Josh Laster

Executive Director

Josh Laster joined Congregation Beth El in October 2015. Josh has been working in the Jewish community since 1999 with a focus on Jewish communal service, youth work, education and programming. Prior to joining Beth El, Josh served as the Executive Director of Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, NJ and at Ohev Shalom in Wallingford, Pennsylvania.

Before beginning his career as a synagogue executive director, Josh worked in IT sales with a focus on communications and software specific applications, as a full time Jewish youth professional and as an elementary school teacher. He served as the Waterfront Director at URJ Camp Harlam for six years and is an active member of the Camp Harlam Council. He received his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Shippensburg University in May of 1997.

Josh attributes his love of working within the Jewish community to a few sources. The first is his father’s role as a Temple Administrator for 14 years. His father was the Executive Director at Temple Sinai in Washington D.C. The second is Josh’s years spent as the Waterfront Director at URJ Camp Harlam. Camp Harlam holds a special place in his heart, because his parents met there in 1967, while his dad was also the Waterfront Director. And the third is the twelve years spent in part-time and full-time youth work at various congregations in the Philadelphia area.

Josh is married to Erica. They have two beautiful daughters, Isabella and Maryn.

Contact: 856.675.1166 x405

Rabbi Nogah Marshall

Educational Director

Rabbi Nogah Marshall is thrilled to join the Beth El community. Rabbi Marshall is no stranger to synagogue life. As the eldest of five children born to a rabbinic family with a father, brother and sister-in-law all rabbis, the synagogue has always been a home away from home. Prior to her arrival to Congregation Beth El, she served as the Educational Director at Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, PA for 10 years and before that, as the Rabbi and Director of Education at Temple Emanu-El in Palm Beach, FL. Rabbi Marshall created and coordinated exciting programs, including a B’nai Mitzvah ceremony for adults with special needs for which she received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the JFCS of West Palm Beach as well as numerous Solomon Schechter Awards.

Rabbi Marshall has focused her work on children, families, and special needs individuals. She specializes in creative curriculum development, family & adult education, and building a passionate, inclusive, nurturing Jewish community. Her educational philosophy centers on experiential education coupled with religious observance, “One of my goals is to create a love of Judaism in my students so that they want to learn and incorporate it in their daily lives. This can be done by creating a solid foundation and a strong sense of community. It’s not just about education, but about community.”

Rabbi Marshall received her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, a Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard University, and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary and earned a Master of Hebrew Letters. While attending Brandeis University, Rabbi Marshall was a member of the swim team, violinist in the Orchestra, as well as a member of the traveling Israeli dance troupe, B’yachad. She loves to travel and has a strong passion and love for the State of Israel. And one of her hidden talents is juggling!

Rabbi Marshall, her husband Scott and their children Karni, Eyden, Austin and Jaclyn are thrilled to be a part of the Beth El family.

Contact: 856.675.1166 x419

Melissa Leibowitz

Engagement Director

Melissa is part of a four generation Beth El family, going back to her grandparents, Lillian and Herb Barag.   She attended Kellman Academy as a young child and then continued her Jewish education at Beth El Religious School.  Over the years, Melissa has celebrated many life cycle events at Beth El including her Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation and wedding to husband, Lee, who she met at JCC Camps when she was just 15!  Melissa and Lee are proud parents of Hannah (14) and Adam (11).  

Melissa graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism.  She started her career at Merrill Lynch working in Human Resources, where she focused on performance management and organizational development.  After taking time off to raise her small children, she joined the staff at the JCC Camps as Director of the Counselor-in-Training (CIT) Program.   Melissa has spent the past five years working at Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JFCS) in the development department focusing on donor relations, stewardship and event planning.  It was these positions that truly solidified Melissa’s passion for Jewish communal work.

Melissa has been an active volunteer at Beth El for many years, serving on the Board of Trustees, co-chairing the Religious School Board, and helping to plan synagogue-wide events.   She is excited to transition from board member to staff, and combine her professional life with her spiritual home. 

As Engagement Director she looks forward to working with members of all ages, helping them to find meaningful ways to connect with each other and Jewish life. 

Stop by the office and visit Melissa…she would love to say hello!

Contact: 856.675.1166 x418

Ayelet Mittelman

Early Childhood Center Principal

Ayelet was lucky enough to spend her childhood moving around Israel and California before settling in Long Island, NY. She graduated from  Pratt Institute where she dabbled in as many art mediums as she could fit into a semester!  Ayelet comes to the ECC with more than 20 years of management, administrative and healthcare experience.  Ayelet and her husband, Matt, are proud parents of ECC graduate, Maya, and their newest addition Sadie is one of the happy students in our Infant Room.  

Ayelet has always had a love of her Jewish and Israeli roots.  When you stop by to visit you will find Hamsas adorning her walls, as a constant reminder of her family in Israel.  Being first brought into the ECC as a parent, Ayelet had a unique perspective on then joining as a staff member.  The ECC is her second home, and the teachers, Clergy and staff are her second family. Being the principal of the ECC is a labor of love.  You will not find a bigger cheerleader for the ECC!!  Ayelet loves to paint and build things with her daughters, and to play dress up and go on adventures with them.  When Ayelet has a few moments to herself, she can be found reading a good book, painting, making jewelry, or watching 80's movies. Ayelet also really loves Nutella.

Ayelet loves visitors, and as a typical Jewish mommy, will likely offer you some food.  Come on by and say hello!

Contact: 856.675.1166 x419

Stacy Manning

Controller

Stacy Manning joined Congregation Beth El in July 2019. Prior to joining Beth El, Stacy worked at Congregation Beth Chaim as the accounting manager and brings to Beth El nineteen years of synagogue accounting experience. She is excited and looking forward to being a part of the Beth El family.

Stacy was born in Brooklyn, NY. When she was 7, her family relocated to East Windsor, NJ, where she grew up. Stacy is married to Ken and has two sons, Nicholas and Bradley, who keep her very active. Stacy’s greatest enjoyment in life is being a mom! When she isn’t running from the hockey rink to the soccer field, she likes spending time working out, reading, relaxing and enjoying time with her family and friends.

Contact: 856.675.1166 x403

Laura Bruzzese-Coscia

Account Manager

Laura came to Beth El in 1991 as a temp, where she worked with Yaffa Fuchs in the Religious School. It didn’t take long to find out it was a good fit. Laura worked with the Religious School for several years then left as she and her husband Dominic moved to the shore area for his job. Another job related move brought her back to the area and back to Beth El in 1997 just as our beautiful “new” Voorhees building was being built. Construction had begun, the plans for the new ECC were underway and she got to be a part of it!  The next several years were great, Laura loved her position and her son, Joseph, attended ECC. Sadly, her husband of over 20 years became ill and passed away, but with the love and support of her mom, family, friends and her Beth El family, she was able to slowly piece life back together.

In 2002 Laura began working in our Accounting Department where she has been ever since.  She says that there is never a day that she wakes up and doesn’t want to come to work. “I love the people I work with and feels blessed and thankful every day!” 

In 2007 Laura was remarried to a wonderful man by the name of Tony.  Since then, her son Nick has married his amazing wife Jess and had a beautiful little angel, Lia with another baby on the way in October!  Her son, Joseph, is currently working at our ECC where he attended so many years ago.

Contact: 856.675.1166 x404

 

Sarah Donsky

Education Programs Assistant

Sarah Donsky returned home to Congregation Beth El in December 2019. Sarah earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Monmouth University in Psychology and has several years of experience working in both Education and Office administration. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, relaxing at the beach, traveling, and of course spending time with friends.

Contact: 856.675.1166 

Alicia Drozen

Marketing & Communications Manager and Youth Director

Alicia grew up in South Jersey and graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration, Marketing & Communications from Emory University's Goizueta Business School.

Alicia has worked in non-profit organizations her entire career including as the Traveling Educational Consultant for Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, the Program Manager of Middle Schools for Best Buddies Connecticut and the Events Manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles. Most recently, Alicia was the Program Director at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles for 6 years where she oversaw all of the planning, programming, marketing, events, and committees of the adult and family programming department.

She loves planning events, working with the Jewish community, and making a difference. Her two little boys may make occasional appearances at USY and Kadima events!

Contact: 856.675.1166 x411

Marsha Flager

Executive Assistant

Marsha Flager came to Beth El in October, 2021. Marsha worked for 4 ½ years as the Executive Assistant for the Consul General of Israel in Philadelphia. When the Consulate closed in August, 2016, she went on to work for Israel Bonds in Philadelphia as an Administrative Assistant.

Marsha grew up at another Congregation Beth El in Levittown, now Yardley, PA, a synagogue that her parents helped found in 1952. When she’s not working, Marsha can be found doing needlepoint and knitting or crocheting. She even sewed face masks at the beginning of the pandemic, which she donated to an assisted care facility. Marsha is the mother of 3 children and the Bubbe to 5 grandchildren. Her greatest joy is being silly with her grandchildren. Oh yes…Marsha has 4 grand-dogs, as well.

Stop at the office to say hello the next time you’re in the building!

Contact: 856.675.1166 x406

Valerie Gross

Educational Administrative Assistant

Valerie grew up in Harrisburg, PA. After graduating from Ohio University, she moved to Philadelphia, where she was a paralegal for a law firm. She brings 30 years of office experience with her. She is excited to be working at Beth El.

After marrying Larry, Valerie was excited to relocate to South Jersey, where her husband grew up. Joining Beth El shortly after moving to Voorhees, they raised their son, Seth and twin daughters, Alyssa and Hannah. Valerie has celebrated many simchas at Beth El, including her Aufruf, the girls’ baby naming, her childrens’ Bar Mitzvah, B’not Mitzvah, and Confirmations. Her husband’s family have been long time members of Beth El, going back to the Camden days.

She enjoys traveling and going to plays, concerts and museums. She loves spending time with her family and friends and trying out new restaurants with her husband.

Contact: 856.675.1166 x408

Carrie Luk

Accounts Payable Coordinator

Carrie Luk joined Congregation Beth El in May 2021 and brings 15 years of Accounts Payable/Bookkeeping experience from the paper product industry.  She is excited to be part of the Beth El family.

Carrie was born in Hong Kong and her family immigrated to Philadelphia when she was 10.  She is married to Derek and has 2 sons, Justin and Kevin.  Carrie enjoys watching sports and going to movies with her family.  She enjoy spending her weekend going out to dinner with her friends.  She also loves to travel, her favorite vacation spot is Venice, Italy.  

Contact: 856.675.1166 x402

Leora Waiche

Clergy Executive Assistant and Program Manager

Leora is the third-generation from sunny San Diego, California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Integrated Marketing Communications from San Diego State University. Inspired by her grandparents’ involvement in the Jewish community, she has been active with leadership roles in United Synagogue Youth, Hillel, Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority and the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, among others. For the past five years, Leora was the Executive Assistant and Programs Manager at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in San Diego.

Leora enjoys cooking and traveling. She most recently visited family in Israel. She has babysat for many children over the years and enjoys watching children discover and learn new things. Leora is excited to meet new people and discover this new city.

While new to Beth El, Leora has ties to our community. She was one of Hazzan Pomerantz-Boro’s Bat Mitzvah students. Leora is delighted to be a part of the Beth El family.

Contact: 856.675.1166 x415

Tracey Weiss

Engagement Coordinator

Tracey comes to us with 15 years of experience in non-profit work and volunteering.  She has worked as an inclusion room teacher, during which time she volunteered for various education and special needs related organizations.  She has worked as Head Administrator for non-profit organizations and as well as the Director of Congregational Engagement for Temple Emanuel.  Her energetic son, Jacob, attended Beth El's Early Childhood Center and Tracey stepped up as an ECC PTG co-chair. This volunteer role made accepting this Engagement Team position an exciting transition. 

Tracey is married to David Weiss.  An interesting fact about their relationship is they met on a PATCO train and eventually began dating.  A few years later, David proposed to her on a PATCO train as well.  Their labradoodle, Jerry, is also a fun part of their loving family.  The four of them enjoy going for walks together and playing outside. Tracey likes to run in the early morning and read books at night.  When she has free time, she enjoys cooking and baking.

Contact: 856.675.1166 x409

Shirley Yaffa

Administrative Secretary

Shirley graduated from Camden High School and attended Temple University. Her previous work experience included Administrative Assistant to the South Jersey Regional Director of BBYO, substitute teaching and office manager of S. Yaffa’s Sons.

Beth El has been an important part of Shirley’s life for many years, beginning with her marriage to her late husband, Jerry, z”l, by the late Rabbi Harry B. Kellman, They were about to celebrate 50 years of marriage when he passed 14 years ago. Beth El was there for her then, and still is.

Their three children, Joel, Stuart and Michele were confirmed at Beth El and Michele & Stuart were married there.  She is now the proud grandmother of 16 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren (so far).  You can find her each day at her desk meeting and greeting parents, children and congregants.

Her responsibilities include life cycle contributions, Yahrzeit notices,assisting with the Yizkor Book, directing phone calls, etc., etc.

She loves Beth El and looks forward to coming to work each day sharing her smiles and positive attitude.  

Contact: 856.675.1166 x401