Andrea Arzt, President, has been a member of Kolot for 7 years, having previously served as Vice President. She has also been involved with the Children’s Learning Program Education Committee and in the past, the Sustainable Synagogue Business Models project. She lives in Windsor Terrace with her husband Walter Tegtmeier and son Zachary. She is a clinical social worker who has worked for over 30 years with individuals with disabilities and their families through both her agency and private practice work. For the past 10 years she has directed the clinical and counseling programs at the New York City-Southern New York Chapter of the National MS Society. Andrea is honored to be a part of the vibrant Kolot Chayeinu community and finds the more involved she becomes, the more she finds to like. You can reach Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions at all.
One of Carolyn Klaasen, Vice President's favorite things about Kolot is the line in the mission statement that says "all hands are needed to build our community." She feels that at Kolot, she has found a community that has fully welcomed her (and put her to work!) in all aspects of her Jewish identity, as a queer person, a biblical scholar, a convert, and a Palestine solidarity activist. This is her seventh year attending Kolot, fourth year as a member, and third year on the board. She is a doctoral student in Hebrew Bible at Union Theological Seminary, where she also works as a Teaching Fellow for Bible courses and as an Orientation Coordinator. She is trained and experienced in facilitating discussions, presenting information, thinking pedagogically, and coordinating events. She is currently a leading member of Kolot's Transition Team.
Sandra Abramson, Treasurer, has been a member of Kolot since 2011. She and her wife, Terry DeFiore, joined after Cantor Lisa married them. Kolot was a natural schul for Sandy to join. She has worked in the not-for-profit affordable housing world in New York since the late 70’s and Kolot’s focus on both Gemilut Chasidim and social justice appealed to her as places she would want to put her energy. Also, her desire for a strong Jewish community that posed, rather than answered, questions led her to give up some of her skepticism and jump in. She joined both committees and hasn’t regretted a moment of her work on them. Sandy is also a Torah study and Shabbat regular, again in spite or, perhaps because of, her skepticism. You can reach Sandy with any financial questions at email@example.com.
Deborah Steinberg, Officer at Large, was first drawn to Kolot's warmth, inclusiveness, and values. Since officially joining about 4 years ago, She has been involved on the Social Justice Committee and as a semi-regular shamas. Deborah lives in Park Slope and hopes to the bring to the board an enthusiastic energy and experience from the Jewish social justice and philanthropic world.
Roger Westerman, Officer at Large, has been a member of the Board since 2012. Roger, his wife Maria Schneider, and three children have been members since 2001. All three children became bar/bat mitzvah at Kolot. Roger is proud to give back to the congregation that has given so much to his family. He was a long-time member of the Education Committee and has served on the Nominating Committee several times. Roger is a design consultant specializing in museum exhibition design. He contributed his skills to the design of Kolot’s ark for the Torahs and looks forward to getting it properly decorated during his term.
Samantha Anderson joined the Kolot Board after a long search for a spiritual home that felt comfortable to her and her blended family of six children -- 3 of whom are Jewish and 3 who are Catholic. She feels that Kolot's inclusive CLP curriculum provides her family with guideposts to navigate the challenges of her family's diverse religious backgrounds. Samantha previously served as Sukkot Chair in 2013 coordinating the logistics for that holiday. In her other day job, Samantha works at the Jewish Funders Network which gives her a window seat into the world of Jewish philanthropy.
Julie Dressner is a documentary filmmaker. She (usually) produces short films for the web that focus on education, civil rights and criminal justice. Her work has been published by The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York Magazine and Buzzfeed. She is currently working on a long-form film about college access. She and her husband, Clifford Levy, joined Kolot in 2001. They have three children, Danya, Arden and Emmett.
Mike Everett-Lane joined the board of Kolot in 2012 (5773). He is the Executive Director of College Summit New York, a non-profit organization that works with public schools to increase the number of students enrolling, and succeeding, in college. He is also a co-founder of ImprovEdge, a consulting company that provides corporate leadership training, using improvisation as a catalyst for learning. He lives in Park Slope with his wife, Debra, and their two sons.
Rachel Feldman has been a member of Kolot for 3 years. She first learned about Kolot through her work with Jewish Funds for Justice and became a member after deciding to join Kolot's adult B'nai Mitzvah class. Rachel is a community organizer with a background in labor organizing, immigration advocacy and congregation-based community organizing. She now leads Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice's national organizing work as National Field & Campaigns Director. Rachel grew-up in Pontiac, MI and now lives in Crown Heights. Rachel is deeply committed to Kolot's mission and wishes everyone could be part of such an amazing community.
Brian Fink, a Reconstructionist Rabbi, first became involved with Kolot Chayeinu in 1999 after moving to Brooklyn as a participant in Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps. He felt he immediately found his place within Kolot, attracted to its intergenerational community, thoughtfulness, social justice orientation, welcoming nature, and willingness to wrestle with both tradition and change. His wife Aileen is the Director of Education at PSJC, and Brian is the Director of the Engage Volunteer program at JCC Manhattan.
Jeff Golick is publishing director for Dreamscape Media, an independent publisher of audiobooks and children's picture book videos. A music obsessive, Jeff joined Kolot in part for the fantastic sounds, and hosts a weekly radio show on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio. Jeff lives in Park Slope with his wife, Kate Steinberg, and their two children.
David Herskovits directs plays and operas. He is the Founding Artistic Director of Target Margin Theater in New York and has also directed at Lincoln Center Festival, The Prototype Festival, Theatre for A New Audience, The Kitchen, Mass MoCA, and many others. David was a 2011 Fellow of The American Academy in Jerusalem and on the 2012 Faculty of the Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard; he has taught and lectured as a visitor at many Universities and drama schools, and published essays in The New York Times, American Theatre, Theatre Magazine, and Performing Arts Journal, among others. He will direct Porgy and Bess for the 2016 Spoleto Festival USA. He and his wife and two sons have been enthusiastic members of Kolot since 2005, and he is proud to be able to contribute to this amazing congregation as a member of the Board.
Sarah M. Lowe joined the Board in 2015 after being a member of Kolot since 1999. A writer and art historian, she earned a PhD from The Graduate Center, CUNY, and has written numerous books on photography and Mexican Art. Sarah has been active at Kolot on various committees and enjoys giving the occasional drash at Saturday morning services. Her son, Simon, became a bar mizvah at Kolot in 2014. Her spouse, Elisabeth Smith, a visual artist, and she spend summers in Kentucky.
Ernst Mohamed has been around Kolot Chayeinu for 18 years, since his wife, Lisa Zbar, first joined. He is glad to now be on the board. His children, Eric and Sierra, became b'nai mitzvah in the community. Ernst is a general contractor, specializing in interior and exterior residential renovations, most of it in Brooklyn. From Aruba; he speaks Dutch and Spanish, as well as Papiamento and Patois--let him know if Kolot ever has a need for these dialects.
Barbara Gross has been a member of Kolot since we had Shabbat services in a circle in the balcony at Gethsemene. In her experience, no other synagogue is as truly committed to action for social justice, to the full participation of all that are willing, and in recent years, to racial justice. She has worked as a community and education justice organizer, trainer, and TA provider and through that work has gained experience in organization building, leadership development, facilitation, supervision of staff, and occasional proposal writing. She hopes to bring her ever-evolving understanding of race and racism and what it means to be white in a racist system, continuing to build upon the work of the Race Working Group as we strive to be an anti-racist congregation. For those of us who are white: what we have inherited, benefit from, and internalized is not our fault, but it is our responsibility to change our ways of being in our synagogue, city, and world.
Anne Sherman joined the Kolot board in 2016. She, her husband Russell Langsam, and their two children have been members since 2011, when their son enrolled in the Children’s Learning Program. He became a b’nai mitzvah in 2016, and their daughter will begin the b’nai mitzvah journey this fall. Anne finds the Kolot community fascinating and is very grateful for the opportunities for spiritual, intellectual, and emotional growth that it offers. She currently co-chairs the Kolot fundraising committee.
When David Stevens and his family moved to Brooklyn 10 years ago, they looked for a congregation that had values, spirit, and a connection to the wider community beyond its walls. They shopped around quite a bit but 10 minutes into their first Shabbat morning service, they knew Kolot was for them. David works at Kings County Hospital, where he is Medical Director of Ambulatory Care.
PAST PRESIDENTS OF KOLOT CHAYEINU'S BOARD OF DIRECTORS