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CLERGY

 

Our clergy receive an overwhelming number of emails. 
When you wish to inform them of an illness or life and death matter, 
please phone them at the temple office: 206-525-0915.

Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Ruth A. Zlotnick
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Rabbi Ruth A. Zlotnick has been described by her community as a teacher of Torah and Jewish values and is beloved for her gifts of knowledge, leadership, and counsel; inspirational worship services; and creative programming. 

Rabbi Zlotnick previously served as Rabbi at Temple Beth Or in the Township of Washington, New Jersey and as Associate Rabbi and Director of Lifelong Learning at New York's Central Synagogue. She also worked as Associate Director of Programs at Synagogue 2000, a national project aimed at revitalizing synagogues from all streams of American Judaism. In the New York-area, she taught at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and Fairfield University. She currently sits on the Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Advisory Board for the Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs at Seattle University.

Rabbi Zlotnick is a graduate of HUC-JIR where she was ordained in 2001. She earned a Master of Hebrew Letters from HUC-JIR; she also holds a Master's in the Philosophy of Religion from Yale University and a Bachelor's degree in religious studies from Wesleyan University.

Associate Rabbi

Rabbi Jason R. Levine
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Rabbi Jason R. Levine serves our community in many capacities with a focus on our youth, relationship-building, and creating avenues for creativity, innovation, and discovery in our shared Jewish journey. Rabbi Levine shares worship leadership and life cycle officiation with Rabbi Zlotnick and Rabbi Benson, as well as supervises the Beth Am Temple Youth (BATY) program and Director of Youth Engagement. In addition, Rabbi Levine teaches our URJ Introduction to Judaism course, 10th Grade Covenant Renewal, Downtown Brown Bag, Parsha & Poker, as well as numerous other learning opportunities for both our youth and adult communities. Rabbi Levine also supports various retreats, camp, and immersion programs, including organizing an 11th-12th grade trip to Washington D.C. to participate in L’Taken, the Religious Action Center’s social justice seminar.

Rabbi Levine is involved throughout the larger community in social action, advocacy, and young adult engagement, including sitting on the Government Affairs Task Force for the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, participating in the Young Adult Engager Network, and serving as a former Chair of the Washington Coalition of Rabbis. Rabbi Levine is always excited to make one-on-one connections with new people and welcomes the opportunity to meet and share new ideas.

Rabbi Levine joined Temple Beth Am in 2013 as Assistant Rabbi after being ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and was promoted to Associate Rabbi in 2015. Originally from the Midwest, he graduated from Cornell University with degrees in Neurobiology & Behavior and Near Eastern Studies. His background is in both formal and informal education, Jewish community building through Hillel, interfaith efforts, and a range of other Jewish organizations.

Assistant Rabbi

Rabbi Dana A. Benson 
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Rabbi Dana A. Benson is a strong believer in spiritual accessibility and seeks to help learners find value from our tradition even in every day moments. She has been described as a compassionate and inspirational teacher, thoughtful leader, and someone who brings light and fun everywhere she goes. In her role, she connects with students and their families to discover and implement engaging educational opportunities and supports teachers, lay leaders, and parents in their roles of creating the next generation of kind, thoughtful, and socially aware Jewish adults. 


Rabbi Benson previously served as the Assistant Director at Hillel at the University of Washington in Seattle and as the Senior Jewish Educator at Michigan State University Hillel and the Hillel Campus alliance of Michigan. During Rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati, Ohio, Rabbi Benson served as a teacher and lead staff member at Kulanu, a Reform Jewish High School, and also ran retreats for high school and college students in her role as a Rabbinic intern at HUC-JIR's national office of recruitment and admissions. When not crafting curriculum and connecting to students and their families, Rabbi Benson loves to sing, play board games, enjoy musical theater and opera, and watch her partner, Gina, play roller derby for Rat City Roller Derby. 

PROFESSIONAL TEAM

Executive Director

Davida Sims
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Davida has worked in nonprofit development, education leadership, and communications for fifteen years. After working as a labor and employment attorney and for public radio, she followed her passion for education by working in K-12 leadership and school advancement.

Davida has published articles in the area of Jewish education, advancement, leadership, and education reform, she was co-creator of the Nevada Independent School Association, and she co-authored four business books in the areas of marketing and strategic communications. She has taught high school law courses and was a Judge Pro Tem for Clark County's Truancy Diversion and High School Graduation Initiative Program. She received her Bachelor of Arts in History from University of Washington and her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law.

Although a Los Angeles native, Davida moved with her family to Bainbridge Island as a teenager and has recently returned to Seattle after 14 years in Nevada. She is the proud mother of two teenage boys and is grateful to be part of the warm and welcoming Temple Beth Am community.

Administrative Coordinator

Sara Bernson
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Sara Bernson assists with planning for our holiday and Shabbat observances, and serves as the contact for yahrzeit inquiries. She schedules appointments for both of our pulpit rabbis and helps to track our congregants' pastoral needs.

Sara is a native Washingtonian, having been born in Washington D.C. After obtaining a B.A. in American History from the University of Maryland, she earned a M.A. in American History, specializing in Native American History, from the University of South Dakota. Sara moved to Seattle in 1980. One of her favorite jobs was being a nanny and after 21 years she is still very close with the family. Sara has worked for non-profits for the past eight years and looks forwards to getting to know the Temple Beth Am family. Sara’s earliest memories are of baking with her mother and she continues to enjoy baking and cooking. She started beading four years ago so when you see her chances are she made her necklace.

Financial Database Manager

Megan Freeman
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Megan Freeman manages all billing and accounts payable for Temple Beth Am and SEED. Megan is a graduate of the University of Washington with a B.A. in history and served two terms in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. She has spent the last nine years working in nonprofit administration, most recently the Pike Market Childcare and Preschool. She keeps moving away to Southern California but is drawn back each time to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Outside of work, Megan is a baker, crafter, and sings with the Seattle Women’s Chorus.

Operations and Events Manager

Alexis Kort
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Alexis Kort works closely with congregants to create and support dynamic programs, develop volunteerism, and build community through projects such as Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), Young Families at Beth Am (YFBA), Project Hineyni (our Caring Community initiative), Lifelong Learning, and tikkun olam groups. In addition, Alexis manages membership at Temple Beth Am, working to welcome and integrate all new members. Alexis is the go-to person for temple members looking to connect with each other and with our synagogue. Alexis grew up in Seattle, had her Bat Mitzvah, Covenant Renewal, wedding, and daughters’ baby namings right here at TBA! She holds a BA in Jewish and Middle Eastern studies from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and a Master's degree in religion from the University of London - School of Oriental and African Studies, UK.

Scheduling and Communications Manager

Nathan Ottosen
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Nathan became a member of Temple Beth Am in 2019 and joined the Beth Am professional team in January 2020. As the Scheduling and Communications Manager, he engages congregants by ensuring they stay connected to our community. He amplifies the mission of Temple Beth Am—deepening our members' relationships to Judaism and each other—by coordinating the temple's internal and external calendars and communications.

Nathan previously worked in the banking and insurance industries, followed by a decade in retail operations for a British luxury fashion house. Born and raised in Central Washington, he moved to the Seattle area in 2009. Nathan enjoys world travel. His favorite (and most frequently visited) destination is England. His leisure time is typically spent reading biographies of eccentric, interesting figures from history, with the occasional foray into the fictional worlds created by Anthony Powell, Paul Scott, and Agatha Christie. During the summer, he enjoys spending time with his family east of the Cascade Mountains and, closer to home, he and his partner, Travis, play local tourists by exploring the Pacific Northwest. Nathan's other hobbies are genealogy and portrait sketching. He and Travis are the proud 'parents' of a cat named Sprinkles. 

Nathan is a member of the current Adult B'nai Mitzvah cohort. 

Choir Director

Taryn Webber
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Taryn Webber has been a member of the Temple Beth Am Choir since 2000. She has studied classical cello, voice, pipe organ, steel drums (Trinidad), and the cajon (from the Afro-Peruvian tradition). Since she first moved to Seattle from the East Coast in 1997, she has taught orchestra/choir at Washington Middle School (Seattle), general music at B.F. Day Elementary School (Seattle), and orchestra at Einstein Middle School (Shoreline). Taryn is currently the Assistant Music Director at Holy Names Academy (Seattle) where she teaches orchestra, chamber music, and music production (recording) classes. She also conducts one of the orchestras (the Sinfonette) in the Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestra organization in Edmonds. When she isn’t teaching or hanging out with her family, Taryn loves being a part of many recording and live music projects, both on cello and voice.

To learn about Temple Beth Am's new organizational structure, click here. To read the FAQ's about our staff redesign, click here.

Tue, August 11 2020 21 Av 5780