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Board of Trustees

Executive Committee

President — Blair Rothstein
The President is responsible for the overall health, well-being, and management of Congregation Shearith Israel.

Blair Rothstein and his wife Lisa have been active members of the Shearith Israel community since joining the shul in 2015. In 2017, Blair joined the Board of Trustees and since then has served as Treasurer and then Vice President of Strategy.  Blair is committed to promoting a strong sense of community and creating meaningful opportunities for engagement.

Outside of Shearith, Blair is a principal with Register Financial Associates, providing investment management and financial planning advice. He also volunteers with the Atlanta Jewish Foundation, chairing the Investment Committee.

Blair and Lisa live in Morningside with their three adorable children and family cat. In his free time, Blair relishes his Sunday morning jogs with other, middle-aged, Shearith dads.

As President, Blair is committed to a vibrant intown Jewish community and the expectation that Shearith will shine as an example. Blair is always open to hearing from members of the congregation and to working collaboratively to ensure the continued growth and success of Shearith Israel.

Executive Vice President of Strategy Jeff Kirsh 
The Executive Vice President of Strategy chairs the Executive Committee and fills in for the President when needed.

Jeff Kirsh and his wife Natalie are originally from Toronto, Canada, moving to Atlanta (the first time) in 1998. They then lived in London, England, and back in Toronto for several years, returning to Atlanta (and joining Shearith Israel) in 2016. Jeff spent more than 25 years as legal counsel at The Coca-Cola Company and in the Coca-Cola system, and is now General Counsel of CONA Services LLC, the leading IT services company in the Coca-Cola system in North America. He received his law and undergraduate degrees from the University of Toronto, and currently serves on the boards of Jewish Kids Groups and Street Law, Inc. He has also served in numerous community and professional organizations, including: The Epstein School, the Museum of Design Atlanta, and Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta.

Jeff and Natalie have four children: Sam and his wife, Anna Douglas, Jonathan and Miles, and they love living in Morningside.

Vice President of Governance— Renée Stein
The Vice President of Governance is responsible for board governance and the Membership Engagement and Involvement, Religious Life, Human Resources, and Jewish Learning committees at Congregation Shearith Israel.

 

Renée Stein and husband Gregg Shapiro have been members of CSI since they were married by Rabbi Norry in 2003. Sons Sam (9th grade) and Ari (5th grade) participate in educational programming. Renée has previously served on the Education Committee and is active in Sisterhood.

Renée is Director of Conservation at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University where she has overseen the treatment, preventive care, and technical analysis of the Museum’s diverse collections for more than 20 years. She is also an Associate Teaching Professor in the Art History Department, offering courses on the conservation and technical study of artifacts. She has been especially committed to public outreach through lectures, teacher workshops and classroom activities.

Treasurer — Jerry Rothenberg
The Treasurer serves as the manager of Congregation Shearith Israel’s budget and financial position, overseeing the endowment, restricted, and general operating funds.

Jerry and his wife Amy joined Shearith Israel in 2003 when their daughter, Elena, enthusiastically embraced SI’s second grade religious school teacher. Jerry retired last July after a fifty-year career in information technology and has been catching up on reading and chores around the house. 

Jerry is a member of Shearith Israel’s Human Resources, Governance and Finance committees and has remained active on the board for many years. Previously he served as Board Secretary, Executive Vice President, President and Chair of the Human Resources committee. He is looking forward to serving with the excellent finance committee, the superb incoming board and our tremendous and dedicated staff team.

Secretary — Melanie Levs
The Secretary keeps the minutes and records of board meetings and activities for Congregation Shearith Israel.

Melanie Levs has extensive nonprofit board and committee experience, including most recently as chair of Shearith's Jewish Learning Committee and a board member-at-large. She spent a decade on the board of Atlanta Press Club, currently is a board member of Camp Louise Circle and serves on the education committee for the Candler Park Neighborhood Organization. An active volunteer within Atlanta Public Schools for over a decade, Melanie has worked on leadership teams and task forces for her children's schools and APS as a whole.  A native of the Washington, D.C. area, Melanie is a journalist and editor who lives with her husband Josh and their three children in Candler Park. The Levs family joined Shearith in 2015 and has enjoyed watching the congregation grow into a rich community.

Immediate Past President Heidi Einhorn

Heidi Einhorn and her husband Ronnie have been members of Shearith Israel for 13 years. In that time, their family has grown from one to three kiddos who consider Shearith Israel their home. She can't imagine anything topping these last two years of being President of the congregation and watching her oldest become a Bat Mitzvah, but can't wait to try! These days you’ll find Heidi leaving Shabbat morning kiddush to go on a run, building her speed, endurance and ability to leap small children in a single bound.

Heidi served for 2 years on the Rabbi Search Committee, co-chaired the Say Chai Volunteer Event and has been on the Board of Trustees as Member-At-Large, Executive Vice President and President. She is now looking forward to supporting the next board as Immediate Past President, and going to less meetings.


 

Financial Advancement Committee Chair Rick Kaplan

Rick, and his incredible spouse, Sharon Neulinger, have been members of CSI for many years. They have celebrated happy occasions and mourned for lost family members with the warm and supportive Shearith community. Rick has served on many committees and positions including VP Ritual and CSI President. Currently, he is serving as chair of Financial Advancement and looks forward to continuing working with the board and membership as we reimagine our spaces and programs. Rick and Sharon have two children, Sara in NYC and Joseph in Charleston. It is a deep honor to be part of this wonderful community!

 

Human Resources Committee Chair — Rachel Silverman
 

Rachel Silverman has been a member of Shearith Israel off and on for the last 15 years. She is a board member and volunteer for Rebecca's Tent Women's Shelter, and is an avid consumer of Atlanta's myriad Jewish offerings, such as In the City Camp, Jewish Kids Groups and Camp Ramah. Rachel has been a health information technology consultant for 20+ years, and moved to Atlanta in 2000 after stints in San Francisco and Japan.

A native of Hollywood, FL, Rachel lives in Candler Park with her husband Joel and two Midtown high schoolers, Sophie and Mira. She enjoys traveling to far flung places, eating weird foods, Peloton and is learning how to work on her ability to say "no" in a graceful manner.

Member Stewardship Committee Co-Chair Sara Duke

I've been a member of CSi since the '70's and think this may be the third or fourth time I assumed a role in membership--which just proves what a slow learner I am. I have failed at retirement so continue working as an Educational Consultant when I feel like it. I've been married to Marshall for almost 59 years and as he would say 45 years happily married and not consecutively. We have three children and eleven grandchildren whom I'm glad to tell you about. I'm terrible at organization which is why I'm working with Shayna. If you're interested in my hobbies I'm a pretty compulsive reader and like to move things around my garden. I absolutely hate to cook. I love Shearith Israel --where else could I talk to friends throughout services?

Member Stewardship Committee Co-Chair Shayna Howard

Shayna Howard grew up in Atlanta but only found Shearith Israel in 2019 when her whole family - which includes her husband Morgan and their two children Eliza (9) and Jack (7) - instantly knew they were in the right place!

Shayna was a teacher at the Atlanta Jewish Academy before following Morgan to Tennessee and becoming the director of the Aleph Bet Children’s Center in Chattanooga. She served on the Board at B’nai Zion Synagogue while in TN, and she looks very forward to being a contributing member on the Board here at Shearith Israel!

Religious Life Committee Chair Michael Rich

Michael Rich grew up at Shearith Israel, where he's regularly read Torah and led tefila since becoming a Bar Mitzvah. He moved to Florida in 2002 but returned home to Shearith Israel in 2012. Since 2014, Michael has served on the Religious Life Committee and has been responsible for ensuring we have Shleichei Tzibur (prayer leaders), Haftarah readers, and Gabbaim for our Shabbat and Yom Tov morning services.

Michael was born in Atlanta and graduated from Georgia Tech (BS-EE '01 & MS-ECE '06). He is now a Senior Research Engineer at Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). Michael currently lives in Decatur and can frequently be found running or cycling in the area.

Chair of the Council of Past Presidents — Howie Slomka

Howie is pleased to be back on the board representing the Past presidents of Shearith Israel. As a civil and real estate lawyer by day, Howie offers frequent advice to the shul related to employment contracts, leases, property disputes, and vendor obligations.    

Howie is a frequent Torah reader at our Shabbat morning services, where he also enjoys leading prayer and drinking Scotch. Howie’s wife Andrea Seidel Slomka grew up in CSI and the two were married on our bima in 1992. The Slomka children are also regular Torah readers along with Andrea. In fact, Howie is the only member of his immediate family not to have become a bar mitzvah at CSI.

As President of the shul, Howie oversaw the renovation and naming of the Horowitz Family Sanctuary, and the beginning of our second century of service to the community. Since then, he has served on numerous committees and panels, chaired the shabbaton, flipped thousands of latkes, erected dozens of sukkahs, blown a shofar or two, housed a sefer Torah during COVID, and written countless Purim shpiels – one of which was funny.

When not in CSI, Howie represent clients in commercial real estate transactions and property-related litigation in Georgia and Florida. He serves as general counsel of several development companies, and of the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa on the shores of Tampa Bay.  Howie and Andrea have a dog and 7 hens, which belies their newest role as empty nesters. He can be found in the third row from the back of the left side pews – right in front of the Dukes.

at-Large board members 3-year term (2023 - 2026):

Jon Effron
 

A Yankee by birth and an Atlantan by choice, Jon Effron lives in Morningside with his wife Jaci and daughters Ziva and Ari. A member of CSI since 2015, Jon has been honored to serve our community as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, the Master Planning Committee and most recently as the 2022 Annual Appeal Co-Chair. He has previously served on the boards of Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and the Atlanta Scholars Kollel and is currently serving on the board of Jewish Kids Groups. Professionally, Jon is a Realtor at Compass where he helps home buyers and sellers navigate the wilds of the Atlanta real estate market. Jon is a proud alumnus of the University of Wisconsin and the Wexner Heritage Program. He likes drinking coffee, kibbitzing, chilling, thrilling and hanging out with his awesome family.

 
Marcia R. Jacobs
 

Marcia has been a member of Shearith Israel since 1975. She served three terms on the synagogue board as VP of Education & Youth. She’s also been involved in the planning stages and governance of the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival (now Neranenah), Tichon Atlanta (a community-wide after-school program serving 500+ high school students from Atlanta Reform and Conservative congregations in the 1990’s), and an egalitarian Havurah that met monthly at the AA synagogue during the 1990’s. Outside the Jewish community, she’s been a docent at the High Museum and completed the coursework for an MA in Art History at Emory. Her passions are music and art although she has no talent for either, just what she likes to think of as a discerning ear and eye.

Marcia is a recently retired clinical psychologist, who specialized in therapy with children and adolescents, working in the Georgia mental health system and in private practice. She received her undergraduate degree from Tufts University and her PhD from the University of Minnesota.  Her Jewish background includes attendance at the Prozdor program at the Jewish Theological Seminary and many years as a camper and counselor at Camp Ramah in New England. She is currently on the Board of the JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council) of Atlanta where she’s focused on the implementation process of a new strategic plan for the agency. In retirement, she looks forward to visiting her son Brandon and his family as often as they will have her. And she is so pleased to be joining the Shearith Israel Board after a hiatus of about 20 years.

Rachel Dobbs Schwartz
 

Rachel Dobbs Schwartz and her family have been members at CSI since 2019. Rachel has spent the last 20 years working in the Jewish community as an educator and leader. She worked as a Student Life Director, Jewish Studies, and History teacher at The Weber School and then moved on to become the Assistant Director at Camp Ramah Darom and then the Director at Camp Ramah in the Poconos. Most recently, Rachel has taken on the role of Chief Innovation Officer at Jewish Kids Groups, here in Atlanta. Rachel is passionate about creating meaningful Jewish experiences for young people and families of all ages and stages and is excited to bring her expertise to CSI's board. Rachel and her husband Peter live in Decatur with their two children, Isabelle and Asher.

 

continuing at-Large board members:

Robin Deutsch Edwards
 

Robin Deutsch Edwards has been helping purpose-driven organizations, large and small, create and execute powerful communications strategies for more than 25 years. After working for corporations, agencies and nonprofits, Robin founded High Mileage Communications in 2012 to support clients in their efforts to make our world safer, more sustainable, more accessible, more equitable and more inclusive. Robin spends most of her professional time as the Director of Philanthropic Engagement for EmbraceRace. She holds a MPA – Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy from NYU and a BS in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources & Environment.

At Shearith Israel Robin leads the Communications Advisory Committee, is very involved in Shearith Israel for Good especially Backpack Buddies and the congregation's refugee work. Robin serves on the Advisory Council for Repair the World Atlanta and as the No Place For Hate liaison at Morningside Elementary School. She loves to hike and spend time with her husband Dave, two kids (Natalie & Benjamin) and pandemic cat.

Ben Krieger
 

Ben Krieger and his wife Bri have been members of Shearith Israel since 2017, upon moving from southern New Mexico. Originally from northern NJ and the mid-Hudson Valley NY, respectively, they are happy to have set down roots in Georgia along with all of their parents and siblings. Their children, Simon and Nora - both pandemic babies - love Shearith and already treat it like home.

Ben has been a software architect at Intel since the startup (where he was employee #5) was acquired in 2019. Outside of Shearith, he loves being part of Atlanta's cycling and Go (programming language) communities. You may see him constantly biking back and forth between Candler Park and Emory - or Shearith on Shabbat morning! - with kids in tow.

Ben is very excited to be helping shape the future of the synagogue his children are growing up in.

Tina Arbes

Tina Arbes and her husband Jake have been members of Shearith Israel for more than forty years. Jake is a past president of the Board and Tina has been involved as part of a wide variety of synagogue committees, including the Finance Committee, the search committee for the Engagement Director, and Chevra Kadisha. Shearith Israel has been an important part of their family life, including the bar mitzvahs of their sons, Max and Ross.    

Tina has recently retired from a forty-five-year career in leadership roles primarily in the nonprofit and government areas.  During this time, she was fortunate to be part of a number of exciting organizations, including the Atlanta Olympic Games, the BeltLine, and WABE.

She has also served in board and leadership positions with various non-profit and community organizations, including the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, the Jewish Educational Loan Fund, Concrete Jungle, and WonderRoot.  Tina’s excited about the tremendous opportunities facing Shearith Israel and looks forward to being involved.

Kevin Hendler (term ending 2025)
 
Kevin Hendler and his wife Abby Goldsmith have been members of Shearith Israel for almost 20 years. All of their children, Shira, Orli and Eli, attended the religious school and became B’nai Mitzvah at CSI. Kevin will continue his term as At-Large Board Member.

Kevin is a dentist at Emory and provides oral health care for patients with head and neck cancer. He is also the Immediate Past President of the American Board of Special Care Dentistry and the proud Grandfather of Devorah and Tzipporah.

 

Past Presidents

Jake Arbes
Stanley Baum
Josh D’Agostino
Tal Frank
Barry Fuchs
Gillian Gansler
Ed Jacobson
Rick Kaplan
Harold E. Koslow
Faith Levy
H. Stephen Merlin
Denise McLaughlin 
Jerry Rothenberg
Martin J. Rotter
Howie Slomka
Wed, April 17 2024 9 Nisan 5784