Sue Reinhold and Deb Newbrun were ordained as rabbis after two years of study with Pluralistic Rabbinic Seminary, a program for mid-career professionals who already have advanced Jewish knowledge and who are working in the Jewish community.
Sue Reinhold and Deb Newbrun were ordained as rabbis after two years of study with Pluralistic Rabbinic Seminary, a program for mid-career professionals who already have advanced Jewish knowledge and who are working in the Jewish community.

Happenings, opportunities, comings & goings — Jan. 2022


Happenings

Sue Reinhold and Deborah Newbrun, a married couple who live in the East Bay, are now Rabbi Sue Reinhold and Rabbi Deborah Newbrun. In December, they were ordained along with four others at the Pluralistic Rabbinical Seminary. The seminary is a new two-year online program designed for people who already have careers as well as advanced Jewish knowledge and experience working in the Jewish community. Newbrun is a former longtime director of Camp Tawonga and former Bay Area director of Hazon, while Reinhold has a range of experience, including most recently a stint as managing director of philanthropy for the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation.


Comings & Goings

Daniel Ruth
Daniel Ruth

Daniel Ruth is retiring from his position as CEO of the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living at the end of February. “For the past 20 years, it has been my distinct honor and privilege to both work with and serve the Jewish and general communities in the Bay Area,” he said in an email to staff. “I look forward to continuing to develop strategic programs, facilities and operations that will address the needs of frail older adults, as well as, supporting their efforts and desires to age with dignity and respect.” Ruth said he will continue to support the senior home as CEO emeritus through the transition period until a new CEO is hired.  Mary Connick, the senior home’s CFO, will serve as acting CEO in the interim.

Katherine Friedman Barboni
Katherine Friedman Barboni

Katherine Friedman Barboni has been named director of early childhood education at Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon. She will oversee the synagogue’s new Grove Preschool. “We are thrilled to attract a director with [her] skills, experience, and commitment to early childhood education,” said Kol Shofar Rabbi Paul Steinberg.

Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer
Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer

Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer is leaving The Kitchen after four years as the San Francisco independent congregation’s musical director. “Rabbi Jessica has undoubtedly had a huge impact on our community,” Rabbi Noa Kusher, the founder of The Kitchen, wrote in an email to the congregation. “She transformed our prayer experience, incorporating new arrangements, teaching us new prayers, building our davening team, and bringing her beautiful voice and energy to our t’fillot.”

Spencer Weiss
Spencer Weiss

Arriving at The Kitchen is new executive director Spencer Weiss. After several years in the corporate world, he moved into hospitality, working in Michelin-starred restaurants in New York City. Most recently he was director of operations at a restaurant group in San Francisco. “After years of developing close relationships with guests and communities in hospitality, Spencer has found his calling at The Kitchen,” said an email to the community.

Heidi Sanders
Heidi Sanders

Heidi Sanders is the new director of Jewish community engagement at the S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council, which also serves the Peninsula and Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Sanders, a Marin County native, has 10 years of experience working in Jewish programs. “I’m thrilled to work with the JCRC team to create new pathways for individuals and partner organizations to find their place within our work, and to ensure that our perspective reflects and represents the diversity of our local Jewish community,” she said in an email to the community.

Margalit Rosenblatt
Margalit Rosenblatt
Sam Stone
Sam Stone

Additionally, JCRC has announced two new board members: Margalit Rosenblatt and Sam Stone. Both are part of the Federation Fellows program, which trains members of the community to serve as lay leaders.

Brian Fox
Brian Fox

Brian Fox is the new executive director of Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland. The position marks something of a career change for Fox, who has worked in the hotel industry for 25 years. “Brian was interested in finding a new position that aligns with his Jewish values,” according to an email to the community. “He brings strong customer service experience, financial and people-management skills, and a strong work ethic. He is admired by his colleagues and peers as a mensch. The search committee found him to be enthusiastic, level-headed, and eager to learn.”

Stuart Kirsch
Stuart Kirsch

Stuart Kirsch is the new executive director of Congregation B’nai Shalom in Walnut Creek. He comes to the Conservative synagogue with 30 years of experience as a business consultant, as well as experience as a lay leader in synagogues. “Given the breadth of his experience, we are looking forward to Stu’s leadership and management skills in helping us thrive,” congregation president Michael Bloom said in a press release. Added Rabbi Daniel Stein: “He brings many tools with him that will serve our community well; his dedication to Jewish communal life, business knowledge and warmth will be an asset to our congregation.”

Dale Kleisley
Dale Kleisley

Dale Kleisley is the new director of early childhood education at Congregation Beth Sholom’s Family Preschool in San Francisco. She has worked in the preschool since she graduated from San Francisco State University in 2010, first as a teacher and then as associate director. She recently completed a fellowship with the Jewish Theological Seminary’s William Davidson Graduate School of Education. Meanwhile, teacher Liza Monge Artavia is stepping in as the interim assistant director.

Margaux Dinerman has been named senior director of philanthropy and advancement at Jewish Silicon Valley, the federation that also includes the JCRC of Silicon Valley and the Addison-Penzak JCC in Los Gatos. She has had a varied career as a dancer, teacher, musician and administrator. In 2005, she began working in Jewish nonprofits, including the San Diego Jewish Academy, Jewish Federation of the Desert in Rancho Mirage and the Butterfly Project, an organization that combines arts and Holocaust education. She recently completed a post-graduate certificate in nonprofit management at the University of San Diego.

Lisa Gurwitch
Lisa Gurwitch

Lisa Gurwitch will become the chief advancement officer of the American Joint Distribution Committee on March 1. She previously spent 18 years in executive roles at the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation, and though she now lives in New York, she is still a member of Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon. “I am thrilled to join JDC, an organization I have long admired,” Gurwitch said in a press release. “From Cuba to Ukraine, I have had the pleasure of seeing JDC at work and admire how it strengthens communities across the vast spectrum of Jewish life and empowers vulnerable people for tomorrow.”


Opportunities

Applications and nominations for the spring 2022 session of Repair the World’s Service Corps are open. The Service Corps is open to young adults ages 18-29 who want to “invest both in their communities and themselves through the lens of Jewish values.” Members will spend 10 hours per week volunteering with local service partners and “connecting Jewish approaches to justice with issue-area education surrounding the lasting economic and social effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

David A.M. Wilensky
David A.M. Wilensky

David A.M. Wilensky is interim associate editor of J. He previously served as assistant editor and digital editor, and is a member of the board of the American Jewish Press Association. He can be reached at [email protected].