Shedding New Light on Jewish Traditions

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is nominated by the Leadership Development Committee and elected into office by the members of the congregation.
The Executive Committee consists of the president, executive vice president, vice president for administration, vice president for membership, secretary, treasurer, and the chairpersons of the ritual and education steering committees. These members are joined on the board by the past president, 6 at-large members, and the chairpersons of the adult education, community inreach, building and grounds, publicity, finance, development, social action/tikun olam [SATO], and Israel committees. Each executive committee member is responsible to report to and from the committees that reside within his/her portfolio, as indicated on the governance structure chart.
In addition, the Rabbi attends Exec meetings and the Rabbi and the Education Director attend Board meetings.


Officers of the Organization

JAY COHEN - President  Read Jay's Rosh Hashanah Address here!

     I am married to Cheryl Kripke Cohen and we have been Or Hadash members since August 1996.   Both of our sons, Lenny and Danny, were bar mitzvah at Or Hadash.  I retired as a lawyer at the end of August 2015. I have previous experience as vice president and president of a board-The School District of Springfield Township (2003-2007).  I very much enjoy governance and my time on the Or Hadash Board has been a pleasure. 

     Here is my Or Hadash involvement:

-President, May 2014-present

-Chair-Strategic Planning Committee, May 2015-present

-Executive Vice President, May 2013-May 2014

-Vice President for Administration, June 2, 2011-May 2013

-Secretary, Board of Directors, May 14, 2010-June 2, 2011

-Executive Committee, Board of Directors, May 14, 2010-present

-Member, Leadership Development Committee, 2008-May 2014

-Member, Finance Committee, January, 2010-present

-Member, Development Committee, October 24, 2010-May 2013

-La’asot-leadership development-first class, 2009-2010

-Listening Campaign, Autumn, 2011

-Interfaith focus groups facilitator, Autumn 2013

-Negotiating Team-Rabbi Contract-Autumn 2012-Winter 2013

-Member, Rabbinic Retention Committee, Spring 2012

-Member, Rabbi Search Committee, December 2003-March 2004

-Occasional work day helper, greeter, schlepper, Purimspieler and harpist assistant.


LANI MOSS – Immediate Past President

Lani Moss is the Immediate Past President of Or Hadash. Over the 30+ years that she and her family have belonged to the synagogue, Lani has held numerous positions. She also served as Managing Director of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation for 15 years. Now retired, Lani devotes her time to volunteer endeavors. Lani is married to Hal Moss for 37 years. Their two daughters were raised at OH and are now both New Englanders -- Rachel lives in Burlington, VT and works for Seventh Generation and Allison lives in Waltham, MA and is a middle school Spanish teacher.


 

Stuart Rosenthal - Treasurer

     My wife Susan and I have been members of Or Hadash for five years.  We are the proud parents of three grown children, Adam, Andrew and Emily, and proud grandparents of one grandson, Skyler.  I have been the Chair of the Adult Education Committee the past two years and, with Susan, helped lead the OH Book Group the past four years.  Together we began the Empty Nesters Havurah.  I have also assisted with many events, cleanups and fix ups since joining.  In my professional life I have been a consulting engineer for the past 42 years, specializing in water and wastewater management, and currently looking forward to retirement.


MICHELLE SMITHMAN - VP Administration

My family has been members of Or Hadash for 18 years. Over that time, I have served as a Board Member At Large, been a member of various committees (Parent committee, Membership, Spiritual Life, B’nai Mitzvah Task Force) and am currently Chair of two, Kitchen and Adult Study Havurah. My husband, Doug, has been involved in various ways, and is currently on the Board. We have two children, Emily and Brian, who have grown up at Or Hadash. Emily will be starting law school in the Fall and Brian will be starting work.


 

Ann Davis - Co-Vice President for Membership  

     My family joined Or Hadash about 15 years ago.  We were looking for a more welcoming, intimate congregation that would be more “approachable” for our children.  We found a home at Or Hadash. Prior to my current role as Co-VP Membership, I have been a Board Member at Large, have previously served on the Executive Committee as Co-chair of the Education Committee, have been a member of the Community Life committee, have organized and run the Hanukkah party, and most recently, I chaired the Publicity Committee. 

     My husband Barry and I have two children, Craig and Meredith. Both of our children attended Or Hadash religious school and had their B’nai Mitzvah at Or Hadash.  Craig recently graduated from Northwestern University and Meredith is a rising senior at Washington University in St. Louis.  I am a self-employed market research consultant.

 

Elley Rosenberg - Co-Vice President for Membership 

     My husband Manny and I joined Or Hadash in September 2004 just around the time we became “empty nesters.” We chose Or Hadash because we were looking for a warm and nurturing community and we had attended many events there. Our good friends who were members for many years advised us to become active in synagogue life as a way of connecting with the other members.

     Immediately upon joining the synagogue I was asked by Rabbi Josh to head the Darfur Committee (a cause I was already involved with) and became Chairperson for 5 years. We had several fund raising events which raised money for the solar cookers that were desperately needed by the people of Darfur. I proceeded to chair the Israel Committee (a board position) for 3 years and among my duties was inviting many varied speakers on Israel and also helping with coordinating Israel events with the Religious School. For the past three years I have been Co-Chair of Development first with Shelley Rosenberg and most recently with Rob Klotz.

     In 2013 I became an Adult Bat Mitzvah with four other members of the Bnai Mitzvah Class.  It was something I wanted to do for a long time, since girls were not allowed a Bat Mitzvah in the synagogue I belonged to in my youth. It was a lifelong yearning that I’m glad I fulfilled at such an egalitarian synagogue.

     I feel privileged to be asked to remain on the board as Co-Chair of Membership with Ann Davis in the 2016-2017 calendar year.

 


 

Alisa Belzer - Secretary

     I have been a member of Or Hadash since 2004.  I have previously served on the board as the co-chair of the Social Action/Tikkun Olam Committee for 4 years, and am currently a member of the Strategic Planning Committee.  A regular at Saturday morning Torah Study, I have also participated in the La'asot Leadership Development program and in a recent OH Leadership Summit.   I live in Abington with my husband Jon and our younger son Nathan (15).  Our older son Joseph (19) is a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh.  I am an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University.  In my spare time, I love to play my viola in string quartets.  I am also a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels.


Committee Chairs

Robert Goldberg-Alberts - Chair Adult Education Committee


DOUG SMITHMAN - Builidings and Grounds Committee Chair

Our family joined Or Hadash in 1997.  As a convert and with a deep curiosity about Judaism, I have found Or Hadash to be a very welcoming community.  I have been able to grow within that community and participate in all aspects of life at Or Hadash.  My participation has included schlepping High Holiday materials to and from Gratz, heading ECO (Environmentally Conscious Or Hadashers) participating in numerous Purimschpeils and I am now in my third year as Buildings & Grounds Chair.  We have a beautiful and unique building and I want to do my part to make sure that it serves future families as well as it served mine.

Michelle, Emily, Brian and I have resided in the Dresher section of Upper Dublin Township since 1993.  I operate EMP Engineering Services, a consulting business serving equipment reliability and troubleshooting for industrial and commercial clients since 1997.  As the VP of Administration for Or Hadash, Michelle is now my boss.  Emily and Brian were raised with the Or Hadash religious school and Emily served as a classroom aide for five years.  Emily was the first Bat Mitzvah for Rabbi Josh.  Brian and I had a father-son B'nai Mitzvah after I finished an adult education class at Or Hadash.  Emily is a recent graduate of American University and is currently attending law school at The George Washington University.  Brian just graduated from Wissahickon High School and is working at Altec in Colmar.  He also happily participates in every sport ever invented.


Susan Rosenthal - Co-Chair Community Life Committee

Shelley Sanders - Co-Chair Community Life Committee


CAROLYN SAVITZKY - Development Committee Co-Chair

Carolyn Savitzky joined Or Hadash with her family in 1995. She immediately became involved in the congregation by joining the board as Co-chair of the publicity committee. The following year she began teaching in the religious school where she also tutors b'nai mitzvah students. Over the years, she has served as a lay-service leader and on several committees, including Hesed, Spiritual Life, Purim Spiel and has chaired the InReach committee. Her daughter Robyn became a bat mitzvah and was confirmed at Or Hadash. Her husband Marty is known for his grilling and BBQ expertise and is the official Purim Spiel videographer. In addition to her activities at Or Hadash, Carolyn has served as the Bux-Mont Kehillah co-chair, is active in Hadassah and participates in several book clubs.

ROB KLOTZ - Development Committee Co-Chair


Greg Luce - Co-Chair Education Steering Committee

     My family have been members at Or Hadash for about five years.  As an interfaith family, we chose Or Hadash because of its welcoming and inclusive environment. Our sons, Henry 11 and Benjamin 9, currently attend the Religious School.  Since 2013, I have enjoyed volunteering on the Education Steering Committee and participating in the Parent Organization.  Outside of OH, I am an associate professor of management and marketing at Bucks County Community College where I also serve as the coordinator of the management/marketing area and co-direct an annual faculty conference and my wife is a high school teacher.


BERNARD MILLER-HYMOWITZ - Co-Chair Education Steering Committee

I was born more than six decades ago in the Logan section of Philadelphia.  Living in an apartment house with my parents, sister and maternal grandparents, I was heavily influenced by my grandfather who spoke glowingly, in both Yiddish and broken English, of the importance of Judaism in a young man’s life. For the large sum of $.25 each day I wrapped tefillin with him each morning and attended his synagogue on Saturdays. I soon became a favorite grandchild and was welcomed by the septuagenarians in the sanctuary. After my Bar Mitzvah and the completion of six years of Hebrew School, I attended Gratz College for one year of study. Lack of funding from my synagogue made it impossible to continue this portion of my education. However, I continued to attend Saturday services each week and participated in leading the closing prayers on the Bimah.

As a young adult I declined military service in Vietnam and successfully pursued work as a Conscientious Objector. I worked at Norristown State Hospital for two years as a Psychiatric Aide with troubled adolescents. I stayed on at NSH and worked as a Special Education teacher for six years before transferring to the School District of Philadelphia in 1980. While working as a teacher I pursued an Administrative Certificate and became an Assistant Principal. As an A.P., I worked with all facets of my school and was able to implement many ideas that are now part of the culture at the elementary school.

I retired from education in July, 2011 after 42 years of continuous work with both children and adults. Now I devote my time to listening to Jill, reading, volunteering at my school five days a week, attending non-credit courses on Wine Appreciation at Temple University, participating in Or Hadash services and functions on a regular basis, and of course, listening to Jill.


SHELLEY ROSENBERG -  Chair Inclusion Committee

Ken and I were among the six founding families of Or Hadash and the Congregation has continued to play a major part in our lives. I’ve served as Vice President, President (for three terms), Ritual Committee Chair, Editor of HaKesher, Leadership Development Chair, and now Co-Chair of the Development Committee. I also sang in the Makaylah, lead shiva services, served on the Education Committee, helped organize the first Or Hadash trip to Israel and multiple fundraisers, and wrote a large portion of the Congregation’s history.

When not working at Or Hadash related projects, I worked in the Jewish community as an educator/facilitator (at the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education) and wrote several books of Jewish interest (adoption, parenting, and American Jewish history).

I’m now [very happily] retired, and spend a good bit of time traveling with Ken (as far and wide as possible), volunteering for the National Constitution Center and various LGBTQ organizations, both Jewish and secular. I proudly serve on the Abington Township Human Relations Commission, am an amateur photographer, and [very happily] study the harp (with Or Hadash’s resident harpist Cheryl Kripke-Cohen).


DAN WEISMAN -  Israel Committee Chair


CAROL ANN MUELLER BELL - Chair Publicity Committee


LORI RUBIN - Co-Chair Social Action Tikun Olam (SATO)

     Our family became a part of Or Hadash in 2000 when I became the Educational Director of the Religious School.  I maintained that position until June, 2012 when I left the role to become part of the Family Engagement team at Jewish Learning Venture (JLV).   In addition to my work at Jewish Learning Venture, I also served as the Program Coordinator at Or Hadash from 2012-2014, creating intergenerational programs for the entire congregation.  I currently serve as the Director, Family Engagement at JLV and am looking forward to serving on the board of Or Hadash in my new role as lay leader.  Co-Chairing the Social Action Tikkun Olam committee with Babette Zemel is an exciting opportunity as I also serve as Program Coordinator of Tikkun Olam at Camp JRF.  My husband, Jon, also a board member at large, and my three children (Alex, a rising junior at Northwestern University, Abby, a rising freshman at Washington University in St. Louis, and Hilary, a rising 9th grader) enjoy spending time at Or Hadash in a terrific community.


 

Jill Snell - Spiritual Life Chairperson

     I am “the better half” of the “mystery couple.” Bernie and I came to Or Hadash for the High Holiday services for fifteen years. We always sat in the same area of the Sanctuary or at Gratz College. When the services concluded, we quietly left through the rear and advanced to our car.

     In the spring of 2012, we officially joined Or Hadash because I was interested in converting to Judaism and felt that Or Hadash, the Rabbi, and community, were a perfect fit for the rigorous task ahead. I felt comfortable with the Torah Study and minyan service. I have been an active member and have attended just about every Torah Study and Saturday service since then. I have also been involved in numerous volunteer efforts throughout the past two years. This sanctuary and the members have become an important part of my life. It has been an honor to lead Torah Study and co- lead a session for the Jewish Day of Learning. I have participated in Rosh Hodesh group activities and Mussar classes last summer. Also, I have been a member of the Spiritual Life Committee for the past two years.

     I worked for the School District of Philadelphia for 39 years. Over the many years, I have served the District in numerous instructional positions. These positions include classroom teacher, Program Support Teacher, Teaching and Learning Network Facilitator and Regional Academic Coach. My last salaried position was that of Director of the Office of Educational Equity. Currently, I retired from the District in July of 2011. However daily, I am a volunteer for the School District of Philadelphia teaching reading, mathematics and any other tasks needed to support student learning.

     High expectations and the belief that all students can learn have been the driving force and motivation that I have subscribed to throughout my career. Over the years, I have devoted countless hours improving student achievement as Chairperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Education Instructional Support Team and Instructional Support Teacher and as a member of the Pre K - 12 Curriculum Development Project which produced the School District of Philadelphia Core Curriculum.


At-Large Board Members

Jeff Jarvis - Member at Large


 

 

JON RUBIN - Member at Large

My family and I have been members at Or Hadash since 2000.  In August of that year my wife Lori took over as the synagogue's Educational Director, a position she held for 12 years.  Although Lori is no longer on the professional staff at Or Hadash, it has become like a second home to our family and we have continued our membership and involvement.

Although Lori's professional position precluded me from any formal role on the Board, I have been engaged with many of the congregation's events over the years and was usually found either working the grill, helping out behind the bar, or cutting vegetables in the kitchen.

My professional background is the field of Social Work and since May 2014 I have been honored to serve as the Director of Human Services for Bucks County, overseeing mental health, intellectual disability, drug and alcohol, child welfare, and aging services provided by the county.  I also have a background in training and organizational effectiveness consulting working exclusively with public human service agencies.

Lori and I have 3 children who are all familiar faces around Or Hadash (when they are in town).  Alex is currently enrolled at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, Abby will begin her freshman year at Washington University in St. Louis this coming fall, and Hilary will be in 9th grade this coming school year.

Joan Nathan - Member at Large

      I have been a member of Or Hadash- with my husband Jim King since about 1997 (about when my son would have begun Sunday School). I have chaired the Community Life committee and co-chaired the Education committee. I co-chaired the Liv'Not Capital Campaign with Alan Lindy. I have been on the board and the executive committee.

     In recent years I have tried to stay connected through activities for women and the OH book club. In rejoining the board – I anticipate seeing if there are other ways to reconnect and support the OH community

     I have just retired from 22 years of being a social worker at our local outpatient mental health center. I continue to volunteer in many local agencies and am active in supporting an international organization (MEDA) that provides economic development for women (and men) in third world countries.

Jon Shapiro - Member at Large

      My wife Babette and I have been members at OH for about two decades.  We have three children who were educated and became b’nai mitzvah at OH.  I am a physician by vocation and bicycler and kayaker and skier for hobbies.

      I have helped run the Red Cross blood drive at OH for several years.  I participate in the book club and I have been a participant in Torah study.  I assist regularly with the building and grounds committee and play poker with the poker havurah.  I also served for two years in the past as a board member at large.  I have served as a member of the Goldman D’var Torah selection committee as well as benefiting from various courses offered at OH.

Babette Zemel - Member at Large 

     Babette Zemel has been a member of Or Hadash for over 20 years. She served on the Adult Education committee for several years, largely responsible for the “One Book, One Jewish Community” program for several years. She then became Co-Chair of the Social Action – Tikkun Olam committee and has just completed a three year term in that position. She and Jon Shapiro have three children, Aaron, Gabriel and Jessica Shapiro who all became B’nai Mitzvah and enjoyed the confirmation program at Or Hadash. Babette is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.