Corporate Council and a member of the Program and Planning Committee of Jewish Family and Children’s services of San Francisco. She also sings with the San Francisco Bach Choir.

Karen Tanner
Karen 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!

 

Karen Tiedemann

 

Philip Witte 
Phil 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
Erik 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 Dictionary.com. 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.

 

Sun, April 5 2020 11 Nisan 5780