Staff. Supporting the Beth Am community.

You are here


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
Gilad Hoffman, Executive Director
Susan Mualim, Director of Activities & Communications
Joanne Morgenthal, Director of Youth Enagagement
Denise Neifeld, Early Childhood Center Director
Tammy Marcus, Early Childhood Associate Director
Victor Ding, Head of Accounting
Kate Stordahl, Accounting Assistant
Bonnie Cohen, Rabbis’ Assistant
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.

Gilad Hoffman, Executive Director

Gilad joined the Beth Am team as the Executive Director in 2019. Gilad was the Religious School Director at Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego. He previously was Congregation Beth Israel’s Youth and Camp Director, and the Sports Director and Assistant Camp Director at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center.

Gilad grew up at Congregation Beth Am, and this is where he joined the Jewish Community as a Bar Mitzvah. 

“Beth Am was my synagogue growing up and am thrilled to be able to provide the same experience for my children.  Having a Jewish community is so important and am delighted to come back home.”
Gilad is a huge soccer fan and has been playing and coaching for many years.
Gilad was born in South Africa but spent most of his childhood here in San Diego. He earned both his B.S. in Psychology and MBA from the University of La Verne. Gilad and his family; his wife Shiri, and his kids, Maya and Liam live in the Carmel Valley Community.

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.

Joanne Morgenthal, Director of Youth Engagement

Joanne “Jo” joined the Beth Am team full time as the Director of Youth Engagement in 2019 after three years as a teacher and Madrikhim coordinator for JLC and Sabra. 

Jo spent many years working in the Jewish camping industry, first as a program director, then an assistant director and ultimately a director. This sparked a passion for working with Jewish youth that continues to this day.

“I find nothing more rewarding then working with our youth and helping develop future leaders. The Beth Am community has welcomed me with open arms, and I am excited to be able to give back.”

Her love for the New York Yankees is only second to her passion for animals.

Jo was born and raised in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York.  She earned her B.S. in Applied Social Sciences from Binghamton University. Now, Joanne, Midge her puppy and Phoebe her cat love to call San Diego home.

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.

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