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Our Leadership

Executive Committee

Pete Bernard

Pete Bernard

President

Pete joined Bet Alef in 2016 with his wife Anita and his three children. Pete was formerly Executive VP of Temple B’nai Torah and is on the Advisory Board of Boston University Hillel.

Pete works in technology and has been at Microsoft for 17 years after leadership positions at startups and small companies in Silicon Valley and Boston. He is originally from New Jersey, grew up as a Reform Jew at Temple Beth Or, and remains a loyal Yankees and Giants fan.

Shellie Oakley

Shellie Oakley

Vice President

Shellie is joining  the Board of Directors after previously serving as Bet Alef’s Executive Director from 2009 to 2016 and interim Office Manager in late 2021/early 2022. Working to bring people together and build community has always been her underlying mission in both volunteer and professional life, including over 15 years as a lay leader and then staff member at Temple B’nai Torah.

Originally from Chicago, Shellie has lived in the Seattle area for almost 40 years with her husband Randy. They have 3 children and now delight in being actively involved with their 3 grandchildren. Outdoor adventures – cycling, kayaking, hiking, skiing – photography and travel are other passions…seeking AWE in everyday life.

David Kroopkin

David Kroopkin

Treasurer

David joined our board in August 2016 after being a dedicated member since 2012 with his wife, Michelle, and children, Abby and Julia. They live on the Eastside and happily make the trek in to Bet Alef frequently. They moved to the Seattle area from Chicago in 2010.

David is currently serving as Treasurer and has contributed to our membership committee since 2015. David works internationally as a global finance director, and is excited to bring his organization, communication, and financial skills to Bet Alef.

Steve Miller

Steve Miller

Secretary

Steve is very pleased to be part of the Bet Alef community.  He grew up in Oklahoma and moved to Seattle after law school.  He and his spouse Pam Cowan are founding partners of Cowan, Miller & Lederman P.S. a Seattle law firm, which practices exclusively immigration law.   Steve served on the Bellevue College Board of Trustees 2005-2018, the Bellevue School Board 1993-2004 and was a founder of the League of Education Voters.  He is a former chair of the Washington State chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  He presently serves on the Community Advisory Committee for Law Enforcement Oversight for King County.  He and Pam have three children and five grandchildren.  He loves hiking, reading, community engagement and spending time with the grandchildren.

Members-At-Large

Barrie Rein Thunemann

Barrie Rein Thunemann

Board Member

Barrie Rein Thunemann is a wife and mother of two teenage boys. She and her family live in West Seattle along with their pandemic pup, and have been Bet Alef members for the past two years. She and her husband Zack were also members in 2004-2005 previously.

Barrie’s background is in teaching, coaching and facilitation. She has a MA in Teaching from Seattle University and is an Internally Certified Childbirth Educator and Mentor. She has worked as both a public-school teacher and as a birth professional in the Seattle area. Additionally, she has served as the certification chair on the board of a local birth organization, PALS Doulas. She is passionate about living in an unapologetic Jewish way and is looking forward to the opportunity to serve the Bet Alef community as a board member. She loves Torah study, knitting, reading, Cuban dance and learning.

Posy Gering

Posy Gering

Board Member

Since her first Shabbat service at Bet Alef in 1999, Posy recognized an interpretation and practice of Judaism that was relevant, compelling and a spiritual path she longed for. Still, her relationship grew slowly from “lurker” to “member.”

Since 2018, she opened a new relationship as “belonging,” because she moved to California and stayed connected through Bet Alef’s online presence. She is delighted to explore and serve the board as the voice of other remote members.

Posy retired from her business of aiding leaders and teams to be more effective. She has an MA in organizational leadership from Seattle University.

Tracy Wellens

Tracy Wellens

Immediate Past President

Tracy is very excited to be on the Bet Alef board.  What matters most to Tracy is her family (including her dogs), her friends and the community she lives in. Currently, Tracy runs Gnosis Research which is a market research and strategy company. Tracy has been a recognized fellow at the National Academy of Sciences, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Heidelberg and ZUMA, Mannheim Germany and holds a Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology from New York University.

Clergy & Staff

Rabbi Olivier BenHaim

Rabbi Olivier BenHaim

Spiritual Leader of Bet Alef

With a Modern Orthodox, Sephardi background, Rabbi Olivier has been a student of  Torah and of the Jewish way for most of his life. He lived in Israel for close to 10 years, where he studied in Jerusalem with many teachers of the Jewish spiritual path, both in Yeshivas and scholarly circles. He received a B.A. and a Masters Degree in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College in Newton, MA. He was ordained as a Rabbi in 2009.

Dianna Rose

Dianna Rose

Music Director

Dianna Rose has been a member of Bet Alef since 2001, and the Music Director since 2012.  She became an adult Bat Mitzvah at Bet Alef in 2003 and her son a Bat Mitzvah in 2019. Along with her training as a percussionist and vocalist, Dianna is also a Board Certified Music Therapist, and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, focusing on the Expressive Arts and Energy Psychology within her private practice.  Her vocational background also includes 30 years in radio broadcasting and voice work.  Dianna enjoys creating a spiritual conduit at services through which the energies of music, sound, and song can inspire, center, and uplift others.

Chanté Bierman

Chanté Bierman

Bookkeeper

Chanté, having recently relocated from Southern California, is grateful to be a part of the Bet Alef family. She has over 15 years of bookkeeping experience and is the owner of Mama Bear Bookkeeper, a company committed to helping small businesses & entrepreneurs. Chanté enjoys the beauty & weather of Washington, baking for others, and spending time with her husband Jared, 4 year-old son Tristan, and her tuxedo cat Mew.

Katie Sturm

Katie Sturm

Communications & Digital Services

Katie comes with a background in Interfaith Dialogue and peace-building, digital services (communications and website work), and strong friendships in the wider Seattle Jewish community. She is excited about engaging with the diverse and rich group of people that call Bet Alef their spiritual home. She, along with her husband Aaron and daughter Amanda, live in Shoreline and love sunny days at the park, rainy afternoons with cups of tea, good music, and good writing. She is passionate about building peace bridges in her community.

Melissa Anderson

Melissa Anderson

Office Manager

Melissa Anderson is excited to join the Bet Alef community as Office Manager. She comes from a background of working for both nonprofit  and for-profit organizations, and enjoys working in roles that create long term, positive benefits for the community they thrive within. When she is not working, she is a mom to four (plus a cat) and shares a wonderful life with her husband at their home in South King County. Although originally from California, they fell in love with the lush forests of Washington and the diverse city of Seattle. She is here to provide support to Bet Alef and its members, ​and can’t wait to connect and foster the relationships in the community.