Over the next few months we will introduce you to the members of the Kehilla Board of Trustees. Remember you are invited to join the board at it’s monthly meeting – the fourth Tuesday of the month at 6pm in the back classroom.
Ali has been a Kehilla member since the fall of 2016. When not at Kehilla you might find him stand up paddle boarding, or writing poetry.
Ali is from Studio City in the San Fernando Valley. His has had a career in education management, both in the non-profit sector, and as a school district administrator. Currently he is an educational consultant doing a range of equity and inclusion work.
Ali is a proud transgender man, who has been active in the LGBTQ movement for decades. He is married to an OUSD principal. His son, Raffi, will enter high school in the fall. In 2018 Raffi became a Bar Mitzvah. Ali and his family are still very involved with their Chavurah that formed during the B’nei Mitzvah year.
Prior to joining the board Ali was very involved in the Kehilla school and was part of the hiring committee to fill the position now held by Rabbi Gray. He is also on the Chevra Kadisha.
Of his role as a Kehilla board member, Ali says “Its been a great honor being on the board. I’ve gained a deeper connection to the Kehilla community and feel responsible for its direction, growth and sustainability. I wanted to serve to support the senior rabbinic transition along with wanting an opportunity to get more involved. It was a way to dive deeply in shortly after becoming a member family.”
Like many, Marcie’s connection with Kehilla started with High Holy Day services back when those services were held at the Congregational Church on Harrison Avenue. She was instantly wowed by the Rabbinical wisdom and heartfelt singing. She and her husband Michael joined when their children, Adrian and Alex, who are now 22 and 19, were 7 and 5. Both had B’nei mitvot at Kehilla.
Marcie got more engaged at Kehilla when she joined Ketzev Kehilla – the drumming group that plays at Chai Shabbat and on Rosh Hashanah morning, led by Debbie Fier. This has led her to explore various types of drumming; currently she is studying Afro-Cuban drumming. She is an active member of the Immigration Committee. She is part of an accompaniment team supporting a recently arrived family from Guatemala.
Marcie is originally from Glencoe, Illinois a suburb of Chicago. She currently works as a Spanish speaking psychotherapist who specializes in trauma informed therapy.
This is Marcie’s fourth year on the board. She is the board secretary (and you can always see the board meeting minutes on the Kehilla website!). Her board work has allowed her to feel a greater sense of belonging to the community, more connected to members, clergy, and staff. She has helped plan several events including Rabbi Dev’s Brit Kehilla, at which time, as volunteer coordinator, she discovered the extraordinary baking skills and generosity of our community.
Catherine also first came to Kehilla for High Holy Days when they were held at the Congregational Church in Oakland. She joined when her daughter, Sophie, started Hebrew School at age 8. Sophie had her Bat Mitzvah at the church in Northbrae. Catherine was thrilled not to do that schlep to and from Oakland anymore! Like many, she dabbled in Kehilla-world – coming to high holy day services, taking a class here and there. She was drawn into becoming increasingly active with her involvement in the Welcoming Synagogues Project about 10 years ago. As someone raised with a strong Jewish identity and a social justice ethic, but no religious training, Kehilla has been a place to learn, and to engage in social justice work in a container of spiritual practice.
Catherine is originally from Vermont but has been in the Bay Area since 1987. She had a career as a Nurse Practitioner working in HIV/AIDS. She retired from that in 2013, though has kept on with one small project in Kenya. She writes, travels, does yoga, studies Spanish, and best of all, has time to do nothing.
This is Catherine’s second year on the board. She is currently co-chair. She is active with the Immigration Committee, working on the sanctuary task force and being on accompaniment teams as well as supporting all the accompaniment teams. She drums with Ketzev Kehilla.
Regarding board service, Catherine says: “It is a tremendous privilege to find ways to support this community and it’s many activities. There is a warm, collaborative working relationship between the board, the clergy, the ED, and the staff.“