Our Leadership/Staff

Board Members

President: Tracy Wellens

tracyTracy 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 and is on the Board of the 5th Ave Theatre. 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.

 

 

Treasurer: Susan Hoffman

susanSusan Hoffman, Board Treasurer, has been a Bet Alef member since 2013.  Susan and her husband, Frank Cioch, moved to Seattle in 2000 after living in the Detroit, Michigan area for over 20 years.  Susan is a retired public finance attorney and enjoyed her role in the financing of a variety of public projects, such as water and sewer systems, public schools, universities and public buildings.  She enjoys travel, hiking, yoga, auditing history classes at the University of Washington, and taking advantage of Seattle’s many cultural offerings.

 

 

Secretary: David Kroopkin

davidDavid Kroopkin joined our board in August 2016 after being a dedicated member for four years with his wife, Michelle Brode, and children, Abby and Julia. They live in Issaquah and happily make the trek in to BA frequently. David has contributed to our membership committee for the past several years, and as chair-person since early 2015. David works internationally as a global finance director, and is excited to bring his organization and communication skills to Bet Alef.

 

 

Stu Heller

photo-for-bd-bioStu Heller has been an attorney in the State of Washington for over 45 years. He is the Principal Attorney at the Law Office of Stuart A. Heller. He has chaired the King County Bar’s Business Advisory Panel working with the UW Foster School of Business to annually assist a number of local minority-owned businesses, has been a volunteer attorney at the microenterprise legal clinic of Washington CASH (Washington Community Alliance For Self-Help aka Ventures), and a member of the boards of Temple De Hirsch Sinai, the Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra and the Northwest Chamber Orchestra. Stu lives in Leschi and has 3 children and 3 grandchildren.

 

Rachel Soffrin

Rachel Sofferin holds a Bachelors Degree in Communications and Certificate in Non-profit Management and is pleased and proud to serve on the Board of Bet Alef, her spiritual home.

She currently works at Center for Spiritual Living as Marketing and Communications Manager after serving in the capacity of communications and administration at Bet Alef from 2014-2016, and Interim Executive Director from July-October 2016. Rachel lives with her husband Joshua and dog Merlin in Mountlake Terrace. Some of her hobbies include travel, hiking, and recently and fused glass art.

 

Barbara Klein

Barbara is very pleased to be serving on the Bet Alef board after 6 years of being a member.  Barbara took a circuitous route from Minneapolis to Edmonds and eventually to Bet Alef, meeting  her late husband, Shelly on the way as he trekked west from Philadelphia. Barbara has had a long career in mental health treating adolescents and families, most recently at Seattle Children’s hospital and the Evidence Based Treatment Center in Seattle. Since retirement she is a board member at Bridgeways, an agency providing supported employment to adults with mental illness. She is a docent at the Cascadia Art Museum and leads a caregiver support group for a Seattle retirement community.
Barbara loves to work as a part of a team where she can be a supportive and validating member.

Cindy Ervin

Bob Prolman

 

Staff

meryl-alcabes-photography-2015-jewish-in-seattle-rabbi-benhaim-for-print-5309Rabbi Olivier BenHaim

With an 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 – Music Director

Dianna RoseDianna Rose has been a member of Bet Alef since 2001. Her early musical training (piano, voice, percussion) eventually led her to a career in radio, in Los Angeles and Seattle (where she was Music Director and on-air at Smooth Jazz KWJZ for 12 years). She is currently on-air at two internet radio stations, and has a voice-over business. Dianna is also a Therapeutic Sound Consultant, having completed a two-year training at the Open Ear Center on Bainbridge Island, WA. Plus she’s an Acutonics (tuning forks) Level I practitioner, and a trained provider with the Strong Institute (rhythmic entrainment therapy).

Karen Warner – Executive Director

Karen has worked in developing affordable housing in Miami, contributed to its community and downtown revitalization, and worked in the financial services arena. Her key strengths are in communication and time management,  as well as project development and financial governance. In Seattle for almost 2 ½ years, now, she enjoys the temperate climate, walkability of the city, and exploring all the beautiful scenic drives in this part of the country.  She grew up as part of the Reform movement in Memphis, TN, in which she was very active throughout her youth and adulthood. She currently lives in Phinney Ridge with her fiancé, Morien Thomas, a native Seattleite, their friendly, outgoing 1 ½ year old daughter, Hazel, along with their recently diagnosed asthmatic cat, Sebastian.

 

Katie Sturm – Communications and Web Management

Katie comes to Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue with a background in Interfaith Dialogue and peace-building, digital services (communications and website work), and strong friendships in the wider Seattle Jewish community. Katie will be providing Communications assistance for Bet Alef, and is excited about engaging with the diverse and rich group of people that call it 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.

 

 

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Maren Comendant – Operations Lead

Maren is a musican and theatre artist enjoying her fifth year in the emerald city. She studied opera, theatre, and culinary arts in Utah, Northampton (UK), and Seattle, respectively, and is excited to start a new chapter with the lovely Bet Alef community. Outside of the office, she also works as a caterer, technical director for a Capitol Hill arts space, and freelance artist in the greater Puget Sound area.

 

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