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.

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.

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.

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.

David Saul

Past President

I was elected to the CBJ Board of Directors in 2010 and became President in January 2017. My wife Tara and I joined CBJ in 2006 as our eldest daughter, Phoebe, began kindergarten religious school classes at CBJ. She had her Bat Mitzvah in 2014 and I proudly put my Hebrew teachings from Ruth Shapiro and adult B’nai Mitzvah teachings from Rabbi, Bill, and Cantor Barbara to use. Our middle child, Nathan, had his Bar Mitzvah in 2016, and our youngest Daphne, is scheduled for her Bat Mitzvah in May 2019. We have found CBJ to not only be a wonderful place for our children to learn Jewish religion, tradition and values, but also a welcoming place for Tara and I to develop and deepen our own connections within Judaism and the CBJ community. For example, having been raised on Maui in the 70s, where there were no synagogues, I missed out on the religious education that my children take for granted.
I received my undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley (’87) and my JD from the University of Chicago (’91). I am a corporate lawyer, specializing in the representation of emerging growth companies. My interests include, most importantly, spending time with family, and secondarily triathalons and spending time on the Russian River.

Bruce Cahan

Board Member

A decade ago I moved from NYC and found CBJ as my Jewish home. Saturday mornings start with a Cafe Borrone breakfast, then Torah Study, Shabbat Services and Kiddish Lunch. At Stanford University, I am a lecturer in Management Science and Engineering, where I teach courses in ethical finance. My research includes building a periodic table of quality of life elements and more. Throughout, I find my Torah Study reading skills sharpen how to make banking, finance and insurance impacts-aware so as to achieve tikkun olam, repairing the Earth. And just in case, as Plan B, I am researching how we will need to bank in outer space, transact commodities there and collaborate for mutual benefit.

Carmen DiCinque

Board Member

Our family joined CBJ in 2012 when we were searching for a home temple in which our older daughter Talia could become a bat mitzvah. The extent of our family’s Jewish life experience had been in a lay community in Beijing, China, and we were searching for a synagogue that would provide the same sense of family combined with a compassionate and energizing clergy. We knew we were home the first time we stepped inside of CBJ. In addition to programs related to our children’s activities, I have been enthusiastically involved in Home and Hope. As the non-Jewish spouse who has kept our family’s Jewish raft afloat, I came to the Board of Directors prepared to welcome fellow members of all persuasions with the same warmth that embraced me. My husband Stuart Schonberger is from Westchester County, NY, and I grew up in the eastern PA coal mining region. We met in NYC and I joined Stuart in Beijing after our 2010 wedding. Both of our daughters, Talia and Anica, were born and raised in Beijing, until 2010 when we relocated to Woodside. In Beijing I served on the Board of The United Foundation for China’s Health, focusing on China’s orphans’ concerns, and actively volunteered in a local orphanage. I am also currently on the Board of the Common Ground Speaker Series. Although I have a PhD in Italian Literature and taught at the college level before marriage, since 2010 I have concentrated on raising our daughters. Woodside has been a perfect home base for my interests of horseback riding, hiking and general rural living. Our family will see many facets of our lives coming together in February for the bat mitzvah of our younger daughter, Anica.

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.

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.

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.

Barry Wolf

Board Member

My wife and I, Sarah Jacobson, have been members at Congregation Beth Jacob for about ten years. Our first experiences at CBJ began when our older daughter (became a Bat Mitzvah two years ago) enrolled in (and completed) CBJ pre-school. We feel so fortunate that we have met our best friends at the shul and our girls also made strong friendships with other member’s children. Sarah’s family has a long history at Congregation Beth Jacob: her grandparents were members, her parents were married at CBJ and Cantor Cohn co-officiated at our wedding. Additionally, we love seeing the etching series hanging in the synagogue social hall that was created by my wife’s grandmother, the artist Gertrude Bleiberg. We love the warm and inviting feeling we get every time we are in shul and are happy that both of our daughters have attended CBJ Religious School. I am a Principal Research Scientist at AbbVie, Redwood City where I use my Chemical Engineering and Biology training to develop production processes for the manufacture of biologics medicines for the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

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.