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The Shul of New York
A Synagogue for Spiritual Judaism

Karen Seidman


Program Director


Of all the things I do (running a consulting business, traveling internationally to promote vision rehabilitation, enjoying my wonderful family and friends) I truly LOVE being on the Board of The Shul of New York! Vera and Mike Hearn drew us in and welcomed us to participate and engage in Shul activities. We told our friends, and soon we all followed our hearts to The Shul of New York. I was so honored to be asked to succeed Vera as Co-President, a position in which I served for 7 years.


Now, as the Shul's Program Director, I enjoy working closely with Rabbi Susan to plan and implement her impressive program ideas.  No matter how busy it gets, it is one of the joys of my life to be able to work with everyone from the Shul. I’m proud of all the things we’ve accomplished together as a Shul community, and I’m eagerly looking to the future.

Joan C. Brancaccio



Joan has been a member of The Shul of New York since 2000. She has happily served on the Board since 2006. Joan is a Strategy Executive at a bank, a very large bank, working on innovation and digital product creation, doing things that most mortals cannot understand. She is very proud to use her skills for good as a former Treasurer and now as Co-President of the Shul. 


Joan lives in the West Village with her husband and dog, whom she professes to love equally.

Anne C. Silverman



Anne joined the Auxiliary Committee in 2017.  She became a Board member and Treasurer in 2021.  "I love the Shul services and always leave feeling joyous." 

Cathy Cooper



Cathy Cooper has been a member of Shul of New York since 2000. She is thrilled to be elected to serve as Secretary. Cathy enjoys chanting the V’Ahav’ta occasionally at services. For her day job, Cathy loves using data and analytics to drive marketing and business. Currently she is a Senior Director of Performance and Insights at SAP. Cathy lives in the Village with her husband, daughter, one cat, and no plants. She enjoys knitting baby hats and crocheting blankets – let her know if you want one! Cathy is also the Knitter-in-Chief of the Shul's You-Know-What Hats. Grab one today!

Board of Directors

Auxiliary Committee

All Board and Auxiliary Committee members are volunteers who devote their time and effort to make the Shul a vibrant community.


Please feel free to contact the board with any questions you may have about the Shul.

Don J. Brancaccio

Board Member



Don is proud to serve as Webmaster for the Shul and to have been invited to serve on the Board, as well as being a former Co-President and Treasurer.  Theses were mostly ceremonial, volunteer positions despite the occasional slap on the back followed by, “Great job, take two yarmulkes from petty cash!” 


In a previous life, Don worked backstage on Broadway as a highly skilled Automation Specialist. His career will be the subject of his forthcoming memoir, “Push Button, Get Banana.” No matter what anybody says, Don has never worked as an assassin for the CIA under the name Rufus T. Firefly and is definitely not in the Witness Protection Program. 


Don is also extremely fortunate to be the husband of the lovely and talented Shul Co-President, Joan C. Brancaccio, who made absolutely no threats regarding this sentence. 


"Don's Kol Nidre Appeal speeches are hysterically funny and not to be missed." - Jackie Mason

[Editor: Jack Mason is Don's dentist.]   

Josh Cabat

Board Member

Josh and his family have been members of the Shul of New York community since 2001. His daughter Melissa had her Bat Mitzvah at the Shul in 2008, and has recently done work for the Shul with social media. 


Josh has participated in both the Wise Aging and Meditation Shabbat programs and, after serving on the Auxiliary Committee for a year, has served as a Board member since August of 2017, and is the host of the Virtual Film Society. 


Josh currently works as the Chair of the English Department for the Roslyn Public Schools, where he teaches English Literature and Film Studies.

Pete Grossman

Board Member

Pete joined the Board in 2018.

Patricia Weisman Ivry

Board Member

Patti and her husband Rob were first attracted to the Shul of New York because of the Shul Band. They attended high holiday services for many years before becoming more involved with the Shul. Hailing from Northern Westchester, it was a real schlep, but with the encouragement of Karen and Doug Seidman, they became active.   Having recently retired, the schlep became more feasible.


For 38 years Patti was a Professor of Social Work and then Interim Dean of the School of Professional Studies at Western Connecticut State University, in Danbury, CT. As a community organizer, her expertise is in macro social work practice. One of her creative passions is writing, which was her undergraduate major, and which she also taught.  She now shares that passion with the Shul community by facilitating the zoom writing group.  


Patti and Rob have three adult children, and six grandchildren. Patti is honored to serve on the Board of Directors of the Shul.

Cheryl Jacobs

Board Member

Cheryl joined the Board in 2018.

Lisa B. Lewis

Board Member

Lisa B. Lewis Is a lifelong circus gal -- from Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey to the Big Apple Circus  co-founder of Super Scientific Circus to founding her own all inclusive Circus company Omnium: A Bold New Circus. On a completely unrelated note,  She is also the author of Crystal Child: How Chinese Medicine Saved My Daughter from Food Allergies and Asthma. 

Lisa is happy to serve as the Kid's High Holiday Programs Director. She is delighted and honored to be a member of the Board of The Shul of New York as a way of giving back to the community which continues to give so much to her family.

Jan Lichtenstein

Board Member

Jan joined the Board in 2018

Carole Robbins

Board member

Carole joined the Board in 2020.

Carrie Schwartz
Board Member

Carrie Schwartz graduated Brooklyn College with a BS in Psychology and Sociology. In a strange twist of fate and life Carrie pursued a career in Banking. Although she enjoyed the banking world,  Carrie now works in optical where she believes her psychology skills are put to good use. In her spare time Carrie enjoys long walks in the company of good friends. Carrie has been an active member of the Shul since 2000. She feels fortunate to belong to such a diverse and energetic group and is honored to serve on the Board of Directors.

Doug Seidman
Board Member

Doug Seidman is a retired Legal Aid lawyer who for 42 years assisted poor people with their civil legal problems, mainly landlord-tenant matters. Doug enjoys family tree research and foreign travel, especially in the developing world. He chairs the House Committee and tries to make sure that the space(s) that the Shul uses are appropriately set up for services and other events. Since we have no permanent home, this can be challenging. He appreciates all of the people who volunteer to help, whether it’s putting out prayer books before services, collecting them when services end, or schlepping boxes of books and other items. 

Audrey Cohn-Ganz
Auxiliary Committee

My life changed in 2010 when I attended my first Shul of New York Shabbat service. This inclusive community led by Rabbi Burt and the Shul Band deeply resonated with me. I was surprised to finally find a space where I could honestly explore and express my relationship to Judaism. The adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah class with Rabbi Burt  was an opportunity for me to develop my first intimate relationship with a spiritual leader. I am grateful for my ongoing relationship with Rabbi Susan. During this pandemic the Shul has provided a daily source of community, support, comfort, laughter and learning. I am delighted to be a member of the Auxiliary Committee.

Rabbi Dennis Math
Auxiliary Committee

Rabbi Dennis was the rabbi of the Village Temple from 1974 to 1999.  He is now an active social worker. Rabbi Dennis joined the Auxiliary Committee in 2018.

Norman Schiff

Auxiliary Committee

Norman joined the Auxiliary Committee in 2019.

Risa Schiff

Auxiliary Committee

Risa joined the Auxiliary Committee in 2019.

Barry Schulman

Auxiliary Committee

Barry joined the Auxiliary Committee in 2021.

Doris Schwartz

Auxiliary Committee

Doris joined the Auxiliary Committee in 2022.

Kkuumba Siegell

Auxiliary Committee

Kkuumba joined the Auxiliary Committee in 2020.


John Balan* (Co-Treasurer), Kenny Bookbinder (Co-President), Steve Ganz* (Secretary),
Mike Hearn (Co-President), Vera Hearn (Co-President), Dara Kessler (Vice President), 
Sara Lavner (Co-President), Joy Mach (Co-Treasurer), Joe Sussman (Co-Treasurer)


Jaymie Adachi, Jiro Adachi, John Balan*, Michael Baum*, Myra Baum, Ed Goldfader*, Paula Goldfader, Mike Hearn, Vera Hearn, James Lane, Dani Liebling, Jacob Ween*


Jaymie Adachi, Jiro Adachi, George Beckwith, Peter Berson, Mark Beigelman*, Dani Durkin, Mary Ellis, Nancy Freeman-Carroll, Ed Goldfader*, Paula Goldfader, Sheila Grossfeld*, Bonnie Kozek, 

Marsha Leo, Anne Lewison, Rich Mach, Wendy Miller, Jen Palgon, Elizabeth Price, Sari Roboff, 

Steve Rose, Susan Scheer, Jacob Ween*


We mourn the loss of our friends who faithfully and diligently served The Shul of New York.

John Balan, Michael Baum, Mark Beigelman, Steve Ganz, Ed Goldfader, Shelia Grossfeld, Jacob Ween 

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