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Board Of Directors


Deborah Sosebee, President

Deborah Sosebee, Board President, is a native Northern Californian and has been a member of Beth Jacob since 2003. Before becoming a full-time mom, Deborah worked in Operations Research at the New York Stock Exchange. Since becoming a full-time mom, Deborah has served on the boards and committees of various institutions including Redwood Day School, Jewish Family & Community Services, Jewish Community High School of the Bay, and The Jewish Community Foundation. In her free time, Deborah enjoys baking, crossword and Ken-Ken puzzles, finding typos, and organizing things. Deborah and her husband Michael have three children, Hannah, Isaac and Daniel, and two grandchildren, Betzalel and Arava.


Brian Kaye, Vice President

Brian has been a member of Beth Jacob Congregation since 1992. He is a physician with a specialty in rheumatology, with a practice in Berkeley and Orinda. He is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and an Adjuct Professor at Touro University in Vallejo. Brian is also very active in the Jewish community. He has been on the Board of Beth Jacob since 1995 and is a past-president. He is a past-president and long-term board member of Oakland Hebrew Day School (OHDS) and co-founder and past-president of the Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS). Brian has chaired nine head of school or senior rabbinic searches for Beth Jacob, OHDS, and JCHS. He has been a Wexner Heritage Foundation Fellow and also served on the Executive Board of the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay. Although born in Detroit, Brian considers himself a Bay Area native as he grew up in Palo Alto. Brian has a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.D. from the Baylor College of Medicine. He and his wonderful wife Fran have two children, Naomi and Joshua, and son-in-law, Honza, and two grandchildren, Ezra and Abram. Brian’s hobbies include playing with his grandchildren, travel, studying Jewish texts, reading, genealogy, classical music, going to art museums, and philately.


Maxim Shusteff, Vice President

Born in the former Soviet Union, Maxim Shusteff emigrated to the US at age 10, growing up and receiving most of his education in various places in the Northeast.  Since Jewish practice and education were minimally available in his childhood, upon reaching adulthood Maxim found himself hungry to learn more, so he was thrilled to find the perfect "opt in" community at Beth Jacob when he moved to the Bay Area in 2007.  The community's warmth and generosity inspired Maxim to make his first steps into communal service, joining the shul board in 2012. Professionally, Maxim is a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, mostly developing technologies diverse and sundry with applications in bioengineering and 3D printing, making use of his engineering degrees from Princeton University and MIT.  He lives in Piedmont with his Bay-Area-native wife and their four children, who remind him constantly that even though he might know a thing or two about science, he's still got plenty to learn about humans.


Debby Jacoby Ruben, Secretary

Debby Jacoby has been a member at BJC for almost 5 years, together with her husband, Rabbi Howard Ruben. Debby has long been involved professionally in Jewish education working with every age group, especially educators, where her focus has been developing, connecting and deepening networks. Debby grew up in the Midwest where Jewish life and learning, and love of Israel was deeply embedded in her world, having benefited from a robust lifetime experience with Bnei Akiva. Debby recently became a Nana in Israel, where her daughter lives, is looking forward to a New York grandbaby soon, and is also a grandparent in Santa Monica with Howard.


Mary Friedman, Treasurer




Rebecca Astrachan

Meet Board Member Rebecca Astrachan Bernstein! Rebecca was born in Oakland and grew up going to Beth Jacob. Rebecca was very involved with Bnei Akiva, leading youth groups at BJC, and NCSY. After going to college on the East Coast, she realized the Bay Area was where she wanted to be. Rebecca has been part of the BJC community for the last 7 years. She lives in the Adams Point neighborhood with her husband Ariel, son Kiva, and pup Thunder. 




Raphael Edelman


Alan Engel

Alan and his wife, Rachel along with their daughters Sarah & Daniella, have been members of Beth Jacob since 2004. Alan has been an owner operator of apartment buildings in the Bay Area for more than 30 years. He is an active volunteer in the Jewish community and currently serves on AIPAC’s National Council and is very active in pro-Israel politics, developing relationships with members of Congress. He also serves on the board of Oakland Hebrew Day School. Alan is the past president of the Housing Industry Foundation, which works to prevent homelessness in the South Bay and Peninsula. Alan has a B.A. in accounting from the University of San Francisco.

Aaron Harris 

Aaron Harris moved to Oakland along with his wife Jenna and their daughter Annie four years ago. Since moving here and joining BJC, they've added Max and Robbie to the family. When not spending time with the Shul Board, Aaron works in venture capital, funding early stage technology companies from around the world.



Alexandra Hart


Lenny Karpel 

Lenny is originally from Miami Beach and moved to Los Angeles in high school before making "aliyah" up north to Oakland. Along with bringing his professional marketing background to the board, he takes great pride in representing the wide range of voices of our beloved community to the board. He is married with three boys and has been a board member for over 3 years.  



Justin Rosenthal

Justin Rosenthal has been a member of Beth Jacob for 25 years, and was also married here.  Recently living in Santa Rosa, Justin and his family barely escaped with their lives when their entire neighborhood was destroyed in the North Bay firestorm.  His family is incredibly indebted to the Beth Jacob community for helping them regain their lives after the disaster, and serving on the Board is one small way he feels he can “give back” for all that Beth Jacob has done for his family.  Justin is married to Shacharit Rosenthal. They have four children: Daniel, a recent graduate from U.C. Berkeley, twin boys, Ari and Eli, who are attending “Shana Bet” in Israel at Har Etzion Yeshiva and Aish HaTorah respectively, and Moriah, who is entering her senior year in high school.  Justin is the Vice President of Operations for the Center for Elders’ Independence, a Bay Area healthcare organization serving the elderly community. Justin’s entire family is very involved with Beth Jacob, since early days at Gan Mah Tov Preschool, as well as with StandWithUs and NCSY.


Phillip Ross

Phil is an East Bay native, raised in Piedmont. His family joined Beth Jacob in 1991, with his encouragement while he was in college. Throughout college and medical school he held leadership roles with Jewish organizations on campus and beyond. He is a former board member of the Montreal Community Education Center and Oakland Hebrew Day School. He spent a year of intensive text-based study at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and the Schlesinger Institute for Medical-Halachic Research at Shaare Zedek Medical Center. He returned to Bay Area to complete his fellowship in Urologic Oncology at UCSF. Phil is a urological surgeon practicing in Oakland and Orinda and has been actively involved with Beth Jacob since his return to the Bay Area in 2005. He lives in Oakland with his wife, Daphna and their three children.




Sun, September 22 2019 22 Elul 5779