2018 Annual Meeting: Board Slate of Nominees

CBS Board of Directors Slate of Nominees

First Term Candidates:


Chelseaa Bush

Chelseaa Bush was born and raised in San Francisco. She attended a SF Hebrew day school from nursery through 12th grade and is grateful to her mother for giving her this deep Jewish background. Chelseaa attended UC Berkeley and then law school at Stanford. She is now a trademark and copyright attorney at a large, national law firm.

Chelseaa has four children, including identical twin girls. They were all born within a span of three years (amazingly, that is humanly possible!) and so the Bush house is always busy! All four children have attended the CBS Family Preschool where Chelseaa has served as room parent and has helped lead the parent committee for a number of years. Chelseaa now serves on the CBS Education Committee. Chelseaa hopes to follow in her mother’s footsteps by helping provide her children--and other members of the CBS community--with an enriching connection to their Jewish heritage.


Rafael Burde

Raf grew up Orthodox in Johannesburg, South Africa. He and his wife, Clara Brenner, have lived in the Bay Area since 2011 and were married by Rabbi Glazer in 2017. They were attracted by Beth Sholom’s respect for tradition blended with a progressive determination to make modern Jewish life appealing and meaningful.

Raf currently heads expansion for the Bay Area bike share system, Ford GoBike, and is proud to be bringing an affordable, sustainable, integrated regional mobility option to the Bay Area. He holds an MA from Stanford University and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania. He is particularly excited to work alongside Rabbi Ain and the Board to represent and nurture the young adult segment of the community.


Abigail (Abby) Levinson Marks

Abigail Levinson Marks is a San Francisco native who grew up at Beth Sholom and attended its religious/Hebrew school from pre-kindergarten through Confirmation (10th grade) and beyond. Abby’s parents were married by Rabbi Saul White, and many remember Abby’s grandmother, Sarah Cohen Levinson, as a fixture in the CBS community for decades.

When Abby was growing up, her parents were active in synagogue life, and her father, David Levinson, served on the Beth Sholom Board for many years. Abby and her late husband, Milton, were married by Rabbi Lew in 2001. Their children attended the Beth Sholom Family Preschool and are currently in the religious school (two as students, one as a madrich). Her older son was bar mitzvahed at CBS in 2016, and her younger two will have their b’nei mitzvah here in 2019. Abby is a clinical psychologist with a private practice working with children, adolescents and adults, and specializing in (among other things) family illness and loss.

She has worked in a variety of community mental health and training settings in the Bay Area, teaching and developing collaborative therapeutic programs within schools and medical institutions. She has a great interest in community outreach, and in building strong community and collaboration between different organizational and individual stakeholders. In 2014, Abby co-founded and now directs the Milton Marks Neuro-Oncology Family Camp, a collaborative non-profit project with UCSF, which provides an annual weekend arts-based family camp that brings respite and healing to families with a parent who has a malignant brain tumor.

Second Term Candidates:


Jim Abrams

Jim Abrams joined Beth Sholom in 2004. He is a partner at Greene Radovsky Maloney Share & Hennigh LLP, where he specializes in commercial, multi-family, and winery real estate and financing. Prior to practicing law, he had a 10-year career in government and banking. Jim serves on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid at Work.

Jim provides pro-bono legal services to a number of nonprofit organizations including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Northern California Community Loan Fund and the Community Music Center. In addition to spending the High Holy Days at Beth Sholom, he enjoys attending lectures, art tours, baseball games, wine tastings and musical events at or with members of Beth Sholom. He can often be spotted at the symphony, opera, ballet, art openings, falafel stands worldwide and sometimes even playing clarinet.


David Madfes

David Madfes was born in San Francisco and has lived here his entire life. He graduated from the University of San Francisco with a BS in Biology. He earned his Secondary Teaching Credential and an MAT in Biology. With three careers behind him, he is retired from teaching science, mathematics, and computer technology from Lowell and Lincoln High Schools.

David is also retiring from the United States Naval Reserve (retired with rank of Commander), and is semi-retired from work as a general contractor. David and his late wife, Tania, joined CBS over 40 years ago and became active members. He feels that the Board provides an opportunity for him to help guide the congregation in ways that make it appealing to a wide variety of interests, thereby increasing membership and participation.


Harris Weinberg

Harris Weinberg has been a member of CBS since his arrival in San Francisco in 1977; he joined the shul just days after his move from Vermont. Harris was born and raised in an Orthodox immigrant community in Louisville, Kentucky — a true fact notwithstanding the widespread belief that such communities did not exist in cities of that size or locale.

This is Harris’ third term on the CBS Board. He first served in the early 1980s, and then again in 2009; he accepted this third appointment in 2015. Harris was, long ago, a trial lawyer; he has been a full time mediator for the past 25 years. Harris is married to Dana Corvin. He is the father of three grown children, all of whom live in San Francisco and all of whom were raised and became b’nai mitzvah at CBS. He is blessed with five grandchildren.

2018 Annual Meeting: Nominees by Petition

Nominees by Petition:

David Golden
David is a native San Franciscan. His grandfather Morse immigrated in 1881, and had a large tailor shop near Union Square until 1906. David lives with his wife Keiko who converted at CBS. Keiko is a Makor Or participant and a CBS ritual committee member. For over 10 years, she has organized Koret High Holiday Services. Their daughter, Sarah, went to CBS preschool and Hebrew school. They are CBS members since 1997.

In support of Israel, David assisted the JCRC in building out the shul-based Israel Action Committees. He serves on the Board of the American Friends of LIBI.

David has an SM degree from the MIT Sloan Management School. His profession is to empower organizations with efficient and effective business systems, a mix of business consulting and software development. He has organized dozens of professional and MIT alumni events. He’s been a behind-the-scenes organizer for numerous political campaigns including Jeff Adachi’s inaugural campaign. Prior to MIT David worked in Washington D.C. as a policy analyst, striving to protect the US defense technology base, and drafted the DoD position for PRM-43 during the Carter administration.

He joined CBS at a golden period, and is looking forward to bringing that into the present. Rabbi Lew (z"l) said in the HaRuach Vol 3. No.3 Elul 2004, "What was true of the Mishcan would become the dugma."

Rabbi Lew also said, "... it is that in the course of building a place that expresses our core spiritual values and serves as the locus for a spiritual community, those values begin to clarify themselves and that community begins to take shape."

David is delighted to join the current Board and work towards shaping such a community.

Irène Minkowsky
Born in Brussels, Belgium, Irène have lived most over adult life in America and is a proud American citizen. She and her husband, Robert, raised their children, Benjamin and Rafaela, in San Francisco, and at Beth Sholom where they have been members since 1985.

As a second generation Auschwitz survivor, Irène is endlessly inspired by retaining a positive outlook on life and humanity in the face of darkest times. CBS, in particular the Minyan group, has been a tremendous support for her during the loss of her parents. Irène is ready to give back to Beth Sholom for the support it has provided her family over the years.

As a physician, she is blessed with being a good listener and a healer. She strives to excel in guiding people through complex decision making with compassion. She has high ethical standards.

In Greek the name, Irène, means Shalom or Peace and she states that she will always try to keep peace at CBS and to resolve differences by finding reasonable compromise.

Len Yaffe
Len Yaffe has been a member of Beth Sholom for 25 years, and he and his wife Ruth were married by Rabbi Alan Lew in 1995. He has previously served on the Board from 2010-2013, while head of the investment committee, and from 2016-2017, while on the Executive Board and head of the finance and investment committees.

He has spent his career at the intersection of two of his passions, the stock market and medicine. He was a medical stock analyst from 1982-2002, primarily with Montgomery Securities, and since 2003 he has operated a healthcare investment fund, Kessef Capital Management.

Len’s goal for returning to the Board centers on his desire for helping to improve financial discipline and to assist in the next phase of growth of the congregation. Len holds a BS and MD from Northwestern University.

Lissa Rechtin
Lissa and her husband, Adrian Mirvish, have been members of Beth Sholom since 1984. Their three sons, Ezra, Judah and Asher, grew up running around the synagogue, making friends with children and adults alike. Their entire family has very strong attachments to Beth Sholom as a welcoming, warm community.

Lissa has extensive experience with administrative procedures within non-profit settings. During her 10-year academic career, she was chair of philosophy, head of the Humanities program, a member of the faculty senate and did research in professional ethics and its applications in non-public settings. During her 25 years of work as a child psychiatrist with Kaiser Permanente, she led an adult psychiatry clinic, co-chaired one of the hospital ethics committees, and was the founder and medical director of one of Kaiser’s three northern California autism clinics.

Lissa looks forward to joining the Board and including her voice to represent the diversity of opinions that we enjoy within Beth Sholom.

Maureen Samson
For more than 40 years, Maureen and her husband Michael have made Beth Sholom the center of their spiritual, social and community life. They have assumed an array of planning and leadership roles at CBS, while their children, Rebecca and Ted, attended Hebrew and Sunday school, celebrated their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and travelled to Israel with their confirmation class.

Currently a member of the Achshav Yisrael Committee, Maureen has chaired several committees of her own; planned successful fundraisers and events; co-organized the Shechinah Program, which supported homebound, ill and bereaved congregants; delivered hot meals through Chicken Soupers; and served as an executive board member and as the synagogue’s first female president. During her tenure, the synagogue’s finances were in order - with a substantial reserve.

A graduate of the University of Colorado with a Master’s degree in social work from SFSU, Maureen has focused her career on working with seniors and caregivers. She has supervised a conservatorship program, provided case management and therapy, facilitated support groups for seniors and caregivers, planned, organized and lead community educational programs.

Maureen understands that the key to a healthy vibrant synagogue is strong responsible financial oversight and management. She recognizes that the Jewish community has changed but believes that CBS can maintain our Jewish values and traditions and rebuild our community by listening to and learning from our members, supporting our new rabbi and working together to develop relevant programs, activities and committees composed of congregants and board members. Maureen also aspires to reconstitute the Shechinah Program, providing an invaluable support network for congregants experiencing significant life changes.

Shabbat School End-Of-The-Year Gift


As the CBS Shabbat School year approaches its end, the Shabbat School Room Parents invite you to join them in honoring our amazing faculty during the Shabbat kiddush lunch on our last day of school, Saturday, May 19, at approximately 12 p.m., in Koret Hall.

In order to provide the teachers and Director with a token of our appreciation for their dedication and hard work, the Room Parents have launched a gift fund via PayPal. Please click on the "Donate" button below to contribute using either your PayPal account or a credit card.

End-Of-Year Teacher Gift Fund

Shemini -- Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47

You are what you eat, so they say. But more importantly, as Jews, we eat only in the context of creation.

In this week’s reading, Shemini, aside from Aaron’s mysterious silence in the face of his sons’ immolation, we are drawn into the distinctions conveyed through our dietary laws. The laws of kashrut are commanded, identifying permissible and forbidden animals for consumption, including: (1) land animals only with a split hoof and that chew their cud; (2) fish with scales and fins; and (3) appropriately listed birds and insects.

As we read in Leviticus 11:1-2, the divine imperative for conscious consumption brings awareness that “you may eat out of all the domestic beasts that are on the earth.” This phrase “on the earth” appears seven times in this chapter (11:2, 21, 29, 41, 42, 44, 46) – why? It is a reminder taking us back to the sixth day of Creation, when the Earth was first covered with plants and mobile creatures, and the humans were blessed as stewards of “every animal that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28).

Finally, distinctions relating to ritual readiness are recounted, including the laws relating to the immersion pool known as the mikveh. All these rituals are based on the ancient wisdom of distinction(s); while they continue to evolve, they still have resonance today.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week’s illustration is inspired by fire’s central and ambivalent role in Shemini. It goes “forth from before the Lord and consume[s] the burnt offering” (Leviticus 9:24) and also “forth from before the Lord and consume[s]…Nadav and Avihu” (Leviticus 10:2). It is difficult to read of the horrible fate of Aaron’s sons without considering the English name for the Shoah – “holocaust n 1. a burnt sacrifice: a sacrificial offering wholly consumed by fire 2. a complete or thorough sacrifice or destruction esp. by fire.” Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.


Facebook_CoverDesign_Pesach5777"Roots, man — we’re talking about Jewish roots, you want to know more? Check on Elijah the prophet. … yeah — these are my roots, I suppose. Am I looking for them? … I ain’t looking for them in synagogues … I can tell you that much." — Bob Dylan, 1983

Is the Messiah a person or a process of redemption?

In my book on Bob Dylan’s gnostic theology, God Knows Everything Is Broken, I argue that the Hibbing bard fell prey to the allure of messianic personhood one night in a Tucson hotel room, as he described his own experience: "I felt my whole body tremble. The glory of the Lord knocked me down and picked me up." Months later, Dylan again found himself alone in empty arena sound-checks. Through these solitary communions, he worked up a new song, "Slow Train," which served, amid larger questions with ineffable answers, as his own journey through a messianic process.

Meanwhile, many of his Jewish listeners turned a deaf ear to his next three albums. That's unfortunate, because they are necessary listening if you want to hear how Dylan’s "conversion songs" are inextricably linked to his ongoing, post-conversion work.

Following a few short years of "conversion," Dylan, in 1983, released "Infidels," a virulent self-critique, embarking on "a very personal battle to construct a world view that retains [his] faith in both God and humanity." Around this time, Dylan even recorded an album of Hasidic songs (the bootlegged out-takes are called "From Shot to Saved"). It is through the outreach of Rabbi Manis Friedman that Dylan found his direction home, and Chabad legend has it that the Hibbing bard prayed in a hoodie at the Crown Heights headquarters. During Dylan’s first appearance before the late Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson at his farbrengen, a traditional Hasidic gathering, the latter did not acknowledge the former because of his apostate status – only after Dylan immersed in a mikvah to return to his Jewish self would the rebbe smile at him at the next farbrengen.

While this "re-conversion" story is kept under wraps, Dylan’s public return to roots was still misunderstood as a returning of a secularist, or nonobservant Jew. Perhaps their singing spokesperson accepted the darkening spiritual awareness that "everything is broken." Yet the return to his Jewish roots, for Dylan, was more radical. Importantly, he returned not as a zealot, which "Infidels" rejects, but as a Jew devoid of Orthodox ideology. In his perennial reinventions, Dylan’s pendulum swings — not merely from one orthodoxy to another — but from orthodoxy to heterodoxy. Already wobbling into heterodoxy in 1985, Dylan remarks: "Whether you believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah is irrelevant, but whether you’re aware of the messianic complex, that’s … important … People who believe in the coming of the Messiah live their lives right now, as if He was here …"

Unlike the medieval Jewish mystic Abraham Abulafia, who aborted his messianic meeting to convert Pope Nicholas III in 1279, Dylan’s modern messianic mission with Pope John Paul II in 1997 was met with equally dubious reception as the Vatican called him "a false prophet." Did Dylan believe his messianic search had evolved from personhood to process, to then dissolve the differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam?

Like every SBNR (Spiritual But Not Religious) seeker so allergic to setting foot in a synagogue, Dylan eventually returns home to the root of his soul. Being "aware of the messianic complex" demarcates the theology of Dylan’s songbook and enables its rapid shift, from the apocalyptic songs to those affirming a personal sense of gratitude for his redemption. This struggle to clarify the source of messianism emerges in many lyrics, for example, in "Pressing on to a Higher Calling" (from the 1980 album "Saved"), which points to the shift from personhood to process. Such a journey, especially when it is frustratingly circuitous, is only possible by struggling with messianism as a process.

So for Pesach, don’t leave home! Rather stay attuned during the seder. Open that door at home for Elijah and see there is really an internalizing shift taking place, from messianic personhood to process. It is an opening to that "kind of sign [each and every one of us] need[s] when it all come[s] from within"!

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer (This piece originally appeared in J. Jewish News of Northern California, April 7, 2017).

Artwork note: This week’s illustration depicts the Korban Pesach, or "sacrifice of Passover." Also referred to as the Paschal lamb, it figures prominently in Christian rhetoric, where Jesus Christ is portrayed as the ultimate sacrificial lamb, or Lamb of God. The illustration seemed a fitting accompaniment to Rabbi Glazer's examination of Bob Dylan's messianic search. Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.