Board of Trustees | Executive Committee
RABBI JAVIER CATTAPAN, SENIOR RABBI
Rabbi Cattapan is a native of Argentina. In Argentina, his education included the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano (Conservative) and the University of Buenos Aires, where he studied Ancient and Medieval Philosophy and was teaching assistant in General Linguistics.
He came to the U.S in 1994 to attend Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rabbi Cattapan received his M. A. in Hebrew Letters in 1997, and 1998 was ordained as rabbi at the HUC-JIR in Cincinnati. In 2004, Rabbi Cattapan earned his M. Phil. in Hebraic and Cognate Studies. After ordination, he taught Modern Hebrew at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Before coming to Beth Torah, Rabbi Cattapan served synagogues in Indiana and Ohio. On July 1st, 2016 he became the spiritual leader as Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Torah in Overland Park, Kansas.
Rabbi Cattapan has been active on the boards of SCAN (Stop Child Abuse and Neglect), the Dr. Harry W. Salon Foundation, and the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne when he lived in Indiana and is looking forward to becoming involved and present in organizations here in the Kansas City metro. He regularly participates in interfaith panel discussions and other outreach programs representing the Jewish point of view on a variety of issues. He is member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the local rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City. He is married to Mr. Kris D. Gray.
RABBI MONICA KLEINMAN, DIRECTOR OF LIFELONG LEARNING
Rabbi Monica Kleinman, MAHL, M. Ed, RJE, joined the staff of Congregation Beth Torah on July 1, 2017. A midwesterner, born and raised in southeastern Wisconsin, Rabbi Kleinman earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she double majored in Modern Hebrew and history. She was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 2014. At that same time, she earned a Master’s in Education Administration with a concentration in Jewish Studies from Xavier University. Rabbi Kleinman and her husband, Rabbi Jon Kleinman moved here from Mount Laurel, New Jersey. The couple met while in rabbinical school at HUC-JIR. Not only is she involved in the day to day running of the ARJE accredited Weiner Religious School, but she also oversees enriching the school’s faculty and curriculum. Rabbi Kleinman also plans and programs Beth Torah’s Adult Education and Social Justice events.
RABBI MARK LEVIN, FOUNDING RABBI
Rabbi Mark H. Levin is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. Graduated in 1971 from Boston University, magna cum laude with distinction in religion, Rabbi Levin received his Master of Arts in Hebrew letters from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 1974, his Certificate in Jewish Communal Studies in 1974 (Los Angeles), and was ordained in 1976 (Cincinnati). Most recently, Rabbi Levin completed his Doctorate of Hebrew Letters through HUC-JIR in New York in May, 2001, and his honorary Doctor of Divinity in 2001 in Cincinnati. He has been the congregational Pulpit Rabbi for Congregation Beth Torah since its inception in 1988 up until his retirement from this position in June 2014. In July 2014 he accepted the position of Beth Torah’s Founding Rabbi. Rabbi Levin is the father of three children and grandfather of one child. He is married to the former Kacy Childs-Winston, the mother of Kyle and Seth Winston. Rabbi Levin serves on several local boards and writes religion columns for the Kansas City Star, and answers questions for the “Ask the Rabbi” service of the Union of Reform Judaism.
LAURA INTFEN, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Laura has been a member of Beth Torah since 1996 and a member of the staff since 2001. Prior to joining the staff, Laura was an active leader in the community serving on numerous committees, on the Board of Trustees and on the Executive Committee. As a staff member, Laura began as a part time Volunteer Coordinator. She then served as Membership Services Coordinator before being named Director of Operations where she is responsible for communications, administration, human resources and building community among Beth Torah members.
Tara Hyder, Director of Finance
Tara Hyder joined the Beth Torah staff in August 2016. Tara has 15 plus years of accounting, finance and internal auditing experience with several local non-profit organizations. Tara and her husband, Kevin, have two daughters and one son.
Lezlie Zucker, Music Coordinator
Lezlie has been writing, performing, and leading music for most of her life. For the past decade she has been part of the local Jewish music community, helping to lead JFS’ Gathering for Spiritual Peace and Wholeness, participating in the Boogie-to-Broadway choral fundraiser, and singing at various programs throughout the Kansas City metro. Lezlie has worked closely with the Beth Torah staff since shortly after joining the congregation, and has been an integral part of the Beth Torah worship team for almost ten years. She was back-up worship leader for Linda Sweenie; acted as part of the interim team under Judith Evnen; and filled several roles for Emily Tummons, including worship leader back-up, worship team member, choir director, and religious school substitute. Lezlie also had a hand in our Yom Kippur creative afternoon service, first participating as a soloist, then leading, and eventually creating a new iteration of the program. During the recent rabbinical transition period, Lezlie also served as the congregation’s Program Coordinator. She is happy to be back as an official part of the Beth Torah Staff. When not working for the congregation, Lezlie writes music, books, musicals, and plays (which she sometimes directs). Her music has been produced by a local record label and published by Transcontinental Music Publications. Her plays continue to be produced both locally and nationwide. Lezlie is married to Dave Zucker, who has probably made you laugh at least once.
Alyssa Schildhorn, Office manager
Alyssa joined the Beth Torah staff in 2016. Before coming to Beth Torah, she graduated with a degree in Respiratory Therapy. Alyssa’s responsibilities include greeting congregants, answering the phones, ordering office supplies for teachers, and overall office and Weiner Religious School support. Alyssa and her husband moved to Kansas City from Omaha, NE.
Barbara Kitt, Bookkeeper
Barbara Kitt joined the Beth Torah staff in July of 2008; however her connection to the synagogue began in 1996 when her oldest daughter started Sunday School. Barb is the Beth Torah bookkeeper, and as such is very involved in the day to day financial life of the synagogue. Barb, her husband Jeffrey, and their two daughters, Alexa and Sydney have been actively involved in many aspects of life at Beth Torah.
Sharon Altman, Administrator
Sharon has held a part time position with Beth Torah since 1995. She is responsible for donations and yahrzeits as well as assisting staff members as needed. She also has been involved in the congregation’s Golf Tournaments and Directory Fundraising efforts. Sharon and her husband have two grown children. They have been members of Beth Torah since 1991.
Scott Franklin and his wife Amy joined Beth Torah 24 years ago. Their children, Yali and Jill, attended Weiner Religious School, studied for their Bat Mitvahs, and were confirmed at the synagogue. Scott currently serves as Social Action Chair, coordinates January at reStart, and helps coordinate the Blood Drive. He previously served on the Board of Trustees for five years. Scott is an economics instructor at Blue Valley CAPS.
Barry is a 27-year member, married to Linda, with two sons and three grandchildren. He is a past president of CBT and has worked in the Hallmark Legal Department for 40 years. Barry recently served as co-Chair of the Rabbi Search Committee and is Chair of the Planned Giving Committee. He encourages you to make a legacy gift to help ensure the future of Beth Torah.
Boyd has been a member of Beth Torah since 1991. He is married to Laura, and they have two grown daughters, Hannah and Rachel, who grew up at Beth Torah, and one granddaughter, Amelia. You may have seen Boyd as a past youth advisor, or a member of the Adult and Men's Choirs. Boyd is an IT Manager with Grant Thornton Accounting. Besides singing, he enjoys astronomy, reading, history, KU basketball and Royals baseball.
Stephen Steigman has been a member of CBT since 1995. When he’s not working as chief of broadcast operations for KCUR 89.3, Stephen enjoys hanging out on the front porch of his Brookside home, spending time with his Academie Lafayette and Weiner Religious School students (and children!) Ilan, Avital and Noa, and traveling to foreign destinations with wife and KU professor Tamara Falicov. Stephen earned an undergraduate degree in arts administration from Skidmore College and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Bloch School of Management at UMKC.
Howard Pitler is a recent member, having moved to Overland Park this past June. He is married to Gloria. They have two children and two young grandsons. He is an an international education consultant and was an elementary and middle school principal for 19 years in Wichita. He served as a board member and Temple President at Congregation Emanuel in Wichita in the past. His hobbies include playing with the grandkids and riding his Harley.
Lauren, a founding member of Beth Torah, previously served on the Board and as secretary in the 1990s. She also previously chaired the Social Justice Committee and for 25 years coordinated the Sunday Night Dinner at SAVEhome program. Lauren met her husband, Philip Meltzer, when Steve Brown, of blessed memory, and she "solicited" him for a donation to the CBT building fund. She is currently a professor emerita at KUMC, having retired in 2016 after 27 years there. Lauren enjoys the slower pace of retirement, spending time in the yard and garden, supporting Phil’s culinary activities, and having the flexibility to visit friends and family around the country.
Jeff and his husband David Saul have always had a strong belief to engage in the community in which they live and to build their Jewish Village. Jeff often says that the members of Congregation Beth Torah welcomed him, David and their three sons the first time they came to Shabbat services. Jeff works full time as a Global Strategic Sourcing Manager at Garmin International, Inc. and volunteers as much as possible in the community. He is confident that his 20+ years of general business experience and his ability to connect with people, will enable him to make a meaningful and diverse contribution to the Board and to the life of Congregation Beth Torah.
Debbie Bass, MPA, CFRE, has been a member of CBT since 2001. Rabbi Levin had been Debbie’s rabbi growing up. Debbie serves on CBT’s fundraising committee. Previously, she served on the EOF Task Force, 30th Anniversary Pick-a-Party committee, 30th Anniversary Planning Committee, Adult Learning Committee, and traveled to Israel with a women's group from CBT in 2011. During her 30 year fundraising career, Debbie has been responsible for raising $45 million. Since 2014, Debbie has been the Vice President of Development at the National WWI Museum and Memorial. Debbie has served on numerous boards and advisory boards, such as Jackson County Casa and Mental Health America of the Heartland. She is a 2004 graduate of the KC Chamber’s Centurion Leadership program and 2005 honoree of Ingram’s 40 Under 40 Top Leaders in KC. Debbie and Neil have two daughters, Maggie (ages 20) and Tori (age 14). Debbie was a foster parent for two 17-year old girls who are now 32 and 34. Debbie says, "I try to live each day to ‘Leave my campsite better than I found it.’ ”
Miccole Bowen grew up at Congregation Beth Torah and became a member with her husband Nathan in 2006. She has two children in the Weiner Religious School. Mickey is a Financial Alignment Executive at Cerner Corporation. When she isn’t working she enjoys spending time with Nathan, Emma, and Jack and relaxing at home.
Jo-Ann Harris moved back to Kansas City area in 2004 and became a member of Beth Torah shortly after. She is semi-retired and is a Pediatric Infectious Diseases Consultant at Overland Park Regional Medical Center. She has attended shabbatons, traveled to Israel with a women's group from CBT, and has been an active participant in CBT activities. Currently she is in the Women's Chorus and is co-chair of the Membership Committee.
Amy is a 20 year member. She is married to Shawn. She has a son Harper and daughter Claire. She is an Occupational Therapist specializing in Geriatrics. She and Shawn started an Interfaith group this past year. She is a former JYG advisor. Her hobbies include playing with her kids and reading.
Larry is a 20 year Beth Torah member and his two children, Jordan and Elyanna attended the Weiner religious school. The paver patio and the fire pit in the Beth Torah “backyard” was constructed by Jordan for his Eagle Scout project. There are two trees planted by the paver patio. One was planted for Elyanna on her Bat Mitzvah and the other is to honor the memory of his late wife Aleza who passed away in 2016. Larry has a non profit Tikkun-KC which provides home ownership opportunities for very low-income families throughout the central core of Kansas City Mo. He is also a member of the board of directors for reStart. Larry is an avid music fan and sings in the CBT Adult and Men’s Choir and plays percussion in the Friday night worship “house band”. He also plays the saxophone in the rock band the Jewbie Brothers.
Stan grew up in Brooklyn, NY and after living in Minneapolis moved to Overland Park, where he has been a member of Beth Torah for over a decade and is a member of the Beth Torah’s Men’s group. He was Vice President of Marketing for Hostess Cake and Wonder Bread and after his corporate career became a small business owner. Having recently sold the business Stan is now retired and enjoys spending time with his son, as well as playing bridge, being an instructor for the KC Chess club, and going on various travel adventures.
kathleen Stone, M.D.
Kathleen Stone MD is a retired Ob/GYN who currently works for Heart to Heart International on the Disaster Response Team. Her past claim to fame was Temple Youth Group Advisor in the early 1980s and for Beth Torah in 1999 -2000. She looks forward to helping with intergenerational membership events that will make Congregation Beth Torah the place where we worship and spend quality time together.
Aaron has been a member since 2015. He has worked in the IT and energy industries for the past 20 years and is a technology executive at an energy software company. Aaron and Liz have two boys, Noah and Miles. As an Eagle Scout, a huge joy is helping his boys on their scouting path and is active in Jewish scouting as an adult leader with Pack 3153 and Troop 61. In his free time he loves to get his hands dirty working in the yard, reading fiction, and eating Liz’s amazing cooking.
Zachary Zwibelman has grown up at Congregation Beth. He is a Product Engineer for the Pump Service Group at Pentair. Over the last 13 years, he has been a Madrich, a Religious School teacher, and a Youth Advisor for CBT. His hobbies include running and sports with friends and of course coffee.