Adult Education

Beit Shalom

Board of Directors

Book Group

Building and Grounds

Camp Shemesh



Chevra Kadisha





High Holidays

JCATots Advisory
Judaica Store



Not Bread Alone


Project Rehovot

Rabbi Liaison

Ritual Life

Scholar in Residence


Tikkun Olam

Visual Arts

World Jewish Concerns
Rabbi Benjamin Weiner

Rabbi David Dunn Bauer (2003-2010)
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg (1989-2002)
Rabbi Emeritus: Yechiael Lander

President: Bill Zimmer

First Vice President: Janis Levy

Second Vice President: Bob Solosko

Third Vice President: Eli Kwarlter

Clerk:Sarah Thomson

Treasurer: Michael Burkart
Barbara Schaffer Bacom
Eliza Gouverneur
Mara Hahn
Hans Herda
Jeff Roth-Howe
Jackie Katz
Amy Kroin
Connie Songer
Flo Stern

School Principal and Family Programs Coordinator:
Keren Rhodes

Youth and Teen Programs Coordinator:
Cara Michelle Silverberg

Administrative Director: Ann Wetherbee
Finance Assistant: Susan Thomas
Education Administrative Assistants: Misha Heij Mariano
Administrative Assistant: Dan Reynolds

For information about using JCA space and renting the social hall,
please contact the JCA office at 256-0160

Adult Education Committee
  • Barbara Burkart, Chair

    The Adult Education Committee plans and organizes JCA's adult education courses and lectures in coordination with the rabbi. It is responsible for assessing the interests and educational needs of the community; developing programs; and publicizing the adult education opportunities to members of the JCA and the broader Jewish community.

    Our current brochure

Beit Shalom Committee
  • Committee Members: Josette Henschel (549-5059;; Kitty Talan (253-2248;; Rob Okun (253-7918;

    The Beit Shalom Committee is available to members of the JCA congregation wishing assistance in addressing personal differences that have arisen between individuals, among committees or with those in leadership positions within the JCA. The committee will step in to help facilitate the resolving of conflicts only when they cannot otherwise be successfully resolved between the parties themselves or through other existing JCA structures. Communications with Beit Shalom members will be kept strictly confidential unless agreed upon differently by the participants.

Board of Directors
  • Contact: Bill Zimmer

    JCA's Board of Directors consists of fifteen elected members including six officers (president or co-presidents, two or three vice presidents, clerk and treasurer), and nine members-at-large. All members of the board must be elected at the community Annual Meeting. Officers are elected to serve for a term of one year and at-large members for two years. The board holds regular monthly meetings.

Book Group
  • Ken Talan, Chair

    The JCA adult reading group (ARG) has been meeting for over two decades. We read four books a year by Jewish authors, September through June, drawing primarily upon American and Israeli writers. The books are usually fiction but may be non-fiction, and of current interest or classics in Jewish/Yiddish literature. We choose the next book to read at each meeting, and it is publicized in the JCA newsletter. Everyone in the community is welcome to attend any meeting that interests them without a commitment for the year.

Building and Grounds Committee
  • Mark Israel, Chair

    The Building and Grounds Committee supervises the care, maintenance and repair of our beautiful building, capital equipment and furnishings, and the grounds belonging to the JCA. It reviews their condition and makes recommendations to the board regarding priorities for long-term maintenance and capital improvements.

Camp Shemesh
  • Contact Cara Michelle Silverberg at

  • The Camp Shemesh Committee is a hands-on "implementation" group composed primarily of campers' parents and alumni. They advise and help the camp director and camp administrator with publicity, policies and programs. The committee meets throughout the year as needed.

    Visit our website to learn more about us at:, or contact the camp director at 413-256-0160 ext 204 or at

    Camp Shemesh must comply with the regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and be licensed by the board of health.

Top of page

Cemetery Committee
  • Linda Sinapi, Co-Chair
  • Devorah Jacobson, Co-chair

    The JCA has a cemetery in a beautiful site in Shutesbury. The Cemetery Committee is responsible for its upkeep and makes sure the grounds are well-kept, sells plots to members and non-members, maintains cemetery records, and serves as the liaison between the bereaved family, the funeral director and excavator. The committee manages the cemetery with the guidance of the rabbi and under the supervision and review of the board. It maintains cemetery rules that have been approved by the board.

Chesed Committee
  • Chair rotates among committee members
  • Committee Members: Reed Alper, Ann Armon, Robin Diamond, Hans Herda,
    Ellen Middleton, Amy Mittelman, David Piech, Kitty Talan, Susan Zarchin

    The Chesed Committee offers support during times of need. Chesed, loving kindness, is extended to community members facing challenging circumstances such as illness, hospitalization, loss of a loved one, or isolation. We celebrate new babies by providing meals and a welcome basket. Bikkur Cholim is an initiative that provides visits to those who are hospitalized, chronically ill, or isolated. We depend on JCA members to inform the JCA office or the rabbi when situations arise, and we keep a list of volunteers who can help provide the services (meals, transportation, visits, and help with shiva) that are needed. We rotate the leadership of the committee at each monthly meeting when we coordinate the care that we offer. New committee members are welcome at any time to participate in this mitzvah. Let the JCA Office know that you would like to help, and we will contact you.

Chevra Kadisha
  • Joan Saperstan, Chair

    The Chevra Kadisha, when requested, performs the mitzvot of ritually washing, dressing and preparing the body for burial according to Jewish custom. The members of the Society make a significant long-term commitment, appreciate the awesome nature of their holy tasks, engage in educating themselves about the Jewish approach to death, and provide information to the larger community on the topic.

Top of page

Communications Committee
  • Janis Levy, Chair

    This work group supports the effective and timely use of outgoing and incoming communications between JCA committees, board of directors, staff, current and prospective members, and the larger community. We review communication policies, budgetary expenditures, and make recommendations to the board of directors as needed. Responsibilities include regular publications, print and online; the JCA website; and communication technologies. Committee members with specific expertise may serve as a resource to professional staff and JCA member volunteers.

Finance Committee
  • Josh Goldman, Chair

    The Finance Committee works directly with the treasurer and relevant stakeholders on the development of recommendations for the operating budget for the board. The budget covers two years but will be updated, as appropriate, on an annual basis. The committee monitors the budget on an on-going basis and reports any material variances to the board. The Finance Committee is responsible for developing an overall financial plan for the JCA that includes analysis of short and long-term assets, liabilities and financial challenges for the future.

Top of page

Fundraising Committee
  • Bob Solosko, Chair

    The Fundraising Committee coordinates and supports all fundraising efforts, including events, annual giving, special appeals and the Guidebook. Our charter is to stimulate the inflow of funds, other than dues, to support JCA programs. We do this in a context of community-building and Jewish spirituality. Our mission is to integrate giving and volunteering into the fabric of the JCA experience to allow all to practice philanthropy at some level in their own way.

Governance Committee
  • Contact: Bill Zimmer

    The Governance Committee makes recommendations to the board on issues that impact the board's effectiveness and mission, including but not limited to potential changes in bylaws, formal policies and procedures, and operational practices and protocol. This includes identifying strategies for improving organizational efficiency, effectiveness, and clarity of organizational structures and reporting relationships; clarifying the process by which the goals, objectives and priorities of JCA committees, staff and board are kept in alignment; and identifying practices that increase dialogue between the community and the board and maximize transparency with the community regarding board decisions.

High Holidays Committee
  • Yossi Charette, Co-chair
  • Bob Solosko, Co-chair

    The task of the High Holiday Committee is to organize the services to accommodate the hundreds of adults and children who attend. The members of the committee are in charge of planning, preparation, lay service participation, greeters, ushers, honors, parking, security, the oneg and break-fast, and recruiting volunteers to help make the High Holidays a harmonious and deeply meaningful community and religious experience.

JCATots Advisory Committee
  • Contact: Ariella Schwell or Anna Sobel
  • Anna Sobel, Co-chair

    This group explores and implements programming and support for families with young children. They welcome new babies with a Shalom Baby Basket in collaboration with the Chesed Committee, organize the Tot Shabbat and oversee holiday activities in connection with Havurah K'tanah ("Little Friends Group").

The Judaica Store
  • Contact: Hadar Grabel

    The Judaica Store at the JCA offers items for ritual, education and fun from unique suppliers in Israel and Italy as well as commercial suppliers here. We have books by members of our community, tallitot, kippot, mezzuzot and scrolls, a large supply of candles for Shabbat, havdallah and remembrance, and a variety of ritual items for holidays. Purchase items whenever the office is open. Special items may be ordered.

Membership Committee
  • Tobi Sznajderman, Chair

    The Membership Committee creates a welcoming atmosphere for new members and develops programs for the orientation, integration, engagement and retention of all members. It sponsors gatherings at which new and current members can meet informally. It produces informational material about the JCA, answers queries, and helps host new members in the community.

Top of page

Nominating Committee
  • Judi Fonsh, Chair

    The volunteer governance of the JCA community depends on a large cadre of skilled and dedicated leaders. The Nominating Committee makes nominations for vacant positions on the board of directors and presents a slate of officers and directors to the JCA membership for election each year.

Not Bread Alone Committee
  • Devorah Jacobson, Chair

    This sub-committee of JCA's Tikkun Olam/Social Justice Committee provides volunteers to prepare, serve, and clean up the noontime meal at Not Bread Alone, Amherst's soup kitchen, one Sunday each month and on Christmas Day. A group of regular monthly volunteers is identified each fall, and a list of substitute volunteers is maintained. All JCA members are invited to join us on Christmas Day.

Personnel Committee
  • Contact: Bill Zimmer

    The Personnel Committee works collaboratively with the Executive Committee and the Governance Committee on issues related to personnel policy and practice. In consultation with senior staff and other appropriate individuals, the Personnel Committee is charged with the development of job descriptions, posting of positions, formation of search committees, and making hiring recommendations to the board for all professional and non-professional positions, except for school teachers, camp counselors, and the rabbi. The committee also is responsible for updating and revising the JCA Personnel Manual, as necessary.

Project Rehovot Subcommittee
  • Marilyn Kushick, Chair

    The Project Rehovot Committee, a sub-committee of World Jewish Concerns, oversees and raises money for Project Rehovot in the Ma'alot Meshulam Elementary School in Rehovot, Israel. Since 1989, the committee has run programs to help immigrants and the children of immigrants adjust to life in Israel. This project currently supports the salary of a part-time teacher who works with children having difficulties in the regular classroom. Funds are raised through fundraising campaigns; grants; and preparing food with Karen Loeb for bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, Kiddush luncheons, and special events.

Rabbi Liaison Committee
  • Committee Members: Aaron Bousel, Barabara Burkart, Richard Cohen, Deborah Fine, Amy Mittelman

    The Rabbi Liaison Committee supports and enhances the rabbi-congregational relationship by serving as a channel to communicate comments, issues and/or complaints from congregants who would prefer not to contact the rabbi directly. The committee meets with the rabbi to help with processing and thinking through issues or concerns that are raised either by congregants or by the rabbi. All congregants are encouraged to speak to members of the committee about any concerns they may have that they would like to be brought to the rabbi’s attention. All information is shared only with the rabbi and the committee, and is held in strict confidence.

Ritual Life Committee
  • Yossi Charette, Co-chair
  • Aaron Bousel, Co-chair

    The Ritual Life Committee provides support to the rabbi in planning and conducting religious services. It considers and proposes policies related to Shabbat, holidays, kashrut and other religious matters, subject to the review and approval of the board, and performs other such duties as from time to time may be assigned to it by the president, co-presidents, or by the board of directors.

Top of page

Scholar in Residence Committee
  • Michael Chernoff, Chair

    This committee brings recognized Jewish scholars, rabbis and artists to the JCA for a full weekend of intense community study, prayer and artistic activity every year.

  • Ruth Love Barer, Chair

    Shomerim are watchers or guardians of the soul. Jewish tradition requires that the deceased (met) not be left alone prior to burial. Shomerim sit at the funeral home in close proximity to the deceased, reading psalms which comfort the soul (neshamah) of the departed. This mitzvah is considered an act of pure kindness because it is carried out without expecting anything in return.

Tikkun Olam/Social Justice Committee
  • Judith Souweine, Chair

    The Tikkun Olam/ Social Justice committee studies and analyzes local, state, national and international issues and concerns in relation to principles of Judaism; sensitizes the community to the moral and ethical implications of these issues and concerns; and plans and organizes, in conjunction with the rabbi, meetings, events, discussions, films, volunteer activities and political actions. It speaks or encourages action only in consultation with the president or committee cluster coordinator.

Visual Arts Committee
  • Contacts: Carol Kaminsky, Anita Page, Janet Winston

    This committee selects, hangs, and publicizes the art in the JCA Hall Gallery and presents four exhibits a year.

World Jewish Concerns and Action Committee

    The committee provides a link between the JCA and the broader world Jewish community, with a focus on Israel. It brings to the attention of our members current issues of political, social and cultural significance to Jews by marking significant dates including the Holocaust Memorial Commemoration, Israel Independence Day and the annual Rabin Memorial Lecture. The committee raises funds for Project Rehovot that supports a part-time teacher/therapist for immigrant children, most recently from Ethiopia, in an elementary school in Rehovot, Israel. Our committee has also sponsored mission trips to Israel. We respond to current issues as they emerge over a broad social, cultural and political spectrum.

Youth and Famoly Education Committee

| Welcome | Calendar | Religious Services | Education | Leadership & Staff | History | Our Rabbi | Directions | Camp Shemesh | Donations |