In the spirit of building a Beloved Community and as representatives of our broader membership, we wanted to let you know a bit more about each of us and to share the unique stories that inform our commitment to the synagogue.
2011 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
GREG STERLING - President
My name is Greg Sterling. I’m currently the President of the Board for Congregation Beth Jacob. This is my third year as President. I’ve truly enjoyed and I’m honored to serve our community in this role. I’m passionate about building community and I’m very proud of the wonderful community that we have at Beth Jacob as we strive for Kehillah Kedoshah. I have been very involved in our Solomon Project to renovate our facilities and I participate in several of our CBJ committees. In my “spare time”, I’m an active Israel advocate. I co-lead the JNF Board for Northern California and I’m actively involved in a JNF program called Caravan for Democracy High School Edition that educates juniors and seniors about Israel. In my “play time” I enjoy road biking, running and snowboarding. The Sterling’s have been members of Beth Jacob for 15 years. My wife, Nancy, and I have 3 sons, Brandon and Jordan graduated from UCSB and are now in the working world and Scott who is a Sophomore at CSU Chico.
Contact Greg Sterling
ERIC SAHN - Treasurer
I have been a Board member at Congregation Beth Jacob since 2003. My wife Amy and I, and our two sons Zachary and Lucas, first joined Congregation Beth Jacob in 1998. My focus as a Board member has been financial strategy. I led the effort to launch Congregation Beth Jacob’s Endowment Fund, which is invested with the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco. I have also been a leader in the Solomon Committee as the organizer of the sub-committee responsible for a Master Plan Design; and since construction began, I have participated on the Steering Committee. Since both our sons have now celebrated their Bar Mitzvahs at CBJ, we are looking forward to celebrating their weddings here at CBJ as well (many years from now).
MICHELLE DE HAAFF- Secretary
My name is Michelle de Haaff. My husband, Brian de Haaff and I have been members of CBJ for almost 15 years! Our three sons attended CBJ Preschool and are now in the CBJ Religious School studying for their Bar Mitzvahs. For us, CBJ is like a second home. The warm, friendly, fun and caring environment is a wonderful place for our family to engage in learning, prayer and Tikkun Olam.
CURTIS LEVIANT - Immediate Past President
My name is Curtis Leviant. I am the immediate Past President of Congregation Beth Jacob. I have served on the CBJ Board in one capacity or another for the past six years. This year I am lending my expertise to our fundraising efforts and helping our new President, Greg Sterling, transition into the job. I have been a member of Congregation Beth Jacob for over 50 years. I am married. My wife and I, Melissa, have two daughters, Erin and Carly.
2011 BOARD MEMBERS
My name is Bernie Arfin. I moved to the Bay Area from New York in 1951. My wife, Joanne, and I have been members of Beth Jacob since the late fifties. The families of two of our children: Mimi Arfin (deceased) husband Bob Rebitzer, and daughters Elana and Maya Rebitzer and David Arfin, wife Maddy Chaleff and sons Avi and Josh Arfin, also belong to CBJ.
A third son Joe lives in Houston. My wife and I had adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s at CBJ. Our three children and thus far three of our four grandchildren have also had their Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s at Beth Jacob. I am presently on the administration, finance committees and the Israel Action Committee. I am involved with JNF and AIPAC.
We were residents of San Carlos for about 45 years until we moved to senior housing in Palo Alto about six years ago. I am a retired Electronic Engineer.
Beth and I were looking to change synagogues when our oldest son, Ben, was starting Kindergargten and our twins, Jonathan and David, were starting preschool. We were drawn to the warmth and community that is central to CBJ. We joined soon after in 2004.
Since then, Beth has participated in and graduated from the adult Bat Mitzvah class and I enjoy the Shabbat morning study group as well as contributing to the synagogue's NESS committee for our religious school. Our boys, now ages 11, 7 and 7, can usually be found early Saturday morning building legos in the synagogue lobby or out on the playground.
I grew up in central Connecticut, where my family was active in Federation and our local conservative synagogue and I was especially active in USY. I spend most spare time involved in the boy's sports activity, which varies from baseball and soccer to windsurfing and skateboarding. Beth and I also find time to express our views and record our lives using blogs and social media.
MICHELLE DE HAAFF
Bio coming soon...
I have been a member of Congregation Beth Jacob since 1965 when I was 14 years old. When I completed law school in 1975, I moved back to the Peninsula and joined Beth Jacob as a member on my own. Shortly afterwards I was asked to serve on the religious practices committee.
In 1978 I joined the Board of Directors, and was asked to be in charge of legal and insurance matters. I reviewed the insurance policy, and at my suggestion, the board increased our fire insurance coverage by $500,000. Three months later, our building was destroyed by fire. I am very proud of the work that we all did in the years afterwards to rebuild our synagogue.
I continued on the board for a few years, and served as vice President from 1980 until 1982, when I married and started my own family. Then I became involved in starting the North Peninsula Jewish Community Day School, (now known as the Wornick School) in San Mateo. I served as president of the Wornick School from 1988 until 1990.
I rejoined the Board of Directors at Congregation Beth Jacob in 1991, and served as vice president for 1996 until 1999. I then served as president of the temple from 1999 until 2001. I've rejoined the board again this year. I have acted as legal counsel to CongregationBeth Jacob since 1978.
My wife Vivienne is an attending physician in the pediatric ICU at Oakland Children's Hospital. We have three children, Deborah (age 24), Jessica (age 22), and Mark (age 21).
We all consider ourselves to be at home here at Congregation Beth Jacob.
Bio coming soon...
Bio coming soon...
Suzanne and I have been members at CBJ for approximately 30 years. I have been the president of the congregation twice, and secretary and treasurer as well. All of our three kids had their Bar and Bat Mitzvah at CBJ. I am a retired Superior Court Commissioner. I get called back to Court on too many occasions. I was a practicing attorney in San Mateo County for 5 years before starting to work for the court system.
Suzanne and I have been married for 38 years. We have lived in Menlo Park for 32 years.
I became the High Holiday Gabai somewhere around 10 years ago. There was no real training for it, although before I started doing it on the High Holidays there was a great temple member named Marty Bergman who was the High Holiday Gabbai when I was younger. The stain glass on the front door is in his honor. He was a great example to watch and I learned by watching him. I also fill in on Saturday when either Jon Levinson or Bernie Scheier are not there.
I have been a member of CBJ for about 18 years. My two daughters, Samantha and Caitie, attended religious school at CBJ and had their Bat Mitzvahs here. My husband, Jeff, and I were married in the Chapel almost three years ago with Rabbi Ezray and Bill officiating. I always found the environment at CBJ welcoming but when my girls finished religious school I was looking for a way to renew my connection to my Judaism and CBJ. I had attended a Jewish Day School in Queens, New York where I was—more often than not—dragged to school. I joined the Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah class at CBJ in an effort to embrace Jewish education on my own terms. The experience was transformative and has lead to a reinvigorated effort on my part to continue my Jewish studies. I have been enjoying the very interesting discussions in the Saturday morning Torah study as part of that effort. I am a lawyer and have my practice at DuRard, McKenna & Borg in San Mateo where we represent working men and women who become disabled from work-related injuries and illnesses. I am happy to be a new member of the Board and hope to contribute to our synagogue in any way that I am able. .
My name is Paul Melmon. My wife Nancy and our three children, Julia (13), Becca (12) and Eli (9), have been members of CBJ for 10 years. I actually met Rabbi Ezray well before he was a rabbi, growing up when we were both in the same bunk at the then Conservative movement–sponsored Camp Arazim. I am a native Californian. I grew up in the area, was active in USY, attended Kol Emeth, and graduated from UC Davis. Last year as our eldest daughter Julia was Bat Mitzvahed, I was reminded of what a special community we are fortunate to be a part of. All three of our children are in the religious school, and Nancy and I have helped organize the Mishpacha program the past couple of years.
Professionally, I have grown up in Silicon Valley as the software industry has evolved. I have been involved with several start-ups, where my primary role is software engineering leadership.
As a new Board member, I am looking forward to getting more involved at CBJ and excited by the vision of sacred community and the great leadership we have in place.
Bio coming soon...
I was elected to the CBJ Board of Directors in 2010 and serve on the Membership Engagement Committee. My wife Tara and I joined CBJ in 2006 as our eldest daughter began religious school classes at CBJ. We have found CBJ to not only be a wonderful place for our children (Phoebe (age 10), Nathan (age 8) and Daphne (age 5)) to learn Jewish religion, tradition and values, but also a welcoming place for Tara and I to develop and deepen our own connections within Judaism and the CBJ community. For example, having been raised on Maui in the 70s, where there were no synagogues, I missed out on the religious education that my children take for granted, and I look forward to entering the Adult B’Nai Mitzvah program one day soon. In the mean time, Rabbi Ezray and Bill keep me busy at self-study on a pace that my hectic life can tolerate!
I received my undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley (’87) and my JD from the University of Chicago (’91). I am a corporate partner in the Palo Alto office of the law firm Ropes & Gray, specializing in the representation of emerging growth companies. Previously, I was a partner with the Silicon Valley firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. My interests include spending time with family, cycling, sailing and spinning vinyl on my Technics turntable.
MYRON FEINSTEIN, M.D.
RICHARD HARTE, O.D.
Click here to email Greg Sterling, the Board President.