Sheila Malcolm graduated from the Leadership Program offered through the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism (IISHJ, http://iishj.org). The purpose of this training is to develop professional leaders who serve the needs of the Secular Humanistic Jewish movement as Jewish ceremonial officiants, philosophic counselors, educators, and movement spokespersons. Within Beth Ami, Sheila facilitates services, creates and updates liturgy and plans congregational events, including a variety of outdoor activities.
M.A. Education, Madrikha/Professional Leader and Life Cycle Officiant
Sheila immigrated from NY to CO many years ago, where she married, raised two children, and completed a 40 year career as a teacher, mentor and substitute in Boulder Valley Schools. She now volunteers voraciously, nurtures the Beth Ami garden, bikes and hikes, and has grown into her role as Madrikha for Beth Ami. Sheila and John plan to continue their world travels. Their children and granddaughter, of course, now live in NYC.
Sheila explored many ways to be Jewish, and finally felt at home and at peace with her discovery of Secular Humanistic Judaism. After meeting Rabbi Wine, the founder of Humanistic Judaism, and other leaders in the movement, she decided to commit time, professional training and creative energy to support the Beth Ami community. She sits on the Executive Committee of the Board of the Society for Humanistic Judaism. She was a member of the former Jewish Together Boulder, and appreciates the community networking and friendships which resulted from that organization.
A.B Education, Masters in Social Work, Birmingham Temple Educator
Lenore Kingston taught Sunday School for many years. She began her Jewish journey as a Conservative Jew. Her daughters had Bat Mitzvahs in a reform congregation. She belonged to the Birmingham Temple prior to moving to Colorado in 2006. In 1963 Rabbi Sherwin Wine began Humanistic Judaism at the Birmingham Temple.
Lenore worked 31 years for Farmington Public Schools as a School Social Worker, She supported student learning by participating in teacher-parent conferences to develop effective strategies based upon the latest brain research. She intervened in student disputes by teaching effective conflict resolution skills. She taught life skills thru cooperative group games. She values collaborative group problem solving.
Lenore is Beth Ami’s Educational Director. She plans holiday and community events as a member of the Beth Ami Programming Committee. Lenore has mentored many Bar/Bat Mitzvah students over the years. .
Lenore is interested in Jewish history based on historical and archeological data. Humanistic Judaism emphasizes the story of the Jewish people over the past 2500 years. Who are history’s role models?
A creative outlet for Lenore is baking traditional Jewish dishes such as challah, rugalah, mandlebread. If you have an interest in baking, please let her know. She is happy to share her recipes.
Please contact Lenore at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to find out more about Beth Ami's Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program.
Marti Hirsch is Beth Ami’s Cultural Director, planning and developing Beth Ami cultural events. As a member of the programming committee she lends her educational experience to organizing activities.
Double B.A. Theatre Directing/Psychology of Creativity,
M.A. Special Education
Marti started her career as an educator while she was still in high school working as an elementary teaching assistant. After earning a Master’s degree in Special Education, she worked as a special education teacher in Richmond, Daly City and Piedmont California, Trenton New Jersey and Atlanta Georgia. She now works part-time as support staff in the Boulder Valley School District where she leads the student Green Team.
Marti was raised in a culturally Jewish household, celebrating Jewish holidays, honoring Jewish values, and supporting Jewish philanthropic groups. When her children were young she began searching for a Jewish congregation that would meet both her ethical and secular needs. She found that with the writings of Rabbi Wine and other leaders of the Humanistic Jewish movement she did not have to filter out parts she did not agree with or things she thought were irrelevant. Marti has found her Jewish home.
When not teaching or “Beth Ami-ing”, Marti may be found doing Tai Chi, hiking, biking, or playing Mah Jongg.
Arlene Gerwin is on the Beth Ami Planning Committee. She also started and facilitates the Beth Ami Readers Circle book group.
BA-Russian Language & Literature
MBA- Marketing & Finance
Arlene was the President of Bolder Insights LLC, a consulting firm that directed strategic sourcing marketing projects that saved major corporations millions of dollars. She held senior marketing positions at several consumer package goods companies. Arlene was also an adjunct marketing professor at the University of Colorado and the NYU Stern School of Business.
In addition to her Beth Ami volunteer activities, Arlene is on the Board of the University Women’s Club of the University of Colorado having served as President and Treasurer. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Music Festival/Center for Musical Arts.
Arlene’s Jewish life journey started as a child attending services and Hebrew school at a Conservative synagogue in New Jersey. While raising a family in New York, she joined a Reform congregation. Arlene now considers herself culturally but not religiously Jewish. After moving to Boulder, she discovered Beth Ami. She has found a “community” of like-minded, diverse and interesting individuals. At Beth Ami, she feels right at home. She can sing the songs and say the blessings that are familiar but have been edited and reworded to better reflect her beliefs.
Arlene has twin sons who have made Arlene the proud grandmother of three amazing granddaughters.
Arlene says that Beth Ami’s Mission Statement best fits her values and Jewishness:
Beth Ami celebrates Jewish holidays, learning and life cycle events through the secular lens of history, culture, and reason.
Stu's career was in computer programming until his retirement in 2015.
Stu was very involved with Conservative Judaism until only a few years ago. He was a synagogue "regular" and along the way studied Hebrew, taught beginning Hebrew, learned to read Torah, served on synagogues' Boards and committees, became a volunteer chaplain, prepared kids for their bar & bat mitzvahs, and even served as Chair of a small synagogue. For several years his family kept kosher and observed the laws and customs of Shabbat and holidays.
Stu loved Jewish culture, identified with its values, and felt a part of the Jewish people - but he just couldn't believe in God. Stu had thought that if he became more knowledgeable that he might eventually accommodate the idea of a supernatural being. When this didn't happen, he realized that he had no place in mainstream Judaism, since even the most liberal versions retain a belief in God.
Stu looked into Humanistic Judaism (the name sounded so promising!) and found what he was looking for. Judaism is very much a religion of the here-and-now and not the hereafter, and for that reason, many of Judaism's core values are humanistic. Judaism encourages us to seek justice, to welcome the stranger, to repair the world, and to respect and care for others. These are humanistic values.
After Stu was widowed, he reconnected with Norma Portnoy (after a 43-year gap!) and began to spend time with her in Lafayette. He learned about Beth Ami and soon became an enthusiastic member. He currently serves as the group's treasurer and leads the Good Movie Club.