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Administrative & Programming Staff


 

Name: Gilad Hoffman

Role: Executive Director

Email: gilad@betham.com

Bio: 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. 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.

Quote: “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."

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Name: Susan Mualim

Role: Director of Activities & Communications

Email: susan@betham.com

Bio: 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.
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.

Quote: “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."

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Name: Joanne Morgenthal

Role: Director of Youth Engagement

Email: joanne@betham.com

Bio: 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.
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.

Quote: “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."

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Name: Bonnie Cohen

Role: Rabbis’ Assistant

Email: bonnie@betham.com

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

Quote: “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!"

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Name: Victor Ding

Role: Accounting Manager

Email: victor@betham.com

Bio: 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.
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.

Quote: “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."

 

 

Name: Kate Stordahl

Role: Accounting Assistant

Email: kate@betham.com

Bio: 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.
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.

Quote: “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."

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Name: Jose Ocegueda Jr.

Role: Maintenance Supervisor

Email: jose@betham.com

Bio: 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 October 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.

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Early Childhood Center Staff


 

Name: Denise Neifeld

Role: ECC Director

Email: denise@betham.com

Bio: 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.
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.

Quote:"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."

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Name: Tammy Marcus

Role: ECC Associate Director

Email: tammy@betham.com

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

Quote: “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.”

 

 

Name: Hollie delaMontaigne

Role: ECC Administrative Assistant

Email: hollie@betham.com

Bio: Hollie delaMontaigne joined the Beth Am family as Education Coordinator for the Early Childhood Center (ECC) in 2018, working closely with the ECC Directors to ensure the smooth coordination of all preschool initiatives, including registration, Summer Camp, and other special programs. She has recently begun teaching our Garden and Nutrition program, and has cultivated a flourishing garden for our preschool students to explore.

Prior to this, Hollie ran a successful small business that was featured on Etsy, while also working with children for many years. As her current role encompasses a wide variety of functions, she is now able to combine her project management and organization skills with her passion for working with children and aiding in their growth. 

Hollie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History with a Minor in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has also studied Early Childhood Development at Miramar College. A California native, Hollie grew up in Orange County and worked in Los Angeles before moving to San Diego in 2012 to be with her husband, Brian, and their puppy, Rudi. 

Quote“It is wonderful to be a part of a community like Beth Am, where from the minute I began working here and getting to know all the children and families, I was welcomed with open arms.” 

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Jewish Learning Center & Sabra Staff


 

Name: Rabbi Earne

Role: Director of JLC, Sabra and Hebrew for Credit

Email: rabbie@betham.com

Bio: 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, 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. 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.

Quote: “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.”

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Name: Jessie Blank-Birnbaum

Role: Educational Administrative Coordinator

Email: jlcadmin@betham.com

Bio: Jessie joined the Beth Am staff in 2019 and enjoys supporting youth and teen learning and working with JLC and Sabra teachers.

Active in USY and at Jewish summer camp growing up in Northern California, Jessie participated in Nativ, USY’s gap-year program in Israel, then moved to San Diego. After graduating from SDSU with a BA in Religious Studies, she completed her Masters in Jewish Education at Hebrew College. She has served in a variety of roles within the San Diego Jewish community working with teens and children. She is married to Josh, and her children Lillian and Louis are Beth Am preschool graduates.

QuoteEach child has infinite directions that life can take them. Developing a positive Jewish identity and community gives our children immense strength, purpose, and connection as they take on life’s joys and challenges. What better gift can we give our children than tools to make life meaningful?

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Name: Rikki Sher

Role: Administrative Assistant

Email: rikki@betham.com

Bio: Rikki Sher was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona until the age of 12, when her family relocated to San Diego. They immediately joined the Beth Am community where Rikki had her Bat Mizvah. Rikki enjoyed attending the JLC, and was involved in our Youth department. In 2016, Rikki became the Administrative Assistant for JLC and Sabra. She is the first person you see when you walk through the Beth Am office, and she is there to help you and your children with all your needs. In addition to being an administrative assistant she is also a preschool teacher at the JCC and babysits in her free time. She enjoys working with all ages. When she's not surrounded by children, she is surrounded by her cockatoo, Candy who is obsessed with her. She enjoys baseball (Go Cubs!) and going on walks at night in La Jolla Cove. Rikki currently lives in Torrey Highlands.

QuoteI feel that it is very important to have a strong Jewish connection, and this is why I enjoy working in the Jewish community in the education department, and helping to teach our future Jewish role models. 

 
Sun, October 13 2019 14 Tishrei 5780