Rabbi - Rachel Brown
Rabbi Rachel Brown is an adventurer whose route to becoming a rabbi has included attaining a degree in architecture, apprenticing as a carpenter and woodworker, and traveling the Pacific Northwest by bicycle.
Rabbi Brown believes that Judaism gives all who have access to it a way to connect to each other, to God, and to a ritual language that expresses what cannot be expressed with words. Her visionary approach to Jewish life and Jewish education focuses on creating learning and study opportunities for students of all ages.
Rabbi Brown was ordained as a Rabbi by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University in Los Angeles. She lives in Beachwood, OH with her family, where she is also developing Camp Timbrel, a pluralistic Jewish girls’ empowerment camp.
President - Walter Wright
Walter Wright is a consultant who supports organizations and individuals with leadership, strategy, and creative problem-solving. Past and current clients include the Cleveland Print Room, the Cleveland Foundation, the Democracy Collaborative, Grants Plus, and the Community Building Partnership of Canton, Ohio.
He has served as an executive, department head, and project director at numerous nonprofit, educational and philanthropic organizations including the NewBridge Center for Arts and Technology, Cleveland State University, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, the Western Reserve Historical Society, and the Cleveland Foundation. He is a former high school art teacher, and is an active amateur artist and musician.
He obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Case Western Reserve University and holds a certificate in studio art from the Cleveland Institute of Art. He has received additional training in coaching, mediation, finance and real estate. He is a proud graduate of Neighborhood Leadership Institute of Cleveland (Class 11) and has participated in training with the Racial Equity Institute and PRISM, a racial equity learning lab.
Current and past board service and advisory councils include: Beth Israel-The West Temple (VP; President); the Democracy Collaborative, a national organization working to democratize wealth; the Cleveland Print Room; the Cleveland Public Art program; and the Community Relations Advisory Commission (Chair) in Lakewood, Ohio where he lives with his family.
Treasurer - Robin Kaufman
I am Robin Kaufman and I have been the treasurer of BITWT for 13 years. I have been a member of our synagogue for 32 years.
I live in Westlake and when I’m not volunteering for the temple, I run Aztec Steel – a family-owned Steel company in Elyria.
I am married to Neal and we have three children and two grandchildren.
Educator - Debbie Chessin
Debbie Chessin brings over a decade of secular and religious school teaching experience to Beth Israel-The West Temple. She has served as the Education Director at our congregation for more than eight years. In addition to her work in Jewish and Hebrew Studies at Tel Aviv University, she has degrees in Law and Sociology. She oversees the religious school program of Beth Israel-The West Temple, and teaches some classes, while also planning and implementing education programming for the entire congregation.
Debbie also enjoys spending time with her family. She has been married to her husband Dan for more than thirty years, and together they have three adult children, Brian, Jordan and Carly, along with their two standard poodles. In her spare time, Debbie enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking cuisines from around the world.
IT/Security - Justin Morse
Justin Morse grew up at Temple Beth Israel. He started with Consecration and continued to Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation right on Triskett Road. He is happy to be able to give back to our center for Jewish Life on the west side.
Professionally Justin is a Network Engineer. He went to the Rochester Institute of Technology to study IT. He has worked for both Managed Service Providers and Internet Service Providers connecting business to the Internet.
Lifelong Learning Chair - Dr. Sylvia Rimm
Dr. Sylvia Rimm is a psychologist, the director of Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, and a clinical professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.
Dr. Rimm’s books “Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades” and “How to Parent So Children Will Learn” were both 2008 National Best Books award winners from USA Book News. Dr. Rimm has authored many books, including “Keys to Parenting the Gifted Child,” “Raising Preschoolers”, “See Jane Win®”,” “Jane Wins Again,” and “See Jane Win for Girls.”
As a New York Times best seller “See Jane Win®” was featured on Oprah, the Today show and in People magazine. Dr. Rimm is co-author with Gary A. Davis and Del Siegle of the textbook “Education of the Gifted and Talented,” which is now in its 7th edition. As a dynamic speaker, Sylvia inspires audiences internationally on parenting and teaching gifted children and adolescents.
A favorite personality on public radio for many years, Dr. Rimm has also made countless appearances on national television and was a regular contributing correspondent for eight years on NBC’s Today show. She had a nationally syndicated parenting column with Creators Syndicate. Dr. Rimm’s website, www.sylviarimm.com, includes many articles and much information that will be useful to researchers, educators and parents. Dr. Rimm served for many years on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Gifted Children and was a founding member of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children. She also serves presently on the Ohio Gifted Advisory Council. Said Katie Couric, “Dr. Rimm is a welcome voice of calm and reason—someone who offers practical advice, with almost immediate results. She’s a guardian angel for families who need a little or a lot of guidance.”
Dr. Rimm’s parents were immigrants to the US and she is happy to say she has indeed lived the American Dream. As a child, she went to Yiddish school and was very active in Young Judaea as a high school student. She recounts her youth visit to Israel in 1952 and has been very committed to Israel and Judaism and, lastly, loves being an active member in Beth Israel–The West Temple.
Chairman of Ritual Committee - Luis Fernandez
Chairman of the Ritual Committee and helps conduct Shabbat services. He is also a member of the Live Broadcast Team. He joined BI-TWT in 2003 and has served three terms as President. He is an Emeritus Professor of Economics at Oberlin College, where his specialties were statistical methods and game theory. He relaxes by playing piano, tennis, skiing, and traveling.
Rabbi Emerita - Enid C. Lader
When Rabbi Enid Lader assumed her position as rabbi of Beth Israel – The West Temple on August 1, 2012, she was already a longstanding member and leader of our congregation. Prior to taking that role, she served as the spiritual leader and rabbi for Knesseth Israel Temple in Wooster, Ohio, for ten years. During that time, she studied at the Academy of Jewish Religion in New York and was ordained on May 13, 2010. Rabbi Enid, as she is affectionately known, began her career in Jewish education at Beth Israel, where she served as volunteer principal of the Religious School and then, after her completion of the Cleveland Fellows Program in 1994, held the community-funded position of Director of Congregational and Family Education at Beth Israel – The West Temple.
She worked in the Greater Cleveland community as well, for close to twenty years, as Community Associate in Family Education, with Rabbi Dr. Jeffery Schein. Active in the Educational Directors’ Network, Rabbi Enid also served in various capacities on the regional board for the UAHC (now URJ). For over twelve years, she has taught the JECC’s popular Taste of Judaism and Feast of Judaism classes on the West Side. She is currently President of the Rabbis and Cantors Association and is also active in the Lakewood Ministerial Association and Greater Cleveland Congregations.
A Florida native, Rabbi Enid lives in Lakewood with her husband, Harry. They have two daughters: Abby is a pediatrician in Lakewood, Ohio; Leah and her husband, Ananth, live in California with their two young daughters. Rabbi Enid Lader retired as BI-TWT’s Rabbi in 2023.