Board of Directors

Rusty Russell – President

Rusty RussellLike 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.

Amy Perlstein – Vice-President

AimeeAimee 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.



Harry Freedman – Finance

HarryHarry 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.



Tim Beld – Treasurer

TimTim 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 / CDC Representative

jerryJerry 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

JasonJason 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.


Vacant – Communication


Kevin Akin – Social Action

KevinKevin 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.



Bodhi Aguirre – Open Arms Committee

Sarah Keller – Religious Education

Eric Sbar – Religious Practices





Sherri Cruz – Fund Development


Bill Oppenheim – Building & Grounds


Sharyn Sherman – Youth Groups

SharynSharyn 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.





Lore Magnus – Sisterhood Representative