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President Mona Gibson was born and raised in the New York City area, moving to Tucson in 1978 with her family to attend the University of Arizona where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in General Biology/Psychology, Masters of Science in Rehabilitation Counselling, and finally, an MBA with concentration in Human Resources and Marketing. Mona worked as a Vocational Evaluator until spending 20 years in the Human Resources departments of Pima County and Tucson Unified School District, working most of that time in employment rights and benefits administration. Currently, she works for UnitedHealthcare as a Service Account Manager dedicated to the Arizona State Retirement System assisting state retirees in enrolling and understanding their health insurance benefits. In 1996, Mona married Scott Gibson and gave birth to their wonderful son, Michael, in 1999. Though Mona grew up in a spiritually Jewish family, she did not belong to any temple for an extended period until Michael decided he wanted to learn Hebrew in 2010. At Temple, Michael became a bar mitzvah in January 2012 and Mona became a bat mitzvah in May 2014. Mona has served as chairperson of the Youth Education Committee, Temple Personnel Committee and First Vice President. 

If you have questions, please click here to send her an email.

Vice President/Treasurer Scott Arden is Vice President and Treasurer of Temple Emanu-El. He moved to Tucson in 2007 with his wife, Sue, and children, Joshua and Miriam. Scott joined the Temple Board in 2010 and was elected Vice President in 2011. His roles at Temple include chairing the Finance Committee and assisting with strategic planning. He was active in the early days of the Men's Club, and has appeared in a number of Temple Purim Shpiels.

Scott is a Project Manager in the field of medical-device product development and was formerly Product Development Director at Xeridiem. He founded iSolvex in 2012 and was active in the entrepreneurial community. He served from 2007 to 2011 as an Engineering Manager at Rain Bird Corporation. Scott is a New Product Development expert, Six Sigma Black Belt, and Lean project leader. He led teams to develop innovative medical-device concepts at Becton Dickinson. As a team leader at Merck, he helped to increase capacity and to reduce cost in Manufacturing. Scott earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University and an MBA at Columbia Business School.

Vice President Stephen Shawl, PhD, a native San Franciscan, majored in astronomy at Berkeley and earned his doctorate in astronomy from the University of Texas in Austin. Steve’s dissertation research was conducted at observatories in the Tucson area where he and Jeannette moved in 1970 to complete his degree while working at Kitt Peak. A busy 1972 saw him complete his PhD; be hired at the University of Kansas (KU); and serve on active duty as a captain in the Army. Many summers were spent in Tucson during the early 70’s as well as a sabbatical year during 1978-79. Steve is the principal author of a college-level introductory astronomy textbook (now in its 6th edition). He served for many years as the chair of the Working Group for Astronomy Education of the American Astronomical Society. Steve was on the board of the Lawrence KS Jewish Community Center, and served as its vice president. He served on the board of the KU Hillel Foundation, and as the board president. During his spring 2001 sabbatical in Tucson, Jeannette and Steve decided that Tucson would be their place of retirement—beginning January 2005. They are members of the Santa Catalina Volunteer Patrol at Sabino Canyon. Steve and Jeannette have co-chaired Temple’s Bilgray Committee and the Linda Nadell Centennial Torah Education Committee. He has also served for five years on the committee for the Adult Education Academy. Their daughter, Jessica, lives in California and their son, Jeremy, in New York City.

Immediate Past President Bonnie J. Golden was born and raised in Chicago and has lived in Tucson since 1977. She began her professional career at University of Arizona, founding and managing a nationally recognized counseling program "Challenges of Maturity" for older adults. For 20+ years, she served as counseling faculty at Pima Community College. She's the author of two books, and she has been the recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Pima Community College Foundation and the Campus Gem Award from the Downtown campus.

Bonnie is a highly qualified yoga teacher, owner of "Yoga with Bonnie" (www.yogawithbonnie.com).

Bonnie holds a BS in education from University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana, a M.Ed from the University of Arizona, and she has completed substantial post-master's course work in higher education. In 2005, Bonnie became an adult bat mitzvah at Temple.

She is married to Norm, and they are the proud parents of Sam and Jesse. The entire Golden family has been active at Temple since 2003.

Director Laura Kravec, , a native Ohioan, moved to Tucson in 2005 following her graduation from the Farmer School of Business at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a bachelor of science in economics. She attended the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, graduating in 2008. She is a practicing corporate and transactional attorney and active in the Tucson community. The proud mother of two daughters, Nora and Julia, she enjoys hiking in the Santa Catalina mountains and walking or biking along the Rillito with her children and her husband, David. Laura has participated in the Youth Education Committee, the Bylaws Committee, the Membership Committee, the Adult Education Committee, and the High Holy Days choir at Temple Emanu-El. She is also on the Young Women’s Council at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona.

Secretary Seth Ruskin was born in Durham, NC but raised in Ogden, UT. He came to the University Of Arizona in 1983 and earned a BS in Chemistry. After working as a chemist for the Department of Chemistry for a number of years, Seth joined the Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory and currently works as a forensic scientist. He has been a member of the American Chemical Society and served as Secretary of the local section for 2 years. Seth has volunteered for the City of Tucson/Pima County Household Hazardous Waste collection program for the last 20 years and has been on the program's Steering Committee. He is married to Amy and they have two children, Sydney and Abigail -- both graduates of the Strauss Early Childhood Education Center.

Director Harold Blatter was born in Brooklyn, NY and received his BS and MS degrees from City College of New York and Rutgers University. He worked at the RCA David Sarnoff Research Laboratory in Princeton NJ for 22 years and another 20 years in Indianapolis as a Principal Member of the Technical Staff in the RCA/Thomson research system. During his 42 years with RCA/Thomson in the scientific field he served on many professional committees, received many technical awards, and is the holder of 27 issued US Patents. He married Carol Wechsler in 1969 and they have one daughter, who is an international human rights lawyer in Washington, D.C. Carol is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Family counselor in private practice here in Tucson. Religiously and politically, he has been involved with Judaism all his adult life. He served as president of mens clubs and as a member of the board of directors in shuls and temples in Princeton, Indianapolis and Tucson. He has also served as president of his homeowners association for two terms. Both Harold and Carol believe strongly in Jewish education, especially adult education. Harold is on the Ritual Committee and the Adult Education Committee and both Harold and Carol have also  co-chaired the Drash Committee.

Director Gretchen Brittain was born and raised in  Houston, Texas. She moved to Tucson in 1978 with her late husband of 46 years, and their two sons, Tim and Kevin. She is the proud grandmother of two granddaughters, Mara and Hailee. Gretchen graduated from the University of Arizona majoring in anthropology with minors in history and sociology. She attended Graduate school at the UA in history for 2 years.

She has been involved with several organizations in the Tucson community including serving on a Task Force for the City of Tucson.  She was active with the Southern Arizona Small Business Administration and the National Association of Women Business Owners during the 12 years she owned her business. She has worked for several hospitals and medical doctors in New Mexico, Florida, and Arizona,. Florida State University and the University of Georgia while her husband was in the United States Air Force and a student. In Tucson she worked for Arizona Children's Home and The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. While at the UA she worked at the Arizona State Museum and Western Archaeological Conservation Center.
She is a member of Women of Reform Judaism and a life member of Hadassah. Gretchen became a member of Temple Emanu-El in 2014 after attending services and taking several classes offered by the Adult Education Program.

Director Jerry Cohen was born in Chicago, Illinois. He has resided in Tucson since his family moved here in 1949. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1966. After graduating from college he had a rather diversified early business career, first spending 7 years in public accounting, then 5 years in the self-service gasoline business with a concern that was also manufacturing pin ball machines in Brazil. After a short time in banking, his next 38 years were with Canyon Ranch, focusing on its real estate development and resort operations where he held the position of Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer. He retired from Canyon Ranch in March 2017 and is currently working on future projects. He currently serves on the National Board of Advisors for the University of Arizona Eller School of Management. Jerry and his wife Shauna have four children and seven grandchildren. First through his parents' affiliation beginning in 1949, Jerry has been a continuous member of Temple, having previously served on the Temple Board for several years beginning in 1998.

Director Jason Feld

Director Brie Finegold and her family have been part of the Temple Emanu-El community for the past 8 years. This is her first year on the Board.

With a PhD in Mathematics, Brie came to Tucson in 2010 for a postdoctoral position at University of Arizona, and now works at Rincon Research corporation. In her spare time, she enjoys facilitating mathematics workshops for pre-service and in-service teachers as well as kids. She also spends time with her husband and son, does origami, yoga and teaches 8th grade religious school. In the past, Brie has taught 4th and 5th grade at the Kern religious school as well.

This year Brie is part of the Membership committee. She values open lines of communication between our board and the congregation as a whole. So please share with her your questions, comments, concerns, or excitement about our synagogue.

Director Corinne Forti

Director Cary Marmis was born in Iowa, received his BS from the University of Illinois, and his MS from the University of Michigan. He served in the United States Air Force as a fighter pilot. He's lived in Tucson since 1972. Cary has been involved in Jewish organizations since that time including President of Temple a dozen years ago. He retired in 1992 and continues to do civic and charity activities as well as an occasional business deal.

Director Libby Quinn

Director Jeff Rein was born and raised in Essex county, New Jersey.  He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania then spent three years in the Central African Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer.  After teaching middle and high school in New York and New Jersey Jeff attended Harvard Medical School, followed by residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, where he met his wife Mridula.  Following residency they worked for Indian Health Service on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, then moved to Tucson where their two children, Samir and Bela, now both high school students, were born.  Jeff worked as an internist and pediatrician at El Rio Community Health Center, and now works as a hospitalist at several Tucson hospitals.  He is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and volunteers at St. Elizabeth’s Health Center.  His family has been at Emanu-El since 2001.

Director Jill Rich is originally from Rock Island, Illinois.  She moved to Tucson in 1965 to attend the University of Arizona, where she received her BA in psychology and sociology in 1970.  Jill is a Realtor at Long Realty Company and a former small business owner, but her real passion is social action.  She and her husband Jim are the adoptive parents of two now-grown former Vietnamese orphans adopted in their adolescent years.  Jill and Jim are also the de facto parents of 54 “lost boys” of Sudan.  Jill is the founder of a foundation created to support the lost boys, the Sudanese Promise Fund.  Jill first became involved in refugee resettlement at Jewish Family and Children’s Services when she was actively involved in the resettlement of Soviet Jewish refugees in Tucson as a founding member of the JFCS refugee resettlement program.  Jill has received awards and recognition in many forms.  Among the more notable, she was selected as one of President George Bush’s “Points of Light” in 1991, she was named Volunteer of the Year by the American Red Cross in 1992 and 1995, she was named the Tucson Citizen’s Citizen of the Year in 1999, and the National Association of Social Workers named her Public Citizen of the Year in 2001.  At Temple Emanu-El, Jill is the chair of the Social Action committee and Fundraising committee, and she has been the coordinator of the Temple’s participation in Operation Deep Freeze for nearly a decade. 

Director Bette Sayre

Director Sallie Tofel was raised in Columbus, Ohio and Denver, Colorado.  She attended Colorado University and the University of Arizona, graduating with a BS in Marketing/Advertising and a fiancé – Steve Tofel.  After their wedding & a training program tour of the east coast, they ended up in Los Angeles where Sallie worked in advertising research & computer systems.  During later transfers to the Bay area & Denver, their daughter, Lynn, and son, Brad, were born.  Leaving the corporate life behind, they happily moved to Steve’s hometown, Tucson, & have never regretted it.  After the kids were in school, Sallie got her Real Estate license & has been selling homes & land for 40 years, currently with Realty Executives Tucson Elite.  Volunteer positions include the U of A Alumni Association Board of Directors, Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority National Council, the U of A School of Dance Advisory Board, & the Tucson Alumnae Panhellenic Board.  The Tofels have been members of Temple since the late 1970’s.  We are blessed that our children and 5 grandchildren live in Tucson.

Temple Emanu-El Men's Club Martin Reichgott is originally from Croton-on-Hudson, New York and has lived in Tucson since 2012. He is the Director of Business Development for the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce and happily married to Amy.

WRJ Representative Norma Cohen

Union for Reform Judaism Trustee

Wed, September 19 2018 10 Tishrei 5779