Temple Emanu-El Staff

Come meet our amazing team of Professional Staff! 

Professional Staff

Brian Chartock, Executive Director

Brian received his Bachelor Degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. He has a strong background in Jewish Studies, Temple management, business/finance, public relations and development.

Brian served as the Executive Director of the Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City, Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, NJ, and the Highland Park Conservative Temple and Center in Highland Park, NJ. In addition, Brian was previously a Managing Director at VIIAD, an information technology and health care company.

Brian served as a trustee and executive committee member of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Mercer County, New Jersey.  Additionally, he has been a trustee of the Central New Jersey Jewish Home for the Aged in Somerset, Jewish Family Services of Middlesex County, and Rutgers University Hillel.

Brian, his wife Pamela and their children, Madelyn and Evan reside in Princeton Junction, New Jersey.

Brian is honored and proud to be a part of the Temple Emanu-El community.

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Abra Lee, Religious School Director

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.  

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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.

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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.

Professional Staff

Shari Rothstein, Associate Religious School Director

Shari Rothstein has been a Jewish Educator for over 20 years. Shari joined our staff in July 2014 as our new Associate Director of Religious School.

Prior to working at Temple Emanu-El, Shari was the Religious School Principal at Congregation Kehilat Shalom in Belle Mead, NJ for five years. From 1992 to 2014, Shari held various teaching positions at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, where she is still an active congregant and past board member. After serving for several terms as Vice President, Shari is currently a Life Member of the Board of Trustees of the Anshe Emeth Community Development Corporation. This organization provides community-based social, legal, educational and health-related services to struggling families of Middlesex County.

Shari 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 earned her Master of Arts of Religious Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2018 and is currently working on her Master’s Concentration in Israel Education at the iCenter.  Additionally, she holds Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing and Associate in Science Degree in Management from Bentley University. Shari is a member of the Association of Reform Jewish Educator (ARJE formally NATE) and the Reconstructionist Educators of North America (RENA), where she served on their executive board as Membership Chair.

Shari lives in Florham Park with her husband Marc, who is the Executive Director of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills. They have two grown children, Emily and Adam.

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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.

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Emily Halpern, Coordinator of Youth and Family Engagement

Emily Halpern joined Temple Emanu-El in August of 2014 as a Youth Educator. She quickly realized that Temple Emanu-El was the place she wanted to start her career in Jewish Education and took on additional responsibilities and expanded her role. Emily works with 3rd, 6th and 7th grades in the classroom. The students Emily does not have in class she has the chance to engage with in Jr. Youth Group. Emily, along with Rabbi Smiley leads our youth groups, Extreme Yeladim and Extreme Bonim. Emily is our prayer review tutor and works with our clergy to prepare students for their B’nai Mitzvah. She loves being able to work with the different age groups throughout the synagogue.

Emily is thrilled to also be Temple Emanu-El’s Camp Partnership Liaison. This is a new pilot project at Temple Emanu-El, in partnership with The Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest. This program is based on research about impactful Jewish learning, and the benefits of youth group and other informal learning experiences, such as travel to Israel and time at Jewish overnight camps. This partnership allows us to engage a Camp-Community Connection Liaison who is here to guide families in choosing summer experiences that are right for each child. As a product of Jewish camping herself, Emily is the perfect fit for this role. Emily attended Camp Harlam as a camper for 10 years and has now returned as the Assistant Supervisor of Jewish Life. She loves that she can give back the experience she had when she was a camper to the new generations of Harlamites, l’dor v’dor (from generation to generation).

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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.

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Office Staff

 Office Staff  
Jackie MasterAdministrative Assistant Ext. 133
Carol JassinClergy Assistant/TributesExt. 120
Adele Lin MambachBookkeeperExt. 112
Larry BermanAdministrative Assistant  Ext. 110
Laurie ZinbergExecutive AssistantExt. 117
Diane OlsenECE Administrative AssistantExt. 130
Jackie HernandezRS Administrative AssistantExt. 124