Rabbi Pam Frydman is our new Interim Rabbi, beginning her service to our community on August 1, 2018.
Rabbi Pam was founding Rabbi of Or Shalom Jewish Community in San Francisco and served as Interim Rabbi of Congregation P’nai Tikvah in Las Vegas. She is also writing a book on the Holocaust for which she interviewed Rabbi Ted Alexander z”l, Gertrude Alexander and Ruth Callman z”l.
She served as Administrative Director of OHALAH, the association of Jewish Renewal clergy; as International Co-Chair of Rabbis for Women of the Wall; as Chair of Ruach Hiddush, Rabbis and Cantors for Religious Freedom and Equality in Israel; and as Coordinator of Beyond Genocide, a campaign of the Board of Rabbis of Northern California and several interfaith councils, that earned a United Nations Association Global Citizen Award (East Bay Chapter).
Rabbi Pam earned her BA in Psychology and Linguistics from Tel Aviv University and rabbinic ordination from the Aleph Ordination Program, the Jewish Renewal rabbinical school.
Learn more about Rabbi Frydman, including sermons and drashes.
Former Rabbi Mark Melamut
Rabbi Mark was our spiritual leader from August 2008 to July 2018.
Rabbi Mark received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. After moving to Vermont to appreciate the out-of-doors, he secured work in his field of study but realized that wasn’t what he was looking for. He applied to Yale Divinity School in New Haven, CT, and received a Master of Arts in Religion in 2000. The seeds of the idea of becoming a rabbi were planted and he studied in Jerusalem for several years, including at Hebrew University as a visiting graduate student, graduating from Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in June 2008.
While in rabbinical school, Rabbi Mark worked at a wide variety of venues. He was the student rabbi at Temple Beth-El in Punta Gorda, FL, for two years, and at Temple B’nai Israel in Burlington, NJ, for one. In addition, he was the Rabbinic Educator at Drexel University Hillel, creating programming to engage college students. He also has teaching experience at various grade levels and has facilitated workshops in a variety of settings. A position very important to him has been his chaplaincy work in Pennsylvania, visiting those in hospitals and those who are terminally ill.
He writes religiously (no pun intended), including poetry, and enjoys cooking, reading, movies, music, hiking, camping, biking, and traveling.
A recent example of his writing is the script for this enjoyable video about the holiday of Shavuot.
Rabbi Emeritus Ted R. Alexander z”l
A beloved teacher and spiritual leader in Northern California for the past 5 decades, Rabbi Alexander served Congregation B’nai Emunah from 1968 to 2006. Rabbi Ted, as he has been known affectionately by his congregants and students, was instrumental in creating an atmosphere of inclusiveness at the Congregation, where people from all backgrounds, experiences, and lifestyles can function as one large family in pursuit of Jewish knowledge, observance, and identity.
Rabbi Ted has taken pride in being highly approachable by everyone, whether in good times or bad. His warmth and good common sense became very much part of the sense of caring that pervades the life
of the Congregation. His approach to Judaism is to teach and maintain the traditions that are of value, to encourage free expression and inquiry into any aspect of Jewish life that people wish to explore and discuss, and to support innovation and creativity that will bring Jews closer together and increase the level and quality of their Jewish knowledge.
Rabbi Ted died in his home in Danville at the age of 95 on October 4, 2016.
jweekly remembers Rabbi Ted Alexander, our beloved rabbi from 1968-2005.
Cantor Linda R. Semi
Cantor Linda serves as our Cantor Emeritus. She will lead the High Holy Day services in 2017 and will appear on the Bimah for an occasional Shabbat, including January 28, 2017 (Sisterhood Shabbat) and February 4, 2017. Please check the calendar for additional dates.
Cantor Linda has been leading Congregation B’nai Emunah in prayer and song since June 1991. Prior to joining Congregation B’nai Emunah, Cantor Linda served congregations throughout southern California, including Palm Springs, Whittier, and Thousand Oaks. Cantor Linda received her Bachelor of Music Education at Syracuse University and her Certificate of Completion in Cantorial Studies at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, now known as the American Jewish University. She was inducted in 1997 into the Cantors’ Assembly, the professional association of conservative cantors affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
Our Cantor Emeritus continues to enjoy tutoring b’nai mitzvah students and is available for life cycle events.
Seth “Shais” St. Martin
Shais is our Executive Director and knows how to get things done. Shais grew up in the desert town of Twentynine Palms, California and came to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1999. In 2003, he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in Earth and Planetary Sciences with an emphasis in Geology.
Shais worked as a hydrogeologist for environmental consulting firms from 2004-2014, specializing in soil and groundwater remediation. In his spare time, he has served as bookkeeper and treasurer for such non-profit organizations as Theta Xi Fraternity, the Nu Alexander Mason Endowment and Third I South Asian Independent Film.
Shais and his wife, Susan, have been members of B’nai Emunah since 2010. Shais joined the board in 2011, was elected as Assistant Treasurer in 2012, became Synagogue Administrator in 2014 and Executive Director in 2017.
Robin is working in the kitchen to set up and break down for events. She is a San Francisco native, and I has been with B’nai Emunah all her life.
She went through Religious School and Hebrew School, and I became a Bat Mitzvah in summer of 1990. She went to SOTA (School of the Arts) and achieved a B.A. In Cultural Anthropology, with a minor in Studio Arts from California State University Hayward.
She volunteered at the ARC In The SF Zoo From 1991 – 2010 where Robin educated the public about animals (Up Close And Personal) and took care of many different animals from ferrets and toads to porcupines and owls. Her family owned and operated Glen Park Hardware (it closed in 2016), a small, old-fashioned hardware store. She likes to correspond with friends through letters, and I likes nearly all kinds of music.
Robin spent 5 years as a convention temp worker in and around Moscone Convention Center where she learned lots of patience with Event Organizers!
Her role in the services is to set up the Onegs. She sees herself as a Food Designer, just for the shul!
Jeffrey Dielle, President
Jeff grew up in Palo Alto CA where he attended Congregation Kol Emeth and belonged to USY. He also attended Camp Ramah for two summers, gratefully receiving financial aid from the Bureau of Jewish Education.
He earned an AB degree in Mathematics from Harvard College and went on to study computer programming at De Anza College. He later received a JD degree from Peninsula University Evening Law School.
Jeff spent much of his adult career working for Hewlett-Packard Corporation, primarily within Information Technology. He worked mainly for Corporate Headquarters where he served as a manager and information architect. His areas of specialization included High Performance Computing and Information Security.
He left Hewlett-Packard in 2003 and has been enjoying retirement ever since. He enjoys surfing the Internet, playing bridge, Jewish learning, and reading fiction.
Ken Mitchell, First Vice President
Quizmaster, Wine and Cheese Master
Ken grew up in Washington, DC. He earned an AB in Spanish and Italian from Washington University in St. Louis and later completed an MA in English from San Francisco State University. He is multilingual and taught English and Spanish as Second Languages for several years before switching to his current career field, technology.
He joined B’nai Emunah shortly after moving to San Francisco in 2005, and he celebrated his adult bar mitzvah at the shul in 2007. He has previously served as Board Secretary and webmaster. He chants Torah and haftarah regularly, and serves as the question master for the shul’s Tribe Trivia! games.
Elena Ingerman, Second Vice President
Kiddush Committee Chair, Education Committee Member
Andrew Nusbaum, Co-Treasurer
Finance Committee Chair, Service Leader, Shabbat Symposium Leader
Andrew Nusbaum was born and raised in San Francisco. He attended Reed College in Portland, OR where he graduated with a BA in English and met his wife, Amanda. Andrew taught in elementary schools for five years and is presently teaching Middle School English and Writing. In his free time he enjoys tracing his family tree, watching movies, reading graphic novels, and studying Jewish history and folklore. Andrew and Amanda began visiting B’nai Emunah back in 2007 and finally joined in 2012. They primarily attend Kabbalat Shabbat services on Friday nights and Andrew helps lead the Carlebach-style service on Cab Shabbat.
Val Langmuir, Co-Treasurer
Val was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and raised as a secular Jew. She moved to the UK as a child and lived there for many years, earning a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Imperial College, London, and beginning her career in information technology.
Val returned to California in 1996, and met Marilyn Hollinger in 2001. Through Marilyn’s influence, and by working with each of Marilyn’s two children as they prepared for their b’nai mitzvah, Val became more interested in Jewish worship and ritual. After learning a little about halacha, and realizing that having a Jewish adopted mother did not make her Jewish, Val chose to convert to Judaism.
Val was introduced to Congregation B’nai Emunah by George Wertheim z’’l, her birth father, when they met in 2012. She is a regular attendee at Shabbat morning services, and a member of the ritual committee.
Val and her family live in Millbrae, and are also members of Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame. Outside of work and congregational life, Val’s interests include world travel, photography, geocaching, and LGBTQ activism, and she holds the title of Ms San Francisco Leather 2013.
Melissa Tauber, Secretary
Education and Youth Chair
Melissa has been a part of the B’nai Emunah community since she was born. While growing up, she attended both religious and Hebrew school and celebrated her bat mitzvah at B’nai Emunah.
Melissa returned to San Francisco after graduating with highest honors from UC Davis in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science, with an emphasis in Animal Behavior. She participated in a Birthright trip to Israel after graduation. Melissa is currently the youngest member on the Board
Active Board Members
Education and Youth Chair, Sisterhood Leader, Folk Dance Teacher, Glass Artist
Gabriele Lange Edwards
Chair of Marketing Committee, Social Media Leader, Photographer
Membership Committee Chair, Social Action Chair, Sisterhood Leader, Assistant Choir Director, Book Club Chair
Ritual Committee Chair, USCJ Pacific Northern Pacific Region President, Chef