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Meet the Temple Emanu-El Board of Directors


 

President: Scott K. Arden

Scott K. Arden is the President 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.
 
If you have questions, please click here to send him an email.

Vice President: Jerry Cohen

Jerry 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.

Vice President: Seth Ruskin

Seth 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.

Treasurer: Jeffrey Rein, M.D.

Jeff 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.

Secretary: Libby Quinn

Libby has been involved with Temple Emanu-El since 2006. Raised with Jewish values, herself, she became involved in the Jewish community in Tucson to pass this connection on to her children.
 
Libby has been teaching in the Strauss ECE for almost 12 years incorporating sign language into the early childhood curriculum. 
 
She has also been involved as a volunteer with the Tucson-Kiryat Malachi/Hof Ashkelon Partnership through the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, bringing a school twinning program to the Kurn Religious School. 
 
In 2016, Libby was presented with a certificate in the 12 Torches Ceremony for her support and encouragement for building a connection between Tucson and Israel and enriching both communities. For the past few years, Libby has also been involved with volunteering for the Kurn Religious School’s YEC, organizing the annual Purim Carnival, and helping with Temple Emanu-El’s Mitzvah Crew. 
 
When not working in the Jewish community, Libby loves spending time with her family and building her own business to teach children, birth to five, and parents with infants and toddlers, American Sign Language vocabulary for communication purposes.

Immediate Past President: Mona L. Gibson

Mona 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 Counseling, 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. 

Director: Rina Abrams-Dunn, LCSW

Rina was born and raised in Mesa, AZ and her parents were some of the first members of congregation Beth Shalom – one of only two synagogues in the East Valley at that time, and the only Conservative congregation. She attended various Jewish summer camps over the years, which she LOVED, and was a founding member of the first BBG (BBYO) chapter, “Tovah” for the East Valley.
 
Rina's parents, who have always been adventurers and travelers, took Rina and her brother on sabbatical to live in Israel for a year. She returned to Israel in the summer of 1988 for High School in Israel and again in 1990 as a Volunteer for Israel.

Rina received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, with a major in Sociology and a minor in Judaic Studies. In 2003, she got a Master’s degree from Columbia University, a Master’s of Science in Social Work. She and her husband, Chris, have been married for just under nine years. They maintain a Jewish home and are raising two daughters with the Jewish traditions.
 
Both girls, Liora (7) and Josie (5), have gone through the Strauss ECE and are enrolled in the religious school. Chris works in sales and Rina is a Clinical Social Worker with the United States Air Force (civilian, not active duty); she has an embedded position with the 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan.

Director: Brie Finegold, Ph.D

Brie 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 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

Corinne has been a Temple member since 2009, having found Temple via the Taste of Judaism classes. 
 
Corinne relocated from Boston, MA in 1994 and has been a Realtor in Tucson since 1996. Corinne also has her own business: Compassionate Companion….Services for the Aged. She  has been involved in Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, serving as President of the Southern Arizona Chapter and is currently a Vice-President with the Desert-Mountain Region of Hadassah.  
 
Corinne was named “Hadassah’s Woman of the Year” in 2015. She has a son, a daughter and four outstanding grandsons. Corinne is committed to increasing the membership of Temple Emanu-El through audacious hospitality:  “embrace the guest and welcome the traveler.”

Director: Lauren Glassey

Lauren has been a member of Temple Emanuel-El for over 2 years. She and her family joined when her 13 year old daughter, Kyra, proved she really did want to become a Bat Mitzvah after spending the summer teaching herself Hebrew. After this achievement, Kyra continued her Jewish studies and enjoys working with the younger students as a Madricha. Lauren's son, Ethan, also attends Religious School and is studying to become a Bar Mitzvah next year.
 
Lauren and her family chose Temple Emanuel-El as their spiritual home because of the warm reception they experienced as potential members. Lauren was quickly recruited to join the Youth Education Committee and is currently co-chair. She is also a member of the WRJ.
 
She is a nurse practitioner and currently manages a team of nurse practitioners that provide in-home care and annual wellness exams to specific Medicare advantage members throughout Arizona and the western states. You can frequently find her hanging out in the Kurn Cafe on Sunday mornings catching up with work, chatting with other parents, or simply being available to assist with the school if needed.

Director: Alan B. Herman

Alan's family came to Tucson in 1952 from Buffalo and became involved at Temple Emanu-El. His mother worked in the office and the school with Jane Kurn. He had his Bar Mitzvah in the Schlanger Chapel in 1957.
 
Alan's father also helped out in any way he could. Alan's undergraduate degree was a BS in Zoology from the University of Minnesota. He then pursued a career in a medical laboratory. Wanting a career change, he earned a MS in Speech Pathology at the University of Wisconsin. This enabled him to work in an adult care-center with stroke patients.
 
 
Alan returned to Tucson in 2000 to help his aging mother. He again joined Temple Emanu-El and began to sing in the Adult choir and learned to chant Torah. Alan is honored to be on the Board and to listen to the proceedings and offer his opinion when asked.

Director: Joe Millstone

Joe was born and raised in Tucson and has been a member of temple since 1951. Active in youth group and a former Sunday school and Hebrew school teacher, Joe was on the board of directors from 1982-1988.
 
He raised three children in Tucson who all grew up at Temple, became a bar and bat mitzvah, completed confirmation, and all were teachers or song leaders in college.
 
He has been a musical volunteer for the past eighteen years in the Avanim band, where his two sons have also participated. He was recently involved with the new long-term planning committee for Temple’s future, and has become more involved again in various committees.
 
Joe is currently taking modern Hebrew classes, and is excited to get back on the Board again as he has a lot of history with temple and looks forward to keeping it a vital and continuing center for reform Judaism in Tucson.

Director: Bette Sayre, Ph.D

Bette was born and raised in Queens, New York, and moved to Tucson in 2006.  She earned a BA Degree at Queens College of the City University of New York, an MA Degree at Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. at New York University.  
 
 Her early career was as a teacher briefly at the high school level and ultimately retired as an Assistant Professor at the undergraduate and graduate level at Lehman College of the City University of New York.  Following her retirement, she returned to active duty with the United States Army.  Her assignments included staff and command positions as a multifunctional logistician.  She retired in 2003 following an assignment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
 
Following her arrival in Tucson, Bette “found” Temple Emanu-El through the Northwest Outreach program.  One of her proudest moments was her Bat Mitzvah in 2018.

Director: Stephen Shawl, Ph.D

Steve is a native San Franciscan, who 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.

Men's Club President: Paul Lefkowitz

Paul graduated from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, after a tour in the United States Navy. He and his wife, Janice, spent most of their lives in suburban Detroit before moving to Tucson.
 
Paul was a very active member of Congregation Shir Tikvah, a Reform Renewal Temple for thirteen years, including being president for two years and many years on the Temple board.
 
Paul and Janice moved permanently to Tucson in November, 2017 after three years of snowbirding and look forward to becoming a part of the growing Temple Emanuel community.

Women for Reform Judaism Representative: Amy Ruskin

 

 

 

 

 


Union for Reform Judaism Board of Trustees: Simon Rosenblatt

Simon Rosenblatt was born in Brooklyn, New York, and he grew up in Miami, Florida (after a short stay in Havana, Cuba). He graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University) in Pittsburgh with a degree in electrical engineering.
 
He served on active duty in the U.S. Army for six years, including a tour in Vietnam. Simon remained in the Army Reserve for an additional sixteen years and is now retired from the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel. He worked for the Army (first on active duty and later as a civilian employee) as an engineer for thirty years at Fort Huachuca until his retirement in 2003. Simon is a founding member of Temple Kol Hamidbar in Sierra Vista, where he served as the congregation's secretary and lay leader for more than fifteen years.
 

He is a trustee of the Union for Reform Judaism, the parent organization of Reform congregations in North America. He is a member of the Tucson Jewish Community Relations Council executive committee. He is an emeritus member of the Arizona Public Media Community Advisory Board. Simon is married to Louise Greenfield, who is a librarian emerita at the University of Arizona. Simon's other interests include aviation – he is a licensed commercial pilot and flight instructor – and amateur radio. Simon enjoys retirement and manages to stay as busy as he ever was during his working years.


Temple Emanu-El Mitzvah Corp: Jill Rich

Jill 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. 
 
Sat, September 21 2019 21 Elul 5779