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Meet our Staff

Terrie Goren, Executive Director 
Terrie relocated from Madison WI where she completed her position as executive director of Temple Beth El (2016-2019). She also served as the executive director of the Madison Public Library Foundation (2007-2010), and Jewish Social Services of Madison (2010-2015). Prior to moving to Madison, Terrie lived in Allentown, PA where her past Jewish communal work included serving as the Lehigh University Hillel Director (2001 - 2006), president of Temple Beth El, Allentown PA (2002 – 2006), and other volunteer roles.

She has over twenty years of non-profit management experience in the Jewish community ranging from serving as a youth director, the director of a Hillel Society, Jewish Social Services, executive director of Temple Beth El and now Temple Sinai. She has a breadth of experiences to draw upon. Her strengths include fundraising, grant writing, strong fiscal management, establishing policies and protocols, organizational and leadership development and team building. Additionally, she has over thirty years of leadership and volunteer experience in community organizations.

Terrie is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). She earned a BA in Labor Relations from Douglass College - Rutgers University, a teaching certification in early childhood and elementary education, and has done graduate work in counseling and human services.

Stephanie Ben Simon, RJE, Director of Education
Stephanie comes to the Temple Sinai community harboring a passion for high-quality Jewish education for all ages and stages of our lives. She believes that Judaism is magical and can enhance our lives as we infuse each day with the rich wisdom of middot and mitzvot – values and good deeds – from our Jewish tradition.

Stephanie has experienced Jewish education first-hand in Israel and through involvement in many communities throughout the United States. These communities ranged from West Hartford, CT, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, to experiences in the Midwest, South, Northeast, and finally landing here in NorCal.  During her travels throughout Israel and the United States, she deeply valued the power of how organized Jewish communities from abroad, the Midwest, South and Northeast could solidify and enhance nurturing, reliable relationships.

While working in the field of Jewish Education, Stephanie obtained her MA in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Davidson School of Education and was awarded her Reform Judaism Educator Certificate. Stephanie is married to Shay Ben Simon – a native Israeli – and they are excited to grow their family here in Oakland, CA with all of you. Stephanie is especially ready to get to know you and what makes Judaism magical for you.

Ellen Lefkowitz, RJE, Early Childhood Director
Ellen holds a Joint Masters degree in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Service from Hebrew Union College. Since receiving her Masters degree, family and early childhood education have been the focus of her work. From 2003-2008, Ellen was the educator at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, CA. There she ran a weekly family education program, Hebrew school and helped to establish Gan Ami, the synagogue preschool. For the last two years, Ellen served as the Assistant Director at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center preschool. Her passion for Jewish early childhood education is based on the belief that the core mission of this work is to help children grow and to inspire families to embark on Jewish journeys.

Ellen is originally from Southern California. When not at work, she spends as much time outside as possible whether it is walking, bike riding, running or hiking. Her family and friends are her greatest blessings. She is so excited to be joining the staff of Temple Sinai Preschool!

Molly Peritore, Associate Early Childhood Director
I am passionate about working in the field of Early Childhood Education and strongly believe that all children are competent and capable. I attended The Evergreen State College and received a B.A. in Early Childhood Education. I have been teaching in ECE for the past fourteen years and the past ten in Jewish Early Childhood Education. I am excited to bring my knowledge and experience to my position as the Associate Director.

Michele Quiat, Youth Director
Michele is a Bay Area native. She grew up in Moraga and attended Temple Isaiah where she began her lifelong work with children. She earned a bachelor of science from the University of Arizona in Interior Design with a minor in Art History. After graduating, Michele joined Temple Sinai as a religious school teacher and loved it so much she went on to get her teaching credential from St. Mary’s college in Moraga.

Michele spent many summers at Camp Swig and continues to bring her love of Jewish camping and her abundance of energy to her work. She has served as the youth director at Temple Sinai since 2011, planning events for 4-6 graders, SiTY(Temple Sinai’s NFTY chapter) and 2 Rosh Hodesh groups for girls. She also runs the madrich progam for the religious school.

Michele lives in Lafayette with her husband, Ken, three teenage daughters and two dogs.

Isaac Zones: Song Leader
Isaac Zones is an Oakland based musician specializing in Jewish, spiritual, folk and family music. Isaac teaches music classes, leads prayer services, officiates lifecycle events, does concerts and performs for weddings and other celebrations. Isaac learned to play guitar at Camp Tawonga and has worked on staff almost every summer since 2001. Isaac made a CD with his friend Melita called “My Roots Go Down” which has been distributed to 10s of thousands of families around the country by PJ Library multiple times. The CD also won a Parents’ Choice award across all genres of music. Isaac plays bigger shows with the uplifting Jewgrass party band SHAMATi.

Isaac was born and raised in San Francisco where he attended Brandeis Hillel Day School and later graduated from Lowell High School. Isaac was bar-mitzvah’d at conservative Congregation Beth Sholom where he trained with Adi Weiss and Rabbi Alan Lew.  Isaac attended Pomona College where he majored in Religious Studies and Mathematics.

Before prioritizing music as a profession Isaac led many Jewish young adult programs including being the founding director of Moishe House. Isaac enjoys playing sports, exploring music and Jewish identity, working for a more just society with fuller lives for all of us and spending time with family, friends and his loving life partner Vivian.



Mon, September 21 2020 3 Tishrei 5781