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Executive Director: Michelle Zuckerman

Michelle has been the PBJC Executive Director since December 2017. Before that, she had spent many years as a PBJC volunteer, serving as religious school chair, nursery school chair, B’nai Mitzvah coordinator and numerous other positions in the synagogue including Sisterhood president. Michelle has been one of the driving forces of many successful fundraisers and programs in the synagogue. She is also very proud to have become an adult Bat Mitzvah at PBJC in 2014.

 

As our Executive Director, Michelle is responsible for the day-to-day management of the synagogue, staff and assets. She maintains our office policies and oversees our relationships with vendors, landlords, banks, insurers and business partners. She also oversees and monitors member programs, services and activities, as well as building rental. Michelle manages the calendar of all events scheduled for the building and provides marketing, social media and graphic design support as needed to promote PBJC events. She works collaboratively with various committees for events coordination, including planning, logistics, and scheduling, as well as with our fundraising chairs to secure sponsorships, grants, and annual giving campaigns. Additional responsibilities include creating our weekly electronic newsletter and maintaining our electronic announcement boards. Michelle truly is the “face” of PBJC. Her knowledge, experience, inter-personal skills and enthusiasm make her a true asset to our community.

 

Outside the synagogue, Michelle has held leadership positions in the PTCs including vice president, treasurer, and president of Cedar Hill School for many years. She is a member of the Montville Township Board of Education and serves as the chair of the Communications committee and on the Curriculum and Instruction committee. She is also an ambassador for the National Gaucher Foundation, an organization about which she feels very passionate.

 

Prior to her current roles, Michelle worked in the information technology sector overseeing the installation of financial management, human resource, and purchasing systems for state and local governments and later as a director at a pharmacy benefit management organization.

 

Michelle earned her bachelor’s degree Cum Laude from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania where she double-majored in computer science and government and law. She also holds her master’s degree in education from Rutgers University. Michelle lives in Towaco with her husband, Evan, and is the proud mother of Lindsay and Hailey. She and her family consider PBJC to be their second home and Michelle is thrilled to be serving the community in this capacity.

Educational Director: Mary Sheydwasser

Mary has been the Educational Director at PBJC for 12 years, overseeing our Religious School and B'Yachad, our Hebrew High program, as well as Adult Education. Students from kindergarten through high school, and adults of all ages benefit from her dedication and experience.

 

We are honored to have her in this role after achieving "Framework for Excellence" as Religious School Director and educator at Shomrei Torah in Wayne. 

 

Born in Montreal, Mrs. Sheydwasser grew up in an Orthodox environment and attended Hebrew day school. The second of two daughters of Holocaust survivors, she is forever indebted to them for teaching her everything that they could about being Jewish and the importance of continuing Jewish education and traditions.

 

Since immigrating to the United States, she has continued her professional development by taking courses at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, Gratz College in Philadelphia and the JTS Leadership Institute for Educational Directors.

 

Mary is a vibrant and creative leader in our synagogue who always has the childrens' best interest at heart. Her goal for the school year is for every student to be proud of his/her Jewish identity and to feel comfortable walking into the synagogue.

Nursery School Co-Director: Lisa Lerman

Lisa has been co-director of the PBJC Nursery School since July 2016. She graduated from Muhlenberg College where she earned a dual degree in business administration and social science.

 

Her many years working at PBJC Nursery School helped to prepare her for her current job and responsibilities as Co-Director.

 

Her various roles at PBJC Nursery School have included: teaching the Introduction to Nursery School class, implementing and teaching the science enrichment program for the 4-year-old class, being an assistant teacher in both the 3 and 4 year old classes, additionally, she has performed administrative tasks throughout the school years.

 

She spends her summers working as director at PBJC Day Camp where she oversees, manages and implements the eight week themed summer fun program. Lisa lives in Montville with her husband and three children. She is dedicated to the well being and early education of the children at PBJC Nursery School.

Nursery School Co-Director: Jill Buckler

Jill Buckler has been working with children for over 30 years. Throughout her life she has dedicated her career to the social and emotional development of each child. She makes it her goal to make sure that every child receives the best care and education that they all deserve. She is presently Co-Director of PBJC Nursery School and Giggle Zone Day Care. Jill has been our Pre-K Teacher since 2002. 

 

For 16 years she was the Director of Pre-K and Kindergarten Girls at a North New Jersey Day Camp. She was the direct connection and contact at camp and responsible for all the children, staff and parents needs. Her number one priority was making sure children develop character, discover new abilities, stretching beyond their comfort zone and creating good values while having fun and being safe.

 

Jill continues to bring an endless amount of energy, creativity and excitement to PBJC Nursery School and is very passionate about early childhood education. Jill resides in Rockaway with her husband and has raised two children.

Office Administrators/Clergy Assistants:Sandy Gonzalez and Melanie Lewis

Along with our Executive Director, Sandy and Melanie are the main points of contact for visitors to the office. They also serve as the Administrative Assistant to the Rabbi. Sandy and Melanie's responsibilities are wide and varied. They serve as liaisons for the Caring Committee and congregants needing assistance, handle daily Sisterhood Gift Shop access and transactions (including scrip sales), and help coordinate orders of food and supplies for the synagogue. Sandy and Melanie are also responsible for generating yahrzeit letters and handing yahrzeit plaques, donations, and arrangements along with many administrative duties for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. They takes care of High Holiday ticket processing and maintain the Book of Remembrance database. Scheduling clergy appointments and handling clergy correspondence are other important responsibilities, and there are many more.

Sandy Gonzalez

Sandy was born and raised in Montville and is now a resident of Lake Hiawatha. She has been a part of the PBJC family her entire life. She, along with her parents and brother, were members in the original PBJC building and she was one of the first to become a Bat Mitzvah in our current building. Sandy has been teaching in our Religious School since 2014 and working in our Nursery School since 2008, previously as an assistant teacher for the Intro program and currently as a substitute throughout the Nursery School program. Sandy, her husband Jose, and children Joshua and Matthew have been members of the PBJC High Holiday choir since 2008. In addition to working at PBJC, Sandy has been the Studio Manager at Fine Arts Connection, a performing arts studio in Pine Brook, since 2006, where she also teaches piano lessons.

In addition to her 15 years of office administrator experience, Sandy has her degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, with 9 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She is very excited to be joining the office staff at PBJC, which she feels is her second home. In her free time, Sandy enjoys spending time with  family and friends, listening to music, and cooking.

  

Melanie Lewis

Melanie and her husband Keith have been members of PBJC since 2015 and recently enjoyed celebrating their son Logan's Bar Mitzvah. This is not Melanie’s first role at PBJC. She began working in the PBJC Giggle Zone day care in 2016 and became a co-teacher in the Nursery School 2’s class in 2021. In addition to her experience at PBJC, Melanie worked at 79th Street Pharmacy in Manhattan where she served as both the marketing coordinator and a customer service representative. Her responsibilities included helping customers obtain all of their pharmaceutical and healthcare needs, arranging sales events, and handling promotions and marketing for the pharmacy. Early in her career, Melanie worked in programming, public relations, and advertising. She started her own gift basket company for which she designed, created, marketed and sold gourmet gift baskets to corporate clients.

Melanie lives in Montville with Keith and Logan, and their two dogs, Oliver and Yossi. She enjoys spending time with her family, walking her dogs, bowling, playing table tennis and mahjong. She is proud to say she once completed the New York City Marathon. Melanie is honored to be working as an Office Administrator at PBJC. She is looking forward to working with the members of the PBJC congregation. 

  

Office Administrator: Karen Herbst

Karen joined our office staff as a result of our merger with Congregation Beth Shalom. She works part time in the office to help with all general office administration. She also coordinates and edits the monthly Candlestick newsletter publication for the synaogue. We are thrilled to welcome Karen to our PBJC family.

Religious School Administrator: Robin Mangino

 

Robin is honored to serve as office administrator for the Religious School for the past eight years. In addition to her many administrative responsibilities, she enjoys working with wonderful teachers, having the opportunity to watch a great group of students in action, meeting dedicated parents, and assisting director, Mary Sheydwasser, whom she loves and admires. Robin's responsibilties include handling registration, coordinating junior congregation credits, attendance, correspondence and communication, and all general administrative duties for the Religious School.

Prior to this role, Robin worked in the PBJC main office. She came as a two-day temp, after some graduate work, and has stayed at the synagogue for 12 years! The top-notch staff, devoted clergy and congregants, and the warm and inviting atmosphere at PBJC is the reason.

In her past lives, Robin lived and worked in Manhattan in various roles at Channel Thirteen, including Associate Director of Promotion and Events. After moving back to New Jersey with her family, she was involved with volunteer activities and helped run her mother’s popular fashion boutique, “Tiger’s Eye." Robin graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communication with a dual degree in journalism and psychology.

  

Bookkeeper: Esterina Herman

Esterina has been an invaluable member of the PBJC office staff for many years. She handles accounts payable and receivables and all general daily bookkeeping and accounting functions of general synagogue operations. She produces monthly statements and billing and is available to answer any questions that arise in relation to finances of member accounts. She is also responsible for handling stock donations and for credit card processing. Esterina also maintains tax information and assists with financial reporting.

Sun, October 17 2021 11 Cheshvan 5782