Board Bios

Executive Committee

Scott Osman

President

In the time I have been actively engaged at Romemu, it has inspired my spirit and my mind. Attending regular Shabbat services, I have been elevated and have begun to understand the profound gift of Shabbat and connect with the music of Torah. I have been a member of Romemu for 6 years and a board member for 5 years, having the privilege to serve on the EC since 2016 and serving a term as board chair from 2017 – 2020.

During the week I serve as the CEO of Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches, an organization of world-class coaches, leading business thinkers and significant CEOs who all seek to make a positive impact on the lives of leaders. 

The skills that elevate those I collaborate with include leadership skills, brand and innovation strategy, and design thinking. I am a member the Lifeline School, and previously sat on the board of the Food Allergy Initiative, and on the board of the Kitchen, the New York arts institution. I received an AB from Dartmouth College and an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Marina Lewin

Treasurer

Marina is thrilled to be joining the Board of Romemu.  Marina joined Foundation for Jewish Camp as Chief Operating Officer in January, 2017, following a 30+ year high-profile career in banking.  She served most recently as the Global Head of New Business Development for BNY Mellon, where she successfully managed large teams in complex and competitive environments.  She was consistently recognized and promoted for her ability to profitably grow her businesses, develop strong client relationships, and develop, coach, and mentor talent within her organization. 

Marina serves as Treasurer of Hazon and is the Chair of the Isabella Friedman Sustainability Task Force.  Marina also serves on the board of the JCC Manhattan, and has worked with Romemu on its finance and operations. 

Marina received her BA degree from Barnard College/Columbia University and MBA from New York University.  She lives in NYC with her husband Andrew and they have two grown sons.

Caroline Ellen

Secretary

Romemu is a deeply nurturing spiritual home for me and my family, and we are so grateful to have found it.  I am a small business owner, and I volunteer at Romemu to help the organization stay strong and continue to grow. I hope that, as it flourishes, many others may also discover this welcoming, openhearted, soulful, uplifting, and loving community.

As an interfaith family member, I have been participating in the Strangers No More community since it began in 2013, and this beautiful and powerful program has been transformative for our family. I am committed to continuing to help support it as the Board Liaison for Multi-Faith Initiatives.

The Romemu Benefit committee is another focus of mine for the past several years, and I will continue to work closely with our amazing volunteers and staff to help grow the Benefit into an ever more meaningful and effective fundraising vehicle.

Angie Atkins

Most baalei teshuva (literally “masters of return,” and colloquially, people who become committed to a halakhic life) struggle with the particularity, insularity, and idiosyncrasy of Jewish law, AND the discipline and belief that leading a traditionally Jewish life requires.  Since tumbling into a black hat yeshiva in Jerusalem more than 30 years ago, Angie Atkins has considered herself an alternate route baalat teshuva (probably needing longer than 40 years to get to the promised land). Romemu inspires her to keep on the path to that metaphorical land (“derech eretz”) and stretches her to be more universally concerned, more joyous/honest/flexible in her observance, and more committed to difficult mitzvot/study/ritual.

Professionally, Angie has worked as the Director of Heritage Alumni at the Wexner Foundation since 2011. Previously, Angie founded, ran, and then sold an international jewelry business, which manufactured in Israel and wholesaled fine designer jewelry around the world for 22 years. In her current position, Angie is in touch daily with top lay leaders in 33 communities across North America to listen and advise on challenges facing synagogues, day schools, federations, JCC’s, national organizations, and every other kind of institution imaginable. While Romemu is in a league of its own, perhaps Angie can bring in some of the wisdom learned from national trends and creative leaders from all walks of Jewish expression.

Angie and her husband Norman regularly host Shabbat minyans, seudot, and learning in their Upper West Side home – including Romemu new member gatherings and classes (you should COME!). They are blessed with three (more or less) adult children: Zohar, Ari, and Shira. Angie also serves in advisory capacity to Mechon Hadar and Base Hillel and is an enthusiast of Encounter, LimmudNY, Etz haSade and Wonder Media Network. Her hobbies include laughing and dancing, and who doesn’t love a great hike, movie, yoga class, red wine(s) or travel to far flung places?

Bryan Binder

I am from the Midwest and attended Reform synagogues growing up.  While Judaism has always been a meaningful part of my life, when searching for a new shul, my wife and I were looking for something more than just a place to attend services.  Although we were not exactly sure what “more” was, we knew we had found it the first time we attended Romemu and met Rabbi David.  

In Romemu we have found more community, more spirituality and an environment that is filled with warmth and compassion.  And most importantly for us, the community and deep spiritual connection is something that we have been able to share with our young children.  The Romemu culture transcends generations and has become our true Jewish home and community.

I have been in finance and investing for over 25 years.  I currently run a division of a large European company that acquired a business I had founded.  I have a JD/MBA from NYU and a BS from the University of Wisconsin.  I am involved with several non-profits and am currently on the Board of Directors of Success Academy Charter Schools and AISH.

Allegra Kochman

Raised in a NYC synagogue that is part of the Reform movement, I first encountered Romemu on Kol Nidre in 2011; I was warmed and moved by the relaxed and open energy of the community; inspired and touched by the music.

I appreciate the culture of Romemu, which values kindness, self-awareness, inclusion, and communication. And I value being part of a community that teaches and acts gently and with integrity.

I gradually spent more time with Romemu and now serve on the Board. I am currently the Board Liaison for the Adult Education Committee, Co-Chair Emeritus of the Benefit Committee, and lead the “RomLoc” team that addresses short term fixes for our rented locations — I also share insights and visioning for what our long term location could be.

When I volunteer for Romemu I help build strategic, replicable systems to save time and improve the quality of everyone’s experience, and I open my home to my Romemu community for meals, meetings, and learning.

I am a registered architect and sole proprietor of my own firm. I specialize in deep residential renovations that optimize Light+Views+Storage; we grow the projects from concept to completion. I received a BA from Dartmouth College, and an M.Arch Columbia University.

Larry Schwartz

From the moment I walked in the door at Romemu, it was clear to me that I had been looking for the davening experience at Romemu my whole life. Over the past 2 1/2 years I have been exploring if Romemu could be the intentional Jewish community I have been seeking as well. There is so much positive energy, deep learning and heartfelt praying in our community. I have realized that it is time now for me to step up and try to contribute to grow and develop our intentional community. I want to help our community continue to create meaningful relationships between people — where we can grow, learn together and support each other in good times and in difficult times.

I am very excited about the ABIA model that Rabbi David has envisioned. I see it as a more complete and spiritual community center than anything that currently exists. A place where people can nourish and develop their minds, bodies, hearts and souls and share their journey with others. It will take a lot of work, vision and passion but it is something I have dreamed of my whole life.

I hope I can contribute to the effort. I am a business person who loves marketing, strategic planning and growing an organization. Over 23 years I helped create two brands: British Knights sneakers and Lugz boots. I pioneered hip hop marketing in the 80s and 90s. I also played a leadership role in my Conservative shul in Montclair NJ for many years. I am currently the chair of the board of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality which is very much aligned with with Romemu’s vision and mission. I have helped the Institute grow dramatically and flourish over the past 10 years while still keeping true to our values and vision.

I love to read Torah and am pleased that David and Romemu have welcomed my reading in Hebrew and English. I also love, practice and teach mindfulness and meditation and feel so lucky to be a part of a community that values those practices as much as Romemu does. I look forward to helping us incorporate them in the fabric of our community and our lives.

Board of Directors

Jamie Askin

When I walked in the door on my first Shabbat service at Romemu five years ago, I knew I had found the spiritual home that I didn’t know I’d always been looking for. I grew up in an assimilated Conservative home with Shabbat dinner every Friday night, but knew very little about Judaism other than a vague knowledge of a few holidays, delicious food, weekly Challah and Wine, and the prayers I knew by rote but not by meaning.

In my 30’s I began a yoga and meditation practice and learned about the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. I chanted Kirtan. I read books by Buddhist teachers and I had a vague sense of “cheating” on my religion I longed for a Jewish connection with God and community. Romemu was the first place I felt this connection as a Jew, coupled with the yoga and meditation practices I enjoyed.

I have served as Co-Chair of the Shomerim Committee, Chair of the Home Hosting Committee and Co-Chair of the Membership Committee. I am honored to be part of the powerful growth of this wonderful community.

It is my personal mission to be part of making sure that all members feel welcome and integrated, that new or veteran, we are the individual, colorful threads that create the unique fabric of Romemu. By learning about each other, helping each other grow and pray together, we create a stronger, more beautiful Romemu. I look forward to continuing this mission as part of the board and am excited about being a nurturing partner in the future of this dynamic community.

Yoni Barnhard

I was raised in an LA synagogue, Valley Beth Shalom, where Rabbi Harold Schulweis was the first to open the door to the wisdom of Judaism. I left college after two years, and spent several years studying at Machon Pardes, Machon Meir, and Hebrew University. That was the decision that determined the rest of my life. 

For 18 years I’ve lived in Riverdale with my wife Shari and our four kids, Gavi, Nadav, Noam and Lia, where we are connected to the Hebrew Institute and SAR.  Two and half years ago we were introduced to Romemu by one of our kids and by a friend.

Romemu engages my mind, my heart, and my soul in a way that I have rarely experienced since we came back to Riverdale from Israel. Romemu has been a wake up. It has been a call to renew and improve our life. Rav Kook writes that our souls are always speaking to us. In his language, the soul is always “whispering, singing, or praying.” Romemu has opened up so many new possibilities to hearing that voice.

Over the past two years, the learning, the yearning (prayer), the singing, the community, the new relationships, and the commitment to inclusion have deeply impacted me. Often, I am deeply stirred both by what Romemu is today and the vision of its leaders for the American Jewish community and beyond. 

I feel something special happening here.

I have been a physician for over 30 years, OB/GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine, presently Director at White Plains Hospital, where I am focused on improving quality of care and patient safety. For five years I have served as the Chairman of the Kupona Foundation, an NGO focused on healthcare in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where I make yearly trips to work in maternal healthcare.

I am very motivated to take a deep dive into Romemu over the next several years and feel tremendous gratitude being part of this community founded by Rav David.

Deborah Berstein

The first services I attended at Romemu almost ten years ago, encouraged by my ever seeking cousin Rabbi Shoshonna Mitrani-Knapp, a dear friend of Caren and Arthur Fried; reawakened my heart to prayer. After years of participation in other congregations I had found a spiritual home with music and chanting to stir the higher impulses of the soul and involve the body. Since that time my husband, Harvey Hecht, and I have moved to my ancestral home, Brooklyn, to live down the block from our children and grandchildren. I have been involved with Romemu Brooklyn for several years, before its official inclusion in the Romemu family. My reasons for joining the board are to provide a conduit of exchange from one campus to the other and to assure the Romemu messages, intent and spirit are shared by and incorporated at the Brooklyn campus. I see this unique opportunity as a way to actualize the adage “think globally and act locally.” The call to service comes naturally to me, I am a physician who has undergone several iterations of professional life, as most of us have done by this age, private practice, corporate medical education and medical branding and advertising for pharmaceutical companies and now working with an adult homeless population on the Upper West Side. All of these venues have helped shape my deductive skills, vision for future projects, collegiality, and most of all, my concern for the well being of others. These are the qualities I hope to bring to my board membership.

Robin Bernstein

I have been a member of the synagogue for about the past four years. I am a social worker by training and have spend my entire professional career in Jewish communal service. For 26 years I worked at the Educational Alliance, a large Jewish social service agency in Lower Manhattan. I began as a union social worker, worked my way up and around the complex organization and spent my last 15 years there as the CEO. In a nutshell the Educational Alliance was a $40 million dollar organization with 700 employees serving 50,000 clients in 26 locations. During my years there I lead the re-invention of the organization, profoundly changed the mission, rebuilt the Board, created and found the funding to launch programs that never existed before, and finally completed the gut renovation of our 120 year old flagship building which included raising $45 million dollars. I stepped down from being the CEO of the Alliance almost five years ago. I continue to coach my successor there and consult on a pet project of mine. I spent my first two years post the Alliance working as a consultant on 3 projects in Africa. I am now in a consulting practice with my husband, John Ruskay, primarily serving as an executive coach and professional mentor in the not for profit world. One of the first things I did when I stepped down as the CEO was go on a series of mindfulness retreats. My goal was to quiet my mind and open my heart. In that process I began actively seeking a spiritual home where I could integrate many of the things that I care most passionately about. I believe it was my stepson who introduced us to Romemu. I grew up in an Orthodox Shul in Akron Ohio. Our Shul was central in my extended family’s life. I moved to New York 35 years ago and have belonged to a number of different synagogues here in Manhattan. My kids were bar and bat mitzvah’d at Sharay Tefilla and Or Zarua. Most recently I belonged to BJ where my husband has been a longstanding member. My husband has joined me on my spiritual journey and together we have become members of Romemu. We have a house upstate where we spend most weekends and we “religiously” live stream Shabbat services when we are not in the city. I told Rabbi David a year ago that I would love to get more involved in the synagogue. I am at a blessed moment in my life where I have the time and interest to invest in my personal, not solely professional, life. I have a lot of experience with strategic planning, governance, building renovation and capital campaigns. I hope that the confluence of my interests and skills and availability make me a strong candidate for your Board.

Susan Binder

In the time that we have been members, Romemu has already given my family so much: a wonderful, welcoming community, a place to daven and listen, think and grow.  It has allowed my children to associate their Hebrew school, Seekers, with joy, and friendship in the context of Jewish learning. It’s been a blessing.  

Growing up, I attended Hebrew school three days a week, checked all the pre-bat mitzvah boxes,  but there was very little in the way of deeper connection. Hebrew school was a means to an end.  After my bat mitzvah, my synagogue attendance dwindled and I eventually became a “High Holiday Jew”.  

When it became time for my husband, Bryan and I to join a synagogue, we wanted to find a Jewish community where we could learn and feel connected.  We also knew that if we sent our kids to Hebrew school, we wanted it to be joyful.  Their bar/bat mitzvah would be the beginning, we hoped, of a lifetime of Jewish learning and discovery.

It was this search that led us to Romemu.  We met Rabbi David at Limmud NY in 2014 and were immediately inspired by his powerful words and conviction.  We started to attend Shabbat services at Romemu and always left feeling inspired by the music, intention and sincerity. We soon met Rabbi Dianne and were taken by her vision and commitment to the Seekers program. Joining seekers and Romemu has enriched all of our lives and was one of the best decisions we’ve made.

I am a practicing dermatologist in Manhattan.  I am on faculty at both Columbia Presbyterian and Mt Sinai hospitals where I teach residents medical and procedural dermatology.

I am also involved in the AISH organization, helping with their annual Gala.  I am currently on the Seekers committee and the Romemu Benefit committee.

Bryan and I are thrilled to help support Romemu’s important vision – one of equality, acceptance, mindfulness and love.

Claudia Romo Edelman

Claudia Romo Edelman is an advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion. Her mission is to use her voice to build bridges and remind us that we are all human. She is a Special Adviser for the We Are All Human Foundation; she is also the Co-Host of ‘Global GoalsCast’, a podcast distributed by CBS News Digital, which highlights global progress through the stories of champions making a difference. Claudia is the Editor at Large of Thrive Global and it was recently announced that she will step into the role of Editor in Chief of Thrive Hispanics. Prior to this, the Mexican-Swiss diplomat was seconded to the Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to lead communications and advocacy for the Sustainable Development Goals. Claudia is the former Chief of Advocacy of UNICEF. While living in Europe for 25 years, she successfully led public relations and brand and marketing for global organizations including the World Economic Forum, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB & Malaria.

 

A frequent public speaker on development and humanitarian affairs, Claudia holds degrees in Communications, Philosophy and Photography as well as a Masters of Political Communications from the London School of Economics. Claudia is married and has two children. She enjoys sports and speaks six languages. Joining the Board of Romemu is right for me because it has inspired my work and nurtured my belief in the potential of human beings to be more compassionate and inclusive. I believe strongly in bringing acceptance to this diverse world and advocating for every human to be respected and empowered. Romemu has inspired my spirit and my mind, cared for my family and broadened my understanding of my faith. I feel ready to give back and contribute to the growth and development of this community. 

Richard Edelman

Richard Edelman is the president and CEO of Edelman, a leading communications marketing firm. Richard has extensive experience in marketing and reputation management, having led assignments with major corporations, NGOs and family businesses in over 25 industries around the world. He has counseled countries in every region of the world on economic development programs. As the creator of the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, Richard has become one of the foremost authorities on trust in business, government, media and NGOs. Richard topped PR Week’s list of most powerful executives (2013), was recognized as the third highest rated CEO by Glassdoor (2014) and was inducted in the Arthur W. Page Society’s Hall of Fame
(2014). He is regarded as an industry thought leader and has posted weekly to his blog since 2004. Richard is consistently mentioned as one of the top 25 foremost experts on corporate trust. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Ad Council, the Atlantic Council, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Children’s Aid Society, the Gettysburg Foundation, the 9/11 Museum and the National Committee on US China Relations. He is a member of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, World Economic Forum and PR Seminar.

Caren Ellis Fried

It has been quite a journey since the first time I discovered Romemu in 2006.  I have served on the Board since we became a full time community in 2008 as Vice Chair and then Chair of the Board from 2010- 2014.  I most recently served on the Executive Committee from 2014-2016.

I continue to engage in building the infrastructure and create a strong foundation for our intentional sacred and spiritual community.  I am committed to further develop the leadership within the community and help create a sustainable structure and process.

I have learned much along the way and am grateful for the collaboration of the many other passionate board members, staff, clergy and members.  I support the vital and dynamic future vision of Romemu and along with the growth that it brings, ensure that it will continue to be true to its values.

I am honored to build a sacred community for the 21st century that stretches beyond our walls and connects to all those who seek spiritual sustenance.  I hope we will inspire other sacred communities and collaborate with like- minded and hearted organizations to advance a shared spiritual vision.

I am a social worker with experience as a facilitator, trainer and advocate.  I now add community builder to my list of experiences.  I am currently working on a new project called, Notes From An Optimist.

John J. Hannan

While not a big fan of organized religion, I find Romemu a very inviting and calming place.

Like so many at Romemu, I have always been curious about the many ways one can live a spiritual life and have developed a deep commitment to my daily yoga practice. At Romemu, I have begun a long desired exploration of Kaballah. David is an amazing human being and presents a wonderful example of how spiritual practice can be meaningful in today’s world.

My career has been in finance. I have been an investor for over 30 years. During this time, I have served on several not-for-profit boards, including my three children’s schools and university.

Judith Hannan

Before joining Romemu, I hadn’t been a member of a congregation since high school when my temple was the focus of not just my Jewish life but my social life. What I found there was a pathway if not to belief than to spiritual uplifting through music and dance. After years of going to various synagogues for the High Holy Days, my family found Romemu, and I felt at home immediately. I also love studying text and the open and non-judgmental manner in which each congregant can explore their Judaism at Romemu. David provides extraordinary spiritual leadership but combines that with feet firmly planted in the world of today.

Writing is another way I explore my inner life. As a memoirist and essayist, I have paid particular attention to family and to those moments in life that change the arc of our personal narrative. I have been proud to conduct my workshop, The Write Prescription, at Romemu. The voices that I am privileged to hear affirm for me the jewel that is the Romemu community.

I have been involved in not-for-profits my entire adulthood, both as a professional and a board member. I currently serve on and/or chair a variety of non-profit boards including the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, and the Arnhold Global Health Institute of the Icahn School of Medicine. What draws me to these institutions are the same qualities that define Romemu— openness, service, compassion, and love.

I am eager to help Romemu realize its dream to become a fully-equipped center of Jewish study, prayer, education, and culture, in all the forms and dimensions that come from the creative people that lead it.

Staci Levine

I was raised Reform in Dallas, TX, but always sought out more from my spiritual and community experience. Moving to NYC twenty-two years ago, I assumed finding a Jewish home that fit would be easy. Not so. I’m fortunate though, that the confluence of a Shabbat dinner, a Yom Kippur mitzvah, and a documentary film led me to Romemu. I’m excited to be of service to this wonderful community and grateful to have finally found my Jewish home. My professional life has always revolved around live performance. I founded Groundswell Theatricals, Inc in 2011, after eight years cutting my teeth in commercial theater with a Broadway production company. Groundswell produces and manages concerts, musicals, and plays for Broadway, Off-Broadway, and on tour in the US and abroad. I’m fortunate that I spend my days immersed in a world I’m so passionate about, and with people who share that passion.

Gil Mandelzis

I was born and raised in Israel with limited spiritual or religious connection to Judaism. Moving to America over twenty years ago, raising children and finding a home here, led me on a quest for a spiritual home as well. In Romemu I found a wonderful confluence of Jewish traditions, mindfulness, deep ethics and values, an exceptional community and incredible leadership. Professionally I am an entrepreneur in the financial technology space. I started my first company (Traiana) about 20 years ago, backed by Israeli and American venture capital firms and successfully sold it several years later to a British brokerage company
(ICAP). I stayed with ICAP for the following 8 years and ran the electronic markets division. Two years ago a went back to the garage to start a new company, Capitolis, again with Israeli engineering presence, and US and Israeli backing.

Josh Rechnitz

It is such a distinct pleasure and I feel honored, truly, to have been invited to join the board at Romemu, a home to which I feel, like so many here, I was drawn to as certainly as it seems to have been intended, the end of a long, twisting road a good part of me did not even know I was traveling.  The warmth of spirit of this community, my sense of belonging (!) and the feeling of cascading love here threaten to the point of overwhelming me.  “It’s all too much for me to take, the love that’s shining all around you. Everywhere, it’s what you make, for us to take, it’s all too much.”

Josh Rechnitz is a social entrepreneur and philanthropist, engaged in and a supporter of the visual arts, a diehard bicycle commuter and advocate for a more livable city.  He grew up cartooning in the wooly suburbs of New Jersey, and worked as an independent filmmaker and animator for 15 years in New York.  He makes his home in Greenwich Village.

Heidi Rieger

At this stage in my life my focus is all about re-imagining what an engaged Jewish community can look like.  Part of the reimagining comes from people who are willing to teach and dream in a way that makes sense in the hectic nature of our lives.  Rabbi David has given me hope that such a place is possible.  Friday night services at Romemu are inspirational and beautiful and I always leave feeling uplifted.

I currently sit on Boards that embrace our tradition in an honest way and are fiercely committed to making a difference for the next generation. JCC Manhattan, The Jewish Education Project, CLAL, and UJA Federation,  all  keep me energized and informed. It’s a honor to be a part of Romemu’s journey moving forward and helping Rabbi David further his vision.

I am forever grateful to my dear friends, Caren and Arthur Fried, for introducing Richard and I to such a wonderful community.

Nigel Savage

I’ve known Rabbi Ingber for many years, and I consider myself a friend, a colleague and a student, in relation to him as a person, as a Jewish leader, and as a rabbi. I’ve followed his vision for Romemu from early on. As civilians, Liz and I love Romemu, love the ruach, love the vision, and find the time we spend at Romemu both enriching and challenging, each in good ways. As a Jewish leader – as the founder and director of Hazon – I think that what’s happening at Romemu – and what can and could happen – is significant not just for those of us who attend or are members, but also more widely for the evolution of the American Jewish community.

Both Hazon and Isabella Freedman have been proud to partner with Romemu in the past, and this year, as Hazon & Isabella Freedman proceed with a merger, I am even more busy than usual — I will be away a fair amount, including on the evening of the Romemu annual meeting, and I give my apologies for not being able to be here.

But the work I do at Hazon gives me perspective that I hope I can bring to Romemu. I’m interested in how we weave Jewish tradition and institutional development; I’m interested in what best practice means or looks like, for a shul or a Jewish organization. I care about supporting leaders, building strong and healthy cultures, and the work that boards do and should  do to steward organizations in the deepest sense. These are some of the aspects of myself that I hope to bring to Romemu.

Marc Schiller

I grew up in an orthodox home and was fortunate to study at some of the best yeshivot in the world. I loved the learning, the spiritual connection and the singing that was the daily bread of these institutions and my home. But as I grew into young adulthood many questions arose. My questions and yearning for greater understanding were met with empty platitudes at best and closed-mindedness dismissiveness at worst. Slowly my spiritual anchors lost much of their weight and I began to float away from “home.”

For years I searched for a spiritual home that gave full expression to the warm tradition of learning of my youth but that also embraced an openness to learn from, and be fully part of, the greater world. By the time I was in my mid-forties I reconciled myself to the impossibility of finding such a place and settled into life in a wonderful conservative congregation.

And then, almost by accident, my daughter, Yael, introduced me to Romemu. Sitting in shul that first Shabbat morning and singing “modeh ani lefanecah ruach chai v’kayam” I was overcome with emotion. Once again I was reconnected to the timeless spirit and energy of Judaism. But this time it felt very different. As the tears flowed from my eyes, I covered myself with my talis and all I could say was … “I am home.”

In my professional life, I work as an author, speaker and consultant. My firm, Rain Partners, teaches companies and individuals how to excel in the art and science of IT management.

My wife Karyn and I are blessed with two daughters, Yael and Gabi.

Elana Shneyer

My husband Adam and I came to Romemu seeking a more intimate synagogue experience. We wanted a community where we could grow and also help to shape the community as it grows. Romemu has proven to be all of that and more for us.

My community organizing background helped me start Romemu’s social justice initiative, and I am so grateful that that initiative has taken off. With two small children, I am excited to liaison with the family programming committee to continue developing and integrating our growing community of families.

As the former Chief Program Officer at the Pratt Area Community Council, a community development corporation, and Chief of Staff to a local Assembly Member, I happily bring my non profit management skills and public relations skills to the Romemu board. When not at Romemu, I have my own consulting practice focused on non profit organizations and local governments to help both better serve their constituencies and work with one another.  I am grateful to have participated in the Wexner Heritage Program (NY16) and love being part of Romemu’s dynamic Jewish community. 

Peter Takiff

I have enjoyed serving on the Romemu board as Treasurer, Chair, and now ex-Chair. It is an honor to help nurture and grow this community that feeds our spiritual, learning and communal needs.

 My wife Pam and I found our way to Romemu with the help of our dear friends, Caren and Arthur. Rabbi David and the Romemu community have enriched my Jewish experience and enabled me to connect with the spiritual part of Judaism that had been missing in my life.

I have over 35 years of finance experience in a wide range of businesses from real estate services and development to media, technology and consumer products. 

I also serve on the boards of The Jewish Child Care Association, a comprehensive child and family services agency whose work is motivated by tikkun olam and Eden Village Camp, a summer camp rooted in the Jewish vision of creating a more environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually connected world.

Rick Temerian

I was born and raised in California in a lapsed Catholic household although I did attend bible classes and received my first communion as a youngster. 

I attended the University of California at Berkeley and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture in 1982. I worked my way through college doing construction work and carpentry.

I moved to New York in 1982 and immediately started working for Robert Rauschenberg. I spent the next 9 years fabricating artwork, sculptures and building galleries as a contractor (except for a 2 year detour into running a nightclub). Since 1991 I have owned Studio40, a custom architectural metalworking business, specializing in custom-made high end metal fabrication for architects and designers.

My wife, Caroline, and I have been very active in the Seekers program, and I am a Board Liaison to the Multifaith Initiatives/ Strangers No More program. I am also a proud graduate of Romemu’s Adult B-Mitzvah program. I believe that now, more than ever, the world needs welcoming, open hearted programs like these.  The world needs more Romemu, and I’d like to help that happen.

Jade Netanya Ullmann

I first met Rabbi David in 2005 at the JCC Manhattan, a year before Romemu was created and I was fortunate to be at our first service in March 2006.

As a spiritual seeker, it was an incredibly powerful, heartening and enriching experience for me when I discovered a spiritual community that I could call home.

I was inspired to join the Romemu board and served in that capacity for a year before applying for and becoming the second Executive Director in 2009. I was honored to serve in that capacity for 18 months and then became the first Director of Development, Membership and Outreach.

I held that position for 2½ years, during which I helped Romemu grow from a congregation with less than 200 members to its current community of over 500 families. I am humbled and honored to have made contributions to this organization and community.

I am also active with other Jewish Renewal organizations, currently finishing up my tenure on the ALEPH board, as well as other social justice non-profits, including the Social Venture Network, Zen Peacemaker Community and Common Fire Foundation.

I have had a long and exciting journey at Romemu and look forward to serving the community in new ways. Of particular interest to me is continuing to strengthen relationships with our donors, serving as an ambassador when attending conferences and events to introduce Romemu to new individuals and organizations and participating in new member orientations.

Ari Wallach

Ari brings over 15 years of experience helping organizations (from non-profit to corporate and political) strategically grow into the full embodiment of their mission. From the United Nations to CNN, Ari has worked with senior executives in helping define their long-term vision and the necessary steps needed to manifest that vision. He is also active in the Jewish community as a board member of JTA and on the advisory board of CEOJL and Urban Adamah. Ari is also an alumni of several years of Jewish Summer camp, serves as a trustee of AJC’s ACCESS program and is the co-founder of 2008s The Great Schlep with Sarah Silverman.

Ari would like to work with sr. leadership on developing a long-term strategy for Romemu (from building to brand) as well as any and all possible on-line tools and platforms under the Romemu brand.

We see how possible it to live in a community that is open, inclusive, deeply spiritual, authentically Jewish, and committed through words and actions to making our world a better place. This is what we see in Romemu. We believe in Romemu now and even more so–we believe in the potential of what it can become not only for the Upper West Side, or even forNew York, but for our country, and ultimately our world. This is why we would be honored to serve on the board—to help this community continue to grow into the potential we know and believe in so deeply.

Hali Weiss

I am pleased to share my experience in construction, building, space, and design with Romemu.

I have been an architect for 25 years.  I am a sole practitioner, and have collaborated regularly, since 2005, with Abelow Sherman Architects. I specialize in customized residential work, in and outside of Manhattan.

A secondary theme in my work has been the study of sacred space.  My design for an interactive auditory  Holocaust Memorial Project for the city of Boston in the early 1990’s entitled “The Echo Chamber”. The project was a competition finalist, but not built.

Alongside architectural work, I have explored how to bring innovation, self-expression, creativity and deeper meaning to another kind of sacred space—cemeteries and the monuments that fill them.  I hold a number of US patents for innovative gravestone concepts.

My family became Orthodox as I grew up.  In the late 1970’s, I studied in a women’s ba’al teshuvah yeshiva in Jerusalem for two years and was strictly Orthodox for many years thereafter.  Eventually,  I realized I preferred an approach to Judaism that was more evolutionary, collaborative, and creative.

I have investigated many different paths to a spiritually rooted Jewish practice. Romemu’s approach and community have become a comfortable context in which to continue that exploration.

Evan Wildstein

I have been a student of contemplative practice for many years with origins dating back to my youth as an avid practitioner of various forms of martial arts and later meditation.  While I have always been drawn to the teachings and practices of the east, having found Rabbi David and Jewish Renewal, our family has deepened its commitment to Jewish life and practice.

I have found the opportunity to study with Rabbi David and my fellow community members to be deeply enriching as we explore mystical interpretations and the practical relevance of the teachings in our daily lives. Romemu is a trusting, warm environment that embraces all congregants in a place where it is safe to be expressive and find a heartfelt connection with the profound truths of Torah.

Professionally, I have spent the last 20 years as a private equity investor and served on numerous public, private, and non-profit boards.

Paula Yormak

I feel blessed to have found a spiritual home at Romemu that seamlessly blends Judaism with humanity to create a special and unique soulful community. As I walk through the doors into our Romemu community, I instantly feel loving energy that permeates every service and gathering.

I met David Ingber in 2009. Almost immediately my husband and I felt inspired to become members and knew we found something very special. I have co-chaired our first two Romemu gala’s and I am now excited to serve on the board and contribute more time and energy to help Romemu grow and flourish. I have years of board membership experience as well as years of chairing different types of charitable events. I am presently training to be a spiritual life coach, which compliments Romemus philosophies and direction. I am passionate and dedicated. I believe in Romemu and I welcome the opportunity to help Romemu create more dreams that together we will make into realities.