SLATE OF OFFICERS AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2023-2025 TERM
Slated President: Michelle Reiff
Born and raised in Massapequa, New York, Michelle Reiff has lived in Denver since 1985 after meeting her husband Gary (a Denver native) in law school. Michelle is a lawyer by education, but spent the last 30-plus years raising her three amazing children—the accomplishment of which she is most proud. At the same time, Michelle volunteered for and served as president of school and community activities and organizations. Prior to becoming a mom, Michelle taught preschool drama classes and worked in Governor Romer’s office. Michelle is the founder and manager of GreasePaint Script House, through which she offers her original musicals, adapting to the particular needs of each group producing a show. In addition to NCJW Colorado, Michelle currently sits on the Anti-Defamation League’s Mountain States Regional board, and the Architectural Control Committee of her neighborhood HOA. Michelle loves scrapbooking, playing with her grand-dogs, dabbling in Ancestry, and traveling. Michelle is proud, honored, and excited to be NCJW Colorado’s President for the coming year.
- Community Service Co-Vice President: Naomi Kirshner
- Naomi was born and raised in Durham, NC. Over the years she lived in Israel (for about 2.5 years over 3 stays); outside Boston; in Ann Arbor; Papua New Guinea (for 15 months); and Seattle for 7 years before moving to Colorado 25 years ago. Sh was active in the Jewish community and worked at the HEA for 17 years. She went back to school and was awarded an MSW last May, and is now working as a therapist at Aurora Mental Health and Recovery in the Community Transitions Program, which serves people on parole or probation who are living with mental health disorders and/or substance use disorders. Naomi is on the board of the Habitat Interfaith Alliance, a non-profit she helped found, which has raised money for and built a Habitat home in the Metro area every year since 2002. She also volunteers with Agape Hospice visiting clients and their families to provide support and companionship. Naomi received an NCJW scholarship for graduate school for the 2020/2021 school year, and joined the board in 2022.
- Slated Community Service Co-Vice President: Marcella Schieffelin
- Marcella Schieffelin is originally from Upstate New York (Rochester & Saratoga Springs). She has a master’s degree in music therapy from Florida State University. Marcella has equivalent experience working with international and diverse populations in medical, educational, and spiritual settings. She is a champion and voice for human and civil rights and can be regularly seen at the Colorado State Capitol to testify. She has had the privilege of working on special projects with non-profit organizations, including Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, The Arc of Colorado, the United Nations, Music for the World Foundation, Music Therapists for Peace, and Friendship Circle of Colorado. Marcella recently completed a Fellow Program with JFK Partners at CU Anschutz Medical School in pediatric Developmental Disabilities. Marcella has an extensive volunteering experience throughout her life, serving marginalized groups as a Big Sister in the Big Brothers-Big Sister Program, as a court appointed Guardian Ad Litem, Interfaith Hospitality Network serving homeless families, fundraiser and special events coordinator at two orphanages in Mexico, baking and delivering her homemade challah bread to cancer patients, and a Special Olympics Colorado Coach and Family Support for bowling, basketball, track and field, and swimming. She has two neurodiverse adult children and lives with her life partner from Venezuela.
- Slated Membership Vice President: Sarah Korn
- Sarah Korn (she/her) is the Director of Development at Cobalt, which fights for systems and policies that protect reproductive rights in Colorado, and operates the largest independent abortion fund in the state. She was responsible for more than doubling the Cobalt Abortion Fund’s operating budget after the fall of Roe v. Wade in 2022, meeting the need of a significant influx of clients traveling to Colorado that remains elevated to this day. She credits her Jewish upbringing for her interest in social justice work, and has been raising money for various political and social causes since she was a 9th grader in Temple Sinai’s youth group.
- Public Affairs Vice President: Leila Covigaru
- Leila grew up in a Reform family in Allentown, PA., in a home very supportive of Israel. She spent a few summers in Israel and then went for a college year abroad at Hebrew University and ended up staying 5 years, during which time she went to Hadassah School of Nursing and became an RN. Leila and her Israeli husband, Arie, moved back to the states when she got pregnant. She had lost a sister in an accident a few years prior and felt that she needed to be closer to her parents. It was so hard to leave Jerusalem! They spent 30 years in Ann Arbor, NI where she got my BSN and eventually her MSN and became a pediatric nurse practitioner. They raised 3 boys in A2 and when the 2 oldest, Kori and Barr, moved out to Denver, they joined them with their youngest, Avi, who was still in high school. They have been in Denver for 10 years and it was the best move! Leila retired last year as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Children’s Hospital CO which has allowed her to dive into public affairs. She has 2 lovely DILs and 3 grandsons. She enjoys working with strong women! She also likes to play her ukuleles (not a typo) and watercolor. Leila also has volunteered as an election official. She is so happy to be part of the NCJW!
- Slated Logistics Vice President: Elaine Stepner
- Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Elaine moved to Colorado over 40 years ago. She loves the mountains, but misses the beaches. She is a retired occupational therapist, who provided services to schoolchildren in rural communities. Inspired by NCJW’s mission of advocating for women, children and families, it was clear Elaine should become involved with this wonderful organization which she had never heard of until she moved to Denver 8 years ago. And, she also has a cat who insists on attending NCJW Zooms. Elaine has two adult children and one amazing granddaughter who live in Colorado, which is a big plus. She is looking forward to another year of providing assistance to everyone planning programs.
- Slated Public Relations/Communications Vice President: Adina Gasser
- Adina Gasser has been involved with several Jewish non-profits over the past 20 years from Denver, to New York, to Israel, in marketing, communications, fundraising, and program development. Currently, Adina is employed by Hillel Academy of Denver as their Director of Marketing and Communications. Her skills range from internal and external marketing evaluation and redevelopment, to organizing major donor events, annual fundraisers, and other community engagement opportunities. Adina is also a retired ballet dancer who teaches occasionally in the Denver Jewish community, and dances in company classes herself, when she is not chasing around her three energetic boys and enjoying adventures with her family.
- Slated Fundraising Vice President: Diane Gilboa
- The founder and Producing Artistic Director of Theatre Or, (“or” is the Hebrew word for light), Diane recently reprised the award-winning production of “Sisters In Law,” at the Newman Center, and the accompanying five-part webinar series became a class for The Academy and Kavod on the Road. Theatre Or produces plays of Jewish interest and universal appeal, including a number of Israeli plays in translation and will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2024. Previously, she founded Triangle Arts Express, which took patrons to dinners and arts events in the North Carolina Triangle and arranged discussions with the artists. Diane worked corporate for many years for A T & T as a training and finance manager. In yet a previous life, she taught high school English and was a Program Specialist for the Durham-Chapel Hill Jewish Federation. She holds an undergraduate degree in Humanities and an MAT degree from Northwestern University. Diane loves the arts and is currently a Colorado Theatre Guild Henry judge. She also enjoys hiking, travel, bowling, and beginning bridge. Her one daughter lives nearby in Wheat Ridge. (Yay!)
- 2022-23 Community Service Co-Vice President: Patti Jo Streltzer
- I am from St. Louis, Missouri. After having lived abroad, I settled in Denver many years ago. I have experience working in the fields of education and law and now run a patient advocate service. I am married to Jerry.
- 2022-23 Membership Co-Vice President: Eileen Dumas
- Born in Denver, went to school here. I attended CU Boulder and Indiana University Bloomington for graduate school. I’m a retired librarian— both academic and public. Joined NCJW six years ago and am passionate about supporting women’s right to choose, protecting the right to vote, and the environment. She is a volunteer at the Art Museum and has been an election judge.
- 2022-23 Membership Co-Vice President: Chandra Rosenthal
- I am an attorney with an environmental conservation group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. My husband, Gil, and I have three kids and are members of Rodef Shalom. I am looking forward to meeting you all in mu new position at NCJW.
- 2022-23 Public Relations Co-Vice President: Lois Feinstein
- I am a retired freelance copywriter who enjoys now in my free time going to the theater, reading, playing the piano and travelling. My husband Bruce and I have been to all 7 continents and plan on continuing our journeys (the Amazon is on next year’s list). I was also on the first episode of the newest version of Jeopardy! in September 1984. My I am excited to serve on the NCJW board and am inspired by the many social action programs the organization undertakes.
- 2022-23 Public Relations Co-Vice President: Victoria Sanford
- I am in my second year as Co-Vice President of Public Relations, and help manage NCJW Colorado’s website and social media. I also serve on the Scholarship Board for NCJW, and value the emphasis on helping others through a Jewish values-based lens. I hope through my service to continue engaging likeminded individuals in this important work, and spreading the word of all the great programming NCJW offers. Professionally, I am a full-time high school counselor in Aurora Public Schools beginning my seventh year working in education. Personally, I help manage a very busy home with my husband Sean, my two young children Colm and Avi, and a plethora of rescue pets who love to make appearances on Zoom calls.
Treasurer: Lynn Ritvo
- Having moved here in 2018, Lynn is now close to her children and grandchildren, and it’s wonderful. Lynn enjoyed a career as an educator – teaching, principal, administrator, and consultant. She the honor of serving on the North American Board for the Union of Reform Judaism. Her work with NCJW includes serving on the scholarship committee. She enjoys traveling and being with friends and family. Being treasurer is a challenge she enjoys.
2022-23 Assistant Treasurer: Jackie Balyeat
2022-23 Corresponding Secretary and Courtesy Chair: Lois Feinstein
2022-23 Parliamentarian and Immediate Past President: Jennifer Dechtman
2022-23 Logistics Officer: Elaine Stepner
2022-23 Summit County Liaison: Lynda Black
2022-23 Chair of Scholarship Committee: Shelley Tuteur
Recording Secretary: Phyl Rubinstein
- Phyl has been involved in NCJW since her days as a board member for the Southern Maine Section in the early 1990’s. Upon retirement from her long career as a social worker and caterer in 2011, she moved to Breckenridge. Since the move to Summit County, Phyl has found a second career as a historic guide and interpreter for Breckenridge History. Among her favorite roles is performing “living history” as Breckenridge socialite, Mrs. Katie Briggle. Phyl spends her summer touring long distance on her tandem bicycle with her husband of 45 years. They have traveled much of Europe, the US, and parts of Canada on the bicycles known as Black Beauty, and The Beast over the past 20+ years. When not on the bicycle, Phyl loves to bake, hike, travel, spend time with family, and enjoy this beautiful place we call home.
Slated Parliamentarian and Immediate Past President: Jacqui Beckett
- Jacqui is a 4th generation Denver native. She is an attorney. Her practice focuses on ethics and compliance worldwide and specializes in anti-corruption and fraud. Jacqui builds compliance and ethics programs for companies and helps them with governance issues. She also provides training for employees, board members and stakeholders. She is a technical advisor in anti-corruption for the World Economic Forum and a monitor for the World Bank’s Integrity division. In her free time, Jacqui loves to travel, cook, hike and take pictures. She has a wonderful husband, David of 31 years and two great children Ryan, 26 who lives in Boston and Sydney, 23 who lives in Seattle.
SLATED BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Hilary serves on the board of the Colorado Orthodontic Association. Last year she was selected to be one of 8 orthodontists in the US and Canada to serve on the Inclusion, Diversity and Engagement Committee of the American Association of Orthodontists. Her practice has set up mentoring programs for underrepresented groups and College prep programs. It was this passion that first led Hilary to NCJW as I was part of the Scholarship Committee. She has previously served on various boards and volunteer roles for my professional and personal interests throughout the community with Hadassah, JFS, Jewish Colorado, and Guide Dogs for the Blind. When Hilary is not in the office or volunteering, she enjoys traveling, hiking, camping, reading, cooking and recently took a ceramics class at the J. Her superpower is connecting people! Hilary and her husband, Rabbi Eliot Baskin, have 2 adult sons, Jonah and Gabe. They joke they are the blessings and braces or shul and drool team!
- Hinda has been involved in charitable giving since age five. Besides NCJW, she a lifetime member of Hadassah, supports her synagogue, and created a charitable entity, the Prottaska Fund, 12 years ago. She also provides scholarship monies for educational training for single mothers in Israel via ESRA. Hinda’s background is quite diverse; several degrees in education and special education and doctoral studies at Nova University. She operated her own bakery in Denver for 14 years, joined Merrill Lynch in 1987 where she worked for 21 years and became the first female V.P in Colorado. Now she plays a lot, reads, travels extensively whenever possible and values her membership in 3 book clubs located in Cherry Creek North. Anything involving food gets her attention above all. Hinda serves on our scholarship committee and heads our knitting group.
Slated Eileen Dumas
- Eileen is a Denver native. She attended the University of Colorado and Indiana University for graduate school. She joined NCJW because her core values closely align with the principles held by the women in the Colorado Section. She has held the following offices on the Board: Recording Secretary (2 years) and VP of Membership (4 years). She was a member of the Children’s Traveling Theater and a tutor at our adopted school. Eileen looks forward to serving on the Board of Directors for the upcoming term.
Slated Judy Geller
- Bio coming soon.
Slated Rabbi Sara Gilbert
- Originally from New York, Rabbi Sara Lonstein Gilbert and her husband have lived in Colorado for over fifty years, raising their three children in Denver. She is now most happily “Nana” to six amazing grandchildren. In a previous life, Sara was a special education teacher, and then program director and adult educator at the Hebrew Educational Alliance. She subsequently attended rabbinical seminary and was ordained at the Academy for Jewish Religion/California, in 2006. Sara has taught adults, teens and children in several synagogues and venues, specializing in prayer and women’s issues. She is now the rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation in Greeley, Colorado, where she feels very fortunate to be able to serve the spiritual needs of the Northern Colorado Jewish Community. Sara has also worked for many years as a hospice chaplain, helping patients and their loved ones spiritually face the end of life. She now continues this service on a private, individual basis, and conducts family life cycle events in the community.
Slated Shari Goldstein – Summit County Liaison
- For the past 35+ years, Shari has been involved in various roles as a Jewish Educator in New York, Maryland, Arizona, and Colorado. Connecting people and helping to create community is something she enjoys. Shari and her husband Scott enjoy everything the great outdoors offers and can be found hiking, kayaking, biking, skiing, and snowshoeing with friends from the Jewish community in Summit County, Synagogue of the Summit. Shari is looking forward to connecting the women of Summit County with the fabulous NCJW in Denver.
Slated Lexi Kahn
- Lexi is a pediatric occupational therapist, born and raised in the Chicagoland area. She grew up in a conservative Jewish family and is passionate about supporting Israel. She attended Tulane University for undergrad and Lemoyne College for her masters in occupational therapy. Lexi has lived in Denver for about 2 years, having come here for graduate school placement and never left! She is passionate about supporting access to healthcare and increasing access to basic living necessities. Lexi is a dog lover and has a golden retriever/lab mix of her own.
Slated Dani Newsom – Co-SPA
- Dani Newsum is the director of strategic partnerships at Cobalt, a Colorado reproductive rights advocacy organization that centers abortion rights and access. An attorney, Dani previously directed the City of Boulder’s Human Rights Office and provided expert legal testimony on behalf of the city in the preliminary injunction phase of the Colorado lesbian, gay, and bisexual civil rights case that resulted in the landmark Supreme Court decision in Evans v. Romer (1996). Dani also served as an assistant attorney general for civil rights and labor in the Office of the Colorado Attorney General. She has a master of arts in U.S. history, and has taught at the University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University Denver, and the Community College of Aurora. Dani and her husband Ron have two adult children and live in Centennial.
Slated Patti Jo Streltzer
- Patti Jo was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. After having lived abroad, she settled in Denver many years ago. She has experience working as a teacher and as an attorney, and presently operates a patient advocacy service. For the last four years, Patti Jo has served as Co-VP of Community Service in the Colorado section of NCJW and looks forward to continuing her involvement with the organization as a member of the board.
Slated Lisa Weintraub – Scholarship Chair
- Lisa is from Los Angeles and went to Colorado State University for my undergraduate degree. After graduate school and living abroad, she decided to come back and currently live in Denver. She is passionate about reproductive healthcare, which is how she was originally connected to NCJW. In her spare time, Lisa likes backpacking, fly fishing and anything outdoors. She is excited to be involved with this great community!
HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS
Cindi Coleman (Past President)
Glenda Kaufman (Past President)
Doris Lackner (Honorary National VP & Past President)
Arlene Moss (Past President)
Toots Siegal-Maness (Past President)
Marlene Siegel (Past President
Jennifer Dechtman (Past President)
Jane Robbins (Co-SPA)