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Get to know more of Kehilla’s Board of Trustees

The Board’s Kol Kehilla article in April featured profiles of several Board members and what they’ve appreciated about serving Kehilla as members of the Board of Trustees.  To add to that profile, here’s two more Board profiles and a note of farewell for three members:

Barbara Petterson started attending High Holy Days services at Kehilla in the early 90’s and became a member in 1995. She is beginning her 6th and last year on the Board. Her Board service has included being Co-Chair for two years and Chair for one, and serving on the Board Development, Finance and Personnel Committees. She has also been involved in initiatives including Leadership Development and Rabbinical Transition.

Barbara first dipped her toe into Kehilla leadership as part of the Welcoming Synagogues Project, focused on expanding Kehilla’s inclusivity of the LGBTQIA community. She is incredibly grateful to Kehilla for providing a deep, joyful, spiritual, social-justice oriented and supportive community for her and her family over the years. In addition to being on the Board, she loves participating in Kehilla’s drumming group Ketz ev Kehilla, in a caregiver support group made up of Kehilla members, and in many services, classes and workshops over the years.

Barbara is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico and moved to the Bay Area in 1978. She and her husband, David Lee, appreciated raising their daughter Rosa in Kehilla’s School and Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program.  She is a psychotherapist and art therapist specializing in helping people with chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and other issues. She has a regular yoga practice and loves to hike, walk, cook, eat and spend time with family.

Board service is very meaningful for Barbara. She has been honored to have the opportunity to get to know and work collaboratively with other Kehilla members, clergy, our ED and other staff to support our always growing and changing community.

Karen Cohn, is now starting her 4th year on the Board, and 3rd year as Co-Chair. She was first recruited to take over as chair of the Board Personnel Committee. She has been instrumental in leading a process to review and formalize personnel policies for Board adoption.  She and the committee provide a management support role to our clergy and Executive Director.  When Rabbi David announced he was scaling back, Karen led the communications strategy for the 3-year transition to Rabbi Dev becoming Senior Rabbi – producing a newsletter for the community and facilitating community meetings.  She also provided outreach and communications support for other Kehilla projects, including to the Immigration Committee workshops for rolling out the Sanctuary Project and for the recent benefit with Alicia Garza.

Prior to our community-wide Belonging and Allyship initiative, Karen led a year-long learning series using videos and articles that primed Board members for discussions about countering white fragility, implicit bias, the centrality of whiteness and white supremacy culture as part of our experiences in the Bay Area, at Kehilla and on the Board.

Karen is originally from Toledo, Ohio and moved to the Bay Area in 1976. She and her wife, Teri Gruenwald, enjoyed having their sons Rafael and Simon participate in Kehilla School and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah program.  She is about to retire as a 26-year public health program manager for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, specializing in children’s environmental health promotion and family housing security. She makes it to Pilates class once a week and loves to bike, explore nature, photograph, plan trips and spend time with family.

Karen appreciates how her Board role helps her dig deep into the meaning and practice of radical inclusivity at Kehilla, and the “Trustee” responsibility of holding and sustaining Kehilla as a thriving organization.  She finds Board service helpful for getting to support many member-led initiatives and to meet and engage with a wide variety of Kehilla members.  Karen feels grateful that she can contribute to stewarding this vibrant and unique congregation which so strongly contributes to furthering spiritual wellbeing and social justice in our society.

We’re also announcing a big transition for the Board starting in July, with new Board seats to be filled.  We will greatly miss the contributions of these three stellar members as they step off the Board: 

Marjorie Cox carried substantial responsibilities for the Board Development, Generosity and Finance Committees, including her team role in multiple fundraising campaigns and production of special events, her lead role engaging members to create bequests to Kehilla as part of our Legacy Project, and most recently as Board Treasurer and co-chair of the Finance Committee.

Natalie Roden has been a voice reminding us of Kehilla’s roots and values, a Board member who spoke from her experience-as a young adult, a person with a disability and as someone raised in Kehilla.  She also brought a sense of humor and enthusiasm.  We clearly need to search for the next young adult who wants to bring their perspective and energy to our Board.

Marcie Rubel has worked behind the scenes on Board development and community engagement, helping craft both Board and Leadership retreats, plan annual Community Meetings and Rabbi Dev’s Brit Kehilla weekend.  She has guided Board recruitment efforts over several years and also served as Board Secretary, which means she took minutes for every Board meeting while still participating in Board discussions. We’ll be searching for our next Secretary too!

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