Yom Shabbat, 7 Kislev 5778
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Rabbi Alan Freedman
Senior Rabbi

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See Rabbi Freedman's extended bio

 

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Rabbi Amy B. Cohen
Rabbi Educator

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See Rabbi Cohen's extended bio.

 

 

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Cantor Abby Gostein

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See Cantor Gostein's extended bio.

 

 

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Jennifer Braham
Director of Member Engagement

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Jennifer Braham joined the Temple Beth Shalom team in January 2016. As the Director of Membership Engagement, Jennifer emphasizes a strong, connected, and vibrant temple community in which members and congregants find meaningful engagement opportunities and roles within their Jewish journey.

Jennifer earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and then moved to Colorado and earned her master’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies with an emphasis in Marriage & Family Therapy. After graduate school, Jennifer utilized her therapeutic skills to counsel youth, adults, and families affected by trauma and abuse.

Jennifer moved to Austin where she spent six years engaging the greater Austin community in various volunteer roles within the school district as the Coordinator of Volunteer Services with the nonprofit Communities In Schools of Central Texas. Jennifer served on the board of Directors of Volunteers In Austin (DOVIA), and has a passion for enhancing and building the professional field of volunteer management and community engagement.

Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and exploring all the fun that Austin has to offer.

 

 

   

Patti Bridwell
Temple Administrator

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As the temple administrator, Patti is responsible for ensuring that the economic, physical, and human resources are in place for the successful operation of the congregation. In particular, she works collaboratively with clergy, staff, and board to implement and analyze all the temple’s policies and programs.

Patti retired from The Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas in 2016 where she consulted with the leadership of K-12 school systems across the nation and led large-scale projects with multiple- staff teams. "I didn't think it would be possible to meld my passion for the temple with my desire to make a meaningful change in my career. I loved my time at UT, and am excited to use my knowledge and skills as a manager, facilitator, and expert in change management to support the temple," Patti stated.

Patti has been an active member of Temple Beth Shalom since 2003, serving in numerous volunteer roles, including temple president from 2010- 2012. She and her husband, Sean, raised their two sons, Joey and Jordan, at Temple Beth Shalom where they each became a bar mitzvah and were confirmed.

 

 
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Blossom Cohon
Youth Engagement

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Blossom Cohon is responsible for creating, developing, and implementing meaningful opportunities for our temple's youth. Over the years, she has served in many roles in youth education and now focuses on enriching the experiences of our 4th through 12th grade students through youth groups and special events.

Blossom earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Western Washington University in 2008 and immediately began roaming. After several months living with her elderly grandfather in midwestern Kansas, and her brother and sister-in-law in Australia, she claimed her Birthright Israel trip and opted to stay in Israel for another seven months, studying Hebrew and working as a hotel maid on Kibbutz Tzuba.

In 2010, after time in Los Angeles, Israel, and Europe, Blossom began her Master's in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies with a focus on Women's and Gender Studies, at Brandeis University. In the summer of 2011, she completed the intensive Hebrew immersion program at the Middlebury Language School.

After graduation in 2012, Blossom returned home to Seattle to pursue other interests, including being the nanny for her newborn niece and training in the aerial arts (namely silks, duo trapeze, and acro yoga); she also completed a teacher-training certification for "Intro to Aerial Arts." Additionally, she taught Hebrew and Judaic Studies at her home synagogue in Seattle.

 

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James C. (JC) Dahlberg
Facilities

JC keeps things running smoothly at Temple Beth Shalom by maintaining our facilities.

Born in Butte, Montana, JC has been an Austinite since 1992, and has been with the temple since our building started coming into existence. Prior to working with Temple Beth Shalom, JC was an archeologist for almost 30 years. JC says that Temple Beth Shalom is his "comfort zone," and he feels best when helping out the community and the people he thinks of as home. JC is a huge fan of UT athletics and music, and when he's not helping out at the temple on weekends you can find him rooting for his favorite sports teams or attending music events around town. 

 
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Kelly Finkel
Director of B'nai Mitzvah Studies

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Kelly joined the Temple Beth Shalom team in August 2008. As director of Hebrew and B'nai Mitzvah studies, she works closely with our families and students in grades 3-7 to prepare them for this stop on their Jewish journey.

Kelly previously worked at the Austin Jewish Academy for 10 years as a classroom teacher, Judaic program coordinator, and assistant director. In January 2007, Kelly took a break from full-time teaching to pursue a Master's in Jewish Studies with an emphasis in Jewish education. Since arriving in Austin in 1993, she also has worked for Congregation Agudas Achim as a religious school teacher and T'filah leader. Kelly received the title of Reform Jewish Educator (RJE) in 2011, recognizing her achievement of academic and professional standards of excellence as an educational leader.

Kelly has served as a volunteer on numerous committees for JCAA educational and holiday events. She is an active member of the Women's Storybook Project as part of the National Council of Jewish Women and Temple Beth Shalom teams. Her husband, David, is a professional photographer. Her older son, Benjamin, is a computer scientist living and working in Seattle, and her younger son, Aaron, is a mechanical engineer.

 

   

Jennifer Kramer
Communications Associate

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Jennifer is Temple Beth Shalom’s communications associate, beginning this position in October 2017, in which she develops, coordinates, and manages temple communications.

Jennifer worked for Texas’ state government for many years before joining temple staff. She has a broad range of communications skills, including writing and editing, knowledge of print and website publishing, and communications-project management.

She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Public Affairs degree, both from The University of Texas at Austin. Jennifer and her husband and two children have been active members of Temple Beth Shalom since 2003, and continue to enjoy this warm and welcoming congregational community.

 
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Jordan Magidson
Director of Youth Education and Programming

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Jordan serves as the temple’s Director of Youth Education and Programming, where she is in charge of all K-12 educational programming, including our religious school and Hebrew school.

Jordan came to Temple Beth Shalom from Seattle, where she was part of an exciting pilot through the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Jordan worked jointly with URJ Camp Kalsman and Temple De Hirsch Sinai to bring more experiential education to both programs.

Born and raised in Detroit, Jordan grew up as an active member of her congregation. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2005 with a BA in English literature, with minors in journalism and history. She went on to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she earned an MA in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education.

Jordan is no stranger to the South as upon graduating in 2008, she joined the staff of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, MS, as an Associate Director of Education. In her spare time Jordan loves to explore all the amazing things that Austin has to offer (with her companion, Bailey The Dog).

 

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Jayme Dale Mallindine
Education Coordinator

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Jayme Dale (JD) Mallindine is the temple’s education coordinator, assisting Jordan Magidson and Rabbi Cohen with our youth and adult education programs. She also helps organize Temple Beth Shalom’s Refugee Task Force, and acts as the lead facilitator for Temple Beth Shalom’s Girls Who Code club.

Originally from Appalachia, JD earned her bachelor’s degree in 2010 from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a double major in psychology and religious studies. After graduating she moved to Providence, Rhode Island, and worked as the youth coordinator for a social justice non-profit, Rhode Island for Community & Justice (RICJ). In that role, JD ran year-round afterschool peer leadership programming and directed RICJ's youth leadership summer camp. She also taught at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, where she won "Teacher of the Year."

JD moved to Austin in 2013 to study video games as a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin. There she developed and coordinated peer leadership programs and social justice retreats while working at the Leadership and Ethics Institute in the Dean of Students’ office. In the summer of 2015, after receiving her master's degree, she worked for an educational video game company and ran summer camps that taught middle school girls to make video games. 

JD is certified in "Positive Youth Development," "Collaborative Leadership for Community, Religious, and Labor Leaders," and "Community Dialogue Moderation." She brings with her a love of crafting holistic and dynamic systems and programs that help organizations and people grow for the purpose of creating strong, inclusive, and loving communities. She is also a huge nerd (with a gaming podcast to prove it).

 
   

Maddie Pflueger
Receptionist

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Maddie Pflueger joined the team as the temple’s receptionist and administrative assistant in June 2017. Her duties include answering the phone, scheduling room reservations, putting together the weekly Daf T’fillah, and assisting her coworkers with any other work needs.

Maddie is a native Austinite and grew up in this congregation. After twelve years as a member, she is grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community by working at Temple Beth Shalom.

Maddie graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio in 2017 with a BA in English Literature. In college, she had multiple research opportunities that allowed her to approach Judaism from an academic perspective. Currently she is applying to graduate school programs in English and Jewish literature to pursue her passion of exploring the intersection of the religious and secular worlds through books. She intends to start with her Masters and follow through to a Ph.D.

When not working, Maddie enjoys reading, Skyping with her friends, playing video games, and experimenting with makeup. 

 
   

Marissa Wright
Clergy Assistant

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Marissa is the temple’s clergy assistant, providing daily administrative support to Rabbi Freedman, Rabbi Cohen, and Cantor Gostein.

Prior to her position at Temple Beth Shalom, Marissa worked as an office manager, a hiring and training coordinator, and an administrative associate. She has experience working in study abroad programs, estate planning, and most recently in consumer packaged goods with a local start-up company.

Marissa is a Michigan native who came to Austin in 2003 to finish school.  She is married with two young children, and enjoys practicing her Spanish, traveling, knitting, and reading.