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Meet The Candidates

President (1 will be elected)

Ellyn Mortimer: Thank you for the opportunity to serve. I have been a member of the JCM community since I moved to Maui in 1994. I grew up in Saint Paul, Minnesota in a traditional, Conservative Jewish family. Since living on Maui, my career has been in nonprofit development.  I started as a volunteer, and then after raising my three older children, I started working in nonprofits. I have been professionally and successfully fundraising, marketing, volunteer coordinating, event planning, grant writing, board developing for the past seven years. Along with my development role,  I was able to participate in board committees including finance, facilities, and fundraising. I would like our board to become a true committee board where committees meet monthly and board meetings are meant for reporting and decision making.  I truly love nonprofit work, I fully believe in the nonprofit model as a business model, and I feel called to serve my greater Jewish community at this time.  

I believe that in most situations, everyone  at the table can have most of what they want. I appreciate all sides of an issue, and figuring out how we can get to a place where everyone feels heard, valued, and happy with the decisions. Often, hard decisions have to be made, but I have found that with clear process and communication, even an opposing side/opinion can feel fulfilled and at peace. A good leader engages everyone involved, welcomes all to the table, and realizes that the best solution can come from the most unusual place. The President should be without a major agenda and should serve with the community in mind. I, of course, have my opinions and my vision, but as the President, it is my job to help facilitate and manage the process of making the decisions that benefit the whole. You will find my process to be clear communication, community involvement and transparency, and clear/fair-mindedness. My leadership qualities will bring all visions to the table to create a thriving and vibrant community for all Jews who live on and visit Maui.

I have been married to my loving and supporting husband, CJ, for almost six years, and I have four children: Sam 21, Haley 18, Charlie 13, and Lily 4. I live in beautiful Kula.

Vice President (1 will be elected)

Marc Levine:     Community, a sense of belonging, a place to celebrate highs and receive support when you’re low, inclusive, joyous, dynamic, feeling spirit, feeling our power as Jews and being surprised by strangers we suddenly feel like we’ve known forever. That’s my vision. Yes, a synagogue and a place to feel at home. THE Place that Jews new to Maui want to come to. THE place that long-time residents rediscover or discover for the first time. THE place that Maui Jews who weren’t sure where they fit, find they do. That’s my vision and the reason I’m excited to join the board. There’s so much more here than we even realize and I’m excited for us to discover it together. That’s what we can do as a board. I know the power of a dedicated group of people coming together. A team of people, each bringing their unique strengths and viewpoints. That’s when the magic happens. Listening and supporting each other to create something better than any could on their own.

I bring a professional skill set to help harness this vision. For over 15 years I’ve been a leadership coach, communications trainer, and team facilitator. I excel at listening, asking courageous questions, and helping passionate people who might disagree find common ground and connection. I’ve worked with for-profit clients like Citibank, Prudential and Sony Pictures. One client said after a team building day, “We accomplished more today and talked more than we had in months.”

I’ve been lucky to also work with non-profits like Volunteers of America and support two Jewish leadership teams, to unite and make tough decisions about their future- the board of Darkhei Noam in NYC, and the Jewish Federation of El Paso. With these clients I’ve provided team alignment and board development. I’ve helped them connect and have each other’s back. I’m excited to bring these skills to our board. To help develop our team to our highest potential, and to model the way. (Sometimes passionate committed board members forget to listen, or think they have the best ideas- other boards, of course- not ours). 😊

 

I also bring a strong business development background as a high performing director of sales. I’m excited to share my knowledge and tools to help support our fundraising efforts. Afterall, we need resources to support our spirit.

Personally, I bring joy, lightness, and a keen sense of play. I have an Improv Comedy background and like to help people lighten up when they tighten up. Finally, I offer a curious mind and a willingness to give and let go of my own ideas for ones that are better.

I moved to Maui 3 ½ years ago for love. I live with my wonderful girlfriend, Melissa, right around the corner from the Synagogue. I love walking on the beach at dawn and sunset, watching sports, and singing loudly and off-key.

 

Before moving to Maui, except for six years in Los Angeles, I spent my time in NYC metro area. I grew up in West Orange, NJ where my dad was a fundraiser with the Jewish federation. We belonged to a synagogue, but I never felt a connection. I finally felt it after moving to NYC and discovering congregation B’nai Jeshurun. First, it was a place of solace after my sister passed. I’d attend on Friday nights, say Kaddish, and it would be the one place I’d feel some relief. It would be my shining light during a very difficult year.

Later, I’d make new friends, join the softball team, and dance in the streets on Simchat Torah. It was my Jewish home.

And now I’m excited to be part of a new Jewish home. Thank you to all who served before. The board members and volunteers. Mahalo, for all you’ve created. Here’s to our next phase- together.

 

Secretary (1 will be elected)

Sarah Shaines: Aloha. I love being of service and making a positive difference. It’s in my family blood. I’m a Russian Jew, raised in a New Hampshire town with 30 other conservative Jewish families and a home full of rich traditions. I grew up in a 6-store family run Menswear business. I learned quickly that quality, civic duty and customer service come first.

Two years ago, I noticed JCM weekly Shabbat morning service attendance dwindling around me. Very concerned, I sat in on a board meeting to listen and learn why. At that meeting I was invited and joined the BOD. I committed to serve a year: ‘let me see how I can help make a shift toward tomorrow’. Time flew.  2-1/2 years later, with lots of collective determination, our tomorrow is here!

Partnered with Karl Frisch, we hosted neighborhood ‘share’ meetings and I’ve been an active director-at-large. This Yom Kippur, my last minute plea with 2-days’ notice and no budget, 2 of our amazing high school seniors created and led outdoor Yom Kippur Youth Services! Many hands, many hearts.

I’m excited to run in this pivotal JCM election and if selected, honored to serve on the board and as Secretary. ‘Let me see how I can help re-build a welcoming, profitable and transparent center of Jewish life on Maui.’ Our temple is a corporation. We want to be successful and support the Island’s desire for an inclusive and celebratory growing community.

I bring boundless enthusiasm and willingness to find solutions. I am known for my candor, my commitment to collaboration in the accomplishment of a common goal and I thrive on and create win-win situations.

Operations are a personal passion: both the form, function and organization of administration and the outside maintenance and manicured appearance.I love and excel at planning and executing events, have a strong marketing sense and great follow through. I’m creative and will work on big pictures as well as minutia details. No job too big or small.

I have a passion and proven talent to create revenue streams! Some streams can be self-replenishing and recession proof. 30 years ago, I created Macy’s’ computerized Wedding Gift registry for the national retail wedding industry. It’s still generating sales! Perhaps you’ve used it. I was well known and respected in the industry for creating solutions to complex problems and increasing sales. I have years of experience planning weddings and would love to bring this winning skill-set to JCM. We ARE in the world’s wedding capital. Everyone could become engaged. Pun intended.

Working with our staff and members, I would like to help our Policy & Procedure manual come to life and our systems to become visitor and member-friendly, efficient and consistent.

I am a massage therapist happily working 30 years with private clients, at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in NYC, and for the past 16 years I work at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea Spa. Independently, I’m also company President and designer of luxury resort wear for 5-star resorts and cruise ships. was recently honored by the Four Seasons and chosen as a Culture Carrier - a global initiative catering to enriching each employee’s experiences and their impact in this amazing hospitality industry. JCM is a member of this hospitality industry! We can make a great contribution to the state and our community through this vibrant wedding business.

In NYC, I worked with Dr. Mehmet Oz to create and run our hospital-wide Complementary Care Center. Mehmet still attributes much of the success of the program to my diligence and hard work. We succeeded as a team with tireless compassion, sacrifice, mutual respect and patience.

As assistant Store Manager for NYC’s Bergdorf-Goodman, I implemented service-based programs and built bridges between feuding merchants and merchandisers to grow profits for all departments and shareholders.

After 23 years in NYC where I nestled into B’nai Jeshurun, I moved to Kihei: I got my library card, found the Temple and joined the BOD of MauiMultiSport Club where I ran their Olympic trial Triathlon for 9 years. Ran it, not ran IN it.

I would like each of our BOD members to chair a committee. How exciting, between monthly meetings JCM Jews are gathering to enrich and grow community reach and value. BOD meetings then serve for coming together in discussion, decisions and new business. I believe that after each meeting members deserve an update. As secretary, would provide that and more.

I’d be honored to have your vote.      Shalom.

Treasurer (1 will be elected)

Simon Vojdani:

Director at Large (5 will be elected)

Penni EggerAloha,     My name is Penni Egger and I have lived on Maui for about 28 years. I am a Real Estate Agent with Island Sotheby's International Realty and take a lot of pride in our Island and Communities on Maui.  I have been a member of the Realtors Association of Maui for the past 15 years and have sat on different committees with the Board of Directors.... including Upcountry Regional Director and, my favorite, the Scholarship Committee. In the past, I sat on the Board of the Jewish Congregation of Maui and was fortunate enough to take part in many activities including setting up parties that doubled as fundraisers and helping with one of our first Big Fundraisers – the Marilyn Monroe House. I look forward to once again using my strengths and talents to help the JCM community.

 

I grew up in a Jewish Home celebrating the Holidays and going to Shabbat services with my Bubbie and Zadie. Some of my favorite memories are ditching Hebrew School with the Cantor and getting ice cream instead... now several years later I realize he tricked us and was still teaching us even though we were not inside the Synagogue. My hope is to help create a Congregation and Temple that our children can have such great memories as well.

 have 4 children all born and raised here. Two have graduated and are now on the Mainland attending College, and two are getting ready to start at King Kekaulike High School in August 2019. My children are the most important to me, and I have always been very involved in the Schools and Sports Programs offered, including the County Leagues.

I only have the most respect and gratitude to all who have served in past Board Positions and especially Rabbi Glickman for all he has given and done for our congregation. Wishing you all a beautiful day!!     With my warmest aloha, Penni

 

 

Jenni Ezekial: I have been a member of JCM since 2001 when I moved to Maui. This synagogue has been a very special part of life.  I have been on the board & the kiddish committee since 2013. I attend Shabbat services regularly. I also volunteer throughout the year for what is needed for different events. 

If I am elected to the board I will continue to serve the synagogue & the community.  
Shalom & Namaste.
 

 

 

Boris Gladshtein: Shalom to all the Jews of Maui!     My name is Boris Gladshtein. I am 33 years old and I live in Kula. My wife’s name is Colette and we have a four-month-old daughter Mila. I was born in Moscow to a Jewish family and It is important to me to keep the traditions that my family fought so hard for in communist Russia. 

 

My family migrated to Israel when I was 5 years old and I grew up on a 100 family moshav. This gave me important insights into how small communities work. After my bar mitzva we moved to Rehovot which is a city that combines a harmony between the large Hassidic population and the young scientists from the Weitzman institute. This experience living in a mixed community is pertinent to our unique Maui community. During the 2ndLebanese war I served in a specialized unit of the Israel Air Force. I moved to Hawaii in 2007 and to Maui in 2009. I am self-employed and have operated several retail businesses during my ten years on Maui. I am a people person and have managerial as well as sales skills. I am running for the board of directors of JCM because I want to ensure that we have a thriving Jewish community for my children to be a part of.

 

It is important to me that we have a synagogue that is open every day and an organization that any Jewish person can benefit from and get help from as needed. I would like to see daily, and weekly minyans formed for people who need to say kaddish and to see more events with more people participating. It also needs to be a fun place for kids. Education is also important as people need to know and understand what our ancestors died for. I hope I will get a chance to serve the Jewish community of Maui with the best of my skills, knowledge and connections.

 

 

Janine HolsteinHello Jewish Community of Maui! My name is Dr. Janine Holstein. I moved to Maui in 2013 with my (then 2 yr. old) son from Santa Monica, CA. I work as an online professor for 5 universities and can therefore live anywhere I want. One of the main reasons I chose Maui over all the places we could have lived on the planet and within Hawaii was because of the presence of this Jewish community and this synagogue. It is important to me that my son has a shul to connect to, to daven in, to learn about what it means that he is a Levi, that he has a unique role within the Jewish service.

 

I grew up in New Rochelle, NY, attending a Modern Orthodox, Young Israel synagogue and going to Jewish Day School. As I got older, I was always a spiritual searcher, and therefore over the years, immersed myself in many different Jewish sects ranging from orthodox yeshiva to egalitarian and conservative Judaism in Israel and the United States. As a member of the Maui Jewish community, I have my opinions and comfort level of what I want to see in a shul here. Please know, if I am elected to the Board of Directors for the Jewish Community of Maui, I am committed to the role of serving what is best for the Jewish community on Maui, even if it does not always align with what I personally want to see happen.

 

 

Sheri Levin McNerthney: I have been part of JCM since 2001. I feel called to serve on the JCM BOD at this time, to help shape JCM at this critical time of transition. Being on Maui presents both unique challenges and unique opportunities for Jewish community-building. A fundamental challenge is how to address the needs of an extremely diverse Jewish population.  As a JCM BOD member, I want to help build a JCM that the entire Jewish spectrum represented on Maui wants to be part of. A fundamental opportunity is presented by our location in an international tourist destination. As a JCM BOD member, I want to help envision how we can take advantage of this opportunity to serve both visiting Jews and local Jews in such a way that our community can be financially self-sustaining. 

Imagine a typical Shabbat morning on a JCM campus with a central social hall, surrounded by several purpose-built “pods”.  A pod could be a permanent structure, a screen house, or a stone circle.  Each pod is alive with the energy of a different prayer group. One buzzes with the murmur of a  traditional Halachic minyan.  One is alive with the song of Jewish renewal. One is silent in Jewish meditation.  Everything and anything in between; each group connects to G-d by their lights.  Each prayer service looks very different. But what each person in every prayer group has in common is being a Jew. After Shabbat morning services, everyone gathers together in the social hall for Shabbat lunch. We all enjoy Oneg Shabbat - the joy of Shabbat - together, as a community. During the week the JCM campus is full of activity every day. There’s Hebrew school, youth clubs, adult study groups, dancing, art, yoga, Jewish meditation sessions. The JCM campus is designed to host retreats facilitated by visiting rabbis and educators.  Some of these visiting educators will attract visitors from all over the world.

How do we get there? Incrementally.  The first step is to get Beit Shalom on solid fiscal footing. Find a Rabbi who is able to ignite the spiritual spark of our community, in all our diversity, yet is rooted in tradition.  Hire an Executive Director to build the operational and fiscal strength of JCM.  Draft a membership appeal letter to membership past and present, transparently outlining the steps being taken in this transition period and a vision for the future. 

I had a strong Jewish education growing up in Boston, where I attended the Hebrew College high school program .  I lived in Jerusalem from 1972-1975, where I attended Hebrew University. Since then I’ve lived in Toronto, Berkeley, and Seattle before moving to Maui in 2001.  I have enjoyed serial careers: software engineer, homeschooling Mom, and currently professional artist. I have been married to my husband Pat for 34 years. We have one daughter, Terra, a filmmaker currently living in Toronto.  I’ve served on the Board of Directors for several non-profit groups, including serving as Membership Director and Race Director for Valley Isle Road Runners and Treasurer of Maui Crafts Guild.

 

Dania Novak Katz: Thank you for the opportunity to run as a Board Director. My intent is to bring our synagogue and Jewish community back together in a vibrant, thoughtful manner by helping support the direction of a new board and spiritual leadership. This includes a healthy financial outlook as well as community participation.

I have been a Maui County resident since 1989 and a member of The Jewish Congregation of Maui since 1990. It has been my pleasure to serve in the past on the Board of Directors by filling the positions of treasurer, secretary, and board director. I have also been a volunteer with chevra kadisha as well as participated in all life cycles and community events. Through my previous volunteer work, I helped create the annual Jewish Calendar, hosted and executed Shabbat on the Beach, and raised my two children in the synagogue while maintaining a Jewish home.

Professionally, I own and publish edible Hawaiian Islands magazine, a James Beard awarded statewide food and drink publication since 2003. I am single and the proud parent of two children, Noah (21) of Pukalani and Lily (18) of Washington DC.

 

Jessica Pearl: Aloha, my name is Jessica Pearl. I have been on island since 2004, and have owned Jessica Pearl Photography for 8 years. Several years ago, I  photographed Jewish ritual objects  for the Maui synagogue calendar, a project, called Intertwining Maui.  It was an artistic labor of love, in service to the synagogue. 

I am married and have a son. He is a 3 year old toddler, and he is my heart! Right now, our families and our children need this community. L'dor vador, from generation to generation it is imperative that we pass our heritage on to our children. In order to do this,  parents need support, and our children need a place to learn. Our keiki need to grow up with Yiddishkeit, knowing how to pray, understanding Torah and its values, knowing the story of our people. There are programs that I would like to see created in order for our children to grow up Jewish. 

My first priority is to see programming once a month for little ones in the form of a tot Shabbat and a junior congregation service for school aged children. This will of course lead the way for Bar and Bat Mitzvah preparation.  These Shabbat activities will draw  in more Jewish families, especially if we provide babysitters for Shabbat morning services! 

My second priority is to serve our children with an excellent Hebrew school. My 3 year old would love a fun Torah tots class with singing and movement while our preschoolers and early elementary age children could learn through arts and crafts projects. More focused learning for our elementary and middle school students would prepare them for Bar and Bat Mitzvah. In addition, it would be wonderful to plan for fun family outings  like going to the pumpkin patch at Halloween, and Shabbos in the park, beach days and different events to create fun for our Jewish families.

My third priority would be to start a vegetable garden that the kids can work on! How FUN!!! 

Lastly, living on island, we are far from our family support systems. We are on our own! We could create a support system where we could trade baby sitting with other families with young children. We could create a Zadie and Bubbie program where our seniors would be more involved with our kids. These types of programs would strengthen each of us and in turn make for a vibrant Jewish community.             Thank you, Jessica

Gail Schell: I have been attending Jewish Congregation of Maui since I moved to Maui in 2011. I have volunteered for all events wherever needed and have been on the kiddish committee for several years.I attend Shabbat services regularly as I have wherever I lived.If elected, I will serve the synagogue and the community.

Ari Wong: Aloha, my wife and I became members of Jewish Congregation of Maui as soon as we moved to Maui in 2016. I am thrilled to be back home in Hawai’i, having been born and raised in a Conservative Jewish family on O’ahu. My wife and I and our new 6 week old daughter are committed to this congregation and sustaining a strong and vibrant Jewish Community on Maui. I know firsthand the difficulties of maintaining a Jewish identity here, and want to help ensure this congregation is able to serve the diverse needs of our community. After leaving Oahu for college in Washington, DC, I have spent the last 17 years working in various roles in the U.S. Government in San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC, and overseas. I feel incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to return home as the Chief Ranger of Haleakala National Park. In this position I lead community outreach, and work hard at ensuring that we are able to fulfill our obligations to the Maui community, as well as visitors to our island. I believe that these experiences will help build bridges, and ensure that the diverse needs of our community are met. Mahalo for your consideration.

 

Mon, January 21 2019 15 Shevat 5779