Executive Director - Barbara Newman
Our Executive Director since 2007, Barbara Newman is a native Memphian and has been a member of Beth Sholom Synagogue since her return to Memphis in 1989. An active lay leader in the Memphis Jewish community, Barbara has served as the chair of the Day Camp Committee and as a member of the Early Childhood Committee of the Memphis Jewish Community Center and was on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Historical Society of Memphis and the Mid-South. She has spent countless hours on behalf of our sister organization,Bornblum Solomon Schechter School, where she served on the board and executive board in a variety of positions before assuming the Presidency in 2001. In 2005, she and her husband Bruce co-chaired the series of Beth Sholom 50th Anniversary events. Currently, Barbara is active in the greater Memphis Community, serving as Chair-Elect of the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region.
Barbara received a B.A. in Political Science from Brown University and spent her early post graduate years in New York City where she was an Assistant Treasurer for National Westminster Bank in its Middle Market Lending Division. The highlight of her New York experience was meeting her husband, Bruce, who has embraced southern life in spite of his Brooklyn heritage. They have two children, Allison, a graduate student at Middlebury Institute for International Studies, and Scott, a software engineer at Google. When Barbara is not working on synagogue business she is spending time taking long, peaceful walks, reading, enjoying movies, or joining Bruce at any number of music venues.
Please do not hesitate to contact Barbara Newman if you need assistance.
Director of Congregational Learning - Penina Hoffnung
Penina joined our staff in August 2014 as our new Director of Congregational Learning. She worked at the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey for 18 years, 15 of those as Director of the Department of Jewish Education and Continuity and three as the Community Family Educator. She created community-wide Jewish educational fairs, events and children’s museum. As director, she ran the Midrashah Jewish Junior College of Jewish Studies, a teen supplemental program of deep Jewish learning. She helped found and serves on the executive board of NAACCHHS (pronounced like the thing you get from your children), the North American Association of Congregational and Community Hebrew High Schools.
Her personal Jewish journey included a childhood in New Jersey, Western Pennsylvania, Cleveland Ohio, and Westchester County, NY. After attending high school in three different states, she made aliyah at age 19, briefly serving in the Israeli army and living on a border kibbutz and the heart of Tel Aviv. She attended art college in Israel and then back again in NY, with a BFA in Visual Arts from SUNY College at Purchase. She holds a Masters in Jewish Education from Gratz College. She is Ema/mom to four, ranging in age from 26 to 14, all over the globe. Her youngest, Maya, came along with her to Memphis and is attending Houston High School. Penina describes herself as a “Veggie Foodie”, and a lot of her “down” time seems to have to do with food, including foraging wild food, shopping for weird ingredients, reading cookbooks instead of novels, and then foisting the dishes that result from all this on unsuspecting Shabbat dinner guests. Please feel free to contact Penina Hoffnung with your questions and input.
Office Administrative Assistant - Cheryl Strong
Cheryl has been part of the Beth Sholom family since 2003. Her smiling face and warm disposition greet each member or guest who walks in Beth Sholom's front door. She is also often the first voice you hear when you call the synagogue office. When Cheryl is not answering phones, making copies or preparing mailings, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family. You should feel free to contact Cheryl Strong.
Rabbi's Administrative Assistant - Deanna Lubin
Deanna became a welcome addition to the Beth Sholom staff in 2006, handling the administrative tasks of our Religious School and Youth Commission. Deanna’s job description has changed and she now works directly with Rabbi Chana Leslie and Rabbi Ilan as their administrative assistant. Deanna devotes much of her free time volunteering for Hadassah. Please feel free to contact Deanna Lubin if you need to reach our Rabbis, set up an appointment or share life cycle information with the office.
Kitchen Supervisor - Claudia Burkins
Beth Sholom just wouldn't feel like home without Claudia here to whip up her Saturday Kiddush luncheons or fry up her famous fried chicken. She has been part of the Beth Sholom family longer than most of our members, as she joined our staff in 1963. In addition to taking care of Beth Sholom's culinary needs, Claudia also works as a private caterer, so it is likely that you have enjoyed her food at a recent Bar Mitzvah, wedding or bris. Claudia stays busy with her 7 children, 7 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren when she is not in the Beth Sholom kitchen.
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6675 Humphreys Blvd. | Memphis, TN 38120 | 901-683-3591 | fax 901-683-3592