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Clergy, Staff & Board

Rabbi Josh Whinston

Rabbi Josh Whinston

RABBI JOSH WHINSTON first seriously contemplated becoming a rabbi after his bar mitzvah. “I really loved being on the bimah, and the feeling of pride when I stepped off and was embraced by my parents and family,” he says. He would later lead services for his synagogue youth group, and in college at Hillel. “One summer during college,” he recalls, “I was working at a Reform-movement camp, and I received a phone call from an acquaintance. He told me his mother had died and that he wanted me to come to the funeral and lead the shiva minyan after.” It was, he says, “one of the most important, meaningful moments of my life.” His path was set. Rabbi Whinston was ordained at the Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles; he has earned master’s degrees in Hebrew Letters and Jewish Education and is pursuing a doctorate in Pastoral Ministry. He served congregations in Connecticut, California and Washington state before arriving at Temple Beth Emeth in 2016. Married to Sarah Raful-Whinston, Rabbi Whinston is the proud father of Mollie, Eva and Ori.

Cantor Regina Lambert-Hayut

Cantor Regina Lambert-Hayut

CANTOR REGINA LAMBERT-HAYUT was raised in a secular Jewish home home, where Yiddish was spoken, and an equal emphasis on Jewish and secular education was placed. Throughout her Long Island upbringing, her family often said from early childhood on that she was destined to be a cantor. “I’ve always loved to sing,” she explains. However, it wasn’t until she spent five years as a cantorial soloist at Temple Sinai of Massapequa that she knew in her heart that being a cantor—combining her love of Judaism and music—was the right path. During high school, Cantor Lambert-Hayut attended The Juilliard Pre-College for voice, however life took a decidedly more academic turn when she earned a bachelor’s degrees in Biological Chemistry, from Swarthmore College. After completing her undergraduate studies, she returned to singing and Jewish life. She attended the Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion to become a cantor, and received a Master's degree in Sacred Music. Upon ordination, she served at two congregations prior to Temple Beth Emeth. Cantor Lambert-Hayut is married to Avishay, and has two musically talented sons, Yoav and Alon.

Rabbi Daniel K. Alter

Rabbi Daniel Alter, Director Of Education

RABBI DANIEL ALTER is a thoughtful, contemplative man, for whom selfless sharing is a fundamental principle. He was inspired by the values and actions of his role models to become a religious and educational leader who could offer advice to those facing difficult or impenetrable theological questions. “Rabbi” literally translates as “teacher,” of course, and this sort of instruction is a vocation some seem simply destined to pursue. So it is with Rabbi Alter here at TBE, his first post-ordainment position; earning master’s degrees in Hebrew Letters and Jewish Education at the Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion. He grew up in Beaumont, Texas, raised in a family that was deeply active in the local Jewish community. “I vividly remember lighting Shabbat candles as a child,” he reminisces. “We went to Friday night services most weeks, but once I could read and follow in Hebrew … that’s when Judaism truly came alive for me.” It’s this love of learning that Rabbi Alter shares with, and nurtures in his students, Torah study members, and other program participants.

Robert D. Levy, Rabbi Emeritus

Ann Z. Rose, Cantor Emerita

Executive Director Melissa Sigmond

Melissa Sigmond, Executive Director

MELISSA SIGMOND is an executive with over 25 years' experience working in-house and consulting for Fortune 500 companies and Wall Street firms, as well as philanthropic organizations (from tech and education focused non-profits to faith-based foundations). After graduating UCLA, Sigmond’s professional life began in Hollywood feature film production, segue to finance, initially for Bank of America, then hedge and venture capital funds. During an intermission from investment banking, she led the undergraduate events at Columbia University, including coordinating the 250th Anniversary celebration, and a series of events at the Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life. In 2013, Sigmond shifted her focus and career path in to nonprofit management starting with Senior Planet Exploration Center in New York City, a flagship initiative of Older Adults Technology Services Center (OATS); two years later she was appointed the Executive Director at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, a National Historic Landmark Reform synagogue in Charleston, South Carolina. Subsequently, Melissa joined Temple Beth Emeth, as its Executive Director, in 2018. She is married to the author Aaron Sigmond, and is the mother of Dashiell.


Account Manager, Amie BrockmanAmie Brockman, Account Manager
Amie Brockman oversees all the accounting functions and general financial operations of TBE. Originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Amie moved to Ann Arbor to escape the U.P. winters, and be closer to family. She has been with TBE since 2011.

Account Administrator, Victoria GrossVictoria Gross, Account Administrator
Victoria Gross is one of the most familiar faces in the TBE office, having been on staff since 2011. She works directly with congregants, manages member accounts and religious school tuition fees. Victoria and her family immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine, and have made Ann Arbor their home since 1994.

Congregational Social Worker, Rebecca NieubuurtRebecca Nieubuurt, Congregation-Based Social Worker
Rebecca Nieubuurt earned her Master’s in Social Work from the Portland State University School of Social Work in Portland, Oregon. Rebecca’s expertise lies in Holocaust services, aging in place, depression in older adults, and organizational and program development. Rebecca draws on these skills and background to serve the local community as the Congregation-Based Social Worker at Temple Beth Emeth and Beth Israel Congregation.

Emily Alter, Shabbat Religious School Coordinator
Emily Alter, TBE’s Shabbat School Coordinator, has been in her position since the 2011-2012 school year. Emily has a M.A. in education and has extensive experience in both the secular and Jewish fields. She recently retired from being the Director of Education in a combined Reform and Conservative religious school in Flint, MI, for 33 years. In addition to coordinating our Shabbat school, Emily also works with Cantor Hayut tutoring B’nai Mitzvah students.

Communications & Content Manager, Isaac EllisIsaac Ellis, Communications & Content Manager
Isaac merges his background in theater and marketing and his previous role as Operations & Community Partnerships Manager at the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor to coordinate TBE’s newsletters, website, and general communications. When not glued to a computer, Isaac enjoys writing, knitting, and rustic camping.

Religious & Hebrew School Coordinator, Segan FullerSagen Fuller, Religious & Hebrew School Coordinator
Sagen was born and raised in Ann Arbor, graduating from Community High School then attending Albion College, where she graduated with a degree in Environmental Science. In the fall of 2021, Sagen will start her masters program in Ecosystem Science and Management at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. Outside of work and school, Sagen enjoys cooking, baking, camping, and hiking in addition to spending time walking and hanging out with her family’s two rescue dogs, Sadie and Beezy.  Sagen and her family have been members of Temple Beth Emeth since 2013, and we welcome Sagen to the TBE team.  

TBE Librarian, Clare KinbergClare Kinberg, TBE Librarian
Clare Kinberg has been supervising the ongoing curatorial effort of the TBE book collection housed in the library since 2012, as well as managing the existing biblotheca. Clare has a Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University, and was previously the Managing Editor of BRIDGES: A Jewish Feminist Journal. She is also currently the Editor of the Washtenaw Jewish News.

Board of Directors

TBE Board and Nominating Process

Have you ever wondered how temple board members are chosen to serve and what roles and responsibilities they have? Curious about what work is involved in being on the Board? Last year, in the interest of transparency and to encourage more Temple participation, the nominating committee thought congregants might be interested in having some questions answered about the Board and the nominating process.

Read more about the function and makeup of the TBE Board HERE.

See the 2022-2023 TBE Board and their terms of service HERE.

Margaret Hannon

Melissa Simon
Vice President for Administration

Carrie Hammerman
Vice President for Fund Development

Stephanie Chervin
Vice President for Education and Youth

Bonnie Keen
Vice President for Finance

Zach Bernstein
Vice President for Membership

Eric Olsen
Vice President for Religious Practice

Naomi Goldberg
Vice President for Social Action

Larry Yonovitz

Martha Weintraub

Andrew Bank

Jennifer Bernstein

Harriet Charson

Sheila Deskins

Lauren Gold

Michael Goldberg

Ned Kirsch

Robin Jacob

Cathy Marshall

Amy Meltzer

Genesis Board Members

Ned Kirsch, TBE Board Liaison
Roget Palay

Lisa Perchke
Murray Rosenthal

Loren Ryter


Joe Pollak, Immediate Past President
Stephanie Newell, WTBE President
Bill Parkus, Brotherhood President

Mon, August 15 2022 18 Av 5782