The Board of Directors of Congregation Beth Am consists of 21 members and officers elected by the congregation. Board terms are three years and a board member may serve up to two terms (6 years). At Beth Am, the Board is responsible for managing the affairs of the congregation and working closely with the professional staff to create the foundation for a vibrant Reform Jewish community. Read our Mission Statement.
Beth Am Board meetings are generally held at 7:30 PM on the 2nd Thursday of each month. Meetings are open to members of the congregation. Please check the congregation schedule for any changes to the regular schedule.
Bruce Ives became President of the congregation at the Annual Meeting in April 2017 and will lead the congregation until 2019. Read his congregational address.
Hal Luft & Rachel Gibson
Bruce Ives and his wife, Barrett Moore, joined Beth Am in 2002, along with their children. Bruce currently serves as President of Beth Am. Previously, he served as Treasurer and was a member of the Re-Imagine Task Force on Education. From 2000-2008, Bruce was a Trustee of the Menlo Park School District. After a long professional career at Hewlett-Packard, he now works as CEO of LifeMoves (formerly InnVision Shelter Network), a homeless services non-profit. Bruce earned a B.A. from Harvard and a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley Law School.
Hal Luft has been a Beth Am member for over 30 years, for many years with his wife, Lori (z”l). Hal received his BA and PhD in economics at Harvard. Ever since, he has been trying to understand how the health care system works and suggest how to make it function better. After 35 years on the faculty at Stanford and UCSF, 8 years ago he became Director of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute. He is frequently at Beth Am activities, is a long-time attendee at Asilomar, and is a regular at Torah study, seeking to apply its lessons in everyday life and work. Hal is on the regional board of Facing History and Ourselves, a non-profit seeking to help high school students learn how to live their lives better by studying the Holocaust, the Civil Rights Movement, and other transformational events. Hal enjoys hiking in Northern California and travel abroad.
Greg Marcus and his wife Rachel Kindt joined Beth Am in 2005 with their children. They have been active participants in the Shabbaton and Connections programs, and they organized the Beth Am family camping trip for several years. For the past four years, Greg has led the Mussar group at Beth Am. He has published a book entitled “Busting your Corporate Idol” and is developing an app called “The Pocket Mensch” to enable users to track their goals relative to spiritual growth. Greg has a B.A. from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. from M.I.T.
Jay Hirsh and his wife Sandy and their children have been Beth Am members for 15 years. Jay is the current co-chair of the High Holy Days committee, chair of the Communications Committee and is the past-president of the Beth Am Men’s group. He is a member of the BBYO Friends and Alumni Network national steering committee and serves on the board of the Oshman Family JCC. He and his family participated in Shabbaton family education and his children attended educational programs through Confirmation. Jay has been involved in the information technology industry for 20 years, most recently at Hewlett-Packard. Jay enjoys the outdoors by training for marathons and road biking with Sandy and their Beth Am friends. He received his B.S. from Georgetown University, M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and his M.B.A. from the University of Arizona.
Barry Asin and his wife, Amy, have been Beth Am members since 1993. They have been members of the same havurah since that time. Barry has served as President of Beth Am Men and was founder of the Beth Am family camping trip. Along with their children, they are alumni of Beth Am's Shabbaton program, where Barry taught for two years. Both kids spent summers at URJ Camp Newman and participated in NFTY Israel. Amy currently serves as a Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism. Barry is President of Staffing Industry Analysts, a research firm focused on the contingent labor market. He holds a BSE from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Miriam Ben-Natan moved to California 15 years ago along with her husband, Rafi (z"l). A Human Resources professional, Miriam has been working with Pillsbury LLP as Director of Administration for the San Francisco and Tokyo offices and as Director of Staff Training and Development. At Beth Am, Miriam participated in the Atid program at Beth Am for emerging leaders and is currently participating in the Hartman Institute program focusing on Jewish Identity within the Silicon Valley area. Miriam lives in Menlo Park, with extended family spread across the US and Israel.
Andy Cheng and his spouse Abi Karlin-Resnick live in Palo Alto with their children. Andy grew up in the Bay Area, but spent twenty years on the East Coast/Midwest and met Abi while living in Chicago. He joined Beth Am after returning to California in 2006, while Abi has been a part of the Beth Am community for 34 years. Shortly after joining the congregation, Andy converted to Judaism, became a Bar Mitzvah and graduated from the Atid program. In addition to his experiences at Beth Am, Andy served on the advisory board for Be’chol Lashon, an organization that grows and strengthens the Jewish people through ethnic, cultural, and racial inclusiveness. He has also served as a board member for the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association. Professionally, Andy has spent nearly twenty years in marketing, sales and general management roles within small businesses as well as subsidiaries of global organizations including Kaplan, Inc. and Bayer Corporation. He is currently on the worldwide product marketing team for Apple, Inc. He has a B.A. from Boston College and an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University.
David Crankshaw and his wife, Kathy, have been members of Beth Am since 2000. David is currently part of the Family Learning Task Force. In the past, he has served on a variety of education committees at Beth Am, including chairing the RE-IMAGINE Task Force. Along with their children, David and Kathy were students in the Shabbaton family education program. David has a BA from UC Santa Cruz and an MBA from the Stanford Business School. He is a management consultant specializing in sales process engineering.
Nancy Federman has been a member of Beth Am since she and her husband, Art Benjamin, were married by Rabbi Axelrad. With their son, David, Nancy and Art participated in Shabbaton family education. Nancy learned to read Hebrew through Orna’s classes so she could participate in their son David’s Bar Mitzvah. Nancy had her adult B’nei Mitzvah in 2012. Nancy is currently the President of Beth Am Women and a member of the Women of Reform Judaism Pacific District Social Action Task Force. Nancy volunteered with BAW and then joined the Board, participated in Atid, was a co-chair of the High Holy Days committee, and a member of the Sh’ma Groups Initiative. Now, besides her Beth Am and WRJ activities, she volunteers with MVLA Scholars as a mentor to college students, is a docent and a member of the Floral Design Committee at Filoli, works hard each month to finish the book for her bookclub, and enjoys walking her golden retriever, Auri. In her former life Nancy was a software development manager and a consultant on software development processes and engineering management. She has a BS and MS from the University of Michigan.
Darlene Feldstein: Rabbi Axelrad officiated at the wedding of Darlene and Steve Feldstein in 1978. Since moving to Los Altos in 1986, Darlene and her family have been part of the Beth Am community. Having raised children at Beth Am, Darlene has a longstanding connection. Darlene’s husband Steve served as board President from 1999-2001 (at the same time their daughter, Sonia, was President of the BATY board). For the past six years, Darlene has served on the board of directors of Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, and she is one of its founders. Professionally, she works in Instructional Technology at Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto. In their spare time, Darlene and Steve keep up with their long-time chavurah, the Empty Nesters.
Bob Frankle and his wife, Diane, have been members of Beth Am since 1987. Bob serves on the Interfaith Outreach Committee. In 2013, he and Diane founded the program Building Bridges - An Interfaith Dialogue, which has brought 120 Jews and Christians together in facilitated dialogue. They have two adult sons, who grew up in Beth Am, where they celebrated Bar Mitzvah and Confirmation. Bob has a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters in Material Science from Stanford. At the end of 2015, he retired as a global marketing director for Rapiscan Systems, a manufacturer of security inspection systems. Bob and Diane are pursuing their love of global travel.
Rachel Gibson and her husband, Jeremy Weinstein, joined Beth Am in 2004. With their children, they previously participated in Shabbaton and now enjoy family education through their Connections group, the “Chaggers.” Rachel served on the most recent cantor search committee, the Re-Imagine Task Force, and the early stages of Beth Am’s community organizing committee, now Equal Start, through which she is engaged in the Advocacy Action Team. Outside of Beth Am, Rachel keeps busy leading initiatives through the Palo Alto Unified School District’s Sustainable Schools Committee and Nixon Elementary School's Green Team and coaching a Palo Alto Little League t-ball team. Professionally, Rachel is an environmental health advocate for Health Care Without Harm, a non-profit organization working to transform the health sector so it is ecologically sustainable and a leading advocate for environmental health and justice. Rachel has her B.A. from the University of California Santa Barbara, J.D. from the University of California Berkeley, and M.P.P. from Harvard University.
Micaela Hellman-Tincher grew up at Beth Am, enjoying everything from Sunday Program to Confirmation, and served as President of the BATY Board. She moved to Washington, DC for college at George Washington where she helped to build the student movement for Darfur, and afterward stayed in DC to work as a legislative assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Wanting to expand her social justice understanding globally, she spent a year in Rwanda working for the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village as a fellow with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Micaela made her way back to the Bay Area, where she received a master's degree in International Policy from Stanford. Back at Beth Am, she has taught in the Avodah! program, been involved in the young-adult Kadima class and has enjoyed hearty discussions in Project Micah. She now works as a policy aide for County Supervisor Joe Simitian.
Julie Kaye and her husband Todd joined Beth Am 20 years ago. You will also often find her with Todd’s parents, Tobye and Ron Kaye. Since joining the Beth Am Board in 2014, Julie’s involvement includes serving on the Cantor Search committee, the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution committee, and the Development committee. Julie started an informal Beth Am neighborhood group of 20 multi-generational families, and she enjoys running into them while she is walking her dog, Albus. She most recently went back to work full time with HelmsBriscoe, a hotel site selection and contract negotiation company. While she and Todd are empty nesters, their children are often visiting. Julie has a B.A. from the University California at Berkeley. In her spare time, Julie enjoys entertaining, gardening, volunteering at the Opportunity Center (Homeless Shelter) and spending time with Todd.
Melissa Kelley and her husband, Rob, have been members of Beth Am since 2006. They participated in Shabbaton, serving as lay leaders and developing a curriculum in Mitzvot and Middot their final year. Melissa currently serves on the Include Task Force, working to make sure that all children and teens feel welcome and respected at Beth Am regardless of cognitive, emotional or physical challenges. She has taught within the TNP program and celebrated her adult Bat Mitzvah with a wonderful group of Beth Am members. Melissa is the School Counselor at Kehillah Jewish High School. She has a BA from Stanford and an MA in Counseling Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
Dana Marks and his wife Susan belonged to Beth Am initially from 1969-73 while living in Sunnyvale. Upon moving to South San Jose, they joined Emanu-El of San Jose. They rejoined Beth Am in 1991, after their sons became Bar Mitzvah and their younger son wanted to be confirmed at Beth Am. Dana went through the Atid leadership class in 2013-2014 and helped facilitate the most recent three years of that class. He has served as Co-President, and now President, of Beth Am Men since 2014. Susan worked with Cantor Shpall to help organize and create the Zimriyah children’s choir. Dana is a retired software marketing executive who dabbles in voice acting and voiceover recording and editing. Dana and Susan enjoy many forms of art, travel and spending time with each other and their sons.
Debbie Mukamal joined Beth Am in 2013 along with her young daughter, Zoe. Her family has participated in the Connections family learning program the past several years. Debbie co-chaired the Family Learning Task Force, which led to the creation of Shabbat Together. Since 2010, Debbie has been the Executive Director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center at Stanford Law School. She has brought this connection to Beth Am by helping our teens and Library committee conduct a project called “Beth Am Books to Prison Pipeline,” through which our teens worked diligently to catalog unused books and donate them to prison libraries for use by inmates. Originally from Southern California, Debbie was a childhood friend of Cantor Jaime Shpall. Debbie holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law and received her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley.
Steve Ruvolo and his wife, Francine Lundy-Ruvolo, live in Los Altos and have been most recently involved in Beth Am since 2006. Steve has been a member of the board since 2013. He has enjoyed participating in special projects including, Atid, Grandparents Roundtable and the Russian Emigre education funding. Steve has also been a member of the Interfaith Outreach Committee since 2011. He also participates in Yad l’Yad, visiting homebound congregants. Steve regularly attends Torah and Talmud studies and the Jewish spirituality class. Steve completed his Bar Mitzvah in August 2013. Outside Beth Am, after 15 years, Steve completed his volunteering activities at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. Steve received an Electrical Engineering degree from City College of New York.
Alona Scott her husband, Lacarya, and their children joined Beth Am in 2013 upon their move from New York. Though then new to the area, joining Beth Am was a kind of homecoming as Alona’s mother and aunts grew up in the congregation. Alona is honored to serve as the Head of School at Keys School, a K-8 independent school in Palo Alto. At Beth Am, the Scotts have been active participants in family education programs, and Alona has participated in Project Micah and the Bar Mitzvah Revolution task force. The product of day school education in Los Angeles and over 20 years of camping at URJ Camps Swig and Newman, Alona also holds an AB in Religion with minors in Jewish Studies and Teacher Preparation from Princeton University, an MS Ed in Reading and Literacy from Bank Street College and an MS Ed in Private School Leadership from Columbia University.
Joanna Tasch is President of Beth Am Temple Youth (BATY).