Staff. Supporting the Beth Am community.

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At Beth Am, we are pleased to have such a dedicated staff who run the Beth Am operations and programs for our community.

Rabbi David Kornberg, Senior Rabbi
Rabbi Matthew Earne, Rabbi, Director of the Jewish Learning Center
Mark Gulner, Executive Director
Susan Mualim, Director of Activities & Communications
Allie Donahoo, Director of Youth Activities
Denise Neifeld, Preschool Director
Tammy Marcus, Associate Preschool Director
Victor Ding, Head of Accounting
Kate Stordahl, Accounting Assistant
Heather Ray, Administrative Associate
Bonnie Cohen, Rabbis’ Assistant
Shirley Efron, Front Desk / Donations
Jose Ocegueda Jr., Maintenance Supervisor
Rikki Sher, JLC Administrative Assistant

Rabbi Kornberg, Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Kornberg has been a part of the Beth Am family since 1999 when he joined us as Assistant Rabbi. Over the years, he has helped us plant the seeds for a strong, growing, and learning community. Before coming back to San Diego, Rabbi Kornberg had the opportunity to touch many lives as a Hospital Chaplain and Director of Chaplaincy for the Jewish Federation of Middlesex County in New Jersey. Now, as Senior Rabbi, he brings those skills, among others, and a passion for Jewish learning to our Beth Am community.

"I believe that a community, no matter how large or small, needs to maintain a ‘family’ feeling. A shul is a place to learn, to pray, to come together and feel a sense of comfort and connection. This is the heart and soul of our congregation. It is the foundation upon which Congregation Beth Am was built and will continue to guide us in the years to come.“

Rabbi Kornberg is a Past President of the San Diego Rabbinical Association and currently serves as Chaplain for the San Diego Police Department.  He holds a BA in Jewish Studies, MA in Hebrew Letters, and his Rabbinic Degree from Jewish Theological Seminary. He lives in Carmel Valley with his wife, Debbie, and their two children, Michael and Rachel.

Rabbi Earne, Rabbi, Director of the Jewish Learning Center

Rabbi Earne joined our community in 2006 as Assistant Rabbi, bringing tremendous energy and ruach to Beth Am. He earned his BA in Human Development and Family Bond at Cornell University and his MA in Education from the University of Judaism. Rabbi Earne’s rabbinic ordination was from New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary.

Rabbi Earne focuses on Israel, social action, and leads our centers for learning: Preschool, Jewish Learning Center, Sabra, Hebrew For Credit, and Youth. To see Rabbi Earne in action with our children and families is to know that he’s passionate about Judaism and instilling our traditions and values in our future generations.

“It is clear that teaching our children is one of the most important roles we have as Jewish leaders and parents. Our commitment to the Jewish people is to educate and engage our youth, building their Jewish identities for our future community. It’s a joy to help our children become more involved and grow – while they are making friends and having fun.”

Rabbi Earne lives in Carmel Valley with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two children, Jonah and Gabriella. They feel very fortunate to raise their family in the kind and nurturing community of Congregation Beth Am.

Mark Gulner, Executive Director

Mark Gulner brings great energy to the Beth Am community with expertise in community-building, fundraising, study, and together with his wife Amy and son Henry, is interested in the many facets of vibrant life in San Diego.

Mark was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. His experience in synagogue life started early, as he spent several years working at the Temple of Aaron in St. Paul as the Youth Director while attending the University of Minnesota to receive his BS in English Literature. With this experience, USCJ hired him to be the EMTZA/SWUSY Regional Director for USY. In this capacity, Mark successfully coordinated multiple conventions and created programming for congregations with focuses on engagement, Israel, social action, education, fundraising and Tikkun Olam. He spearheaded the region’s success in fostering Jewish leadership and identity and was the only Regional Director to successfully grow both regions in membership.

After leaving USCJ, Mark returned to Temple of Aaron, to be the Director of Marketing and Engagement. His responsibilities included fundraising, new member engagement and retention, marketing, grant writing, budgeting, and more.

“I'm pleased to be a part of this amazing community filled with members who have both a passion for Judaism and a deep connection to one another and the congregation.”

Susan Mualim, Director of Activities & Communications

Susan Mualim has been a part of the Beth Am family since 2002 when she joined us as the first person you saw when you walked through the doors at our welcome desk. Over the years, she has had many roles including Rabbi Kornberg’s Assistant and Creative Designer. In 2013 she took on her current role and has been enjoying working with the members in outreach as well as keeping everyone informed through our weekly emails, Facebook, and our website.

“Beth Am is my family’s home away from home. I love how my children have grown up in this community and enjoy coming here every Shabbat. It is a joy to know that Beth Am is a building block for the future of our family and community."  

Susan grew up in Montreal, Canada, attended Jewish Day school as well as public school. She got her degree in Jewish Studies with a minor in Education. After university, she moved to Israel where she taught English. She met her husband, Nisim and had two of their children, Idan and Maya, before moving to San Diego in 2002. They currently live in Carmel Valley and had their third bundle of joy, Kobi, in 2009.

Allie Donahoo, Director of Youth Programming

Allie Donahoo joined the Beth Am community in July of 2017. She brings with her a lot of enthusiasm, laughter, and a passion for Jewish teen engagement. Allie was raised in Ventura County and the Temecula Valley and attended the American Jewish University in Los Angeles for both her Bachelors and Masters degrees. Prior to joining our team, Allie volunteered for a year as an English teacher in Israel, worked at various Los Angeles shul’s and was a senior staff member with the Wilshire Blvd. Temple Camps.

For as long as she can remember, Allie has been dedicated and spirited about being involved and part of the Jewish world. 

"A lot of who and what I am is because of the Jewish identity that I was able to form growing up going to Jewish sleep away camp. " 

Jewish summer camp is what led Allie to pursue her degrees in Judaic Studies and Education. 

In her free time, Allie loves spending time with her immediate and extended family, relaxing at the beach, reading a good book, binge-watching the latest TV show and laughing at her own jokes. 

Denise Neifeld, Preschool Director

Denise Neifeld is honored to be Director of the Beth Am Preschool since 2001, though she has been involved with the Preschool since 1997 having held many positions including Board Representative and Admissions Coordinator.

Denise holds an honors degree in social work from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She immigrated to the U.S. with her husband Grant and daughter, Katherine, in 1988 and has been a member of Beth Am since first moving to San Diego in 1993.

“I first chose Beth Am Preschool for my daughter, Stephanie, and then learning more about the philosophy and community, I became committed to its success. I am pleased to have lead the team to create a preschool with such a fine reputation.”

Denise is extremely proud of the Preschool‘s most recent addition of the Nursery Program “a home away from home for infants”. Her passion has always been working with young children and their families. 

Tammy Marcus, Associate Preschool Director

Tammy has worked at Beth Am since 1996 and has held several positions in both the Preschool and Youth Departments.  In this time, Tammy has enjoyed working at Beth Am in both formal and informal education with children of all ages, infants through college students.

Tammy emigrated from Israel to the United States in 1991.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Southern California. 

“The feeling of warmth and community at Beth Am is overwhelming. I just can’t imagine myself anywhere else. I thoroughly enjoy engaging with preschool parents, as often their first introduction to Beth Am, is a privilege.”

Tammy and her husband Dave just welcomed their first child and are most delighted to be preschool parents at The Nursery.

Victor Ding, Accounting Manager

Victor Ding joined Beth Am in 2003 as Accounting Manager, and has since become a vital member of the Shul in charge of the Accounting Department. Victor had been working as a financial executive for a Canadian company before he came to the U.S.

"It's a great pleasure to work with the wonderful people here at Beth Am, which has become one of the most important parts of my life."

Victor was born in Shanghai, China.  He got his B.E. in Mechanical Engineering and B.A. in International Business from Shanghai University of Technology (SUT). After teaching at SUT for 5 years, Victor came to the U.S. and got his MBA from Brigham Young University.  He lives with his wife in the Del Sur Community of San Diego.

Kate Stordahl, Accounting Assistant

Kate Stordahl has been a part of the Beth Am family since 2004 when she joined the preschool office as Administrative Assistant.  Kate expanded her job duties in 2005 when she took on Accounting responsibilities as well.  In 2006, Kate devoted full time to being Assistant Accountant.

“I am lucky to be part of this unique community for so many years, a home away from home for my two children. Although they now have busy high school lives, they still love to visit the people they have known since they were young. Our Rabbis, congregants and employees have all helped create a family environment here at Beth Am.”

Kate grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended private and public schools. She attended Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon where she received her BA in English with a minor in French language.  She lived in the Northwest for 14 years following graduation before moving to San Diego.  Kate has two daughters, Lucy and Abby, and one amazingly great dog, Barney.

Heather Ray, Administrative Associate

Heather Ray knew one thousand mazels were bestowed upon her when she joined Congregation Beth Am in August 2017. A proud San Diego native, Heather also spent seven and a half years in the New York City advertising industry, followed by two years in Seattle designing visuals for Nordstrom, and another year and a half in legal practice. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a J.D., magna cum laude, from California Western School of Law and feels honored to marry her varied experience with her desire to work with and in support of amazing people.

“The more I learn about Judaism, the more I realize I am the compassionate and curious woman I have grown to be because of our incredible and beautiful culture.”

Heather is a foodie and art lover who plans to continue traveling the world and conquering her bucket list with friends and family. Grateful to have found her work home, Heather is excited to meet and grow close with all the members who make Beth Am such a unique and spiritual epicenter. 

Bonnie Cohen, Rabbis’ Assistant

Bonnie joined the Beth Am family in 2003 as receptionist after raising her own family. In her current role as Assistant to Rabbi Kornberg and Rabbi Earne, Bonnie provides administrative support to our Rabbis and congregation, as well as helping families set up various lifecycle events. Her background in materials management for high tech companies no doubt helped her organize the many moving parts involved with two busy Rabbis and a thriving congregation. She feels lucky to work assisting such wonderful leaders.

“I find it so rewarding to help families organize their lifecycle events. I’m also pleased to welcome members who are converting to Judaism. My personal experience converting before I was married helps them know I understand. I couldn’t be happier at Beth Am!”

A native San Diegan, Bonnie lives in the Rancho Bernardo area with her husband, and her daughters are close by. 

Jose Ocegueda Jr., Maintenance Supervisor

Jose has been working at Beth Am for sixteen years, but his family has been around the Beth Am family for many years before. Jose just stepped up as Maintenance Supervisor when his father, Jose Sr. retired in Ocotber 2016. Jose has a passion for Beth Am and always is looking for ways to enhance our facility. Jose lives in Tijuana with his wife Dinorah, and children Andres and Isaac.

Rikki Sher, JLC Administrative Assistant