The Temple Beth Sholom Professional Staff
Rabbi Heidi Cohen has served as a Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom since 1998. She possesses a desire to share and adapt traditional Jewish concepts to a modern Reform context and a gift of being able to teach people of all ages to embrace the joy of Judaism. Her energy and enthusiasm have made her an important presence on the pulpit, while her knowledge and empathy have been evident in sermons, classes, retreats, and life events.
Rabbi Cohen studies with Jew-by-Choice Students, counsels congregants and non-members, provides hospital and home pastoral counseling, and conducts pre-marital counseling sessions prior to weddings.
Rabbi Cohen is a graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Denver. Rabbi Cohen is the Immediate Past-President of the Orange County Board of Rabbis and serves on numerous community associations, including: the Executive Committee of Clergy for Choice through Planned Parenthood of Orange County, the Interfaith Council of Central Orange County, the Fish Interfaith Center Advisory Council, and the Advisory Committee for Spiritual Development at Children’s Hosptial of Orange County. Rabbi Cohen also serves on the Pacific Southwest Regional Boards for PARR, (Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis), ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America) and ADL (Anti-Defamation League).
She is married to Matt, a web designer, and has one daughter and one son.
Cantor David Reinwald
Cantor David Reinwald, a Chicago native, started at Temple Beth Sholom in July 2010. With a passion for music of all styles, Cantor Reinwald considers himself a music aficionado. He holds a Bachelors in Music and Jewish Studies from Indiana University – Bloomington and was invested as a cantor by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York City in 2006.
Cantor Reinwald is inspired by Jewish and cantorial music that is both classic and contemporary, and also has a specialization in music written and performed during the Holocaust. Out of his masters thesis research, Cantor Reinwald created an hour long transformative experience and performance entitled Cabaret of the Holocaust: Notes of Satire from the Stages, Cafes, and Streets of the Ghettos. His research is archived in the collections of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and at Yad Vashem in Israel.
Prior to joining the TBS staff, Cantor Reinwald has served Temple Anshe Sholom of Olympia Fields, IL, Congregation Beth Israel of Austin, TX and Temple Beth-El of Jersey City, NJ. He also spent a summer working as a hospital chaplain at Beth Israel Hospital in NYC’s East Village. He is a member of the American Conference of Cantors, where he has served on various committees, and is also a past chair of the student recruitment committee of the HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Alumni Association. The cantor’s debut album, Here I Stand, was released in September, 2011. Cantor Reinwald loves connecting with people through the universal language of music and is proud to call TBS his congregational family and spiritual home.
Susie Amster, F.T.A
Susie Amster has been employed as the Executive Director of Temple Beth Sholom in Orange County, California since March 1992. She has served as Vice President of the National Association for Temple Administration and President of the Pacific Association of Temple Administrators. Susie currently is the Chair of the NATA Certification Board and chairs the NATA Institute. Susie earned her Fellowship in Temple Administration in October 1998 and has taught workshops around the US, Moscow, and Jerusalem. Susie is an active participant in the Santa Ana Police Business Preparedness Council and serves as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the Santa Ana Police Foundation. She is married to husband, Bruce, for 40 years and has three daughters, Sharon, Lisa and Julie, two son-in-laws, Adam and Sam, and six wonderful grandchildren, Johanna, Brandon, Sadie, Levi, Jonathan and Liam.
April Akiva has served Temple Beth Sholom since 2005, bringing passion and creativity to the temple’s rich congregational learning programs. She enjoys fusing worship, social action, and Jewish observance into uplifting learning experiences for congregants of all ages. While at TBS, April is proud to have created Jewish Family Beginnings, a selection of programming for expectant couples and families with young children.
April holds a Master of Arts degree in Jewish Education from the Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion, where she serves as a clinical faculty member, advising education interns each year. She graduated with high honors from the University of Southern California. April is the current President of the Jewish Educator’s Association of Orange County, served on the board of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education Alumni association, and is a member of the National Association of Temple Educators.
April is married to Daniel, a software architect and has one daughter, Adina.
Program and Membership Director
Juliet Friedman has been the Program and Membership Director at Temple Beth Sholom since November 2009. In her professional role, she is involved in many aspects of fundraising, membership, programming and communications. Juliet is truly a “people person” and draws energy from making personal connections with the members of Temple Beth Sholom.
Juliet received her Bachelors of Science from California State University, Fullerton. She is married to Josh, a composer and musician.
A native Californian, Pam grew up in the San Fernando Valley and moved to Orange County in 2005. In addition to her home life, her Jewish identity was influenced by active participation and education in her synagogue, Los Angeles Hebrew High School, Camp Ramah, the University of Judaism and Israel.
Pam earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development from California State University of Northridge (CSUN), with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education. She has over 20 years of directorial experience in early childhood centers in synagogue and Jewish Community Center (JCC) environments, most recently at the Merage JCC in Orange County for six years. She is a past president of the Association for Early Jewish Educators and has served on the Education Committee of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Los Angeles. Before moving to OC, she had the privilege of serving as a Mentor Consultant with the Early Childhood Consulting Service – a collaboration of CSUN and the Child Care Resource Center. As a Validator for the National Academy for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE) she had the opportunity to visit many programs and assist them in their accreditation process, as well as directing two NAEYC and BJE accredited schools.
Rabbi Emeritus Shelton J. Donnell
Rabbi Shelton J. Donnell served Temple Beth Sholom as Senior Rabbi from 1991-2005. In July 2005, he fulfilled a lifelong dream and made Aliyah with his wife Wendy Bocarsky and now resides in Jerusalem, Israel.
Rabbi Donnell now oversees the Year in Israel Program and teaches Liturgy at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem. He is also pursuing his scholarly interests through various writing projects in the areas of Bible and rabbinic history.
Mark Thompson, his wife, Elizabeth, and two children have been members of the Temple Beth Sholom family since 1994. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Master of Arts from California State University Long Beach. He has held the position of Cantorial Soloist at Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs and has served as guest soloist in many locations in Southern California. In addition to his responsibilities at Temple Beth Sholom, Mark is a vocal coach, playwright and actor. He has written and produced one-man shows on the lives of famous scientists and philosophers, such as Galileo Galilei and Baruch Spinoza, which he has performed on university campuses across the country. Complementing his love of singing, he plays the guitar and lute and has a special interest in Early Music. He is also an avid amateur astronomer.
Board of Directors and Committee Chairs
Temple Beth Sholom encourages your volunteer participation in our numerous committees. Leadership opportunities in our Board of Directors, Temple Sisterhood and Men’s Club follow committee involvement. Get involved today and lead our congregants into the future!
President: Jerry Rothblum
Executive Vice President: Lynn Matassarin
VP of Social Action: Hollis O’Brien
VP of Administration: Karen Warren
VP of Early Childhood Educ.: Andrea Wasserman
VP of Financial Development: Joyce Mogabgab
VP of Membership: Sara Weiss-Gottesman
VP of Worship: Soni Sanberg
VP of Congregational Learning: Cindy Grossberg
Immediate Past President: Elaine Schwartz
Treasurer: Warren Hennagin
Secretary: Markus Mettler
Brotherhood President: Alan Karlin
Sisterhood President: Bonnie Wenneberg