Adult Education

Beit Shalom

Board of Directors

Book Group

Building and Grounds



Chevra Kadisha



High Holidays

Judaica Store


Not Bread Alone

Rabbi Liaison

Ritual Life

Scholar in Residence


Tikkun Olam/Social Justice

Visual Arts

World Jewish Concerns and Project Rehovot

Youth and Family Education
Rabbi Benjamin Weiner

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

President: Bill Zimmer
[email protected]

First Vice President: Janis Levy
[email protected]

Second Vice President: Bob Solosko
[email protected]

Third Vice President: Eli Kwartler
[email protected]

Clerk: Randi Stein
[email protected]

Treasurer: Michael Burkart
[email protected]
Barbara Schaffer Bacon
Eliza Gouverneur
Mara Hahn
Hans Herda
Jeff Roth-Howe
Jackie Katz
Connie Songer
Flo Stern
Eric Weiss

Director of Youth and Family Education:
Keren Rhodes   [email protected]

Youth and Teen Programs Coordinator:
Cara Michelle Silverberg     [email protected]

Administrative Director: Ann Wetherbee     [email protected]
Financial Assistant: Susan Thomas     [email protected]
Educational Coordinator: Shirah Neumann     [email protected]
Administrative Assistant: Misha Heij Mariano     [email protected]

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

Adult Education Committee
  • Contact: Barbara Burkart

    The Adult Education Committee plans and organizes educational offerings for adults in the community in coordination with the rabbi. It is responsible for assessing the interests and educational needs of the community and finding appropriate instructors to teach courses; devising a schedule for each semester and arranging for available space; and publicizing the adult education opportunities to members of the JCA and the broader Jewish community. See our current brochure

Beit Shalom Committee
  • Contact: Josette Henschel

    The Beit Shalom Committee was created to provide a neutral, confidential and caring (chesed) place for the purpose of aiding individual members and groups within the JCA to register grievances and concerns not resolved by other means available in the community. Exchanges with members of the committee are confidential. Only when a situation may impair the well being of the JCA as a whole will a request be made to agree to share information with leadership in the community. Beit Shalom members are guided in their work by the principles of civility, objectivity, sensitivity, fairness and empathy. Any member of the committee can be contacted to air concerns. The committee's guidelines are available from the JCA office or committee members.

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 members in good standing of the community and will be elected at the Annual Meeting. Board members are elected to serve for an initial term of two years. The board holds regular monthly meetings.

Book Group
  • Contact: Ken Talan

    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
  • Contact: Bob Solosko

    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.

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Cemetery Committee
  • Contacts:Linda Sinapi, Devorah Jacobson

    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
  • Contact: JCA Office

    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 (413-256-0160) know that you would like to help, and we will contact you.

Chevra Kadisha
  • Contacts: Joan Saperstan, Ken Talan

    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.

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Finance Committee
  • Contact: Josh Goldman

    The Finance Committee works collaboratively with the Treasurer, Administrative Director and relevant stakeholders on the development, formatting and vetting of a proposed annual budget for consideration by the full board. The committee reviews and analyzes the budget on a quarterly basis and makes recommendations, as appropriate, regarding any material variances between expected and actual expenditures and revenue. The Finance Committee is also responsible for reporting out, as requested, on the overall financial status of the JCA, including analysis of short and long term assets, liabilities and financial challenges for the future.

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Fundraising And Development Committee
  • Contact: Chuck Songer

    The Fundraising and Development 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 the JCA's 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 to the best of their ability.

High Holidays Committee
  • Contact: Yossi Charette, Bob Solosko

    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.

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    [email protected]
  • Contact: Tobi Sznajderman

    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.

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Nominating Committee

    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.
    If you are interested in serving on this committee, contact Bill Zimmer.

Not Bread Alone Committee
  • Contact: Devorah Jacobson

    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.

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

    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
  • Contacts: Yossi Charette, Aaron Bousel

    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.

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Scholar in Residence Committee
  • Contact: Michael Chernoff

    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.

  • Contacts: Hadar Grabel or Libby Arny

    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
  • Contact: Judith Souweine

    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 Committee and Project Rehovot
  • Contacts: Neta Bolozky (Programming), Marilyn Kushick (Project Rehovot Catering

    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 interest to Jews by marking significant dates including the Holocaust Memorial Commemoration, Israel Independence Day and the annual Rabin Memorial Lecture. 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. In addition, the committee raises funds for Project Rehovot in the Ma'alot Meshulam Elementary School in Rehovot, Israel 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 for bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, kiddush luncheons, and special events.

Youth and Family Education Committee
  • Contact: Mara Hahn

    The Youth and Family Education Committee, under the direction of our senior educators, and with the approval of the board, establishes policies and reviews the programs for young children, families, religious school, teens and camp. It develops, supports and monitors progress toward JCA long-term education goals. It works closely with, and coordinates communication among, the leaders and staff of our integrated educational program.

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