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|President Elect:||Dana Winerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Secretary/VP Communications:||Melissa Drexleremail@example.com|
|VP Religious Affairs:||Malka Dubrawskyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|VP Family Education:||Fred Helms
|VP Membership:||Charles Levyemail@example.com|
|VP Facility & Operation||Neal Blauzvernfirstname.lastname@example.org|
Board Members by Virtue of Their Positions:
|Immediate Past President:||Robert Cullickemail@example.com|
|Sisterhood President:||Kathy Benayounfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Past Presidents Council Rep:||Danny Fleschmanemail@example.com|
Joe Steinberg - Joe has been a member of Agudas Achim since arriving in Austin in 1983. He and his wife Fai Lee were married at the CAA on Bull Creek original Shul, and daughters Rachel and Shauna were both Bat Mitzvah at today’s beautiful site. He as been an active member of the CAA board for 5 years and from 1998-2004 was the head of the board of governors for the Tianjin International School. Joe spent 25 years of his career with Motorola including six years living and raising his family in China, returning to Austin in 2004. We have a beautiful community in Austin, and strive to make our sacred address a warm, welcoming place where people feel comfortable and come together for prayer, learning, camaraderie and happiness.
Dana Sharon Winer – I am blessed to be a lifelong member of the Congregation Agudas Achim family. My involvement at CAA has included a self-study, our young adult group, communications, and several years of board service. I am honored to serve our community as President-Elect and look forward to the opportunities as we usher in our second century. I have been with Accenture, a management and technology consulting company, for 10 years and focus on quality and process improvement. My husband Nathaniel and I enjoy spending time with our daughter Kayla (the “minyan mascot”) and our Miniature Schnauzer Lilah, and of course the favorite pastime of Austin, watching Longhorn football!
Caroline Legatt – I am a mother of three young children and can frequently be found in our youth services on Saturday morning. I have been a member at CAA for five years, since moving here from White Plains, New York. This is my first year on the board and I am honored to be able to help. Before becoming an at-home mother, I was a pension actuary in New York. Nowadays when I am not at CAA, or home with my children and husband, Michael, I am working as a professional organizer. I look forward to watching our CAA community grow into its second century!
Malka Dubrawsky - Eighth grade art class introduced Malka to art and she hasn't been the same since. She went on to graduate from college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art. It was being at home with children that pushed her into working with textiles. For several years Malka worked primarily as a fiber artist and was lucky enough to be included in some prestigious shows and publications such as Quilt National and Visions and Fiberarts: Design Book 7. More recently she's been busy making more functional textiles though still primarily out of her own hand dyed and patterned fabric. To this end she has turned her attention to crafting quilts, pillows and other sundries for sale via her online store, visit here. Malka writes and designs patterns and has been published in magazines such as Quilting Arts, Stitch, and several books including Sweater Surgery and Quilts! Baby, Pretty Little Mini Quilts, Whip Up Mini Quilts, and Quilting Art by Spike Gillespie. Her first book, Color Your Cloth: A Quilter's Guide to Dyeing and Patterning Fabric, was published by Lark Books in November of 2009 and a second book, Fresh Quilting: Fearless, Color, Design, and Inspiration was released in December of 2010 by Interweave Press.
Fred A. Helms -- My wife, Judy, and I have been members of Agudas Achim since 1966 (with a brief interruption while we lived on the East Coast and Germany from 1969 to 1978). Our children were educated in the congregation's religious school. We have celebrated simchas and marked life's sorrows with the congregation's support for decades. I was the chairman of the school board in the early 80's and a board member in the early 90's. I returned to the board last year to repay the support the congregation has given me and my family over the years. I am a retired college professor, retired Army infantry officer, retired lawyer and current grandfather.
Charles L. Levy – I am relatively new Member of the CAA community, and prior to becoming involved with CAA I have been involved in pretty much every aspect of Synagogue life. I have a fairly diverse conservative Jewish background and sharing my Jewish background and experiences as Membership VP at CAA is quite an honor. I hope I am able to meet and be welcoming to our members, potential members, and members of the Austin Jewish Community at large. After graduating from the University of Texas business school in 1979, I was employed as a CPA for an international accounting firm. Then, I attended the Baylor University School of Law, graduating in 1984. I have held positions as a senior officer, and president, of a mid-size Texas insurance group, also teaching as an adjunct law professor at Baylor. I have been engaged in the private practice of law for about 25 years. I am lucky that my three grown children, David, Rebecca, and Arielle, all graduates of the University of Texas, are living in, and professionally employed in, Austin. Also among life's true joys, is my relationship with my partner, Karen Frost, who gets the credit for encouraging me to get involved at CAA.
Dr. Neal Blauzvern -My wife (Patti), son (Hayden), and I have been members of CAA since 1994. For the last five years, I have had the distinct privilege of serving our CAA community, first as a Member-at-Large of the Board, and currently as the Vice-President for Religious Affairs. I am also a member of the Shabbat Services Committee. I served on the Search Committee that brought Dr. Raben, our Director of Congregational Learning, to CAA. In addition, I also serve our community as the Chairman of the DJCC Common Area Maintenance Committee, which oversees the apportioning of the Dell campus expenses that are shared among its various organizations. Outside of CAA, I have an active medical practice in Pain Management, which gives me the great satisfaction of helping people with chronic pain conditions. I look forward to further service to our community in whatever capacity I can be of help.
Robert Cullick - Robert appreciates the opportunity to serve his fellow congregants at Agudas Achim. He taught 10th-graders in the Religious School for a decade, led a variety of initiatives and served on the Board of Directors, including as President of the Board in 2009-2011. He looks forward to 2014, when the Centennial of the first Minyan will be celebrated. He believes the history of the organization needs to be better documented and exhibited and that Congregation Agudas Achim is bringing many new ideas and approaches to a somewhat exhausted Conservative Movement. Suzy Seriff, his wife, is a university educator and museum consultant; Robert is a public relations consultant and former newspaperman. They have two adult sons, Matthew and Aaron.
Kathy Benayoun - Kathy made her home in Austin back in 1985; and although she tried to leave a couple of times, she kept getting pulled back 'home'. She earned a degree at UT in Psychology & Cultural Anthropology, and begin waiting tables immediately after. She has also coordinated grants for NYU Medical Center; was the original singer in 8 1/2 Souvenirs; had a family massage practice specializing in prenatal/postpartum care; and is proud to be considered an 'owner' of Vespaio & Enoteca restaurants here in Austin (although it's her husband that does all the work!). Kathy is married to Claude Benayoun, and they have a son, Zach, who is a Freshman at LASA.
Ginny Belofsky -I am delighted to serve on the board after being part of the CAA community for 21 years. I am married to Herb and have a son Tyler who is 22 and a daughter Maia who is 6. One of my passions is Jewish education, having worked at the ECP, AJA, and CAARS. I also founded the Mommy and Me play groups in 2006 at the JCAA. I am the owner of Ginny B Photography, where I am blessed to do what I love - capture precious moments in space and time. As Volunteer Coordinator at CAA, I have the pleasure of connecting people with meaningful opportunities, so please be in touch about what you'd like to be involved in!
Marty Price -- My name is Marty Price and my family and I moved to Austin nearly three years ago. We left our home in Detroit, the week immediately following our second son's Bar Mitzvah. We were looking for a place to continue to meet Jewish families and to be part of worship and learning in a growing Jewish Community. From the moment we arrived, we have felt Agudas Achim is our home. We have been treated wonderfully in every part of our association. I would like to serve the synagogue and the larger community and give back to those who were so wonderful and helpful to us. Thanks for this opportunity to serve.
Ben Rosenberg – My wife, Debbie Rosenberg and I have been members of CAA for approximately eight years. We have three daughters Nicole (23) – graduated from UT and is working here in Austin, Lauren (20) is a junior at Texas State in San Marcos and Sydney (11) is a 6th grader at Murchison. We live in the Jester Estates subdivision. Sydney’s Bat Mitzvah is scheduled for February 2013. I was a board member of Congregation Kol Halev when it was a start up back in 1998. I work as a public finance banker for Coastal Securities and helps governmental entities borrow money. I am excited about the opportunity of stepping up and serving the congregation. I will be serving as a board member at large and want to focus on refinancing or paying off the mortgage and building facilities. I also think finding new people to serve the congregation and/or the board is a key area for our success. I grew up in Wharton, Texas, earned a BBA in Accounting from UT and has lived in Austin for approximately 22 years.
Rose Schneier -- I grew up and was educated (college, medical school, residency, and fellowship) in Pennsylvania. Beginning in 1982, my family and I have moved several times (California, Arizona, Alabama ) before moving to Austin in 2003. I am a pediatric endocrinologist specializing in adolescents and young adults. I currently work at Austin Thyroid and Endocrinology near North Austin Medical Center. My husband Lawrence Weinman and I live outside Manor; our daughter Joanna lives and works as a web designer in Oakland, California. During my years in California, I served two years as education chair at Temple Beth Emek (Livermore). At Etz Chayim on Huntsville, Alabama, I served as vice president, president, editor of the monthly newsletter (The Shofar), and religious school teacher. Although Congregation Agudas Achim is two orders of magnitude larger than both my previous congregations, there are enough similarities that many of the skills and values I developed at my previous shuls could serve me well in future service as a Board Member at Large. I am interested in CAA’s role in the larger community, and I believe that social service needs to be a cornerstone of who we are as a community. However, I am also keenly aware of the central importance of involving the younger members of the Agudas community-from post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah to the pre-parenthood 30-somethings. I have been pleased by the recent efforts of the Board to develop religious, educational, service, and social programs for these members in particular. I would welcome the opportunity to serve our kaliedoscopic and haimish congregation, and I am honored to have been nominated to serve on the Board.
Elliot Trester - I will start my bio for the CAA Board with my Peace Corps experience almost 50 years ago. Growing up, we certainly did many Jewish things, celebrated Passover, had a bar mitzvah, but the Peace Corps was the culmination of tikkun olam, although at the time I probably didn’t even realize there was a phrase for it.
Tikkun olam has certainly been a guiding principle for me, but doesn’t need the walls of a synagogue to perform. During my Peace Corps days, I never set foot into a synagogue in Colombia, although there was a reasonably large Jewish population in Medellín, where I lived. I continued in this non-practicing mode until the late 1980’s.
My wife, Barbara Wilson, and I got married first on the banks of the Maumee River near Toledo, Ohio, in 1978 at sunrise. We wrote our own ceremony, and while quite a beautiful and meaningful event, it didn’t have the weightiness, the connection to thousands of years of tradition as our second wedding on the banks of Shoal Creek 18 years later, at noon. Rabbi Marty Pasternak presided, and it was even more meaningful because of the ketubah and years of history. Also, our kids got to attend which was definitely quite special. That was in 1996.
In the late 1980’s, after having two children and with a child starting in religious school, we became members of the synagogue. Barbara decided to become Jewish. As our children went to religious school and were bat mitzvahed, we attended services with considerable frequency. After their bat mitzvot and confirmations, both their and our attendance waned.
My mother came to live in Austin in 2008 as her health failed. Both my parents in their later years had become involved with several small congregations in the Bronx. They very much enjoyed those experiences, I think much more than when they were younger in larger, more anonymous congregations.
I decided to begin brining my mother to Shabbat morning services, and although she was becoming more and more demented, she profoundly enjoyed the experience. She enjoyed seeing the same people every week, and enjoyed even more being greeted as my mother. She also enjoyed just being in the wonderful sacred space that we are blessed with.
As a board member, I honor my parents’ memories, and hope to help heal the world here in Austin in a more local and Jewish way.
Greg Yamin - While Sharon and I are both from San Antonio, we both graduated from U.T. Austin. We were married at CAA in San Antonio, and have been members of CAA Austin since 1981. Since joining the congregation, I have had to work hard to successfully blend my work time at our family owned business, A-Plus Energy Management and Air Conditioning, and being able to serve my community. I have primarily found my greatest pleasure serving the community youth and helping with the continued maintenance and planning of our congregation buildings and grounds. Throughout the years I have been both a Boy Scout Troop Leader and Cub Scout Pack Leader with the JCC organization for over 9 years. I was the Kadima advisor for 6 years and BBYO advisor for 3 years. I have served a previous term on the CAA board and look forward to returning this term. Our three children, Josh, Jackie, and Stephanie, have all been b’nai mitzvahed and confirmed at CAA Austin. It has been my pleasure to serve the congregation in the past, and I look forward to serving in the upcoming years.