Board Bios

Executive Committee

Peter Takiff


I am honored to serve as the Romemu Board Chair. My intention is to continue to nurture and grow our community as the place that feeds our spiritual, learning and communal needs.

I have enjoyed the past two years serving on the Romemu board as Treasurer. 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 am currently Chief Financial Officer of Eastern Consolidated, a real estate investment sales company in New York City.

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.

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.

Karen Beckman


Sometimes in life you get lucky.  You might hear a speaker that touches you in a deep and profound way and long after the words have passed, the feeling and the personal exploring of the ideas linger, gently nudging you to dig deeper somewhere inside of you. Sometimes you hear a song or tune and it’s instant love and you find yourself on continuous replay singing or humming it spontaneously because it gives you joy. And sometimes if you are very very lucky you walk into a room full of people and you feel welcomed and at home, even if you have never met, even if your upbringings were different, even if you don’t understand the words they are reading. It just feels like you belong.  But never before had I found all three of these gifts in one place, every week, waiting to invite me in and embrace me until I came to Romemu. The teaching, the prayers and meditation, the music and the community feed me and fuel me each week. And so I am honored and humbled to be able to serve this ever growing community and help spread the love.

I am a passionate, native New Yorker who crosses state lines with my family every week to get a little more of the magic that is Romemu. With a previous career in advertising, I launched and have owned a leadership coaching company since 1998 where I help leaders and organizations identify and achieve their goals effectively and gracefully. I believe my immense love for this community as well as my business skills will continue to help me to serve Romemu well.

Scott Osman

In the short 18 months I have been actively engaged at Romemu, it has inspired my spirit and my mind. Attending regular Shabbat morning services, I have been elevated and have begun to understand the profound gift of Shabbat and connect with the music of Torah.

I am currently chief strategy officer of a marketing strategy firm where I assist companies to find meaning and purpose that align with their business. Previously, I was the global director of corporate social responsibility based in the New York office of Landor Associates, responsible for the citizenship branding practice, working with a selection of the firm’s Fortune 500 companies. I have been a marketing professional for a broad spectrum of corporate and consumer brands in industries ranging from publishing to automotive to technology. Before joining Landor, I worked for Hachette Filipacchi and was a principal in the boutique brand consultancy, Doublespace.

I was a visiting professor of Ethics and CSR at the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, and have been a guest lecturer at the NYU Stern School of Business. I am the founder and managing director of the STAR EMBA program at the George Washington School of Business, providing a specialized MBA program for professional athletes.

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

Board of Directors

Evey Adelsohn Mason

Even as I am writing this I am filling up with gratitude for all that Romemu has brought into my life and my family’s life. It is still amazing to me that I have a spiritual home where I feel safe and where I truly belong. Like so many of you, I find great joy in working to make Romemu stronger in whatever capacity I can.

My family discovered Romemu when we were in the basement of the church on Broadway and 114th. When I closed my eyes and let the Rome’rhythms move me, I was instantly transported to a tent in the Middle East and I knew I was home. For me, Rabbi David is a direct line to the ancient voices of my ancestors.

I have been blessed to serve on the Board for the past two years — currently as a member of the Nominating Committee, and the PR/Media Committee. My 20 years as a television producer and senior manager have given me strong people skills and a solid understanding of organizational development. I offer these skills as we continue to grow and shape our community.

Because our family is multi-cultural, I know how rare it is to find a community as embracing as Romemu. To look out over our congregation and see the diversity we represent is especially rewarding for me. It is a gift I will try to share with anyone who visits, as everyone should feel as welcomed as we were on our first Shabbat.

Arthur Fried

Arthur is a founding member of Romemu and has served two stints as its Treasurer.  He has been a grateful student of R.David for many years.  He is a member of the Lifelong Learning and Membership committees.  Arthur is greatly appreciative of the opportunity to assist in the growth of this community.

Arthur has started and built several businesses in the Media world, and is currently a co-founder of Pictition Labs and is active in Good Omen Partners.  He has served on several not-for-profit boards.  He is a graduate of Tufts University and Harvard Business School.

Most importantly, he is the husband of Caren and the proud father of three independent adults, and father-in-law to a fourth! Arthur is an active attendee at Sha-baby, where he can be found singing and dancing with one or more grandchildren!

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.

Marla Alt

Marla Alt found Romemu in 2009 at Limmud NY, where she has been a volunteer and is now a board member. It was love at first sight. A professional organizer (her  company:, Marla has helped Romemu with everything from the office to fund-raising dinners.  She has lead Romemu’s Membership, High Holidays and Special Events committees. Marla is married to Jeff Wallace and is a  proud mother, stepmother and grandmother. She lives in Rye Brook, NY in Westchester and enjoys teaching Hebrew at Park Avenue Synagogue and Community Synagogue of Rye.

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.

Peter Bregman

Eleanor and I and our three kids have found our Jewish spiritual home at Romemu. The love, caring and openness we feel from the clergy, the staff, and the entire congregation is almost overwhelming. This feels especially touching and important to us given that Eleanor is Christian and a minister.  Eleanor has now joined the Romemu staff as the Director of Multifaith Initiatives and as the leader of Romemu’s “Strangers No More” program. Romemu’s inclusivity, spirituality, and authenticity offers an inspiring and crucial vision for Jewish communities around the country and the world. As a member of the strategic planning committee, I would like to help foster that vision in whatever way I can.

I am the CEO of Bregman Partners, Inc., a global management consulting firm which advises CEOs and their leadership teams, helping them break down silos and tackle their most important priorities together. I speak, write, teach, and consult about how to lead and how to live.

I grew up in New York City, went to Ramaz for high school and then earned a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. Our three kids are at Heschel and also attend the seeker program at Romemu.

Jeffrey Cahn

Jeff has been passionately involved in Renewal Judaism for over 15 years, serving on the board of Aleph (The Alliance for Jewish Renewal) and becoming a founding member of two Jewish Renewal congregations, including Romemu. Jeff believes that Romemu is on its way to becoming a world class center for the renewal of Judaism, and plans to do whatever he can to help make that happen.

Jeff has 30 years of experience managing non-profit and for-profit organizations of all sizes. He is currently Director of Development at Young Judaea Global, Inc., the Zionist youth movement that helped form his Jewish identity as a teen.  Previously, he was a Development Director at UJA-Federation of New York, the world’s largest local philanthropy. While living in the Bay Area for 15 years, he founded, grew and sold the high tech Internet company, Netpulse. He has also worked at Intel, AT&T Bell Labs, and the Israeli telecom company, Telrad, while living in Israel for two years.

Jeff has two kids and lives in New Paltz.

Ariel Rosen Ingber

I am thrilled to be part of the most open, creative, heart-warming, real Jewish spiritual community I know. I am even more honored to have the opportunity to help drive the direction of Romemu’s future by taking an active role on the Board of Directors. I have 14 years experience helping to run non-profit organizations and in working with boards of directors of small and mid level ventures. I pursued a graduate degree in business in order to understand how to marry the social and business sectors, and currently consult to corporations and non-profits on how best to make that happen. However, my favorite full-time job so far is Ima to my sons, Baer Leib and Tal Shaya.

For two years I’ve been working on building Romemu’s family programs and transforming Romemu into a center for families in addition to couples, singles and empty nesters. Through our programs Sha’Baby and Sha’Boker Tov I get to meet new parents like myself, and watch them find a home for their growing family at Romemu. Nothing better!

I also host a ton at our home as a way for me to get to know all who come through Romemu’s doors!

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 gradually spent more time with Romemu: a class with chevruta(study partners); the Community Meeting; Membership Committee; Co-Hosting Membership; as a Home Host of Shabbat and Holiday meals as well as classes; and attending services. I was rewarded with a new and deepening connection with prayer, Torah, and Jewish community.

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

I am a registered architect and sole proprietor of my own firm. I specialize in high performance solutions that surpass the original requirements: layers of complexity, subtlety, and utility are revealed with use. I was the volunteer architect of the new Romemu office at 43 Central Park North, working with community members and staff to create a space ready for joyous heart opening work in a professional environment.

I can’t wait to learn more and do more — what a great feeling!

Paul Mason

I have served on the board of Romemu for the past 15-months, and look forward to continuing as a co-chair of the PR/Media committee. We came to Romemu in the Spring of 2007 and have felt a strong connection to the community and its mission. As an inter-faith family, we believe one of the strengths of the Romemu community is the universal nature of the shared spiritual experience. As a Christian, I believe my faith and my understanding of greater-than–human forces in our world are enhanced when I “Romemu.” As an African American, I also bring a different cultural perspective to Romemu’s board, and I am grateful that I am accepted and valued both for my humanity and for my slightly different experience and outlook.

I am a father to a wonderful 16-year-old daughter, Olivia. I am a husband to my wife and best friend, Evey. I am a brother, a nephew, an uncle and a friend to many.

I am a journalist, producer, and co-founder of Mezclado — an independent television production partnership. My 28 years as a reporter, producer, and senior manager for ABC News have provided me with a set of communication skills that I offer to Romemu.

Currently, I serve as a board member of several organizations that bridge journalism and education including the Overseas Press Club Foundation, and the News Literacy Project. I am also a trustee of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in Riverdale, New York; and a trustee of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

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.

Elana Shneyer

My husband Adam and I came to Romemu seeking a more intimate synagogue experience. We wanted a place where we could get to know the Rabbi and he could get to know us. 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, I happily bring my non profit management skills to the Romemu board. I currently work as the Chief of Staff to New York State Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell. I grew up on the Upper West Side and am excited to be active in a new Jewish center in my old neighborhood. Adam and I look forward to raising our son, Jaron, and daughter, Layla, in this nurturing, dynamic community.


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.

Sharon Wallach

Romemu is the first and only shul that speaks to both of our minds, hearts, bodies and souls. And this is coming from two people who have grown up surrounded by Jewish community and culture since birth. Both of us always assumed the synagogue would be a place to socialize and meet people, but never did we think we would find a place where we could really pray—especially not within a Jewish context. Romemu is not only a shul where we actually spiritually connect, but has quickly become a second home for our children who love it as much as we do.

So, what do we bring to the board?

Sharon has been working in the youth development sector for over 15 years. She came to the 92nd Street Y in 1999, when she was hired as Teen Program Director and was instrumental in creating and conceptualizing The TIYUL Jewish community service and travel camp, serving as its Director, informal Jewish educator, and advisor for six years. Sharon also served as Associate Director of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, where she led the organization’s camps, an environmental youth program of her creation and a Jewish Multiracial Network, among other programs.

Most recently Sharon served as the Managing Director for the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at the 92nd Street Y where she was responsible for the Bronfman Center’s renowned lecture series, served as the director of the Y’s Hebrew School and helped launch Havaya International, an Israel-US Jewish exploration and community service camp for teens. She was also a 2010 Foundation for Jewish Camp grant recipient as she helped conceptualize and oversee the first New York City based Jewish residential community service and arts camp, and this past summer she served as the Director of Urban Adamah’s Preschool farm camp in Berkeley CA.

Most importantly, though Sharon brings her passion for being a mother of two young children (and one on the way) and the knowledge of how sacred it is to create a second home for them that will help support them in becoming the best people they can be in our world.

For the last year and half Sharon has served as an active committee member for Romemu’s youth and family programs and she looks forward to continuing and strengthening this role as an official board member.

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 draws on some of her marketing expertise from her business days to build up platforms, opportunities, and desire for 1,800 Jewish lay leaders across North America to cross-pollinate (both online and in person), to continue their high level Jewish and leadership learning, and to invigorate their dedication to the Jewish world. 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 is also involved at Mechon Hadar and LimmudNY. Her hobbies include laughing and dancing, and who doesn’t love a great hike or movie?

Wendye Chaitin

My love for Torah coupled with my love for music and the non-traditional have placed me perfectly in the midst of Romemu and Jewish Renewal. I had been searching for quite some time for a community that held similar core values to my “Utopian World Vision” when I stumbled upon Romemu. A world view where success would be measured by how fully a person held love in their bodies, mind and spirit.

I have been a member of Romemu since 2008 and I have experienced a heart opening in my life that I find quite remarkable. Community, prayer, song, dance, Torah, connection all part of the experience.

I am deeply committed to holding a leadership role in this group to utilize my vitality, organizational and creative skills to further the vision of Romemu. I am an energetic, creative artist with expansive world views born to Jewish parents in the 60’s. I am the beneficiary of both alternative and conventional educational experiences in my own life. My intention as an artist in community is to nurture and empower creative expression.

I have a very diversified background including Fashion Design Director, Artist, Event Planner, as well as being certified in 5 healing modalities including the Quick Pulse Technique, Magnified Healing, Transformational Healing, Advanced Pendulum and Integrated Energy Therapy.

I am the recent founder of Sacred Artist Within, The Creative Alternative, providing heart-center empowerment programs for children and teens. This speaks directly to my work as the Co-Chair of family programming which I am honored to serve as the board member liaison.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Larry Schwartz

I am pleased to be considered for a position on the board at Romemu. From the moment I walked in the door 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.

Rebecca Sharzer

I first walked through the door to Romemu almost six years ago and was immediately struck by the warm, welcoming and loving energy. I was raised in NYC going to a reconstructionist Shul on Shabbat and since my Bat Mitzvah had only taken part in high holiday service with my family. Romemu was the first time I felt it was my choice to practice and in a way that felt authentic and organic. I had been part of several spiritual paths for many years and I was moved by the depth and intention that was palpable in the prayers and in David’s words. My heart opened and then I opened my home to the community for weekly Torah study and monthly women’s gathering for the first two years after joining.

I continue to have community high holiday lunches and Shabbat home hosting potlucks. I served on the board 3 years ago and I found I was unable to devote the necessary time to chair a committee. My interest going forward as a board member at large is to have a voice in maintaining the original essence and spirit I felt when I first arrived at Romemu so others may feel the same warm welcome as we grow.

I am an entrepreneur with a career in educational sales and consulting. Our company has also started the Sharzer Fund for children of NYC.  I hold a degree and license in Physical Therapy, Holistic health Counseling, Reiki, Chocolatier and facilitator of a spiritual practice called JourneyDance. I enjoy sharing all of these passions on occasion as part of my service.

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 was humbled and honored to be recognized for my efforts at last year’s Gala.

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.

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.

Alan Bernstein

My wife Carol, son Ben (24) and I joined Romemu 3 ½ years ago.  I have never before had such a fulfilling and meaningful group experience in any setting.  The warmth and spirit of Romemu made me feel so at home that I immediately jumped in to participate, which is not usual for me.  I began as a greeter for Shabbat morning services, then became one of the two Gabbais, and helped build out the team that currently serves.  Until recently, I was Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, and loved welcoming new members into this very special community.  

I have for over 30 years worked as a business lawyer for start-ups and growth companies, specializing in venture capital and mergers & acquisitions. For the past 17 years, I have been a partner at Carter Ledyard & Milburn, a downtown law firm since 1854.  I am winding down my legal career and spending most of my time working with non-profit organizations. 

For many years, I have worked with the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance, which assists venture capital funds that focus on creating jobs for lower and middle income people and promotes local economic development.  I am the Network Manager-New York for Investors Circle, a national network of angel investors focusing on early stage companies that have a strong social or environmental mission.  I am also on the Board of 118 Capital, a university-based group involving millennials with impact investing.

I am committed to deepening my Jewish practice and recently began the Kivvun program, led by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, an 18-month program of retreats and study. 

Shelley Levine

During the entire first year after coming to Romemu, I’d find myself  continuously singing or humming Higa’aleh, the opening line of the Kabbalat Shabbat service at Romemu.  I felt so deeply connected to Romemu that I wanted to keep it close to me at all times. For me, Romemu is my tikkun, the healing or the correction, for the increasing alienation I was feeling in the Jewish world. 

Having been very active in my synagogue and other Jewish organizations, I half jokingly say that I suffered from PTSD, post-­‐traumatic synagogue disorder when I arrived at Romemu 5 years ago.  Romemu’s outpouring of love, openness and support helped me make a full recovery. 

I was grateful to bring Shabbat afternoon yoga to the community when I first arrived here and then to organize the Shivti yoga. Since then, I was an advisor for the Seekers B’nai Mitzvah curriculum. I co-­‐facilitated the first Wise Aging group, applying mindfulness and Jewish wisdom to this stage of life and hope to continue to offer this.  Most recently, I joined the newly formed Yad B’Yad Committee to increase community connection, and am on the planning committee for this year’s community retreat. 

What I bring to the Board, in addition to wanting Romemu to continue to be the beautiful, bold, loving community it is, are the skills I’ve acquired from serving in leadership roles in community organizations and my work experience in nonprofits. To me, involvement in my community is as important as my work. I have served as president of several boards, leading one through transformational organization restructuring.  I have served on newly founded organizations where board structure, oversight and development needed to be created.   I have helped bring divergent groups together for common goals and helped to create new initiatives with insured funding sources. 

The area I am most interested in working on is what I see as the biggest challenge facing Romemu. As we continue growing exponentially, a top goal must be to nurture our culture of community and caring.  Our diverse community will be reaching out in many and inevitably disparate directions. The challenge is to embrace and encourage this growth while keeping us connected under one big tent.