Harry Freedman – President
Harry has been a part of TBE since his family moved to Riverside in 1960. He, his wife Sandy, and son Josh have celebrated many lifecycle events at TBE, and are very grateful to be a part of the TBE community. This is Harry’s third stint on the Board since the 1980’s – he previously served as Youth Liaison, Finance Director, and Treasurer.
Jim Orens – Vice President / President-Elect
Rusty Russell – Finance
Like many members of Temple Beth El, I come from a mixed religious background. My father’s grandfather Adolf Israel was Jewish, but he married a Catholic, so his son my grandfather also became Catholic and changed the family name from Israel to Russell. My mother’s parentage was also mixed. After my parents left the Catholic Church, they told me that I should join the religion of my choice. Because I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood, by age thirteen I knew that “the religion of my choice” was going to be Jewish. Everywhere I have ever lived, most of my friends have been Jewish. Since I married Judy Lehr in 1976, most of my family has been Jewish as well. In 1989-1990 I spent a semester on the faculty of Tel Aviv University, and I have returned to Israel for research purposes many times since. Increasingly, my whole world has been Jewish. After living for many years as the most Jewish Gentile that my Jewish friends and family had ever met, I finally converted to Judaism at Temple Beth El in 1996. Joining Temple Beth El has turned out to be one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I will always be grateful to Temple Beth El for giving me so many wonderful friends.
Tim Beld – Treasurer
Tim was a born and raised in Riverside. He converted to Judaism in 1983 at Temple Beth El. Tim has been a member of TBE ever since. He has served the Jewish community in the past by sitting on the board of B’nai Brith as President and was treasurer of TBE for 6 years in the early 90’s. He is proud to be joining TBE’s board again.
Jerry Sturmer – Past President
Jerry Sturmer grew up in Anaheim, where he studied with and sang under the direction of Cantor Philip Moddel. After graduating from CSU, Fullerton, he began his career teaching, first in Los Angeles, and then in Rialto. After 14 years teaching history and music he transitioned into administration in 1992, both at the site and district levels. Jerry has been married to Nancy for over 35 years, and their son Daniel has sounded the shofar at Temple Beth El since 1994. After singing with the Temple’s choir for more than 20 years, Jerry decided it was time to increase his contribution to our community by joining the Board first as Secretary, then Vice President, and is now proud to accept the office of President.
Jason Winston – Secretary
Jason Winston has been a member of Temple Beth El for about eight years and has lived in Riverside since 1998. He has worked professionally as a writer, editor and educator and has been producing the TBE newsletter, Chai Lights, since 2006. Jason was born in raised in Los Angeles and was Bar Mitzvah’d at Maarev Temple in the San Fernando Valley. He and wife Anna, a fellow board member, have three children and are very active in youth group and their chavurah. Jason is also a student of Mussar, a Jewish spirituality practice, and plans to bring his knowledge and enthusiasm for this tradition to TBE in a variety of ways in the coming years.
Andrea Shuirman – Communication
Andrea Shuirman grew up in Orange and moved to Riverside to attend U.C. Riverside. She and her husband, John, have been members of Temple Beth El since 2005. Their two teens have grown up in Temple Beth El and have celebrated many simchas with the congregation. Andrea is serving her first term on the TBE Board.
Kevin Akin – Social Justice
Kevin Akin has been a Temple Beth El member since 1983. He and his wife Margie sent their four children through the TBE religious school. Kevin previously served on the Board for seven years during the 1980s and 1990s. He urges anyone willing to work (in any way) for social justice to call or e-mail him. Kevinakin1950@hotmail.com
Margaret Rubin – Open Arms Committee
Sandie Nelson – Religious Education
Sandie Nelson has been involved with TBE and the Education Committee for several years. Prior to her retirement from teaching in 2003 she taught in the Perris Elementary School District, where she was president of the Perris Elementary Teacher’s Association, and with her husband, David, a math teacher, in overseas American schools in Karachi, Pakistan, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, Warsaw, Poland, and Kinshasa, Zaire. She has two children: Michelle teaches at the Jewish Community School of the Desert, and Michael, who lives on his sailboat when he is not working in Northern California.
Alan Stein – Religious Practices
Alan grew up in New York City, where he attended Yeshiva through 8th Grade. From 1966-1970 attended a small agricultural college (founded by a Reform Rabbi from Philadelphia in 1896) 30 miles north of Philadelphia. He received both a Bachelors and masters degree in Biology and has worked in environmental and public land management throughout his career. He is married to Ilene Fields Stein; they have two adult sons. They joined the Temple immediately upon arriving in Riverside in 1991. Alan served on the Board for several years, including one 2-year term as President. He is currently Chair of the Religious Practices Committee. Ilene taught 4th year Hebrew to pre-B’nai Mitzvah students for many years.
Judy Lehr – Fund Development
Judy is from New Jersey and proud of it as you might guess from her license plate – NUJOYZI. She and her husband Rusty Russell came to Riverside in 1979. She worked as program director and then executive director for the Riverside Arts Foundation for nine years. She was hired by the University of California, Riverside, first as assistant director of Cultural Events (touring performing artists), and ultimately as the executive director of the Development Office’s Donor Research & Relations unit as well as secretary of the UCR Foundation Board of Directors until she retired in 2010. Rusty and she joined Temple Beth El in 1995. In 1997 they, with four other members had a adult b’nai mitzvah guided all the way by beloved M’lamedet Carolee Jaspan. It was then that TBE became their philanthropic priority and the congregation became their Riverside family.
Eric Lesser – Building & Grounds
Eric Lesser joined Temple Beth El in 2012. Prior to being appointed to the Buildings and Grounds position, Eric (at the request of Rabbi Singer) organized the 2013 and 2014 Tu B’Shvat temple grounds clean-up and plantings and, in addition, had a major role in the August 2013 refurbishment of the temple patio around our 50-year-old Podocarpus tree. Eric is originally from the San Fernando Valley and is a landscape design professional. He is also a ‘cellist and has played the Kol Nidrei at Erev Yom Kippur for the past 2 years.
Sharyn Sherman – Youth Groups
Sharyn Sherman has lived in Riverside for the last 12 years. She has been a middle school teacher for the past 20, and truly enjoys working with young people. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her husband and children, being active, and reading.
Aimee Perlstein – TBECDC Representatve
Aimee has been a member and involved with TBE for about 20 years. With her husband Adam, and two sons Jeremy and Brian, she has been active in the Religious Education Committee and other aspects of our temple community. She converted to Judaism in 1995 here at TBE. She has been an upper grade elementary teacher and mentor for 15 years in RUSD.
Lore Magnus – Sisterhood Representative
– Sisterhood President