Board of Directors

Steve Dines

President

I joined the CBJ board in 2014. I (and my wife Jackie) have lived in the bay area for close to 40 years, having come to California from the UK. We are semi-retired “empty nesters” with three grown up kids, Adam, Elissa and Ben, and one grandchild Léo.
I spent most of my career in the electronics industry, first as an engineer, then a marketer and then a Chief Executive. We moved to Menlo Park from the South Bay in 2009, and starting looking for a shul. The amazing sense of community at CBJ, together with the warm welcome we received made the decision very easy. I feel honored to be of service to the Shul, and hope that my contribution helps CBJ become even more of a welcoming presence for Jewish people of all ages in the bay area.

Rachel Berg

Vice President

I grew up in a small village in Upstate New York in the only Jewish family in our town. Two towns over was our 60 family synagogue. My mom drove me two times a week to Hebrew school and a third time to Sunday school. Because we were so small, we had a bit of a rotating roster of rabbis and the lay community provided significant leadership and continuity. I’m proud of my mom who did a number of terms as the synagogue’s president as well as a number of other leadership roles. As my husband, Andy, and I looked for a synagogue community for ourselves and our children here in the Bay Area we stopped searching the moment we found CBJ. Andy, who wasn’t born Jewish, felt immediately welcome, wanted, comfortable, and embraced by the CBJ community. Our children, Isaac and Rhea, went to pre-school at CBJ as well as religious school. Their bar and bat mitzvah preparations with Rabbi Ezray, Bill Futornick, and Cantor Barbara and their religious school teachers built foundations for their lives. They both went on to attend Kehillah Jewish High School (Isaac is now off to college). My career has been in business transformation as a management consultant to high tech companies at PRTM and PwC. I’ve recently joined a start-up to help grow and mature that business. I value CBJ’s small and intimate feel where the clergy and community know us, where there are varied ways to engage, where the passion and commitment to compassion is high. I aim to contribute to our a great community in whatever way I can.

Barry Cheskin

Vice President

My family and I joined CBJ in 2006, but due to its welcoming and warm climate and wonderful clergy and staff, we feel like we’ve been part of this community for much longer. I have been on the Board and Executive Committee in one form or the other since around 2011 with a short break in past two years. My efforts as a Board member have been focused on Shabbat Engagement, having led the SANCTIFY Task Force and helped to organize the “Power Hour”. I also worked on a project to revise our dues and fundraising strategy. This year, my Board focus will be on “Respectful Dialogue” – trying to improve the way we speak to each other considering differing views…carrying forward a theme the Rabbi raised these past High Holidays. I am deeply committed to synagogues in general as a foundation of Jewish and religious life and, of course, to our synagogue in particular.
I have lived and volunteered in the Jewish community here in Northern California since 1997. I am a Past President of the Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School. I have also been involved in numerous other volunteer activities including serving on the Board of Trustees of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Board of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation and the Executive Committees of the Campus for Jewish Life (which led to the creation of the new Oshman Family JCC), Congregation Kol Emeth and the South Peninsula Council of Federation, where I was Campaign Chair and later, President. I also was honored to receive the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Community Federation’s Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Young Leadership and to be selected to participate in the Wexner Heritage Program. Professionally, I am the President & CEO of PowerVision, Inc., a medical device start-up! I have a wonderful wife, Lisa, and two daughters, Lucy and Joy.

Tami Raubvogel

Vice President

My husband Amir and I have been members of CBJ for more than a decade. Both of our kids (Aaron 18 and Sara 15) have attended the CBJ Religious School since Kindergarten. In fact, Sara even attended the CBJ preschool. They both had their Bar/Bat Mitzvah at CBJ and we remain active members.
I have worked to support the Religious School is a variety of ways. Some of which include serving as curriculum chair and directly supporting the last three Religious School directors.
I am a school administrator in Menlo Park where I coordinate a Spanish Immersion program. I am also a children’s book author. My book, I Keep Kosher, has been translated into three languages.
I am honored to serve on the CBJ Board of Directors. I hope I can contribute by helping CBJ become an even more vibrant and welcoming place to grow and learn as a Jewish community.

Mark Kaufmann

Treasurer

In 2012, we moved to the Bay area from Montreal and, that Fall, attended the High Holiday services at CBJ. We were impressed with Dan’s amazing stand-up comedy routine at the Different Service and the passionate sermon from the Rabbi and we decided to become members. My son, our youngest of three children, attended religious school and was bar mitzvah’ed at CBJ. During that time, Steve Dines became our son’s “Elder,” a program which paired up “mature” members of the congregation with children in the religious school, and we haven’t looked back since. We are fortunate to have had such a warm experience at CBJ.
I have been the CFO and head of Corporate Development at Ardelyx, a local biotechnology company, since we moved here in 2012. My background is both in business and finance in the life sciences industry both in the US and in Canada. As Treasurer of CBJ, I have prioritized the quarterly budget process and have tried to provide the tools and oversight to ensure we can monitor and maintain integrity in the way we spend the congregation’s money.

Bruce Fram

Secretary

As serial entrepreneur, I’ve been CEO of six venture-backed companies during my 30-year Silicon Valley career. In addition to my work as Treasurer at CBJ, I was Board President and Treasurer at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto. My wife Ann Marie and I live in Los Altos. Our two college-aged sons became b’nai mitzvah at CBJ.

Peter Breger

Board Member

Sharon and I relocated to San Carlos from the Los Angeles area in 2012. We joined CBJ after having a most welcoming Shabbat Kiddish experience. We love the inclusive environment. CBJ has made us feel like we are part of an extended family. We are retired, empty-nesters with two married children, David and Jennifer, and one three month old grandchild, Leah. We are fortunate that Leah and her parents live in Menlo Park, so we can watch her grow up first hand.
I spent my career in the electronics industry, first as an engineer, then an engineering manager, and moved into project management during the last 15 years of my career. Recently, I have taken on the role of Security Council Chair, using my project management background to take the pulse of the shul and implement decisions that keep us safe while preserving our welcoming tone.

John Fishman

Board Member

Our family joined CBJ in 2016 after being so impressed by the community’s warmth and welcoming spirit. Along with my wife, Jen Clayman, I enjoy attending the Power Hour regularly on Shabbat mornings, and occasionally trying the Neshama offerings, especially whenever Jen leads Hebrew chanting. Usually, on Shabbat mornings, our sons, Noah and Isaac, can be found on the playground. This is my first time serving on a board of any kind, and I couldn’t be prouder to support the mission of any organization.
I was ordained as a rabbi from Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles in 2002, and since 2012 I have worked as a chaplain at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Outside of work and synagogue, I enjoy art and photography, fountain pens, cooking and American whiskey, not necessarily in that order.

Michael Freedman

Board Member

I moved to the Bay Area in 2009 with my wife, Rebecca Goldsmith, and our two children, and we were immediately drawn to the warm and welcoming environment at Congregation Beth Jacob. I hold senior communications and community-building roles at Stanford University. Previously, I was a writer, foreign correspondent and editor at Forbes and Newsweek, and I have also written for many other publications, including the Wall Street Journal and the Atlantic. I am delighted to serve on the CBJ board.

Adam Gorlick

Board Member

We joined CBJ in 2016 when our older daughter was entering kindergarten and starting religious school. Our younger daughter entered Morah Casey’s class two years later. It’s largely through their experiences that we’ve deepened our involvement with CBJ and it’s an honor to be a board member.
I grew up as a “high holiday Jew” attending an Orthodox shul in New Haven, Connecticut. My wife, Brooke, is from Los Angeles where she was involved in many of the youth programs run by her local church. As we build and define our family’s Jewish identity, CBJ’s warm and supportive community is an integral part of our story.
Brooke and I met on the East Coast while we were both reporters for The Associated Press, and moved in 2006 to the Bay Area where we now work in strategic communications at Stanford. We love hiking in the Bay Area, and I enjoy wrestling with a bit of Torah and playing guitar in whatever stolen moments of free time I can get.

Emily Greenwald

Board Member

Elana Hornstein

Board Member

My husband and I joined CBJ about 19 years ago, shortly after we were married. With a keen interest in adult learning opportunities, I quickly took note of Rabbi Ezray’s adult b’nai mitzvah classes and signed up as soon as the next series of classes began. In 2002, I celebrated my bat mitzvah (at the ripe age of 31) with 5 wonderful CBJ community members and can say it was a truly transformational experience for me. Since then, I have served as chair of the Adult Education Committee, co-chair of the Religious Practices Committee, and have been a member of the Religious School Advisory Committee. Our two daughters both attend the synagogue’s religious school, our oldest having just become a bat mitzvah.
I hold a BA from UC Santa Barbara, and an MA from John F. Kennedy University’s School of Museum Studies. During graduate school, I fell in love with the Bay Area and began my career here as a museum professional, designing educational experiences for museum visitors. Fourteen years ago, I went to work for Stanford University, where I hold a senior leadership position in the Continuing Studies program. I continue to be an enthusiast of lifelong learning in all facets of life.

Amy Keer

Board Member

My husband Harold and I have been part of the CBJ community for over 20 years. It all started one very warm day in July when Rabbi Ezray married us on the Sukkah patio. All three of our boys have attended CBJ Religious School and celebrated their Bar Mitzvahs here, and our youngest attended CBJ’s Preschool too. We are both grateful and proud to be part of this amazing community. I was on the Board in the early 2000’s and have served on many committees over the years including Rockin’ Shabbat and the Religious School Committee. I was also CBJ’s Executive Director from 2004-2009. My background is in Engineering, and before CBJ I worked for several Silicon Valley companies, mostly in semiconductor manufacturing equipment.
My current role on the Board is to work with CBJ’s Administrative Staff to help document how we do the many many invisible things that enable our community to be so warm and engaging.

Linda Leeb

Board Member

I grew up in Braintree, Massachusetts, where my family belonged to a small conservative synagogue. After attending Tufts University for undergrad, I studied law at American University in DC, where I met a Californian named Dave who would later become my husband. We moved to the Bay Area in 2000, eventually settled in Redwood Shores, and joined CBJ in 2011. After practicing IP law for twenty years, I shifted gears in 2018 to focus more on my family and community service.
We were drawn to CBJ by the clergy’s warmth and enthusiasm, the super-engaging Junior Congregation services, and the excellent religious school program. Our son, Zack, started in second grade and our daughter, Greta, started in first grade. Their journeys to becoming B’nai Mitzvah were fun and meaningful for our whole family (Zack in February 2017 and Greta in August 2018), and we could not be more pleased with the experience. The best part of joining CBJ has been the friendships we’ve made with other congregants.
One of the ways I’ve connected with fellow congregants over the years has been through volunteering together on Tikkun Olam projects. As a leader of CBJ’s Social Action Committee, I’ve organized dinners at homeless shelters, blood drives, school supply donation drives, as well as an ongoing program for the religious school kids called Project Sandwich. I’m excited to serve on the CBJ board and hope to expand opportunities for congregants of all ages to participate in meaningful Tikkun Olam.

Stuart Soffer

Board Member

My wife Susan and I joined CBJ in 2015. The CBJ community constantly surprises us – positively. I am amazed at the number of initiatives that sprout – like the You Are Not Alone speaker series, and L’Dor V’Dor Elder Connections.
I have served on the Menlo Park Planning Commission, the MP Finance and Audit Committee, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Board of the Museum of American Heritage (Technology and Industry) in Palo Alto. I collect vintage technology and fly helicopters.
As a Computer Scientist I bridge technology, law and public policy to resolve legal and acquisition issues. I conduct technical due diligence for venture investors as a prelude to funding or acquisition. I educate startups regarding why and how to incorporate an IP perspective into their products. I testify as an expert witness in litigation of Intellectual Property disputes. I cultivate innovation networks in Europe and Israel.

Noreen Sommer

Board Member

My Interfaith family joined CBJ in 1993 when our children were adults and we were primarily High Holiday attendees. My husband Hurst, of blessed memory, was a refugee in Shanghai with Cantor Cohn and was drawn to CBJ partially because of that connection. I always enjoyed attending services with Hurst and enjoyed the opportunities for learning from sermons and readings. Following Hurst’s death in 2012, I was impressed and grateful for Rabbi Ezray’s kindness, caring and knowledge as he guided my family through Hurst’s funeral, burial and period of mourning. I realized I did not want the connection to CBJ and Judaism to end. I began attending Shabbat services frequently and began studying with Rabbi Ezray. At CBJ I found a loving community of friends and a new home for my soul.
I joined the board in 2016 and it is my hope to be able to serve and contribute. I presently coordinate the committee that sets up for the First Friday Rockin Shabbat dinners and look forward to meeting and welcoming members, potential members and their families and friends at these dinners.
I am a graduate of Georgetown University (BS) 1964 and UCSF 1969(MS) and had a long, varied and fulfilling career as a Registered Nurse retiring in 2007 from the VA in Palo Alto. My son and his family live in Alameda and we enjoy Giants games, symphony, theater and cheering for my granddaughter’s volleyball team.

Adam Taub

Board Member

Rabbi Ezray (recently ordained at the time) was the assistant rabbi at my Bar Mitzvah in the Boston area. I grew up and spent most of my adult life on the east coast. In 2012, my wife Anna and I moved west to the Bay Area, where we were active members of another congregation for five years. When we moved slightly north to San Carlos in 2017 we visited CBJ and were struck by the connection we felt when we first attended Power Hour – our son who loves music was immediately in awe of the guitars. We joined CBJ shortly thereafter. We regularly attend the Power Hour service with both our young boys and feel at home on Shabbat mornings. I am new to the Board in 2020 and plan to continue work on member engagement and new member outreach. Professionally, I have spent my career in investing and am the founder and managing partner of a hedge fund which focuses on public market equities. I am an avid reader, tennis player, and lifelong Yankees fan.

Micah Yairi

Board Member

My wife, Aimee, and I each came to the Bay Area in the mid-1990’s. In 2012 we moved to San Carlos and joined Congregation Beth Jacob. What drew us most to CBJ was it’s warm and inclusive atmosphere that really made us feel welcome. Our daughter, Hope, also loves CBJ – including making close friendships with other children, starting in CBJ’s preschool. I joined the CBJ Board in 2017, and previously have been involved on Stanford Hillel’s Board, the Young Adult Division of the Federation’s Executive Committee, and leading AIPAC’s San Francisco Leadership Development Program. Professionally, I received my Ph.D. from Stanford in Applied Physics, and subsequently founded and was the CTO of Tactus Technology, a company that develops new user interfaces and materials for mobile devices and display systems. I recently followed a new opportunity and am now working at Apple. I hope that our efforts at CBJ make it an even more inviting and dynamic community.