STAFF & LAY LEADERS
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.
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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.
EMILY TUMMONS, MUSIC DIRECTOR
Emily Tummons joined the Beth Torah staff as Music Director in 2014. She is in charge of all aspects of CBT’s musical life, including leading Shabbat and holiday services; directing CBT’s performing ensembles like the Men’s Group, Kids Choir, Women’s Group, Adult Choir, Octets, and instrumental groups; teaching Hebrew music in the Weiner Religious School; and the creation of programs like the New Moon Lab, Meditation Circles, Contemplation Nights, Makom BaTu’ach (with Rabbi Monica Kleinman), and Shabbat Huddle.
Emily’s original Jewish compositions and arrangements are available for purchase in Shabbat Anthology Volume IX published by Transcontinental Music Publications, and the 2019 Jewish Feminist Songbook. Emily started a Composers Group here at Beth Torah, made up of half a dozen musicians who all write Jewish songs. She helps these songwriters shape and arrange their songs for use in CBT’s musical landscape and beyond. In 2016, Emily created the annual “Spring Session,” a concert featuring all original Jewish songs written by local composers. Sixty-three Jewish songs have been featured in this concert series so far, written by 23 area songwriters. Beth Torah’s music program was honored to receive grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City toward the funding of both the 2018 and 2019 Spring Session concerts.
Emily’s classical training included the study of music theory, and oboe under Dr. Margaret Marco at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Emily holds a masters degree in linguistics from KU, where she was a Foreign Language Area Studies Fellow. Her graduate research focused on Kaqchikel Maya, an indigenous language spoken in Guatemala. Emily taught Kaqchikel in the KU linguistics department for seven years before pursuing her career in Jewish music.
CARMEN DIEKER, CHOIR DIRECTOR
Carmen Dieker is the director of the Adult Choir. She also is a member of the Friday night music team, singing and playing many instruments. She enjoys participating in the ongoing Contemplation Nights, Shabbat Huddles, and other programs. Carmen assists music director Emily Tummons in facilitating all of the various musical happenings of CBT, including the Men’s Group, Women’s Group, octets, trios, and instrumental ensembles.
Carmen composes original pieces for special occasions at CBT. Her compositions and arrangements are used and performed in CBT's Shabbat services, Spring Sessions, Hanukkah Programs, High Holy Days, and significant milestones in the life of the congregation.
Carmen teaches orchestra and private lessons and has also worked as an accompanist and musician in Kansas City for the past ten years. She has participated in area groups including various bands, the Lee’s Summit Symphony, and the River Sisters.
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.
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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.
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.
Linda joined Beth Torah upon moving to the Kansas City area in 1997. Raising a Jewish child in an interfaith family, she felt it was important that she be involved and connected. Initially working in the YAEC committee, she also ran the Chili Cook-Off and Silent Auction for several years, before joining the Board of Trustees, eventually becoming President and finally Immediate Past President. She is retired from an extensive marketing career, and enjoys scuba diving and travel.
SueAnn moved to Kansas City in early 2006 and joined Congregation Beth Torah the same year. Her professional career extended over five decades where she led three universities as a senior level administrator and taught graduate students who aspired to serve in higher education and the nonprofit sector. Her active participation at Beth Torah follows her love of teaching as she has been active in planning and participating in Beth Torah’s three Shabbaton, planning and participating in Beth Torah’s newest social justice project, the Caring Community Team, co-facilitated Seekers of Meaning workshop, and more recently, chairs the 30th Anniversary Committee. She travels to Israel at least 1-2 yearly now that her three grandchildren (and their parents) moved to Hashmonean.
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.
Brandi Fisher is a 6 year member. She is married to Greg Raymond and they have two children, Shoshana and Jonathan. Both of their children attend the Weiner Religious School. She is the Executive Director of the MainStream Coalition and has been involved in programming and activities with the religious school. When not busy with local politics or running her children to their many activities, she enjoys spending time with friends and family and planning current and future travel adventures.
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.
Genna and her husband Andrew have been members of Beth Torah for 5 years and have 2 children. She has served on the Board of Trustees for one term, and volunteered on many other committees, including the Strategic Planning Committee. She is passionate about education, secular and Judaic, has served as President of the Board of a local private school. She has recently left a two-decade career in the financial services industry for the healthcare industry.
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.
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.
June is a 23 year member. She is married to Mike, with 2 sons. She works at the JCC Child Development Center. She is a former religious school teacher, and was on the planning committee for our building. Her son Joey wrote the music which premiered at the 25th Anniversary event.
Todd is an 8 year member, with 2 children. He is a Life and Learning Coach, focusing on Marketing and Sales. He is active in Adult and Youth Education, worked on Shabbatons and the Book Fair, and co-chairs the Music Program Committee. His hobby is reading.
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.
Mike is a nine year member, married to Barbara, with two sons and one daughter. His daughter Hannah, just celebrated her Bat Mitzvah (the last one for the Ginsbergs!). He is Director of IT Strategic Sourcing at Sprint. He chairs our Finance committee. Mike and Hannah are an unstoppable force at our monthly game night! He is active in Boy Scouting, serving as advancement chairman for Troop 61.
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.
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.
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.
Nick Toniazzo has been a member for a little over a year. He is married to Becky who teaches in the Weiner Religious School. He has four children, two of which attend the Weiner Religious School. Nick is a K-12 teacher. He is a regular attendee to all services with his family. His hobbies include reading, being active outdoors, watching sports, and enjoying his family.
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.