a Jewish presence in the City of St. Louis

about us

Staff

Rabbi Susan Talve

Rabbi Randy Fleisher

 

Nancy Weigley

Executive Director

Nancy is CRC's Executive Director. Together with CRC's dedicated staff and volunteers, she coordinates the many programs and events happening every week at CRC, as well as managing the day to day activities of the congregation office. She provides support for the Rabbis, Board of Directors and various Circles and Committees.

A longtime member of our congregation, Nancy has worked in the St. Louis Jewish Community for over 22 years.  Since 2005, she has been the Program Director for the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), St. Louis Section.  Her job entailed the oversight of all membership, advocacy and community service programming.  She worked closely with committees and volunteers for projects such as the Back to School Store, which is held at CRC every July.  Prior to NCJW, she worked at the Jewish Community Center for 14 years.

Nancy also has an impressive history of volunteer work. She has served on the Nishmah Retreat Committee, was event chair of the St. Louis Senior Olympics, is a Home Plate host for Washington University students and served as the VP of Membership on the CRC board from 1999-2006. In 2013, she was the recipient of Doc Eberhardt Award for Volunteerism.

Nancy earned her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  She is the graduate of the CORO women in Leadership Program and will be certified as a well-being coach by the Anthropedia Foundation this May.

To contact Nancy, call (314) 361-1564 ext 105 or e-mail her at nancy@centralreform.org.

What is Nancy's "Why?"
"I have always been passionate about CRC and the awesome work of this community, but never more so since I began working at the synagogue.  This is a special place!  I have witnessed in just my short time here, numerous acts of kindness, selflessness, respect, support, and an outpouring of love.  Whether you pray, socialize, volunteer and/or work here, you can’t enter this community and not be changed for the better."

 

Wendy Bell

Director of Finance

Wendy Bell, long active in our Mitzvah Corps and a CRC member since 1990, joined our staff as Director of Finance in 2013. She grew up in Maine and Mass­achusetts, so don’t ask her what high school she attended. Her undergrad studies took her to a few colleges in her search to “find herself”: Colgate University, Brandeis University and then Washington University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology.

Wendy’s professional career is varied; working in a neurology research lab at Children’s Hospital, teaching PE to middle school and coaching middle and high school girls basketball teams, eventually going back to school to major in accounting and acquire her CPA license. After over 10 years in public accounting, she is delighted to find herself “doing the books” at CRC. In addition to her paid positions, she also co-parents with her husband, Steve, three children—Taylor, Samantha and JJ.

To contact Wendy, call (314) 361-1564 ext 104 or e-mail her at wendy@centralreform.org .

What is Wendy's "Why?" 
"The values of CRC resonate with me, Tikkun Olam, getting your hands dirty, being a part of the process rather than just writing a check. I was at a previous congregation where the attendance at the “ritual and rules” committee was greater than the social action committee, I wanted something different. Now that I work here, I love being here every day and seeing everything that happens here. I love that our building is used all during the week, by so many different groups. As Rabbi Susan says: “We want to keep the doors open for all who want to enter.”

 

Shira Berkowitz

Director of Advocacy and Communications

Shira grew up in St. Louis as an energetic participant in the Jewish community. She earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Printmaking, and returned to St. Louis where she graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with her Master’s of Fine Arts. Since, she is an actively exhibiting artist locally and internationally. Shira pursues multiple congruent passions in the arts and Jewish communities and works diligently to pull these worlds together. Prior to accepting this position with CRC, she worked for the Pulitzer Arts Foundation where she honed her skills as a social media guru and spearheaded the institutions re-brand. It's here where she learned the important role cultural instutions have to act as conveners for advocating necessary change in their communities. Shira also teaches in the Humanities and Art Department on the Ferguson campus of St. Louis Community College, and is a local high school Jewish youth group advisor.

Within the Jewish community, Shira co-founded and organizes QJews, is a musical leader in the monthly young adult Shabbat experience, B’yachad, and is a fellowship participant in the Federation’s JFACE program for emerging entrepreneurs. Shira loves strengthening and bringing inventive programming to the Jewish landscape of St. Louis. She cannot wait to step into an advocacy and communications role here at CRC, and welcomes the creativity and challenge of using advocacy as the catalyst for integrating design thinking with community engagement and tikkun olam. Please feel free to contact her anytime with ideas or suggestions, by calling (314) 361-1564 ext 117 or e-mailing her at shira@centralreform.org.

 

Maxine Weil  

Director of Congregational Learning

Maxine comes to us with a wealth of experience in Jewish education ranging from early childhood and elementary to teen and adult engagement.  Maxine has worked for the Central Agency for Jewish Education/Jewish Federation of St. Louis for the majority of her career, as well as for B’nai El as the Director of Education overseeing a religious school of 300 students, and at Shirlee Green Preschool at Shaare Emeth as the Early Childhood Educator. She takes pride in the many programs she has created and implemented over the years and the personal connections that she has built with the families and children with whom she works. During her years at CAJE/JFed Maxine implemented the Jewish Community Hebrew Schools and most recently, JOLT: Jewish Opportunities and Learning for Teens which was open to all Jewish teens in the St. Louis Jewish Community.

Not only has Maxine created a welcoming atmosphere open to all children, teens, and families in the programs she administered but she also worked closely with the community’s Early Childhood Council and Youth Professionals Council which focused on collaborative programming, professional development, and mentoring. She was the recipient of the Fred A. Goldstein Award for Professional Leadership. Through her 30 plus years in Jewish education in St. Louis, she has engaged multiple generations and has become endearingly known as “Morah” Maxine.   

To contact Maxine, call (314) 361-1564 ext 118 or e-mail her at maxine@centralreform.org.

 

Jennifer Fishering

Director of Programming & Rabbinic Assistant

Jennifer is a native St. Louisan, who went away to earn her Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University, with minors in Geography and Hospitality Management. Jennifer returned to St. Louis to intern with one of CRC’s own - Allison Collinger - at the St. Louis Rams. After some freelance work, Jennifer made her way into the non-profit sector. Directly prior to starting at CRC, Jennifer served as the Director of Community Relations at HavenHouse St. Louis for 3 years. At HavenHouse, Jennifer was responsible for fundraising, special events, public relations, community involvement and volunteers. During her time there, she started the Young Professionals Board, now a thriving arm of HavenHouse St. Louis.

Jennifer and her husband Derrick have two great kids and a chocolate lab. Jennifer has been part of the CRC team since 2011, supporting the people that CRC adores – the Rabbis! 

To contact Jennifer, call (314) 361-1564 ext 101 or jenf@centralreform.org.

What is Jen's "Why?"
"Beyond the values of CRC (which I think resonate with all of us who are part of this community), I do what I do to support both CRC members and our wonderful Rabbis.  Many times, in my role at CRC, we do not need another mind that speaks, but a patient heart that listens. Whether it is a major life event or a small crisis (or even I happy event –which I love!), I do what I do because people deserve to be listened to without judgment.  In between the projects, the paperwork and the programming, life happens.  And, I want to be as approachable and accessible as possible so that members and people in the community feel that CRC is the place to go when they need love, prayer, and support."

 

Essie Mitchell    

Religious School Principal

Essie grew up in St. Louis and returned, after years of trying to escape.  After graduating from Mizzou with certification to teach high school English, she went to Botswana with the Peace Corps. From Africa, Essie moved to upper Maine with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and spent a year creating recreational opportunities for a small rural community. And from coastal Maine, Essie returned to St. Louis, to teach English at Clayton High School.

Intending to gain more tools for the classroom and facilitation of community growth, Essie attended George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University.  After earning a Master’s in Social Work, she explored the ins and outs of programming, non-traditional learning and group dynamics.  Essie worked with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA), Lion's Den Outdoor Learning Center, and Fort Zumwalt School District. She served as a part-time Director of Education at B'nai El Congregation, graduated from the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School and taught English as a Second Language to adults from a variety of countries.

Essie and her husband Gary live in Ballwin with sons, Mayer and Solomon and “doghter” Zelda the English Mastiff.  Between work and driving to or from schools, Essie enjoys any time with her family hiking, throwing a Frisbee at a dog park, reading and still trying to learn how to play Minecraft.  Being part of the CRC community has been such a positive experience for Essie and she hopes to help others benefit from all the resources the community offers.

To contact Essie, call (314) 361-1564 ext 106 or e-mail essie@centralreform.org.

What is Essie's "Why?"
"I used to write, often and about everything, when I was a teen.  I keep those writings and glance through them every now and then. A 20 year old me, trying to find a place consistent with my own values wrote, “Is there anywhere to feel accepted for who you are and what you do and not who you know and who knows you?”  I had long longed for a place where community was a concept put into action.  An 18 year old me, exploring the role of religion in my life wrote, “I want to find a place where the Rabbis pray with me and not at me.”  I had long longed for a place where being Jewish was dynamic and accessible.  When I walked into my first Shabbat service at CRC, I walked out feeling I found a missing part of my universe; a place I had long longed for and doubted if it existed.   CRC is that place, where caring really counts."

 

Addie Larson

Education Administration Assistant

Addie Larson is the new Education Administrative Assistant. She grew up in St. Louis and has been a lifelong member of CRC along with her parents and three siblings. She received her undergraduate degree at Knox College in Galesburg, IL where she studied Creative Writing and Sociology. While at Knox, she had the unique opportunity to travel the world all the way from Japan to German studying Buddhism and Metropolitan studies. Addie now prepares to enter graduate school at Lindenwood University to receive her MFA in Writing. She has the goals of one day becoming a teacher of the creative writing arts and is so excited to be in CRC’s ever-growing and evolving education department!

Recently married, Addie and her new husband have taken residence in University City with their two dogs, Cory and Archie. The certainly love to keep Addie and Gordon busy and on their toes!  

To contact Addie, call (314) 361-1564 ext 102 or e-mail bree@centralreform.org.

What is Addie's "Why?"

CRC is truly a unique place to be. I am drawn to everyone’s passion for change and the “safe space” atmosphere where all are welcome and appreciated. In times of turmoil, celebration, and exploration my family and I have always been able to turn to this community and it has always been a strong force in my life. When the opportunity to be a part of this team arose, it was not a hard decision to come on board and help implement a little bit of change in the lives here.

 

Maggie Duwe  

Adult Educator  

Maggie Duwe was born and raised right here in St. Louis. And she did go to high school here! She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Tulsa in physical education. After living in Colorado, Arkansas, and Florida, she returned to St. Louis to attend Logan College of Chiropractic. Maggie received her doctorate in 1985.

Maggie began her studies and journey with Judaism in 1995, attending Introduction to Judaism, the original Ruth Group, and Melton. In 1996 she converted to Judaism.

Maggie continued her chiropractic practice until 1999, when she moved to New York City. There she began her studies at Hebrew Union College. She was awarded a Masters Degree in Jewish Education.

She currently holds the position of Adult Educator at CRC. (And works as a chiropractor again too!)

To contact Maggie call (314) 361-1564 ext 112 or e-mail maggie@centralreform.org..  

 

Joy Lieberman  

Membership Secretary

Joy has been at CRC since 1988, serving in most administrative capacities. For many years she has been CRC’s Membership Secretary, contacting congregants and prospective members and keeping all membership files current. Joy is a major help in all our mailings, maintains our member database, and supports our Finance Director as well.

Joy, a University City native, met her late husband Larry at the University of Illinois in Champaign. Together they raised five children. Their son, Dan, also works at CRC. For twenty-four years, Joy was an elected member of the University City School Board and when she retired, one school was renamed the Joy Lieberman Learning Center. Joy has also served on the Board of Directors of the Missouri School Boards’ Association, The National School Boards Federal Relations Network, the Special School District Governing Council, and the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. She currently serves on the University City Library Board and the Board of U. City in Bloom.

Joy spends a lot of time enjoying her youngest grandchild, Devin (Dan’s son) and her maltese, Bagel, who accompanies Joy to CRC every day. Joy is our expert on Chinese food—especially potstickers.

To contact Joy, call (314) 361-1564 ext 109 or e-mail her at joy@centralreform.org.

What is Joy's "Why?"
“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” Working at CRC has given me to show kindness to my fellow creatures and perhaps leave my little corner of the world a little better than I found it."

 

Terrell Wooten

Building Supervisor

Terrell is CRC’s Building Supervisor and the person to see for everything CRC. His goal is to make sure our building is clean, maintained and that all facility events run smoothly for our wonderful members and guests. Terrell loves being with the kids on Saturday mornings!

On snowy mornings, Terrell is here early to shovel and salt the walkways. He gathers the bamboo to decorate our sukkah, which he helps to erect each year. He takes care of the office staff needs and makes himself irreplaceable. A former cook, Terrell is our master griller and chef for staff birthday celebrations.

Terrell is the proud father of little Terrell (who attends middle school in University City). Little Terrell celebrated his bar mitzvah in November 2010.

Terrell is an avid sports fan – “Go Cards!”

To contact Terrell, call (314) 361-1564 ext. 108 or terrell@centralreform.org.