Thank you to the hundreds of members who have made their voices heard and voted in our recent elections for new representatives to our Board of Directors. Your support and involvement is what makes our Stephen Wise Temple and Schools community able to make meaning and change the world. After tallying our ballots, we are excited to congratulate our incoming President Janine Kolodny, who has previously served as a Vice President of Development and a member of the Executive Committee, as well as being part of numerous other committees in her tenure as a Wise member. We also wish to extend our congratulations to our newly-elected and reelected 2018-19 Board and Executive Committee members: Nasi Bamshad, Susan Berger, Steve Bram, Michelle Farhadi, Alexsondra “Alex” Shore Fixmer, Philip Koosed, Chet Kronenberg, Farnaz Neman, Alex Neymark, Ira Pianko, Jeffrey Resnick, Jeremy Rosen, Victor Svilik, and Lori Tyberg.
We wish to express our deepest gratitude to the following Board members completing their terms at the end of June. Our community is stronger due to your commitment and service. Heartfelt thanks to Nancy Emmanuel, Larry Gotlieb, Sid Marantz, Ed Nahmias, and Sussan Shore.
On Friday, June 8 at our 6:15 Shabbat service, we will install our 2018-19 Board and show our great appreciation for outgoing President Steve Fishman upon completing his two years of outstanding service to the Wise community. It will also be our great pleasure to say thank you to all of our outgoing Board members. Please join us for this very special evening that celebrates those in our community who give so much of their time, energy, and dedication.
And of course, thank you to our 2017-18 Nominating Committee for all of their effort and professionalism throughout this process.
JANINE A. KOLODNY
I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and immigrated to Los Angeles in 1986. My family was very active in the Jewish community and we belonged to a Conservative Temple. I attended Jewish Day School and attended the University of Witwatersrand. In South Africa, I had a successful career in advertising and marketing with Grey Advertising and Ogilvy & Mather, working on international packaged goods accounts. When I moved to Los Angeles, I joined Tracy Locke, a national advertising agency, as a VP Account Supervisor on the national Taco Bell account. I proudly became a US citizen in 1992.
Rick and I were committed to giving our kids a Jewish education and we joined Stephen Wise Temple in 1990. Our children, Michelle and David, both attended and loved their Wise School and Milken experiences. Stephen Wise Temple is our home and we are so grateful for the wonderful lifelong friendships we have all made as a result. The Temple has supported our family through all our lifecycle events in a way that is very precious to us. Rick and I regularly attend our beautiful Shabbat services.
Since 1990, I have devoted my time and energy as a volunteer on numerous committees at our Schools, Temple and the larger Jewish community of Los Angeles, including the Jewish Federation Women’s Department, Builders of Jewish Education and Beit T’shuvah. I was elected to the Temple Board of Directors in 1999 and to the Executive Committee of the Temple in 2005. Over the years, I have served as President of the Wise Nursery and Elementary Schools and have helped initiate and launch the School Mitzvah Committee, the Parent Docent Program, and the School Values Program. Another highlight was co-chairing the Health and Education Advisory committee. I also spent a year working in the Admissions Department at Milken.
My Temple committee experience includes working on the formation of the 6:15pm Shabbat Service, the Patron & Sponsor program, Galas, The Living Torah Project, Co-Chair of the Strategic Development Plan, Co-Chair of Shalom Garden, Senior Rabbi Transition committee, VP of Development overseeing the Annual and Capital campaigns and Generations Endowment program, Co-Chair of the Wise School Education Advisory committee and Co-Chair of the High Holy Day Task Force. I was a proud student of the Melton program for 6 years and am now enjoying Rabbi Yoshi’s weekly Talmud class.
My experience and contribution to the larger Jewish community includes previously serving for 5 years on the Executive BBoard of the BJE and currently I am a member of their Advisory Board. I am also on the Executive Board of the Jewish Federation Women’s Department and have held different positions on various committees over the past 13 years. In 2014, I was the recipient of the “Rita Reznikoff” Leadership Award. Rick and I support AIPAC as Washington Club members.
It is my honor and privilege to continue my work and commitment to our very special community.
My family joined Stephen Wise Temple in 1967 just before the Temple moved from its Westwood site to its current location. I became a Bar Mitzvah and was confirmed at the Temple. My wife Julie and I have been married for 32 years and active members for the last 25 years. Both our children, Ben (now age 28) and Alanna (now age 25), became Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and were confirmed at SWT. I served on the Temple’s Budget and Finance Committee for 4 years. Julie co-chaired the Religious School’s Advisory Committee for over 5 years, working closely with Metuka Benjamin. Our family attended the weekly Shabbat Minyan with Rabbi Finley for over 5 years. We have hosted numerous Temple events at our home, including study sessions and Shabbat in Your Neighborhood events. During the recession, I served on the Real Estate Advisory Counsel, helping Temple members with their real estate and job-related issues and have been a guest speaker at the SWT Men’s Club. I currently serve on the Financial Oversight Committee.
I was born and raised in Southern California, graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Southwestern University Law School. My husband, Ron, and I have been Temple members for 15 years. Our daughters, Chloe and Celine, are Wise School graduates, having started in Mommy and Me. Our youngest, Evan, is a fourth grader at Wise School. During my 15 years as a parent at the Temple’s schools, I have played an active role in the parent association working in many capacities such as Vice President and Recording Secretary of the Executive Board and chairing a variety of school committees. I am very proud to be serving our congregation as a member of the Temple Board of Directors. In this role, I am a dedicated member of the Academic Advisory Committee and the Catering Committee. My family and I feel a great connection to our Temple and its advancement and I look forward to further advocating its causes as a member of the Temple Board of Directors Executive Committee.
My wife Alison and I have been Stephen Wise Temple members for sixteen years. Our three children, Jed, Amy and Jenna, attended the Temple pre-school, the Temple Religious School and participated in the Center for Youth Engagement. I have served as a Temple Board member for six years and have served on the Executive Committee for four years. I also am chair of the Governance Committee and a member of the Development Committee. I am originally from Rockford, Illinois, where I was active in my Reform Temple youth programs and attended camp at Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute Camp in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. I am currently a litigation partner in the Los Angeles office of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. In addition to serving on the Temple Board, I currently am a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern California Tennis Association.
My husband, Robert, and I have been members since 2003 and our children, Sophia and Michael, attended and graduated the elementary school. I have chaired and organized events throughout the time that our kids attended the school, and during my first three years as a Temple Board member, I co-chaired the Educational Advisory Committee with Rabbi Yoshi and I was a member of the Development Committee. I co-chaired our high school graduation gathering for kids who graduated from our elementary school and organized our college outreach efforts by sending Hannukah care packages to our Temple’s college students. As an Executive Committee member, I have been involved with the Temple membership and have served as an Ambassador. As always, we continue to support our Temple as a family, and I am honored to serve the congregation.
My wife Linda and I have been members of the Stephen Wise Temple for 40 years. All four of our children attended the Elementary School through the 6th grade and were confirmed after their B’nai Mitzvah. I have served as a Board Member for the past six years and on the Executive Committee for the past six years. I serve on the Financial Oversight Committee, Governance Committee and Membership Committee. I am the former President of UCLA Hillel and I am active in various Jewish Federation committees and other Jewish organizations. I look forward to continuing my involvement at the Temple.
My wife, Mariya, and I became members of Stephen Wise Temple in 2004, the year we were married by Rabbi Stern, who also married my sister and her husband. Rabbi Stern has officiated at all of our lifecycle events (weddings, funerals and bris/simchat bat ceremonies). We have three children, Eliana (11), Jonathan (9), and Sarah (6). Our kids attend the Religious School and Camp Wise where Mariya is involved as an active parent. Since joining the Board in 2013, I have served on the Membership Infrastructure Committee and I am currently the Chair of the Financial Oversight Committee (“FOC”). I enjoy working with Board members, the clergy, and staff. I believe that Stephen Wise Temple is a wonderful institution and one that plays an important role in our community. I grew up and live in Encino. I am a member of AIPAC and support Jewish causes such as the Jewish Federation, Jewish National Fund, Stand With Us, and Friends of the IDF. I am a commercial real estate developer and investor; my wife is a physician at UCLA. I have a B.A. from Stanford University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
My husband Leandro and I have been members of Stephen Wise Temple as a couple since 2002 and were married by Rabbi Herscher. Leandro attended our Day School as an elementary school student and his family have been Temple members since the early 80s. Our children, Francesca (a recent graduate of Wise School) and Roan (fourth grade), are blessed to have attended our School since Mommy and Me. I have had the honor of being involved in various committees of Wise School, have had the privilege to serve on our Temple Board for the past 6 years and am fortunate to be involved with various Temple committees including Wise Hearts and Tikkun Olam. Stephen Wise is a second home for our family and we cherish the deepening connections we have to our incredible community, Temple and School. It is an honor for me to continue to serve on the Executive Committee of our Temple Board.
I am so honored to be part of the Stephen Wise family and to serve on the Temple Board. My husband and I began our journey at Wise almost thirteen years ago after the birth of our first child. At the time, we were long time members, along with my family, at another Los Angeles temple. We chose Wise for the amazing parenting center and preschool. For several years, we had dual membership until we realized that Wise had become a home for our family. Our oldest son has now graduated from Wise Elementary and is currently a 7th grader at Brentwood School. Our daughter and younger son attend Wise School. I am a pediatric dentist practicing in Los Angeles. My husband is a urologist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. I currently serve as an Executive Board Member on the Wise Parents Association Board overseeing several committees including Wise Hearts, Sova, and Social Action and am also serving as an Ambassador for both the Temple and the School. I am looking forward to serving our Temple and our community at large for many years to come.
My husband Jon and I have been members of Stephen Wise Temple since we were young children. We became B’nai Mitzvah, went to summer camp, were confirmed and married at the Temple. Both of our daughters, Sami and Carly, attended the ECC and Elementary School. Sami, a graduate of Milken and The George Washington University, is currently living in New York and is working for Elle Magazine. Carly graduated from Harvard Westlake and is currently a Junior at the University of Michigan. I have been an active member of the WPA at the Elementary School, Milken and Harvard Westlake, routinely serving on the board of each of these schools in various capacities. My involvement at the Temple has included everything from chairing numerous Purim Carnivals to co-chairing several Temple Galas. As a Temple Board member, I have been active in new membership programs and have worked as an Ambassador dedicated to our new members and their welcome in to our community. I am also dedicated to the Temple’s many Social Action programs such as Wise Readers to Leaders, where I served on the Board for four years. I am also an active member of the Jewish Federation. My family is devoted to U.C.L.A.’s Operation Mend proudly serving as a “buddy family” to military men and women who have been severely injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Berger family takes great pride in celebrating our life’s journey together at Stephen Wise Temple.
ALEXSONDRA “ALEX” SHORE FIXMER
I am deeply honored to be considered for a seat on the Stephen Wise Board of Directors. I have been a member of Stephen Wise Temple my entire life. I was raised in a Stephen Wise home, attended Wise School since early childhood and my commitment to our community has extended into adulthood. My husband and I were married by Rabbi Eli Herscher and our two children attend Wise School through the Early Childhood program and Parenting Center. I currently donate my time to the Wise community through my involvement in the Parent Community Task Force, Refugee Awareness Committee and as a Room Parent at Wise School. I also volunteer year-round at Public Counsel, where I represent low income families through the adoption process. Professionally, I am an attorney for The Walt Disney Company in the Disney/ABC Television Group. At Disney, I oversee the team that drafts and negotiates global media and technology agreements for Disney Channels Worldwide, ABC Broadcast Network, Freeform and Disney Television Animation. I look forward to drawing on my personal and
professional experience to help support and advance our Temple community, which has been so near and dear to me and my family for more than three generations.
I want to start by expressing my gratitude for this great honor of serving on the Board of Stephen Wise. Stephen Wise has been an incredibly significant part of my life and the lives of my entire family. I truly look forward to learning from the deep experience of this board. I am 35 years old and a Stephen Wise Elementary School alum, so amongst other things, I hope to contribute a unique perspective. My personal story with Stephen Wise began in mommy-and-me and continued all the way through 6th grade. I had my Bar Mitzvah at Stephen Wise with Rabbi Herscher and Cantor Lam and continued on through the Confirmation program. My two sisters also attended elementary school, had their Bat-Mitzvahs and went through the Confirmation program at Wise. In 2000, I went on to USC to get a degree in Business (Corporate Finance). My freshman year, I reconnected with an old friend from Stephen Wise named Brett Marz who was also attending USC. We decided to partner together and start a promotional product company called BAMKO. Stephen Wise was one of our first clients! We built the business for the last 17 years adding 11 offices on four continents. In that time, we sourced over 100 million promotional products and shipped to over 85 countries. In 2016, we sold BAMKO to a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq. Brett and I decided to stay with the business and our desks remain about 10 feet away from each other. At USC, I also met my wife, Tamar Koosed. She came from a small Jewish community in the middle of the Amazon in Brazil. We dated for a number of years and have been married for the last 8 years. She started and runs an international development firm called Manaus Consulting that focuses on the monitoring and evaluation of large government social projects and NGO programs. The two loves of our lives are our two boys, Asher and Itzhak (4 and 2 years old). Asher is already attending Stephen Wise and Itzhak will be starting in the fall. Additionally, my 3 nephews also attend as well. It gives me immense joy to do drop off at school in the morning and see some of the same faces I saw when I was a boy. The latest chapter of Stephen Wise making an incredible impact in my life came in late 2016. Tamar and I had done nothing for the first 5 years the Syrian Civil War raged on, but one day we decided we must act. We combined our professional backgrounds and decided to attempt to send a container of medical aid into the hardest-hit, hardest-to-reach areas of Syria in order to save children. We started an organization called Save the Syrian Children and again Stephen Wise was instrumental. Rabbi Yoshi immediately offered to allow us to use his non-profit, Kavod, as our fiscal sponsor. Rabbi Stern helped with support through the Wise social action committee. As a result, Save the Syrian Children became one of the primary charities for Mitzvah Day and Passover and we were privileged be the first speakers at the Wise Years program this year. What started with the goal of one container ended up becoming 20 full containers, and in 2017, we delivered over $65 million in medical aid, food and clothing to Syria. Simply put, this would not have happened without Rabbi Yoshi, Rabbi Stern and Stephen Wise. I look back at 35 years of benefiting from being part of the Stephen Wise family. I am humbled and thank you deeply for this opportunity to contribute back in a meaningful way.
I appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Board of Stephen Wise Temple. At the age of 5 my family emigrated from the USSR as part of the Jewish exodus of the late 1970s. I grew up in the Valley and graduated from UCLA. I spent my early career in software and technology but for the last 10+ years have been a partner in an Encino accounting practice. My wife Alison and I were fortunate to be married by Rabbi Yoshi before he joined the Wise family. Since then our family has grown and we have three children Natalie (11), Leah (9) and Ryan (7). I hope my experiences will bring a unique perspective on Jewish identity, life and culture.
After Robin, David, Brian and I moved to Los Angeles 30 years ago, we immediately became part of the Stephen Wise community and both of our sons graduated from the Temple’s elementary school. Over the years Stephen Wise has been an important part of our family: Rabbi Herscher and Cantor Lam both officiated at David and Brian’s bar mitzvahs, Brian and Marissa’s wedding, the baby namings of their children as well as life cycle events. The love and support from the community when David passed was a source of strength for our family. Over the years I have been a partner with an International Accounting firm as well as the Chief Operating and/or Chief Financial Officer at a music publisher, real estate firm and K-12 school. I have served on the Board of Trustees of the Oakwood School since 1991 and have also been involved in a number of community-based organizations. Both Robin and I have continued our involvement at Stephen Wise and are both participating in the Florence Melton program as well as community learning opportunities. It would be an honor to serve on the Board of Directors for Stephen Wise Temple.
My wife Jodi, my son Ethan, and I joined the Temple in 2006. I have just completed a three-year term on the Temple Board. I serve on the Board of Wise Readers to Leaders and have been an active member of the Temple’s Social Justice Committee. Outside of the Temple, I am a partner at Horvitz & Levy LLP, where I specialize in handling civil appeals in state and federal appellate courts. I am also the Director of Pepperdine Law School’s Ninth Circuit Clinic, where I supervise law students in representing formerly pro se individuals on appeal in the Ninth Circuit. I graduated with a BA in history and government from Cornell University and received my J.D. and L.L.M. in International and Comparative Law from Duke University School of Law.