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ChaiVillageLA is about helping people 
to live well and joyfully within a community 
of friends, support, and Jewish values.
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Meet the ChaiVillageLA Board

Pete Siegel lives in Beverly Hills with his spouse, Hope C. Stevens; both are active members of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills. Pete is a member of the board of directors of TEBH and one of the founders (and contact point) for Naaseh v'Nishma, a group of TEBH members supporting refugees and others in need--by doing. Pete and Hope have two children: Seth who lives just outside London with his brilliant spouse, Polly; and Sarah, who lives in the San Francisco area with her wonderful fiancé, Paresh. Pete has participated in not-for-profits as part of Jewish life (for a campus Hillel, a Jewish Federation and synagogues) as well as his work life (in California, New York and internationally).  Pete is currently enjoying semi-retirement, having worked in university Information Technology management positions for his entire career (after a stint working for a living, as a programmer).   

georgia mercer
Georgia Mercer 
Vice Chair
Georgia Mercer was raised in Upstate New York with her three brothers before going to Roanoke College in Virginia where she met her husband David.  They married two years later and moved to Los Angeles 55 years ago. She completed her degree in Education from Cal-State LA. She has been a community and political activist for decades often serving in leadership positions. She was an elected Trustee of the LA Community College District Board and was the founding president of the New Reform Congregation which merged with Kol Tikvah in the San Fernando Valley. She worked for Planned Parenthood LA as the Director of Public Affairs, as Valley Deputy for Mayor Riordan and has served on several local and statewide commissions. Georgia currently is a docent at the Autry Museum and a coach/consultant for the Executive Service Corp of SoCal. Several decades ago, Georgia lived in Japan for two years with her husband and son and enjoys traveling to historic sites. She enjoys gardening, being with friends, her book group, ChaiVillageLA activities, learning, and most of all spending time with her son, Steven, daughter-in-law Nina and 13 year-old grandson, Josh.

bobbie allen
Bobbie Allen
Bobbie Allen was born in Los Angeles and lived most of her early life with the Sephardic side of her family. She attended UCLA and married young. Bobbie studied architecture and proceeded to establish a practice in kitchen and bath design. She is still working with clients as she loves to be creative and give clients the best design possible for their space. Bobbie has been married to Ben Allen for 38 years. They have four grown children and three grandchildren with whom they share many happy family events. Bobbie has been a member of Temple Isaiah for 50 years. Hasharim, Daughters of the Torah and Book Group have been her great pleasures for a very long time.

Lorna Belman
Lorna Belman was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. After graduation and marriage, she and her husband Mike made Aliyah to Israel. The move was simultaneously a rejection of the values of the Apartheid regime and support for the growing State of Israel. Seven years later, they moved to Ohio and eventually to California. Lorna's first job in the United States was interviewing a cross-section of "Older Americans" in Cleveland and eliciting information on their satisfaction in areas like health care, community support, and activities of daily living. In California, Lorna worked for thirty years as a Speech Pathologist in public schools, where one of her proudest innovations was a program utilizing retired teachers to help under-achieving students. Relatively new to Temple Isaiah, Lorna and Mile were long-time members of a Santa Monica synagogue where Lorna served as a board member and board president.  Happily retired, she enjoys spending time with her three children and seven grandchildren as well as serving in several roles in the village.

Caroline Bloxsom
Caroline Bloxsom was born and raised in Los Angeles and finds she thrives in this climate--both the weather and the social/artistic vibe. Truly a local, she graduated from 3rd Street and Marlborough Schools. She left the West Coast for Harvard-Radcliffe University, returning to her Los Angeles roots after graduation. Happily self-employed for over 30 years as a "freelance CFO," Caroline has worked with clients across a number of professional fields: legal, advertising/PR, entertainment and retail. She is an avid reader, gardener, crossword puzzle (NY Times every day!), art history and classic film buff. She and her husband, Samuel Kolstad, have three adult children who live in California, Connecticut and Ohio. Caroline joined Temple Emanuel in the late 1980's and has been active most recently with husband Samuel in the Wise Aging Group. Caroline and Samuel were blessed with caring for Samuel's mother, Pauline, who moved to Los Angeles and lived with them in the twilight of her 91 years, peacefully passing in March 2018.

Idelle Davidson
Idelle Davidson
Idelle Davidson has been a freelance journalist for most of her career, specializing in personalities, health and medicine. She is an award-winning reporter. Her stories have appeared in the Washington Post, Time, the Los Angeles Times and many other publications. She produced two TV segments for the Discovery Health Channel. Idelle is a former director of publications for the American Heart Association and co-author of the New York Times-reviewed book, "Your Brain After Chemo." She holds two degrees from UCLA: a bachelor's in political science and a master's in public administration. Idelle is active in ChaiVillageLA and serves on the Temple Isaiah Board. She and her husband Peter enjoy traveling and spending time with their sons, daughters-in-law, and five adorable grandchildren.

David Feldheim
David Feldheim
David Feldheim grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, celebrating his Bar Mitzvah and Confirmation at Park Synagogue, a Conservative Synagogue. He received a B.A. from American University, School of International Service, and a  Law Degree from NYU Law School. David and his wife, Andrea, who is from Philadelphia, were classmates at NYU Law School, and later settled in Philadelphia. "It was bashert, because my Mom  often said that I would be a Philadelphia lawyer! (I think that means she thought I was glib!!)" David  clerked for a Common Pleas Judge after Law School; worked in-house for Sunoco for 25 years; and then opened his own private law practice in 1998. The Feldheims belonged to Congregation Or Ami, a Reform Synagogue, for 36 years before moving to LA. David was active at Or Ami, including as President, 1987-89, and in the Bar of Montgomery County, serving on the Board, the Executive Committee, the Bar Foundation and as Chair of the Business, Banking and Corporate Law Committee for 15  years. He still has a corporate legal practice based  in Pennsylvania. David and Andrea moved to LA in 2016 to be near kids and grandkids. David says that move to LA has been a "seismic" change. He enjoys exploring LA, film, theater and travel. David reports that the Clergy at Temple Isaiah are incredible, and that he and Andrea have met many great congregants. Friday night services and Saturday morning Torah Study at Temple Isaiah are a source of comfort a central part of every week. "The Village is the icing on the cake, allowing us to meet many people whose friendship we treasure and to explore the various issues associated with aging."

Susan Lava
Susan Lava was born in Brooklyn and lived in New York until fifteen years ago, when her employer asked her to relocate to California. Susan's first career in New York  was as an elementary school teacher and a teacher of developmental and remedial reading. She returned to school for her second master's degree and a career change.  She has been a CPA since the mid '80s and is licensed in both New York and California.  She worked in public practice for about 10 years and then worked in industry.  Her last position and the one that brought her to California was as the CFO of a company that produced TV commercials. She is semi-retired with a small CPA practice. She was very active in her Long Island temple as the founder of the nursery school, as a board member and as president of the Sisterhood.  Her three children and seven grandchildren live in three different cities: New York, Chicago and Sydney.

Sherri Morr
Caring Connections
Sherri Morr has spent the last several decades working and consulting in and out of the Jewish community as an expert in nonprofit management, primarily major gift prospecting.  As part of her work for Israel based organizations, she has taken numerous groups and individuals to Israel. She was the Director for the West Coast for the American Society of University of Haifa for 12 years at Jewish National Fund. She completed an MA & an Honorary Doctorate at Hebrew Union College in L.A. Sherri has been a fundraising expert/consultant and teacher for the Baltimore Symphony, 826 Valencia, Jewish Women's Theatre, Tufts University, The Park School in Baltimore, Oakwood School in L.A., and the College of Idaho. Sherri has published fundraising articles in technical journals, EJewishPhilanthropy, Sh’ma, JWeekly, the Jewish Newsletter of Northern CA, and The Beverly Hills Courier in addition to nonprofit management consulting. She is working on several writing projects including: “Captain Kirk Visits the Holy Land," “Pico & Jewish, A Neighborhood," and a memoir “Canned Fruit, and other Stories of Jewish Identity." Sherri has 3 grown sons, 3 grandchildren and lives in Los Angeles with her husband Paul Verger.

wendy plottel
Wendy Plottel
Caring Connections
Wendy Plottel is a native Californian, born and raised in San Jose. She graduated from San Diego State University with a teaching credential. Her first job was teaching on the Navajo Reservation with 42 students in her first grade classroom! (A quonset hut.) After returning to California she pursued post graduate studies at San Jose State University in Counseling. After substituting for a number of years, she joined  Traveler's Insurance as a Casualty Underwriter where she handled among other clients, the Lawyer's Professional Liability Insurance for CA. That position brought her to LA in 1979 to take over the serving of the Liquid Propane Gas Dealers Association. Subsequent moves were to two reinsurance companies and in 1985 Wendy returned to teaching with LAUSD. After spending 26 years at Hoover Street School, she retired in 2011. Wendy joined Temple Isaiah in 2000 and has volunteered as a room mother in the religious school as well as the Mitzvah Day and Membership Committees. She was a mentor at Santee High School for four years. She has an adult son, Josh, who lives in Madison, WI. In her spare time, Wendy works part time for LAUSD and enjoys playing mac jongg, reading and traveling.

Terry Pullan
Terry Pullan, a founding board chair of ChaiVillageLA, has held senior management positions for over 20 years with Merrill Lynch Realty, Prudential California Realty and Fox & Carskadon Real Estate. In 1996 Terry founded Genstar Media as one of the first companies to design personal websites for the real estate industry.  In 2008 his company was acquired by Dominion Enterprises, a privately held company headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia.  Terry lives in Rancho Park where he has immersed himself as an active volunteer in the community. He has been a leader for many years at Temple Isaiah where he served as President. He also served as President of the Westwood School Booster Club, was a founding member of the Westwood Neighborhood Council and is a member of the Hebrew Union College Board of Overseers. Terry and his wife, Andrea, have two daughters, Lara and Sasha.

Dave Rosenblum
David Rosenblum
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, David Rosenblum has lived in Los Angeles since 1979. A graduate of Wesleyan and Wharton, he was a senior partner with Deloitte Consulting until his retirement from the firm in 2013. An experienced board member, David currently serves as vice chair of the board of Hanmi Financial Corporation, as board chair of the National Association of Corporate Directors Pacific Southwest Chapter, and as a board member for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. He previously served as chair of the Echo Foundation, as a trustee of Wesleyan and on the board of Deloitte Consulting. David and Sue have been married since 1985, have two adult children and one grandchild, and are active members of ChaiVillageLA.

Sue Rosenblum
Sue Rosenblum worked in corporate marketing departments for 15 years, first in NY and later in  LA, where she was the Vice President of Marketing for Neutrogena. In 1993 she started her own management and marketing consultancy, helping small companies with strategic planning and business-building. Sue received her MBA from Harvard Business School. She has also used her marketing skills to help LA nonprofits, serving as Board Chair for Mar Vista Family Center, Grant Screening Board Chair for the Everychild Foundation and as an executive director coach. Sue also served on the Temple Isaiah Religious School Committee, the Temple Isaiah Board and the Capital Campaign Committee.  Sue and her husband Dave are the proud parents of two adult children, Lauren and Eric, and one grandchild, Maya.

Loretta Siciliano
Loretta Siciliano's father's parents were immigrants from southern Italy. Her mother was a Jewish refugee from Frankfurt, Germany, in 1938. Loretta is the oldest of 5 children and spent her younger years in Washington, D.C. where her father worked for the government. Loretta went to college in California and met her husband, Scott Silverman, during their last year of college. They married at 23, which Loretta says, "seems very young these days!" Loretta and Scott alternated going to law school so that one of them was earning a salary and could support them. Loretta also received a Master's Degree in Tax Law and practiced tax law for over 40 years. Her practice included dealing with charities and nonprofits as well as individuals. She retired in 2019. Loretta and Scott have 2 children and 4 grandchildren. They are fortunate that their daughter and her family live in L.A.; her son and his family live in Brooklyn, NY.  Loretta enjoys reading mysteries and dark chocolate.

Martha Sklar
When Martha Sklar was 8 1/2 years old, a big change occurred in her life.  She and her family left Old Havana and immigrated to the U.S., first settling in Detroit and later moving to Chicago.  In Chicago, she received her BA, MA and Ph.D. in mathematics education and then taught in both urban and suburban settings.  After her first son was born, she and her family moved to LA, where she has lived for 48 years, making her almost a native.  Martha’s professional life in L.A. included teaching at Los Angeles City College and then serving as the Transfer Center Director followed by Dean of Academic Affairs. After retirement, she became more active in community organizations such as the League of Women Voters-Los Angeles, where she is currently co-President.  Martha’s interests include theatre, music and travel—she has been on all seven continents.

bob white
Bob White
Bob White was born and raised in Chicago. His father, who came to the U.S. from Russia as a child, had ben raised as an orthodox Jew but rebelled and joined a conservative synagogue in Chicago. Per Bob, "he  was president of our temple seemingly forever and was active in the Zionist organization, always selling Israel Bonds. He may have walked away from orthodoxy, but I was still made to go to Hebrew school three afternoons a week, and after graduation, I had to attend Hebrew high school. I loved playing baseball, but my mandatory Jewish activities kept me from playing and participating in other activities. So, not surprisingly, I rebelled and did not join a synagogue until after my father passed away." Bob joined Temple Emanuel when he was in his mid-30's. His wife, Penny, attended Judaism classes at the temple and later converted in an Orthodox ceremony. Rabbi Geller presided over their daughter's Bat Mitzvah (and will be presiding over her marriage), and he and Penny have been members of the synagogue ever since. Bob and Penny were part of a group Rabbi Geller brought together several years ago to workshop the curriculum that became the prototype for Wise Aging groups around the country. Among the issues discussed was what kind of community participants would like to have as they grew older, and not very long thereafter, ChaiVillageLA came into being. Bob recently served on ChaiVillageLA's governance committee. Per Bob, "when I was in basic training, I learned to stay quiet and never volunteer for anything. I forgot that."

Rabbi Laura Geller
Rabbi Emerita
Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills
Rabbi Laura Geller is an Emerita Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, California. She was among the first women to be selected to lead a major metropolitan synagogue. Prior to being chosen for this position in 1994, she served as the Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress, Pacific Southwest Region. Among her accomplishments at AJCongress was the creation of the AJCongress Feminist Center, which became a model for other Jewish feminist projects around the county. She came to AJCongress in 1990 after fourteen years as the Director of Hillel at the University of Southern California.  Rabbi Geller has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including being named one of Newsweek’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America and the California State Legislature’s Woman of the Year Award. She was featured in the PBS Documentary called “Jewish Americans.” She is a frequent contributor to the Jewish Journal and the Huffington Post and she served on the Editorial Board of The Torah: A Woman's Commentary.. She is a Rabbinic Fellow of the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and an alumna of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality Rabbinic program.  She serves as a mentor for the Clergy Leadership Initiative, a project of CLAL.  She was ordained by the Hebrew Union College in 1976, the third woman in the Reform Movement to become a rabbi.

Rabbi Zoë Klein Miles
Temple Isaiah
Rabbi Zoë Klein Miles has served as Temple Isaiah Rabbi since 2000. She graduated from Brandeis University with a B.A. in Psychology and received ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998.  She is the author of the novel Drawing in the Dust, which was published by Simon and Schuster in 2009, of which Publishers Weekly wrote, “Insight into the world of biblical excavation in Israel raises Rabbi Klein's debut novel from a Jewish Da Vinci Code to an emotionally rich story of personal and historical discovery."  Rabbi Klein Miles has written articles for numerous publications including Harper’s Bazaar, Tikkun, and Torat Hayim. She has written chapters in a number of collections including Women’s Torah Commentary, Teen Texts, and Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation. Her poems and prayers are used in houses of prayer around the country. Rabbi Klein gives numerous presentations and is a keynote speaker and a panel participant at various assemblies all over the country. She is a resource for reporters in regional newspapers and has appeared as a commentator on the History Channel in “Digging for the Truth.” Her second novel, Origin of Color, is scheduled to be published later this year.

Devorah Servi, Director
Devorah Servi
Executive Director
Devorah Servi's tenure as ChaiVillageLA's Director began in March, 2016.  She previously served in the synagogue world as the Member Engagement Director at Kehillat Israel, Western Regional Director of the Reconstructionist Jewish Federation and Director of Gemilut Hasadim (Acts of Lovingkindness) at Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Baltimore. Devorah also earned a California teaching credential while a DeLeT Day School Teacher Leader Fellow at Hebrew Union College.She taught General Studies for 5 years, including at an ultra-orthodox school. Devorah traveled to India as a 2014-2015 American Jewish World Service Global Justice Fellow to learn about grassroots efforts to end early marriage and violence against women, girls and LGBTs.  Devorah enjoys hiking, teaching swimming, creating art and songs, and being the proud great-aunt of Sofia and Isabel.  Her work with ChaiVillageLA is dedicated to the blessed memory of her mother.

Talia Karu
Talia Karu
Program & Administrative Coordinator
Talia Karu was excited to join the ChaiVillageLA family. She is passionate about making authentic connections with others, lifelong learning, and making a meaningful difference in others' lives. Talia is a West Los Angeles native, having attended Sinai Akiba Academy and Milken Community Schools. Talia recently graduated with a BS in Biopsychology from UC Santa Barbara. She then spent six months in Israel spending time with her family, interning at the Eritrean Women's Community Center in South Tel Aviv, and eating way too much falafel. Talia's potential goals for the future are to become an LCSW with a specialization in Geriatrics. Outside of work, you can catch Talia hiking, practicing yoga, at the movies, spending time with her family, traveling with her boyfriend, or eating a burrito. Talia brings her organizational skills, warm and caring personality, and love of older adults to her work at ChaiVillageLA.

Judy Weintraub
Chaplain Intern
Judy Weintraub is excited and looking forward to getting to know you and serving you! About three years ago, Judy's fellow student at the Academy for Jewish Religion (AJRCA), presented highlights of her thesis on Aging Well, a topic that Judy is passionate about. She felt hopeful learning that ChaiVillageLA is based upon a strong sense of community, informed by the wisdom of Jewish tradition. Judy knew that somehow, sometime, she would want to be involved with ChaiVillageLA. That time for her connection with ChaiVillageLA has arrived, and she is very grateful for this opportunity. Judy recently graduated from AJRCA with a Masters in Jewish Studies and a Certificate in Chaplaincy. She is studying at AJRCA toward Rabbinical ordination. She works part-time at OPICA, a day program for people with dementia, providing spiritual care for members and families.

Richard Siegel z"l
Richard Siegel z"l retired as the Director of the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles in 2015. Prior to this, from 1978-2006 he served in various positions at the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, the last 15 years as Executive Director. His work at the NFJC helped put Jewish culture on the communal agenda as an important medium for the Jewish conversation and the expression of contemporary Jewish identity. He is the co-editor of The Jewish Catalog (JPS, 1973), the best-selling guide to the Jewish counter-culture of the 60s and 70s, and The Jewish Almanac (Bantam Books, 1981) as well as other books, chapters and articles on Jewish life and culture. Richard served as a Senior Resource Fellow at Community Partners where he consulted on a number of projects relating to Jewish community and culture. In addition to his groundbreaking work on ChaiVillageLA, he was working with his wife, Rabbi Laura Geller, on a book entitled Getting Good at Getting Older: A Jewish Catalog for a New Age (Behrman House, 2019).