Temple Emanu-El Staff
Come meet our amazing team of 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.
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.
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 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).
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|