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Senior Staff

 

Maureen Sweeney
Executive Director

Maureen joined Temple Aliyah in January of 2019, having worked most recently as the Synagogue Director at Adat Shalom, a Conservative synagogue in West Los Angeles.  Prior to working at Adat Shalom, Maureen was an attorney, worked at several law firms, and volunteered with the California Department of Justice.  

Maureen has taught at Valley Beth Shalom and Temple B’Nai Hayim, organized programming at Camp Ramah in California, and completed the Anti-Defamation League Salvin Leadership Institute in 2000.  Maureen has a Bachelor's Degree in History from Arizona State University, summa cum laude, and graduated cum laude fro Pepperdine University School of Law.  She is also a member of the North American Association of Synagogue Executives, the Professional Association of Temple Administrators, and the State Bar of California.  Maureen lives in Encino with her three daughters.

 

 

Rabbi Adam Schaffer
Director, Sevran Center for Jewish Learning & Living (Religious School)

Rabbi Adam has been working at Temple Aliyah since July, 2011, but he and his family have been congregants since moving to the Valley in 2005.  He has loved his time at Aliyah both personally and professionally because of the great community of people that make up the congregation.Prior to working at Temple Aliyah, Rabbi Adam served as the School Rabbi at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge for seven years where he taught Judaic Studies, Cantillation, Tefillah, and Jewish Ethics. He prides himself on being an eclectic and musical rabbi who defies denominational labels. 

He has, over the course of his schooling and career, served in a variety of capacities including as a congregational rabbi in Bremerton, Washington, an assistant education director in Santa Ana, and a chaplain at UCLA Hospital.  He holds rabbinic ordination and a Master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Hebrew Union College here in Los Angeles, and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania. 

His proudest role, however is being the abba to his two children, Ezra and Eliana, and his greatest honor is to be married to the wonderful Melissa Sandler.

 

 

Robin Wayne
Early Childhood Education (ECE) Director 

After 20 years as a teacher at Temple Aliyah, Robin transitioned from the classroom to the role of Director of Temple Aliyah’s Early Childhood Education program.

Robin has taught all age levels in the ECE with most of her teaching years spent in the Pre-K program, where she developed much of the curriculum, led the Pre-K team, and helped prepare lots and lots of children for Kindergarten. Robin was a fellow of the first Los Angeles cohort of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute (JECELI), which educates and supports the professional development of leaders of Jewish Early Childhood Education programs, nationally.

Robin and her family have been synagogue members for over 26 years and have celebrated and participated in many life cycle events over the years. Robin’s husband, Lenny, has served as a member of the temple board and played on one of the temple’s softball teams for many years. Their children, Alli and Jeremy, attended the ECE program, religious school, and had their B’nai Mitzvah at Temple Aliyah. In addition to calling Aliyah her workplace, Temple Aliyah has been and continues to be a very important and meaningful community for Robin and her family.

 

 

 

Evan Susman

Rabbinic Intern & Youth Director

Evan Susman joined the Temple Aliyah community in July of 2020. He recently returned from Israel studying at the Conservative Yeshiva and is currently a 4th year student at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, CA. Before coming to Aliyah, Evan was the Youth Director/ Rabbinic Youth Intern at Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills, CA. He has been a part of the Jewish camping community in Los Angeles and California since 2007. Some of his roles included, Assistant Program Coordinator at Camp JCA Shalom, Head of Music at Camp Ramah Galim in northern California, and Music Director/ Rabbinic Intern at Camp Alonim.

Evan graduated from CSUN, with a major in Modern Jewish Studies and a minor in Pan African Studies. Originally from Miami Beach, FL, he enjoys traveling, writing music, golfing, and cooking, especially for Shabbat. Evan is passionate about Jewish music, education, and enriching the lives of our youth. He is excited to be a part of the Temple Aliyah community.

 

 

 

Natalie Horwitz
Associate Director, Sevran Center for Jewish Learning & Living (Religious School)

Natalie is an experienced Jewish educator with a passion for helping children and their families cultivate meaningful connections to Judaism through Jewish learning and community. Natalie has served the Jewish community for over fifteen years in several innovative institutions in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area in positions including assistant director of education and community engagement associate. She brings a unique combination of experience as a classroom teacher, nonprofit professional, and educational leader. Prior to Temple Aliyah, Natalie served as the Inclusion Program Coordinator at Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village.

She holds a Joint Master’s degree in Jewish Education and Nonprofit Management from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), a California Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Politics from Brandeis University. Natalie is currently a fellow of The Mandel Teacher Educator Institute, a national professional training program for leaders in Jewish education.

Natalie lives in West Hills with her filmmaker husband Michael and their daughter Eliana who loves being a student at the Temple Aliyah ECE.

 

 

Lisa Cobey Lopez
Community Caring Director

Lisa CobeyLopez is Temple Aliyah’s Community of Caring Director as well as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a background in Early Intervention and Jewish Education. Lisa earned a Teacher’s Certificate in Religious Studies from Gratz College, her B.A. with honors in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University, and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina. Lisa has worked with Jewish families for over 20 years as a teacher, youth group leader, and program coordinator. Lisa also runs a private practice, providing psychotherapy from ages 3 through adulthood and trainings for parents and teachers.

She is married to Michael, a Los Angeles native, and they are proud parents to Zachary, an ECE graduate, and Michaela, current ECE student.At Temple Aliyah, Lisa oversees our Community of Caring which primarily involves outreach to our congregants in times of need (bereavement, illness) and joy (newborns) in conjunction with many amazing volunteers that visit those who are sick or homebound, deliver Thinking of You bags, provide meals, assist with driving and many other tasks. Lisa works closely with Jewish Federation’s Ezra network to provide resources and referrals when needed such as for assisted living, mental health professionals, etc.

In addition, Lisa in collaboration with the Temple’s Community Outreach Committee, plans Social Action and Interfaith Events such as Making Sandwiches for the Homeless and Mitzvah Day. Lastly, Lisa is available for support and guidance to our B’nai Mitzvah Students as they figure out their Act of Tikkun Olam (a.k.a. Mitzvah Project).To help volunteer for Community of Caring/Community Outreach, please check out: Templealiyah.org/showyoucare

 

 

Alicia Cohen Kraus
Membership Engagement Director

Alicia has dedicated her career to facilitating the growth of Jewish communities through positions with Hillel (CSUN, Univ. of Delaware and Old Dominion University), synagogues, and a JCC. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Occidental College, a M.A. in Jewish Communal Service (non-profit management) from Hebrew Union College and a M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from USC. After a decade on the east coast, Alicia is thrilled to be back in Los Angeles. She is a proud Temple Aliyah ECE parent, at-home yogi, and Shabbat dinner host.

 

 

Ben Vorspan
Creative Director

The son and grandson of rabbis, Ben sidestepped the family business (but not by far) by specializing in the field of synagogue & Jewish non-profit website design. After serving as web producer for the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, Ben founded Inspired Multimedia, a web design company specializing in Jewish non-profit website design, as well as developed Tools 4 Shuls, a series of low-cost web applications specifically created for synagogues.

In 2016, Ben joined the Temple Aliyah staff as Communications Director, and quickly became known for his creativity and vision. Ben takes credit for many of the clever things you see, hear and interact with at Temple Aliyah, but in true introvert fashion, you’ll only hear him say it in a brief sentence buried in a bio at the bottom of a web page no one will ever read.

When he’s not making Aliyah great again, Ben spends time with his wife, Elana, and two energetic boys, Evan and Judah. Ben is a firm believer that everything you need to know can be learned from TV, so you’ll often find him watching cooking and home improvement shows, or you’ll find him cooking or improving his home.

Tue, October 20 2020 2 Cheshvan 5781