June 2017 Message from BAW President, Nancy Federman | Congregation Beth Am

June 2017 Message from BAW President, Nancy Federman

It’s the time of year when the Beth Am Women’s Board changes membership. I can hardly believe that one year has passed since I started my two-year term as President, excited and a bit overwhelmed. I have enjoyed all the opportunities to meet you and work with you, the wonderful BAW sisterhood. And I would like to express my thanks to you for all you do to make our community so welcoming and inclusive and engaging.

I want to share with you the changes on the Board.

Please join me in thanking the two terrific Board members who are leaving the Board after their years of devoted service. We appreciate their hard work and sunny dispositions. We will miss them very much but look forward to their continued contributions to BAW and the Beth Am community.

  • Carrie Spector – did a marvelous job in charge of communications and PR, publicizing events and activities and helping our message of welcome and inclusion reach our membership.
  • Janet Bein – chaired two wonderful women’s retreats which helped many women to find meaning and connections with others in BAW, and worked on communications in previous years. 

We are thrilled to welcome seven new Board members. I am happy to share the bios that they created.

Dominika BLACKAPPL is a sculptor of things, both tangible and intangible. She is the Bohemian love child of Henry Ford and Willie Wonka. Dominika is trained in design and in business, with graduate degrees from the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design and the Rhode Island School of Design, and the London Business School. She founded and led companies including a consumer electronics company that shipped thousands of products worldwide, a satellite imagery company, and a fashion line that grew to be the top online label in Europe. Dominika has also done award-winning design work independently and at IDEO, whether it is a biomass stove in rural India or a smart phone in Silicon Valley. As a part-time partner with Y Combinator she helps startups get through to the customer. Dominika thrives on art, co-founding the Governor’s Island Art Fair in New York City. Dominika and her family live in Woodside and have been members of Beth Am for 3 years. Her daughter Ludmila is in 5th grade at The Nueva.

Linda Greenberg was born and raised in NYC where she attended the HS of Music and Art and NYU, where she received a BA in Art Education. She married in 1968 and moved to the Bay Area. Linda worked as a graphic artist and technical illustrator pre-computers. After her two sons were born she focused on volunteer work in the schools. The family did a five-year stint in Pebble Beach during which time she was a docent at the newly opened Monterey Bay Aquarium concentrating on tide pools and the kelp lab. Upon returning to the Bay Area, Linda was an Art Docent in the Los Altos school district for 30 years. Both her sons became Bar Mitzvah at Beth Am. Her son Matt lives in Berlin with grandchildren Mia (12) and Noah (9 ½). Her son Jason lives in Philadelphia with grand-puppy Lou. She loves art, tide pooling, hiking, exercising, traveling and especially hanging out with friends.

Wendy Gross is a wife and mother of two children, Noah (age 7) and Betty (age 5). She holds degrees in political science from Emory, University of Georgia, and Stanford and does market research for Apple.  Wendy and her family joined Beth Am three years ago. Her kids are involved in Sunday Program, and the whole family are active participants in the annual family camping trip. Wendy finished converting to Judaism with Rabbi Heath in the summer of 2016.

Wendie Karel is a mother of two girls, Natalie (12) and Abigail (10.) She has worked part-time for an au pair agency for the past 12 years.  She has lived in Palo Alto for 12 years and enjoys exercising and ice-skating and reading!

Carla Kirschenbaum is the wife of Jon Kirschenbaum and the mother of Sam (15) and Simon (13). She has degrees in English and art history from the University of Iowa and a Masters of Liberal Arts from Stanford. After working in educational publishing for many years she left the work force to be home with her boys and has since held numerous volunteer positions in the community. Currently, Carla enjoys being a docent at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center and substitute teaching, as well as running, embroidery and origami.

Susan Martin was born in Newark NJ, moved to Los Angeles in time for 1st grade and was confirmed at Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills. She majored in Psychology at UC Berkeley and later received a masters degree in Social Work from San Jose State U. Susan is married to Charlie Martin, has two daughters and three teenage grandchildren.  After retiring from the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Susan joined Congregation Beth Am and became part of the 2006 Adult B’nei Mitzvah class. She facilitated BAW’s Rosh Chodesh programs for three years and was on the BAW Board from 2008-10. Most recently she helped plan and implement the “BAW Cooks” events. Susan’s favorite worship opportunity at Beth Am is the Thursday morning minyan where she enjoys praying, learning Torah and leading the occasional meditation.

Lisa Steinback grew up in the Bay Area, attending Saratoga HS and Stanford University, where she obtained a Bachelor’s and Masters in Electrical Engineering.  She started her career at Lockheed in Sunnyvale, in hardware design and continued at Rolm Telecommunications, working on hardware and software for their PhoneMail product. She stepped out of engineering when she had her second son, moving into PTA volunteer work and fundraising.  She’s an avid tennis player in USTA and teaches tennis part-time.  Her hobbies include reading, violin, cooking, and volunteering in the community.

These new members bring unique perspectives, high energy and creative ideas. They will help BAW to continue to create opportunities for our members to connect and build deep relationships, find meaning in Jewish traditions, and have a positive impact on our congregation.

We welcome suggestions from everyone. If you have ideas for events, activities or small groups please let us know at bawinfo@betham.org or join our Facebook group and post your comments on the Beth Am Women Facebook page.

I hope that you will join me and this great group of women at some of the BAW events and activities - to celebrate the seasons and holidays, to study and learn, to work for social justice, to find camaraderie and friendship, and last but not least, to have fun together.

—Nancy Federman

Congregation Beth Am
  • 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
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We strive to live as a holy community whose study and practice of Judaism inspires and challenges us to "do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).