Temple Emanu-El Staff
Come meet our amazing team of Professional Staff!
Alice Lutwak, Interim Executive Director
Alice Lutwak has dedicated her professional career to furthering the cause of Judaism. Prior to her position as the Executive Director of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills Alice was the Executive Director of Temple Beth El in Chappaqua, NY, and the Fiscal Administrator and Director of Operations of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Manhattan.
Alice brings to her work a comprehensive understanding of the business of running a large congregation, as well as a deep understanding of the importance of Judaism and its perpetuation.
The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Alice was born in the Czech Republic after the war and immigrated to the United States in 1965. A 1970 graduate of Stern College, she began her career at an insurance company. Later, she worked on Wall Street, where she acquired much of the fiscal expertise that enabled her to move to her position at HUC, and subsequently into synagogue management.
Alice’s husband Aron, was a dealer of Judaic books. They have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. Alice’s door is always open to all of our members, for concerns big or small.
Abra Lee, Director of Youth Learning & Engagement
Abra joined Temple Emanu-El in 2013, from Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York where she served as Coordinator of School and Family Learning. As the family educator, Abra’s chief responsibilities included relationship building and family engagement through the development of curriculum that inspires meaningful experiences for children and parents. Previously, Abra was the Director of Religious School at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, NJ. Among her accomplishments there, Abra is proud to have co-created the Mercaz, a learning center which meets the diverse and special needs of all students. During her tenure in Short Hills, Abra joined the faculty of URJ Camp Harlam and is thrilled to return each summer to the place her family calls home.
Abra is a former Fellow in the Leadership Institute, a two and a half year joint program of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Jewish Theological Seminary, which offers congregational educators the opportunity to expand their knowledge and build a new vision of educational leadership. She holds a Master’s degree in Jewish studies, a graduate certificate in Jewish education from Gratz College, and earned the credentials of RJE (Reform Jewish Educator) from the Association of Reform Jewish Educators. Having spent several years in industry before pursuing her passion for teaching and learning, Abra also earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and international trade from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Along with her husband and childhood sweetheart, Alex, Abra is a proud parent of Mackenzie and Max. They enjoy cheering on their children at volleyball, soccer games and wrestling matches and are avid movie goers! The entire Lee family is happy to be part of their extended family at Temple Emanu-El of Westfield.
Jill Cimafonte, Early Childhood Education Director
Jill received her BS in Business Administration from Rutgers University and Master’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Hunter College, graduating with high honors. Before joining Temple Emanu-El, Jill was a Head Teacher at the Ring Nursery School at the Jewish Community Center of Delaware Valley in NJ. She has a NJ and NY elementary teaching certification. Throughout her career she has participated in extensive Jewish early childhood learning opportunities as both a learner and a teacher.
Jill is a founding member of the Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ), an affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, where she served on its Executive Board for 7 years and continues to assume various roles where needed in the organization. She recently travelled to Israel to learn and study with her colleagues. Jill is also a member of the National Association for the Education of the Young Child (NAEYC) of which she has successfully guided the school multiple times through its national accreditation process. Jill is also an active member of local early childhood organizations as well.
As Early Childhood Director, Jill has led the program through an ongoing transformative process, continually striving to incorporate best practices in Jewish early childhood education while meeting the changing needs of the community.
Jill is the proud mother of 3 boys: Zachary, Jeremy, and Lucas. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and biking.
Kathleen Stovall, Controller
Kathleen earned her CPA (with high distinction) at Price Waterhouse Coopers in NYC where she spent two years working on clients as diverse as General Foods, J.P. Morgan and The New York Daily News. She then spent 12 years at Morgan Stanley as a Controller for the Stock Index /Futures trading desk and later for the Investment Banking Division.
Kathleen and her family moved to Fanwood, NJ where she raised her two daughters, performed accounting & tax work for local businesses and volunteered as PTA Treasurer, PTA President, and as a Religious School Teacher. In 2009, Kathleen accepted a position as Accounting Manager at Bonnie Brae, a residential treatment center in Basking Ridge which serves as a haven for young boys in crisis. Kathleen spent four years at Bonnie Brae and made significant progress in automating the accounting systems. She also realized the immense satisfaction that results from working for an organization that enriches the lives of others.
Kathleen is thrilled to be working at Temple Emanu-El which is well known and respected in her community, just a few miles from her home.
Jackie Grussgott, Communications and Membership Manager
Jackie joined Temple Emanu-El in August of 2017 as the Communications and Membership Manager.
Jackie went to James Madison University where she founded a Jewish sorority and became the President of Hillel. About two weeks after graduating with her Bachelors of Science degree in May 2012, Jackie moved to Holon, Israel and made Aliyah. During her time in Israel, she worked for two startup companies in the technology industry as their Web Marketing & Community Manager.
After moving back to the United States in 2014, Jackie became a Partner Marketing Manager for one of the world’s leading technology companies, VMware. In 2015, she accepted a position at Zoey, an ecommerce startup company in Manhattan, where she founded and managed their partnership program.
Jackie is extremely excited to join the Temple Emanu-El family and community. She currently lives in Bridgewater, New Jersey with her husband and their two dogs, Annie and Adele.
Samantha Eichert, Assistant Director of Youth Learning and Engagement
Samantha Eichert is so proud to be expanding her role at Temple Emanu-El as our Assistant Director of Youth Learning and Engagement. Currently, Samantha co-leads our 11th and 12th grade Gesher l’Kesher program during HaMakom on Tuesday nights. Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Samantha began her leadership within the Reform Movement at a very young age. While still in high school, she attended Gratz College, completing the Isaac Mayer Wise Reform Teaching Certification program. She earned a BA from the University of Hartford in Judaic Studies and Sociology with a minor in History. Samantha has also completed the Union for Reform Judaism’s Youth Professional 101 Program.
During her college years in Connecticut, Samantha continued to further her synagogue involvement, serving as the Principal for the Lower School at Congregation Kol Haverim in Glastonbury. After graduating from college, Samantha made her way to New Jersey with her now-husband, Matt, and continued to serve in various roles in the Jewish community. Samantha’s recent leadership roles include the Judaic Curriculum Coordinator at Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, Director of Youth Engagement at Temple Sinai in Summit, and the Temple Administrator at Temple Emanu-El in Edison.
Samantha and Matt currently reside in Edison with their two dogs, Thor & Ariel.
Samantha is eager and excited to get to know everyone who comes through our doors and work with our community.
Aaron Soloman, Coordinator of Youth and Family Engagement
Aaron Soloman is incredibly excited to join the Temple Emanu-El family this coming year as the new Coordinator of Youth and Family Engagement. Aaron also grew up in Philadelphia, and in May 2018, graduated from Brandeis University with Bachelors degrees in Computer Science and Economics. He has worked in those fields for startups in Sydney, Australia and Los Angeles, California as both a Data Analyst and Consultant.
Aaron will be continuing Temple Emanu-El’s partnership with URJ Camp Harlam as our new CLASP Fellow (Camp Leadership and Synagogue Professional). He has been working at Camp Harlam for the past 6 summers and has been a member of the Harlam family since 2007, his first summer as a camper. Aaron has worked with many different age groups ranging from 2nd to 9th graders. Since his first summer on staff as a cabin counselor, he has continued his professional growth in Jewish youth engagement, becoming a Unit Supervisor, teaching, leading and caring for so many of TEE’s Harlam campers.
Among his many leadership accomplishments, Aaron achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and is counted among a very special group of young people at Camp Harlam who have been recognized for exception leadership, receiving the Mitch Perlmeter Award.
Aaron can’t wait to bring his technical knowledge, analytical experience, and passion for Jewish education to Temple Emanu-El. He is thrilled to join the congregational family following this camp season.
Mike Kenny, Building Supervisor
Michael has been the Building Supervisor for 24 years. In the past, Michael worked in the catering industry and owned a Deli in Long Island.
Michael is very involved in community non-profit organizations. Currently he is the fundraiser for Tourette’s Syndrome of New Jersey. Michael serves on the Executive Board of the Healing Community at Fairview Lakes in Newton. The Healing Community is a camp for children and their families living with HIV/AIDS and family members who have recently lost a family member to AIDS. For four years he also served as President of ABCNJ, AIDS Benefit Committee of New Jersey. Michael, as busy as he is, always makes time to assist others in the Temple and the community at large.
Michael is the father of three daughters and one son. He is also the proud grandpa of three grandchildren.
Looking For Our Clergy?
|Jackie Master||Administrative Assistant||Ext. 133|
|Carol Jassin||Clergy Assistant/Tributes||Ext. 120|
|Adele Lin Mambach||Bookkeeper||Ext. 112|
|Joanne Pass||B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator||Ext. 110|
|Laurie Zinberg||Executive Assistant||Ext. 117|
|Nan Honig||ECE Program Coordinator||Ext. 132|
|Diane Olsen||ECE Administrative Assistant||Ext. 130|
|Jackie Hernandez||RS Administrative Assistant||Ext. 124|