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BOARD NOMINEES

Joel Augen (second term) and his wife Maureen became Beth El members in 2009. Their daughter, Joslyn, is in the third grade in the Religious School. Joel enjoys attending Friday night services, particularly the Soul Shabbat and Family Services (and more recently, online services too!). Joel has been serving on the Beth El Board since 2018. He also joined the Brotherhood Board in 2017 as he was looking for a meaningful way to contribute to our congregation which he feels a special connection with. Joel completed Beth El’s Leadership Development Program in 2016 and through serving on the Board and participating in congregational activities, he views this as a way for a younger generation to become more actively involved in congregational life and the Jewish community. Joel participated in the search committee for our new Religious School Director. Joel grew up in South Florida, completed a Bachelors degree in International Business from Northeastern University in Boston, and earned an MBA at Florida State University. Prior to graduate school he served as a volunteer in Community and Economic Development in the Peace Corps in Panama. He is a strong supporter of inclusion and disability awareness.

Spruce Fraser (first term) is the go-to person when you need help. She is an extraordinary Beth El volunteer who arrives early and leaves late for so many of our programs. She speaks of Beth El as “my family.” Spruce has participated in High Holiday choir; Brotherhood Catering and policy forums; Sukkah decorating; the monthly knitting group, and the wine tasting group. Also, she’s a leader having served as the president of the Patent and Trademark Resource Center Association and director of the Saint Louis Inventors Association. She is organized and a book person with 30 years’ experience as a librarian.

Simon Gershman (first term) is a third generation member of Beth El. He currently is filling a vacant position on the Beth El Board of Directors. Simon attended religious school at Beth El through confirmation and began teaching in 2001. He currently teaches the confirmation class. He also has been involved with Brotherhood and Social Action at Beth El. Simon and his wife, Jess, were married at Beth El in 2018.

Janet Hlatky (first term) is from New Jersey by way of Des Plaines, IL, home of the first McDonald’s. She moved to this area in 1982 and had a 20-year career with the federal government before moving into consulting. She has a Master’s degree in International Business and speaks Russian and German. Because of her love of languages, she volunteers (pandemic allowing) teaching English as a Second Language to senior citizens in Fairfax County. She is married to an amazing man and they live with a varying number of cats, hopefully soon to go up from two to four. Janet chose to join Beth El, despite her commute from Herndon (!), because it touched her heart and soul. She has been increasingly active over the last ten years, serving as Bulletin editor for many years and now also website manager. She looks forward to doing even more for and with Beth El.

Rae Ellen James (second term) has been an active member of the board of directors for the past two years and wishes to serve a second term. She and her husband, Chuck, have been Beth El members since 1984 and are supporters of the synagogue's Permanent Endowment Fund. Rae Ellen completed the Leadership Development Program in 2018 and has participated in a wide variety of temple activities since. She assisted the Caring Community committee, sorted books for the annual book sale and participated in Beth El's get-out-the-vote initiatives. She is a regular participant at Torah study and interested attendee at Rabbi Spinrad’s courses. Rae Ellen was an attorney with the federal government for 39 years and a member of the Senior Executive Service when she retired in 2016. This training and experience inform her board service.

Naomi Mercer (she/her, they/them) (second term) is Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for the American Bankers Association. She transitioned from a military career where she served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Philosophy at the United States Military Academy and in the Pentagon running the Army’s gender integration and religious accommodation programs. She is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal for her service in a combat theater of war and the Legion of Merit for her 25 years of service to the nation. Her educational background includes a doctorate in Literary Studies with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an Executive Certificate in Strategic Diversity and Inclusion from Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. She is the author of the academic monograph, Toward Utopia (2015).

Michael Tanner and his wife Shoshanna have lived in Alexandria since 2001, when they both moved up here for work. Originally, Michael is from South Florida, while Shoshanna is from Toronto. They have three children (two girls and one boy), all of whom are still in Hebrew School here at Beth El. The Tanners have been Beth El members for about 10 years (but the kids have been enrolled in Beth El’s Hebrew School since 2007). A few years ago, Michael took part in the Beth El Leadership Course. Michael and Shoshanna's oldest child is up for confirmation this year and was one of the Heller High Five girls who recently did a semester of high school study in Israel. Michael is very much looking forward to being a part of the Temple’s Board.

Mon, July 13 2020 21 Tammuz 5780