Alan Friedman (email: email@example.com) – Executive Director
Alan comes to Beth El with extensive experience in Jewish camp leadership. Over the past 12 years he has served as Executive Director in San Diego, Greensboro, and Los Angeles. He has developed a strong reputation for managing and improving operations, budgeting and finance, recruiting and mentoring talented staff, and developing innovative programming. Alan is committed to building a holistic experience for all members. He is passionate in his commitment to the Jewish community and continuity. He is excited to join the Durham community with his partner, Ian, and their two-year old Australian Cattle dog, Luna.
Rabbi Steven G. Sager (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) – Rabbi Emeritus
Rabbi Sager served as Beth El’s rabbi for 32 years. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) and earned a Ph.D. in Rabbinic Literature at Duke University. Rabbi Sager has been a teacher, rabbinic advisor and mentor for students and graduates of the RRC, Hebrew Union College, Jewish Theological Seminary and the Rabbinical School of the Boston Hebrew College. Rabbi Sager is an adjunct faculty member of Duke Divinity School and has taught at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and in the Department of Social Medicine at the UNC Medical School. Rabbi Sager is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, where he is also a leader of the Rabbinic Programs Advisory Committee and of the Rabbinic Havurah program. Rabbi Sager served as President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and of the Greater Carolinas Association of Rabbis (GCAR); co-director of the GCAR Interfaith Institute, Scholar in Residence on numerous occasions for the GCAR, as well as serving in this capacity in congregations throughout the United States. Rabbi Sager has published articles in The Reconstructionist, The Journal of Religious Education, and The Southern Medical Journal. Rabbi Sager now serves as the Director of Sicha, a project to stimulate conversations between classical Jewish culture and contemporary Jewish needs.
Rachel Albert (email: RachelA@betheldurham.org) – B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator
Rachel has served in many roles at Beth El including, Talmud Torah teacher, B’nei Mitzvah Tutor, and Congregational Services Coordinator (she was even a preschool teacher at the Beth El Preschool 12 years ago!). Rachel took on the role of B’nei Mitzvah Tutoring Coordinator in 2019. Outside of Beth El, Rachel is a social worker with the NC Child Treatment Program where she manages a program that trains mental health clinicians throughout North Carolina. When she’s not working, she enjoys relaxing with friends, playing with her niece and taking her Corgihuahua, Gidget, for walks around the neighborhood.
Alexandra Bicks (email: email@example.com) – Education and Youth Director
Alexandra relocated from Cambridge, MA, where she was a leader and frequent Torah reader at Cambridge Minyan. However, she grew up (and attended the Solomon Schechter School) in Memphis, TN, so returning down south is a bit of a homecoming for her. She has been involved in Jewish life and education in different capacities ever since she can remember. She is passionate about teaching and empowering Jews of all ages and backgrounds to become involved in the community and spread the joy of Jewish life. Alexandra has taught Jewish education courses at the National Havurah Committee Summer Institute and worked as a high school ESL teacher in Boston. Alexandra received her BA in English from Yale and her MA in English from Boston College.
Sandy Fangmeier (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)- Kitchen Manager
Sandy moved to Durham 25 years ago after attending UCONN, Montana State University and San Francisco State University. She is a Lab Tech in the Duke Clinical Pediatric Stat lab. Sandy also has an NC Early Childhood Education certificate from Durham Tech. Sandy has served in a variety of roles throughout our Jewish community: Summer Camp director, Beth El Preschool director, religious school or music teacher at all three synagogues, and substitute teacher at the Lerner Preschool, having served on the Founding Board of the Lerner Day School. Sandy and her husband Jim are co-owners of Fangmeier Simcha Service, a kosher catering business. They both have degrees in Public Health microbiology. That experience has given Sandy a strong background to serve as our Kitchen Manager.
Rachel Greene (email: email@example.com) – Communications and Marketing Associate
Rachel moved to North Carolina from Arlington, VA in October 2017. She’s worked in meeting and event planning in the Washington, DC area since graduating from the University of Maryland in 2008 with a B.S. in Marketing (Go Terps!). She’s excited to be a part of the Durham and Beth El communities, and is enjoying exploring the area!
Sheri Hoffman (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) – Congregational Services Coordinator
Sheri’s is usually the first face you’ll see or voice you’ll hear when you come by or call the synagogue. Sheri grew up in Los Angeles and at Temple Beth Am, where her grandparents were founding members and, coincidentally, where Rabbi Greyber founded the Neshama Minyan while at rabbinical school. Sheri visited Chapel Hill in 1973, fell in love with the Triangle area and moved to Durham, but studied History at UNC Chapel Hill; she remains fiercely agnostic about basketball teams. Sheri worked as an administrator (and cake decorator!) for many years before becoming Rabbi Friedman’s secretary in 1987 and managing the front office at Judea Reform until 2000, when she moved to England. It was beshert that Beth El was seeking a new Congregational Services Coordinator soon after her return to the Triangle. Sheri is delighted to again be part of the Durham-Chapel Hill Jewish community, and near her son, grandson and close friends. She feels especially fortunate to be part of Beth El’s warm and welcoming synagogue life.
Jenna Hyland (email: email@example.com) – Program and Membership Coordinator
Zachary Marshall (email: Zachary@betheldurham.org) – Head of Building Maintenance
Zachary is a United States Coast Guard veteran who moved to the Durham area in 2006. He has worked in maintenance for the last 8 years and is looking forward to being a part of Beth El and learning more about the community.
Laura Oestreicher Ricon (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) – PreKadima Programming Coordinator
Laura has been involved in Jewish education and programming for 15 years, starting as a Madricha in the eighth grade. After graduating with a BA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Laura made Aliyah and lived in Israel for three years and worked in the tourism industry. Upon returning to the US, Laura earned her M.Ed in Educational Leadership from the University of New Hampshire and worked as a preschool teacher at a local synagogue. She moved to Chapel Hill in 2019 with her husband Or, daughter Sadie, and cats Olive and Pickle. Laura is excited to join the Temple Beth El community and looks forward to creating fun, engaging, and memorable programs for PreKadima!