Elizabeth Gaynes, Executive Director since 2015, first joined the professional Senior Leadership Team at CBB in 2012 as Membership and Program Director. She spent the previous decade working as a Personal Development Coach and Project Consultant, while balancing volunteer leadership roles including serving on CBB’s Board as Preschool Trustee and Social Action Trustee, and as the Chair of Mitzvah Day, CBB’s Groove Gala, and The Year of Living Torah Programs.
Elizabeth grew up in Los Angeles, is a UCSB Film Studies graduate, and had a thirteen year first career as a Publicist and International Marketing Executive for Universal Pictures. She and her husband David (and children Sophia and Max) returned to Santa Barbara in 2001 to start their next adventure and have immersed themselves in the Santa Barbara Jewish community ever since.
Contact Elizabeth at email@example.com or ext. 111.
Director of Operations
Ron is CBB’s first Director of Operations, having joined our team to focus on operations, logistics, and member services. He helps CBB members with questions about volunteer opportunities, member accounts, or any issues related to the facilities, operations, or systems at CBB, including those related to High Holy Days, programs and special events, or BHY operations.
Ron brings over 13 years of leadership and management in the local community as the former Director of Operations for Kyle’s Kitchen and Silvergreens Restaurants & Catering. A graduate of UCSB, Ron is actively involved as both a CBB member and in the broader community. He has two children.
When not at CBB you can find Ron hiking, watching the Lakers play, or trying to learn a new skill on YouTube. Ron is extremely approachable and loves interacting with people, so come say hello when you see him.
Please contact Ron any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 137.
Terry is responsible for all aspects of the temple’s bookkeeping, as well as payroll and human resources. Terry joined the staff in 2006. Prior to that, she worked for two Fortune 500 companies as an Accounting Supervisor and a Legal Assistant. She has been married to her husband Matt since 1983 and they have two sons, Andrew and Daniel. She is also a fierce bowling competitor.
Please contact Terry with any questions related to billing or contributions to the temple at email@example.com or ext. 119.
Director of Jewish Learning Programs (K-12)
As director of the temple’s Jewish Learning Programs (formerly Religious School), Jen Lewis helps support and organize all Jewish learning for K thru 12 students by creating deeply engaging and experiential programs that support the needs and interests of families and students. Her primary goals are to help students develop a strong sense of Jewish community, a passion for Judaic/Hebrew learning, and an understanding of Jewish values and ethics thru Tikkun Olam (“repairing the world”).
Jen has been a synagogue educator for 30 years, beginning with preschool at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and Beth Am, and most recently teaching 2nd and 4th grades here at CBB since 2008. In 2015, she became the Director of Jewish Learning Programs. She is a longtime resident of Santa Barbara, and along with her husband Stuart has 3 boys, TJ, Alex, and Isaac. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering at her children’s schools, walking the beautiful beaches of SB, and spending time outdoors with her family.
If you have any questions related to our Jewish Learning Programs please connect with Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 225.
Youth Engagement Coordinator
Eric spent his entire childhood here at Congregation B’nai B’rith, first at BHY and then making the most of all his years here – Bar Mitzvah, Academy, Confirmation, SBORTY Board and classroom madrich. He was active at Oklahoma State University where he founded “Jewish Stars at OCU” and spent many summers back in Santa Barbara as Jr./Sr. counselor, song leader and ultimately programming director of Camp Haverim.
After graduating with a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from Oklahoma City University and a year-long stint as the Youth and Music Fellow at Temple Israel in Capetown, South Africa, he’s returning to CBB for this leadership role. Eric is very eager to use his love and passion for Judaism and this place he calls home, to guide, support and help our current teens and preteens as they discover the wonders of Judaism for themselves.
Please contact Eric with any questions related to SBORTY and other Youth Programs at CBB at email@example.com or ext. 228.
Audrey Okaneko has been a member of Congregation B’nai B’rith since 1993. She began working at CBB in 2003, and helps manage most everything office related. When not working, Audrey enjoys reading, hiking, crocheting, cooking and more.
For general questions about the temple or its programs and events please contact Audrey at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 113.
Director of Community Engagement
Mariela is a Jewish professional who has been working for the Jewish community worldwide for 20 years. She holds a certificate in childhood education (Argentina); a B.A and M.A from the Seminar Hakibutzim and University of Haifa respectively (Israel); and a M.A in Jewish Nonprofit Management from the Zelikow School at Hebrew Union College (U.S). After working in development for 7 years, her personal and professional journey brought her back to her roots – synagogue life. She works at CBB to help every member find their place in our community, to add a touch of Jewish content at every possible opportunity, to facilitate and empower people to embrace their Jewish identity, and to explore it and find ways to give back to the community while combining their passions.
After hours, Mariela writes a Jewish Education Curriculum for a fellow synagogue in OC, loves to walk by the beach and do Facetime calls with her six nephews and nieces when she can’t drive to LA, and treasures quality time with her friends.
Please contact Mariela with any questions involving new membership, volunteer opportunities, or other engagement opportunities at CBB at email@example.com or ext. 104.
Development and Communications Associate
Monica has been a community member and volunteer leader at CBB since 2013. She joined the CBB staff in 2017 after working as a consultant on the Dreamers Ball, and in CBB Communications. Monica is also a member of the CA State Bar, and worked as an attorney and legal author before joining the team at CBB. In Monica’s current position, she works in Development with Executive Director Elizabeth Gaynes, and on Temple publications and website content with Director of Communications Paul Zakrzewski.
Among several volunteer positions, Monica serves as co-chair of the CBB Social Action Committee, is a refugee advocate through SB CAREs, a leader of the Women of Wisdom discussion group at CBB, and a member of the Women of B’nai B’rith Board. She is also Michael’s wife, a Beit HaYeladim/Netivot mom, an enthusiastic home cook, and an avid reader.
Please contact Monica with questions about contributing to CBB, and regarding website content and updates at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 108.
Property Manager & Caretaker
Stephen lives on-site providing 24-hour presence to our Temple. He’s responsible for the up-keep of the grounds and buildings, interfacing with vendors, managing, scheduling and overseeing our maintenance staff. Stephen is a member of the CBB Building Admin Committee identifying and completing larger facility projects.
Stephen joined the staff at CBB in September of 2014 after a summer long cross-country trip with his wife Kat. He brings over 25 years’ experience in construction and project management. In the late 80’s, he co-founded and co-owned a construction business. Born and raised in Maine, Stephen spent most of his early life on his Grandfather’s buffalo farm and riding stable. He later went on to pursue a management career with PepsiCo and completed and earned his BA degree from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.
Stephen’s daughter & grandchildren reside at the mountain property and house he and Kat built in the Connecticut River Valley in New Hampshire. He enjoys visiting them whenever possible. His favorite pastimes are watching the New England Patriots and woodworking projects.
Stephen can be reached at email@example.com or at x130.
Abad is in charge of the hire and supervision of CBB’s maintenance staff, and the purchase of Temple supplies (all food and cleaning), as well as oversight of meal prep, Shabbat setup, and events setup.
Prior to joining CBB in 2008, she worked as the housekeeping supervisor at the Bacara Spa & Resport, and the Housekeeping Manager at the Miramar Hotel. Born in Mexico City on January 12, the day of St. Anthony of Abad, she was named in honor of the saint by her father. She has lived in the US since 1989, and lives in Santa Barbara with her husband, Israel Alonso, and her son, a student at Dos Pueblos High School.
Abad can be reached at (805) 455-4196.
Director of Communications & Programs
As CBB’s chief communications contact, Paul oversees the temple’s weekly enewsletter, website, VOICES magazine (published 2x/year), and social media presence. He is also responsible for coordinating and publicizing CBB programs including Adult Learning and Sunday Morning Live.
Paul relocated to the Santa Barbara area in 2012, but has worked for Jewish non-profits since 2001, helping to expand opportunities for artists and scholars working with Jewish themes. An award-winning writer and creative writing teacher himself, he aims to empower others to transform their self-understanding through life stories. Paul is the editor of Lost Tribe: Jewish Fiction from the Edge (Harper Perennial), and a contributor to national publications including The New York Times. He holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. More at www.pzak.info.
If you have ideas or suggestions about temple publications or events, please contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 128.