Beth Chai: The Greater Washington Jewish Humanist CongregationBeth Chai: The Greater Washington Jewish Humanist Congregation

Officers & Directors, 2017-2018

Position (click to contact via email) Name (click for bio) Board member?
Rabbi Rabbi Deborah Cohen No
Education Director Roni Rosenthal No
President Rob Rosenberg Yes
Past President Brandon Hemel Yes
Secretary Dan Schweitzer Yes
Treasurer Josh Lubell Yes
Bookkeeper & Accounts Payable Diane Page No
Adult Education Program Chair Mark Balaschak Yes
High Holidays Coordinator Meredith Bowers Yes
Shabbat Coordinator Mark Israel No
Social Action Chair Asya Haikin Yes
Membership Chair Laura Meckler Yes
Rachel Weisz No
Volunteer Coordinator Brandon Hemel No
Communications Chair Yevgeniya Nusinovich Yes
Director of IT and Webmaster Nate Weisz Yes
Mitzvah Coordinator Brandon Hemel No

Board member bios

President Rob Rosenberg has been a member of Beth Chai since 2006. This is his sixth year on the Board, second as President. Rob grew up in New York City but, except for a brief stint in Japan, has lived in Maryland since 1995. This means he has become too mellow for New Yorkers but still has frequent moments of loquaciousness that exceeds local standards. Furthermore, he still roots for his hometown sports teams, but most of them are so dysfunctional he doesn't like to talk about them, even though complaining about them is a hobby unto itself. Rob lives in Silver Spring with his wife, Laurie, an artist, and his children, Emma, who was a Beth Chai Bat Mitzvah in 2016 and Harry, who will be a Beth Chai Bar Mitzvah in 2018.

When not busy with Beth Chai, Past President Brandon Hemel is an active Boy and Cub Scout leader and enjoys leading camp outs and hiking adventures. Professionally, Brandon is the leader of the Data Strategy and Management Team at WETA-TV / FM.

Secretary Dan Schweitzer and his wife Jerilyn Schweitzer are beginning their eighth year as Beth Chai members. Dan served on the Education Committee two years ago. He and Jerilyn live in Bethesda with their daughter Dara — until she goes off to college in August. During the week, Dan heads the Center for Supreme Court Advocacy at the National Association of Attorneys General.

Treasurer and long-time Beth Chai member Joshua Lubell lives in Rockville with his wife Jennifer and son Alex. Josh is a computer scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where he works to improve cybersecurity for digital manufacturing systems. Josh is happy to belong to an inclusive, supportive, and intellectually curious Jewish congregation.

Communications Chair Yevgeniya Nusinovich and her family have been members of Beth Chai since 2005. She lives in Rockville and has two children: Solomon (12) and Hadassah (10). Yevgeniya was born in Ukraine but came to the United States as a child and has lived in the Washington, DC area ever since, except for a brief stint in Boston. She works as an editor of a scientific journal, which means that her primary occupation requires ensuring clear and accurate communication of important information, making the role of communications chair a natural choice. Her family's hobbies are reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), musical theater, board games, travel, and music (especially Klezmer and Sephardic Jewish music). Her family is not at all religious, but feels a strong connection to Jewish culture and history, which has proven to be a great match for the mission of Beth Chai.

Membership Chair Laura Meckler
Membership Chair Rachel Weisz

Adult Education Program Chair Mark Balaschak

Social Action Chair Asya Haikin has been a member of Beth Chai, along with her husband Leonid Kopylev and their two children, Sam and Rina, since 2009. She and her husband are originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, but have lived in this area for many years. Asya homeschools her kids and also works as a Yoga Teacher and a Yoga Therapist. She is happy to have found Beth Chai to maintain a connection to her and her husband's families Jewish roots, and the Jewish culture.

Director of IT/Webmaster Nate Weisz has been a member of Beth Chai, along with his wife, Rachel, since 2011. They live with their daughter Sofia and son Milo in Bethesda. They are both local yocals and probably will never move from this area. Nate is an IT guy in real life as well and loves the business of software development. He is happy to serve Beth Chai's surprisingly interesting IT needs in his first term on the board.

Shabbat Coordinator Mark Israel has been a member of Beth Chai for around 25 years. His son Andrei was one of Rabbi Blecher's earliest bar mitzvahs. Mark was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and his family were members of the Isaac Meyer Wise Congregation - Rabbi Wise founded the Reform movement. Mark went to Oberlin College in Ohio, and was admitted to Hebrew Union College. He then went into social action, first as an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, then to law school at Columbia thence into civil rights. Mark was the first professional employed by a former Confederate state to work for the civil rights of African Americans, as director of the Tennessee Commission on Human Rights in 1964 and 65. He continued his career as the Assistant Director of the Jewish Community Council in Boston, back to civil rights in Washington at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and the War on Poverty at the Office of Economic Opportunity running a program to get more food to the poor. Then for over 30 years Mark was a public-sector lobbyist representing cities and other public bodies, connected to the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Mark is now a full time organic farmer.

Volunteer Coordinator Brandon Hemel is an active Boy and Cub Scout leader and enjoys leading camp outs and hiking adventures. Professionally, Brandon is the leader of the Data Strategy and Management Team at WETA-TV / FM.

When not busy with Beth Chai, Mitzvah Coordinator Brandon Hemel is an active Boy and Cub Scout leader and enjoys leading camp outs and hiking adventures. Professionally, Brandon is the leader of the Data Strategy and Management Team at WETA-TV / FM.