Board of Trustees
Jeff moved to the Tampa Bay area from Trotwood, Ohio (Pop. 7,802, SAA-LUTE!) in 1979. Following graduation from the University of Florida, he returned to Tampa, where he met his wife, Terri. Terri and Jeff are blessed with two riant children, Ethan (13) and Miriam (9). For the past ten years Jeff has served on the Kol Ami Executive Committee as a vice president, with a rotating portfolio. Prior to that, he was active on the Kol Ami Board in various capacities, including terms as chair of the Membership Committee, chair of the Dues Committee, and chair of the Web Page Committee. He has also served on the Nominating Committee, the Finance Committee, the Long-Range Planning Committee, the Social Committee, numerous ad-hoc committees, and has been a Torah University faculty member. You may have seen Jeff ushering people to the bimah during High Holiday services. In the secular world, Jeff is an attorney with a practice devoted exclusively to eminent domain, inverse condemnation, and real estate litigation; though unless the government or a pipeline company is taking your property, you’re much more likely to find him on the sideline cheering one of Ethan’s soccer matches, sitting quietly listening to Miriam play piano, or packing chess boards and chess clocks en route to the kids’ next tournament. If not there, Jeff may be off with his family, cameras in hand, hiking some mountain or visiting some distant land.
Vice President/President Elect - David Pearlman
David is a graduate of Indiana University, where he earned a B.A. degree in Psychology with an Area Certificate in Jewish Studies. He is currently a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch, where he specializes in financial planning and 401k rollovers. Prior to Merrill Lynch, he was a commercial lender with numerous local banks. David his wife, Deborah White, and their children, Noah (10) and Evan (9), joined Kol Ami in 2000. David has served on a variety of committees at Kol Ami including the Nominating Committee, the Long-Range Planning Committee, the Ritual Committee, and the Interim Rabbi Search Committee, as well numerous ad-hoc committees. He has also held board roles in endowment, dues, and most recently as financial secretary. Outside Kol Ami, David serves on the Advisory Board Member for the JNF, the Development Corporation for Israel, The Tampa Connection, and is the incoming chair for The Make-A-Wish Foundation. He previously served as the chair for the Loan Committee for Neighborhood Lending Partners, a non-profit organization specializing in financing projects in affordable housing communities in Florida. David is also a graduate and current board member of The Tampa Connection, a local leadership development program. He continues to be excited to be a part of the leadership of Kol Ami.
Treasurer – Debbie Eisenstadt
Debbi Eisenstadt has lived in the Tampa Bay area since the age of 7, moving with her family from Long Island. She, and her husband, the late Mike Eisenstadt, settled in Tampa after graduating from the University of South Florida with a degree in accounting. She has been a CPA, practicing in public accounting since graduation. Debbie and her family can be counted as one of the “original 40″ family units of Congregation Kol Ami and was the first elected Treasurer of Kol Ami. She has served on the Board several times as either the recording secretary, treasurer or financial secretary. Debbi has two sons, Mark, who lives in Jacksonville, and Keith, who lives in Tampa.
Vice President - Lynn Chernin
Lynn was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. While living in the Twin Cities, she was involved in the St. Paul United Jewish Fund and the Minnesota AIDS Project. Lynn and her husband, Adam, moved to Tampa thirteen years ago when their family purchased the last remaining meat packing plant in the state of Florida. They became members of Kol Ami a year later. Since joining Kol Ami, Lynn has served on the Sisterhood Board, and, while a member of the Fundraising Committee, chaired the Joe Black concert and the Las Vegas Night Auction. She served on the Board of Trustees for three years as Publicity Chair prior to becoming a vice president six years ago. Lynn is also involved in the community. She was president of the North Preschool Parents Association, served on the Hillel Academy Board of Trustees where she was sponsorship chair for the Gil Cates event, co-chair for “From The Heart With Larry King” and “A Masterpiece Celebration” and chair for the 2012 Gift of Gold. Lynn and Adam are the proud parents of Alissa (12), Devin (10), and Jacob (7) and continue watching their children grow up at Kol Ami.
Vice President - Avi Elias
Avi was born in Reading, PA, and raised in Phoenix, AZ. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Arizona and a Master’s Degree in Health Services Administration from The George Washington University. As part of his graduate work, Avi completed an internship at the Jewish Home for the Aged in San Francisco, CA. Avi has spent the last sixteen years in the senior services arena, the last fourteen years serving as executive director of various assisted living facilities. In addition to his Assisted Living Administrator’s Certificate, Avi is a licensed Nursing Home Administrator. He is currently the operations director for Brentwood Senior Living. Additionally, he serves on the Board of the Jewish National Fund. In 2000, Avi moved to Florida and promptly found Congregation Kol Ami. Avi has one daughter, Courtney (10).
Vice President - Cathy Grossman
Cathy was born in Miami and grew up in Atlanta. She attended Kennesaw State College. After briefly living in Cleveland, Ohio and Newton, New Jersey, Cathy has called Tampa home since 1984. Her technology skills were first used in developing and training on nursing assessment and staffing systems. Once in Tampa, she joined the Southeast Store Planning Division of Home Depot. She has been a member of Congregation Kol Ami for twenty years, a member of Sisterhood, served on the Sisterhood Board, member of Ma’asim Tovim, and Kol Ami Board. Cathy has served on the Parent Teacher Association Board at the JCC Preschool and was also employed at the preschool. In 1999, Cathy began her second career at the Hillel Academy and is the director of admissions. She has been a member of the Hillel Parent Teacher Organization for fifteen years and on the Board for six years. Cathy is mom to two wonderful sons, Eliott and Sam.
Vice President - Miriam Zohar
Miriam grew up in New York and Miami before attending the University of Florida in the mid 1980s, where she studied and got her degree in Interior Design at the College of Architecture. During an internship in Tampa, she met her husband, Dan, and they married at Kol Ami after graduation. Miriam jumped right into her new community and began volunteering in the Kol Ami Sisterhood while working full time at a local design firm. Shortly after, she was nominated for Sisterhood president and held the position for three years, continuing on the Sisterhood Board in various capacities for several years and serving on the Kol Ami Board as membership chair. Other volunteer activities include ORT, JCC Preschool, and Hadassah. She has also held positions on the Hillel School Board and PTO, served as PTO co-president, and has been the PTO catering director for several years now. While volunteering her heart out, Miriam has had three wonderful children with her very encouraging and understanding husband. Gabriel (20), Jacob (18), and Bailey (13), are her greatest joy. One of her biggest reasons she volunteers and serves her Jewish community is to be a good example for her children. She is very grateful to have celebrated many life cycle events at Kol Ami.
Financial Secretary - Bill Wares
Bill Wares and his wife, Donna, moved to Tampa in 1980 from Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a two-year sojourn in Miami. Bill received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan in 1976 and his law degree from the University of Miami in 1980. He is the author of a treatise on international price discrimination. He has been a principal speaker at the Public Choice Society in Charleston, South Carolina, a conferee on cooperative association law in Managua, Nicaragua, and has engaged in a variety of other sordid activities. He is presently practicing commercial and family law, despite his advancing years and the onset of arthritis. Bill was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan — a fact that his wife, a sophisticated New Yorker, refuses to admit publicly. Bill and Donna were among the original members of Kol Ami, attending services at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Henry and Ola Streets before the congregation’s generosity permitted it to erect its present building. Kol Ami has given Bill and Donna a wonderfully tight-knit Jewish community to raise their two children, Jason and Joanna. They cherish their years at Kol Ami, and Bill is thankful for the opportunity to serve the congregation. Bill just completed his term as senior advisor on the Kol Ami Board of Trustees.
Recording Secretary - Craig Kalter
The Kalter family has been members of Kol Ami since 1987. Becky and Daniel have grown up and became Bat and Bar Mitzvah in the synagogue. Craig completed undergraduate education at Emory University, where he met his wife, Ann. They migrated to Tampa, where he completed medical school, OB-GYN residency, and a maternal-fetal medicine fellowship at the USF College of Medicine. He is a Maternal-Fetal medicine specialist in practice at Florida Perinatal Associates. Since becoming Fair Share Dues Committee chair in 2005, Craig has been active on the Board of Trustees. He has served on the Executive Board since 2006 and oversaw the transition to our current fixed dues system. Craig served as president elect for one and a half years but deferred the presidency to help Ann fight colon cancer. He enjoys reading Torah (albeit at a very loud volume), leading services, and being in the thick of things at Kol Ami. Biking, golf, and the Bucs fill up the rest of his time.
Council of Chai Chair – Brian Shaw
Brian was raised in and educated in South Africa, where he attended Veterinary School. He moved to Tampa in 1975 with his wife, Sheila, and their three sons. Brian currently practices as one of the owners of Vet Care in Tampa. He has served on the boards of the Hillsborough County Veterinary Association, Fairway Townhouses, Tampa Jewish Family Services, and Congregation Kol Ami. He previously held the position of financial secretary and treasurer in numerous past administrations.
Security Chair – Michael Korenvaes
Mike, Cindy, and family moved to Tampa in 1989 after growing up and living in Miami. In 1999 they joined Kol Ami, having spent their first 10 years in Tampa at Rodeph Shalom. Mike retired in 2012 following 39 years with Macys (Burdines/Maas Bros./Jordan Marsh/Federated – lots of mergers) as vice president of Logistics and Operations for Macys, Bloomingdales, and Bloomingdales Outlet Stores. He earned a degree from the University of South Florida in Sociology. Mike is a member of Men’s Club and a ” Chai Guy. ” Cindy is the immediate past president of Sisterhood and served on Kol Ami’s board of trustees. Mike and Cindy have two grown sons. Drew lives in North Carolina. Bill, daughter-in-law Melanie, and granddaughter Claire — a brand new addition — live in Ft. Myers. Mike is a sports enthusiast and a competitive race walker at distances of 5k to marathon. He was Kol Ami’s 2012 softball tournament pitcher with a “perfect record” of 0 wins and 3 losses.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Chair – Martha Birnbaum
Martha Rock Birnbaum has spent most of her seventy years learning and creating ways to pass Jewish cultural life and values to the next generation. Her childhood was full of Rochester’s Temple Beth El’s community life, where she inhaled everything that here mentor and teacher Samuel Rosenbaum z”l did, and with youth groups and summers at Camp Ramah in the Poconos. It dawned on her that while the boys continued to be active after becoming bar mitzvah, there wasn’t much of a ritual character open to her. A cum laude graduate of Smith College, she continued in the selective performer’s certificate in vocal performance at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. When marriage to her physicist husband, (shiddach courtesty of Rabbi Abraham Carp, z”l) found them moving around the country, Martha added activism in the women’s movement to her child-raising activities, as well as a K-6 education certificate from Chatham College in Pittsburgh, and involvement in Pittsburgh’s Reconstructionist congregation Dor Hadash. In St. Paul, MN, Martha began her cantorial work at Beth Zion Temple in 1974, attending the First Jewish Women’s Conference in NYC around the same time. Subsequently, she served two congregations as their long-term cantor, training countless b’nei mitzvah, planning musical programs, and co-founding and conducting the Rochester Jewish Chorale for nearly twelve years. She appeared with them several times at the Jewish Choral Festival run by Matti Lazar. Martha was also president of the Women’s Division of the Rochester Federation and its Young Leadership Award winner. Martha and her colleague, Barbara Dechario, produced a CD entitled Timeless Jewish Songs, and she has collaborated in many concerts and recitals of classical and folk-inspired songs in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Ladino. She and David have three grown children and seven grandchildren.
Ohr Chadash Chair – Brenden Crampton
Brenden Crampton is a fourth-generation member of Kol Ami and a Tampa native. With grandparents that are co-founding members of the synagogue, he looks forward to being the third generation to serve on the board. After earning a B.S. in accounting from Florida State University, he worked as a CPA in a regional firm. Brenden is now the CFO of iHospital, an Apple repair startup company based out of Tampa. He is a member of the Bay Area Advisors, a professional group with a focus on donating to Moffitt Cancer Center. Brenden and his wife, Jodi, met in Kindergarten at Hillel School of Tampa. They share their South Tampa home with their Chocolate Lab and Golden Retriever.
Youth Chair – Bonnie Amsterdam-Miele
Born and raised in Andover, MA, Bonnie Amsterdam-Miele earned a bachelor’s in marketing and management and married her high school sweetheart, Benjamin, in 1991. After working as a project manager for an engineering firm, she returned to school for a Master’s in education from Wheelock College in Boston and taught for several years. Bonnie and Benjamin relocated to Tampa in 1996. Bonnie worked several years as a systems engineer/project manager before falling ill. In 2002, Briana, (a fifth grader at Hillel Academy) was born, despite Bonnie’s life threatening, debilitating illness. Chronic illness will not stop the Mieles and has actually heightened an appreciation and respect for human life. Bonnie and her family have been volunteers and public speakers for many non-profit organizations, such as Metropolitan Ministries, Meals on Wheels, St. Alfio’s Society, team captain for the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), and Quality of Life Association. She serves as a support liaison for those inflicted with auto-immune diseases and total colectomys, Tampa Jewish Family Services, JCC, Weinberg Village, and the one place near and dear to Bonnie — Hillel Academy. At Hillel, Bonnie has worked on almost every PTO and board event or initiative, including co-chairing its two biggest events of the year: Co-Chair of Gift of Gold and Chanukah Family Night. Bonnie was honored in 2011 as one of Tampa Jewish Federation’s Women of Distinction. Bonnie’s husband, Benjamin, is a certified public accountant, practicing for 25 years. The Miele household is extremely chaotic during tax season, but they always find time to help out a cause. At Kol Ami, the Mieles especially enjoy attending Shabbat services and spending time with their chavurah. Bonnie is looking forward to serving on Kol Ami’s Board of Trustees.
Adult & Family Education Chair – Emanuel (Manny) Donchin
Manny was born and raised in Tel Aviv and was for four years a member of Kibbutz Eyal, where he and his wife, Rina, were married. He graduated with a B.A. in psychology and statistics from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. His Ph.D., also in psychology, was granted at UCLA. Following a post doctoral period at Stanford and NASA, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where he remained for 32 years — 15 of which he served as department head. In 2001 Manny retired from Illinois and was invited to be chair of psychology at University of South Florida (USF), a position he held for seven years. He remains a professor of psychology at USF. Rina and Manny joined Kol Ami soon after their arrival in Tampa. Manny is coordinator of one of the Kol Ami chavurot as well as the coordinator of the JCC Book Club. He serves on the JCC Management Committee and on the Jewish Book Month Committee.
Fundraising Chair – Yoav Rappaport
Yoav was born in Rehovot, Israel, lived in Jerusalem and Kibbutz Saar, and emigrated to the U.S. and later to Toronto, Canada. His stepfather worked for UJA and his mother is a Hebrew and special education teacher. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a degree in geology, the University of South Florida with a Masters of Marine Science and MBA. He works for an international civil/environmental engineering firm. He has called Tampa home since 1999, when he joined Kol Ami with his wife, Jody. Since then Ilan (10) and Naomi (8) have been a blessed addition to their home and both attend Hillel. Yoav has chaired the Social Action Committee for the past four years, as well as launched the Kol Ami Job Network. He has been involved in the Israel Independence Day Committee over the past several years and is a graduate of the Jewish Leadership Training Institute through the Federation. Yoav enjoys most outdoor activities — swimming, biking, running, camping, kayaking — and computers.
Social Chair – Dan Ochman
Dan “Coach” Ochman was born many, many years ago in Chicago. He was raised in Mattoon, Illinois, a farming community of 20,000 people with 23 Jewish families. His Jewish education was provided by his parents and by student rabbis who came into town every other week by train from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, weather permitting. Because it was a different rabbi every year with different concepts, Dan was raised Conservaform. In other words, he wore his kippah while eating a bacon cheeseburger. Dan graduated from the University of Colorado and then lived in the Denver area for eighteen years but left when the Broncos could never win a Super Bowl. He moved to Tampa in 1990 and the Broncos immediately won two Super Bowls. He has been a member of Kol Ami since 1991, has served on too many committees to mention, been an active member of the Men’s Club, helped co-author and performed in “Rachel’s Bris,” been MC for the last two major synagogue fundraisers, and has served as fundraising chair and now Social Committee chair for the past sixteen years — organizing such events as Kol Ami Idol and Trivia Bowl. Dan is married to Phoebe and they have three children — Erin, Chad, and Elijah — and twin granddaughters. “Coach” is currently looking for member volunteers to serve on the Social Committee and keep Kol Ami the fun place to be.
House Chair – Eva Aron
Eva moved to Tampa and became a member of Kol Ami in 1982. She has been a member ever since. She has worked in commercial property management for 25 years and is a licensed and certified property manager. Eva has one son, Michael, a daughter-in-law, Melissa, and two wonderful grandchildren — Kailey (6) and Jacob (4). Eva has served as a member of the House Committee for the past two years.
Publicity Chair & Book of Numbers Chair – Rob Weinberg (non-Board Positions)
Rob, his wife, Carol, and two sons, Mitchell and Seth, moved to Tampa 25 years ago. Recently retired from his employments as a district administrator with Hillsborough County Public Schools, Rob and Carol share their retirement time with volunteer work, regular fitness activities, travel, and their children’s families. Rob previously has served Kol Ami as a Men’s Club member and officer for many years as well as working on special projects for Kol Ami, including ushering for services, Habitat for Humanity, and the Book of Numbers. Rob is an active tennis player, reader, photographer, and has recently revived his interest in painting. Duke basketball is a family favorite, and Rob and Carol look forward to watching Duke University compete during the annual March Madness college basketball event.
Membership Chair – Jennifer Flansburg
Jennifer Flansburg grew up in Miami and came to Tampa in 1991 to attend the University of South Florida. She currently teaches third grade at Carrollwood Day School and has been there for the past twelve years. She has two children, Jake (13) and Zoey (10), both of whom attend Kol Yeladim Religious School. Jennifer worked this past summer teaching jewelry making at Ramah Darom and plans to return there this summer. She has been a member of Kol Ami for thirteen years and is honored to serve on the Board of Trustees.
Ma’asim Tovim Chair – Jody Sampson-Nair
Originally from Pittsburgh, Jody Sampson-Nair holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and has applied business strategies to her many years of work in the non-profit and public sectors. As a consultant with United Way, Jody worked with several of its grantees on management and marketing issues. As a board member with U.S.-Israel Women to Women (which later merged with the National Council of Jewish Women), she chaired its mission to Israel to visit grantees and keynoted an annual fundraising luncheon. Jody and her husband, Prakash Nair, principal of Fielding Nair International (an educational design firm), fled the frozen north to Tampa in 2006 with their son, Jacob, a student at Hillel Academy. They have both been active volunteers at Hillel, with Jody serving last year as PTO co-president and Prakash continuing to work with ongoing campus renovations and educational enhancements. At Kol Ami, Jody served as parent liaison for the Bim Bam Shabbat “minyan” when Jacob was younger, and currently she and Prakash enjoy sharing Shabbat and holidays with their chavurah.
Senior Advisory Member – Amy Feder-Binder
Amy was born in Brooklyn and grew up in North Woodmere, NY, where she met and married her husband Michael. She is a graduate of SUNY-Binghamton, with a B.A. in history. The Binders became members of Kol Ami in 1992 when they moved to Tampa. Amy originated the board position of college outreach and served for two terms and then was a senior advisor. She has also served on the Ritual Committee. Amy served as recording secretary on the Executive Committee for the past two years. She is now “retired” after managing her husband’s medical practice for sixteen years. Amy and Michael are the proud parents of Mara, Aaron, and Anna.
Senior Advisory Member – Andrea Friedman
Andrea was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, until she and her family moved to Tampa in 1979. Following graduation from Emory University, she completed graduate school at the University of Miami, where she met her husband, Mario Rodriguez, and they both earned their Ph.D.s in clinical psychology. After they married, they moved to Boston, then Pittsburgh, and eventually settled in Philadelphia, where their two daughters were born. They relocated to Tampa in 2000 to be closer to family and for professional reasons. Currently, Andrea works alongside Mario in a private practice they established in Westchase. Andrea and her family have been members of Kol Ami for many years. Their two daughters, Ellie (16) and Carly (13), attended Hillel Academy since kindergarten and with more prodding may someday become active in USY. Previously, Andrea has served on the Rabbi Search Committee, as a senior advisory member, and as membership chair. She enjoys reading, walking her dogs, jogging, yoga, and regular ping-pong matches with her family.
Senior Advisory Member – Steve Permuth
Steve and his wife, Jacki, have been members of Kol Ami for three years. Steve taught high school mathematics and served as a middle/high school principal in Minnesota. He then entered higher education and taught law, finance, higher education policy, as well as serving as dean of education at Bradley University, Cleveland State University, and the University of South Florida. In these positions, and as provost and academic vice president at Bellarmine College, he has been involved in fundraising and supervising budgets and personnel. He is involved in budget, faculty governance, and academic freedom issues at USF and continues an active publication and national presentation agenda in area of education. At Kol Ami, he has served on the Recruitment Committee and is currently co-chair of the Endowment Committee. He and his wife have found a second home at Kol Ami.