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Senior Staff

Dr. Zach Lasker – Executive Director

Zach has worked extensively in the areas of social impact and faith as a leader, educator, and community organizer. Professional accomplishments include Executive Director at The Open Temple, Camp Director of Camp Ramah in California, and Camp Bob Waldorf, Executive Director of the Pico-Union Project, and Director of Melton Research & Education Projects at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Zach has also served as a Clinical Lecturer in Education at the American Jewish University where he mentored graduate students in areas of administrative leadership and teaching.

As a volunteer, Zach has taken action with Showing Up for Racial Justice around issues of jail reform and voting rights as well as projects to support those who are unhoused. Zach earned a doctorate in education leadership from UCLA, a Masters in Education at the AJU, and a B.A. in Sociology and Judaic Studies from UC San Diego.

In 2016 Zach became a 500-hour certified yoga instructor through YogaWorks as part of his research around how the pedagogy of yoga could enhance Jewish practice and make it more accessible and teaches workshops in this area.

Throughout his career, he has also written and spoken on issues of leadership, experiential education, and inclusion. Zach’s articles and interviews have been featured in publications such as The Washington Post, LA Yoga, and the Jewish Journal. Other passions include family and friends, cooking, running, braving the roads as a bike commuter, and sampling green tea.

Hannah Bennett – Head of School, Briskin Elementary School

Dr. Hannah Bennett, Head of School. Dr. Hannah Bennett is a twenty-year elementary school educator who just completed her first year as Head of School of Briskin Elementary School. Nothing like running an elementary school remotely from her garage during a global pandemic in her first year as head to test her moxie! Before her role as Head of School, Hannah served as Principal of Temple Israel of Hollywood Day School (now Briskin Elementary School) since 2013. During her tenure as Principal at TIOH, Hannah spearheaded the creation and implementation of the school’s advanced technology program; implemented the school’s reaccreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) by developing Student Support Services protocols and articulating curriculum. Hannah has applied new protocols to advance faculty- and grade-level team meetings as impactful professional development experiences. Most recently, she led the school’s adoption and implementation of Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence’s RULER program, an evidence-based approach for integrating social and emotional learning into schools. Hannah resides in the San Fernando Valley with her partner, Shira Brown, their children, Charlie and Gabriel ). She enjoys hiking with her family and their dog, Poppy, sampling various ice cream at local creameries around Los Angeles, and exploring the state (country coming soon!) in their RV.

Jessy Lichter Maret – Director, Bay-Nimoy ECC

A native of Boston, Jessy brings warmth, enthusiasm, experience, and research-based expertise to her role as the Bay-Nimoy Early Childhood Center’s Director.  Jessy holds a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and special education and early childhood education teaching licenses.  Prior to her tenure at TIOH,  Jessy served as an adjunct professor at Simmons University in Boston and mentor for a graduate-level teaching program.  Jessy believes that integrating parents and children into the foundational family learning experiences at the nursery school level will set a lifelong tone for prioritizing education as a family, and is committed to creating a warm, nurturing, and developmentally appropriate education that is grounded in Jewish values and social justice for all students at the BNECC.

Rabbi Lara Regev – Director, Religious School

Rabbi Lara Regev is excited to join TIOH as the Religious School Director. As a Los Angeles native, she is returning after eight years at Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael, California, where she served as the Director of Jewish Living and Learning and Rabbi overseeing all programming for children and their families, including religious school and teen programs. Her background includes extensive experience with Jewish camps and youth groups and she continues to spend time in the summers at URJ Camp Newman where she was previously an Assistant Director, unit head, and song-leader.
Rabbi Lara graduated from the University of Judaism with a B.A. in Jewish Studies, and attended Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion where she was ordained and received an M.A. in Jewish Education and Hebrew Letters. She is happy to return to L.A. with her husband, Rabbi Yoni Regev, and their two children Noah and Jacob.

Professional Staff

Adam Selcov – Development Associate

Adam graduated from UC Santa Cruz where he studied Economics and Legal Studies. Before joining TIOH, he worked for the Constitutional Rights Foundation in the Development office. Adam has roots in the Los Angeles Jewish community as a former member of Temple Isaiah throughout his childhood, a former employee at University Synagogue and a former NFTY participant and Camp Ramah camper.

He is excited to expand his Jewish portfolio into a community that has already been so welcoming and caring.

Alba Arzu – B’nai Mitzvah & Events Coordinator

Born and raised in Guatemala City, Alba landed in LA at a young age to start her now over 25 years of non-profit work experience in the youth development business. Helping families and youth has been her passion and most vital asset, having worked at Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles for the last 20 years.

When Alba is not working, she enjoys visiting her only son, who is a jazz musician and currently doing a Cognitive Science fellowship at UCI. She is a very proud mom. Alba loves musicals, collects miniatures, and is intrigued and fascinated by frogs. Alba believes in treating people with kindness and respect. Alba is a homemade natural tea goddess.

 

Alex Kojfman – Director of Communications

Alex graduated with an Honors Bachelor degree in Marketing from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and a Masters degree in Conflict Resolution from Tel Aviv University. He has worked in the Jewish community for over 15 years and is grateful to continue his experience with the fantastic and creative community here at Temple Israel.

He has spent over 20 years producing and performing stand-up comedy, now focusing on learning more about cooking and food. He and his wife Julie are Executive Members at Costco and have two beautiful and adorable children.

Chaim Butterfield – Director of Technology

Chaim received an Associate of Science in Business Administration graduating with High Honors from Santa Monica College and a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems graduating Magna Cum Laude from California State University, Northridge. He has worked in Information Technology/Information Systems, Jewish Education, and Jewish Libraries for 15 years and is excited to bring his skills, knowledge, and passion for enabling Jewish organizations to do what they do best by integrating, implementing, and supporting technology to TIOH.

In his free time, Chaim enjoys discovering and playing with new technologies, reading long novel series, cooking, and rolling polyhedral dice with friends.g

David Wolinsky – Finance Director

Prior to taking on this role, David worked in a variety of financial leadership positions as corporate controller, division controller and as a financial analyst in privately held companies involved in media, real estate and e-commerce. In addition, he has experience working for several non-profits as a consultant. He began his career as a CPA for KPMG in Denver, Colorado. Temple accounting has never been dull for David starting with the fiscal challenges of the 2008-09 crisis, then the purchase and implementation of cutting-edge accounting software, and eventually assembling a great and loyal accounting team who care about their jobs and the Temple.

David discovered Temple Israel of Hollywood many years ago when he was invited to a TIOH High Holiday service by a friend and congregant who ran a social service agency for homeless families called Beyond Shelter. Rabbi John Rosove’s sermon and that amazing sanctuary were impressive at that time and when an opportunity came to work there, David welcomed the challenge and is still excited about all the positive changes to the Temple and community to come.

Deanne Kaner – Spiritual Care Office Manager

California born and Arizona raised, Deanne landed back in Los Angeles after graduating from the University of Arizona. Deanne filled her resume with nine years of work in the film and television industry before finding her way to TIOH. It’s no surprise that Deanne’s compassion towards the Jewish community has now become her full-time priority. Deanne grew up as an active member of Temple Solel in Paradise Valley, AZ and spent her high school and college summers as a camp counselor at Scottsdale’s Jewish Community Center.

In her spare time, Deanne daydreams about rescuing as many dogs as her heart desires; in reality, she goes on the hunt for the next LA food craze.

 

Debra MacRae – Accounts Payable

Debra received her BFA at Boston Conservatory of Music. Previous experience in accounting was with a Technological R & D company.  Joining a non-profit community was a wonderful change to a place more concerned with people than things. Debra loves the social awareness and humanitarian work the Temple is involved in and is proud to be a part of this community.

Diana Wyenn – Artistic Director

Inspired by how we can utilize art and artistic practices to share, illuminate, and challenge culture, Diana curates and produces TIOH Arts & Culture, our robust series of performing, media, and visual art. She received her a degree from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and continues to work as a director and choreographer of theater, opera, and media projects for organizations, including Center Theatre Group, the LA Phil, NY Phil, Grand Performances, SummerStage, Lincoln Center, and more. Born and based in Los Angeles, she now lives with her partner Laban, who is a pro-skateboarder turned music video director, and their pup Remy.

Dorothy Davis – Senior Accountant

Dorothy joined the TIOH family in 2012 and instantly knew she found a home. Having been in accounting since her early days at Cal-State LA, education and children have always been her passion. Family is very important to Dorothy, being a mother of four – daughter, son, and two stepdaughters, and now her greatest joy, her granddaughter. When Dorothy is not at the temple, you can find her digging in her vegetable and rose gardens with her two English bulldogs by her side. It is such a joy to sit above the temple and hear the young voices sharing God’s beautiful music. Dorothy takes comfort knowing  she is serving such a tremendous Temple and playing a small part in making a difference in our community. When you call the accounting department, don’t be afraid to ask her any questions or, more importantly, share how Temple Israel of Hollywood has played a part in your lives.

Ellie Buckland – Director, Human Resources

Fred Vaysman – Facilities

James Schmidt – Information & Media Technology Support

James studied Information Systems at California State University, Northridge. He has maintained the IT and A/V infrastructure of non-profit religious organizations for more than ten years. Before joining TIOH full-time in 2019, he spent four years as the principal sound technician for our religious, school, and arts events. When he isn’t nodding along to the groove behind the sound console, you’ll find him spending time with his beloved rescue great golden dane, Brody.

John Chavez – Director of Operations and Security

Julia Hubner – Director of Development

Julia Hubner is a motivated fundraiser with 15+ years of experience in the Jewish nonprofit sector. She has a fierce passion for aligning donors’ values with philanthropic opportunities. Julia gathers inspiration from donor’s stories and is eager to learn how TIOH resonates with each of its members.

Previously, Julia served as Vice President of Donor Experience and Chief of Staff at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Director of Programs and Marketing at Kehillat Israel Congregation, and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions Counselor at American Jewish University. Julia attended Hebrew Union College and the University of Southern California, where she earned her Masters in Jewish Nonprofit Management, Masters in Communication Management, and undergraduate degrees in Communication and Religion.

Raised in Berkeley, CA, Julia developed her enthusiasm for Jewish causes growing in a family, community, and congregation motivated by social justice. She is a product of Camp Newman and Swig Jewish summer camps and taught creative writing and journalism as a counselor. When she isn’t responding to emails, Julia loves to ride her bike, post items on her local Buy Nothing, and enjoy movies with her fiancé, Mike and cat, Tumba.

Leia Grossman – Director of Community Engagement

As an educator, facilitator, and advocate, Leia has focused her career on the transformative growth of others. With social justice as the driving force, she has spent most of her professional life working at UNICEF, UN Women and UNHCR. She has experience in staff development, coordinating and managing programs and communities of practice, knowledge management, facilitating high-level events, and advocating for survivors of violence and people experiencing incarceration. In the Jewish world, she taught Sunday School for over a decade, worked in the preschool and after-school programs at the Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst and as a partnership specialist with Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps.

Leia is passionate about forging community through arts, spiritual practices and social justice, and earned her Master’s in Arts-integrated Human Rights Education at New York University. Originally from North Carolina, she has lived and worked in Israel, Czech Republic, Colombia, Argentina, Guatemala, and Germany, and moved from New York to Los Angeles in 2018. Outside of office hours, yoga, live performances, dance parties, and going on culinary adventures light her up. She also produced a short documentary about sea shanty singers in Staten Island, has published several personal essays online.

Rachel Katz – Program and Operations Coordinator, Religious School

Rachel graduated from Cal State Northridge with a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Jewish Studies. From there, she moved to Jackson, Mississippi to complete a two-year education fellowship at the Institute of Southern Jewish Life. After her time in Mississippi, she returned home to California to work at Hebrew Union College in the Office of Recruitment and Admissions. Rachel is so happy to be part of the TIOH community and is thrilled to be working in the Religious School.

Outside of TIOH, you can find Rachel watching sitcoms, doing the New York Times crossword puzzle, drinking Diet Coke, and playing with her dog, May.

Ronit Menache – Briskin Elementary School Director of Administration

Ronit was born in Israel and grew up in Mexico City and moved to the United States in 1984. She went to the University of Miami and Barry University for a bachelor’s in early childhood education. Ronit then moved to Los Angeles and completed a Montessori training. She has worked in Jewish Schools across California for the past 30 years. As an administrator now, Ronit loves being involved in all aspects of this fantastic TIOH community. In her free time she enjoyed spending time with her husband, three kids, and loved ones.

Sara Guggenheim – Director of Learning, Bay-Nimoy ECC

Sara graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Modern Literature & Society. She started her career as a graphic designer in Washington DC and New York. She eventually moved to Los Angeles to work for many years in entertainment marketing. Sara became a member of the TIOH community in 1998 as a parent and has considered it her second home ever since. She joined TIOH’s early education staff in 2004, enriching classroom experiences with her passion for learning, nature and art. Sara enjoys painting, reading, hiking, visiting museums, exploring Los Angeles and just being at home with her family and dogs.

Zach Lehmann – Community Relations Associate

Before joining the staff at Temple Israel of Hollywood, Zach worked in various roles within the entertainment and hospitality industries. During his college career at San Francisco State University, he interned with his college Hillel and found so much joy in impacting others. He will always have a passion for the arts and entertainment, especially musical theater, but his true heart lies in building meaningful relationships and making a difference in his community.

Zach’s recent obsession is challenging himself to solve the daily Wordle. Zach enjoys traveling the world and exploring new cities. Graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication, Zach hopes to utilize his interpersonal skills at Temple Israel of Hollywood and expand building relationships within the Los Angeles Jewish Community.

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