Professional Staff: Michael Garlin, Executive Director

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Michael Garlin started with Congregation Beth Shalom in 2014 as the Executive Director.  Michael was raised in Morton Grove, moved to Plantation, Florida as a child and back to the Chicago area in the early 90’s.  Michael graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Urban Recreation, received his Master Degree from Nova University in Human Services and received his CPCC as a life coach in 2008 from the Coaches Training Institute. 

Michael has worked for the JCC’s of Chicago, Jewish Council for Youth Services, Temple Jeremiah, and AIPAC in many different capacities.  Michael is a member of NAASE (North American Association of Synagogue Administrators) and is currently the Vice President of CASA (Chicago Association of Synagogue Administrators). 

Michael and his wife enjoy traveling and as a hobby love to visit many of our National Parks.  Michael is also a rabid Cubs Fan and can find much of his memorabilia in his office at CBS.

Michael resides in Northbrook with his wife Mindy an HR Professional at UL. Michael's daughter is a student at Michigan State University and his son Brad resides in Chicago and is in the software technology industry as well as being a standup comedian. 

Professional Staff : Cantor Raquel P. Gershon, Ritual Director

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Hazzan Raquel Pomerantz Gershon is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University, having earned degrees in Sacred Jewish music/ Jewish education and psychology.  She also holds an MA in special education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Raquel has taught Jewish music and tefillah in synagogues & day schools in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Minnesota and Texas.  She has served as High Holiday cantor at several congregations. Before moving to the Chicago area, she was the cantorial soloist at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX and musical director/bnai mitzvah tutor at Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas, TX.

Raquel is an award winning composer of Jewish music and has produced two CDs of her original songs, Jerusalem On My Mind & Candlesticks of Silver. Her songs have been performed and taught at the Shalshelet festival of new liturgical music, at the North American Jewish Choral Festival, at the Conference of Alternatives in Jewish Education,  at Hava Nashira songleading workshop at OSRUI, and at the Singing Communities Intensive workshop at Mechon Hadar.  Raquel was a frequent performer at community events in her previous communities, and has performed in several communities across the USA, Israel, Germany and Norway, as well as at Rabbinical Assembly and Cantors Assembly conventions, and at the AIPAC national summit. Locally, Cantor Raquel has sung in Chicago Sings! -a Jewish Rock Radio concert, and in the Israel Goes Platinum concert at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. She enjoys being a part of the CBS team, learning from and singing with Cantor Stoehr, and working with students of all ages!

She is the proud mother of three wonderful grown children, Benji, Eliana, & Yonatan.

Professional Staff: Leann Blue, Director of Jewish Life and Learning

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Leann Blue is a graduate of both Emory University (Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in religion) and the Benjamin S. Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service of Brandeis University (Master of Arts in Jewish Communal Service).

After graduation, Leann put in 3 years with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism as Regional Youth Director of Seaboard Region and then Hagalil Region. It was at International USY Convention in 1988, that Leann was leading a delegation of teens from New Jersey to Chicago, when she met the CHUSY Region Fieldworker, Michael Blue, and the rest is history. 

Upon moving to the Chicago area in 1989, Leann worked as Youth Director for North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park for six years. In 1995, Leann joined the staff of Congregation Beth Shalom as Youth Director, leading the chapter during many award winning years. 

In 2001, while still Youth Director, Leann began focusing on Adult Education and family programming, and in 2002, she took on her current role of Director of Jewish Life and Learning at Congregation Beth Shalom. Some of the programs she has developed are the CBS Shabbaton, Lamazel!, Megillah Mania, Making Sukkot Simple, Ideas Cafe and CBS University.

A native of Mobile, Alabama, Leann now calls Chicago home with her husband, Michael, and three sons, Adam, Marc and Paul.

Professional Staff : Stacy Ybarra, Director of Education

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Stacy Ybarra was born in Highland Park but at the age of five moved to Tucson, Arizona where she spent her childhood.  Stacy graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor in Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with a Latin American Emphasis.  She received her Master in Social Work from Boston University where in addition to individual, family and group clinical work her degree focused on management, program development and community organizing.  Her social work career began with working for Early Head Start and then moving into work with teen parents and at-risk teens.

Stacy’s Mom is an educator and began working in the Jewish community when Stacy was nine.  Stacy grew up helping her Mom and began teaching in the Jewish Community at age 15.  Since then, Stacy has taught in synagogues and Jewish camps in three states in Reform, Conservative and Chabad communities.  Stacy has taught every grade from Mommy & Me through adult education; there is not a grade she has missed.  Stacy has been on a curriculum committee and served on a synagogue board.  She has also been a Religious School Director for a Conservative synagogue in Arizona.

Stacy moved to Deerfield in September of 2016 with her husband, George, and her sons, Jonathan and David.  George is career Army and is currently the First Sergeant of the Chicago Medical Recruiting Company.  When Stacy is not working in the Jewish community she is working as a social worker for the military or volunteering as an Army wife. 

Professional Staff : Eric Golberg, Director of Youth and Young Family Engagement

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Eric Golberg is a graduate of Adlai E. Stevenson High School and as President of his USY chapter, BJUSY (Congregation Beth Judea) won Chapter of the Year. He was also very active with CBS USY, attending weekly programs and events. Eric went on to obtain his Bachelor of Science Degree in Integrated Elementary and Special Education from the University of Hartford in Connecticut. During his time in college, Eric was president of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity and was a Student Engagement Intern for the University of Hartford Hillel.

Upon graduating, Eric taught third grade and special education in West Hartford, Connecticut for two years. In addition to teaching public school, Eric also taught at Jewish Teen Learning Connections where he developed curriculum and classes for teens. During his summers, Eric was a Unit Head for the JCC day camp and has staffed multiple teen trips around the world.

Eric returned back to the Chicagoland area in the summer of 2018 where he took on the position of Kadima Coordinator and USY Advisor at Congregation Beth Judea in Long Grove, IL. Eric is excited to join the CBS Family and help grow the youth programs here. Eric’s responsibilities range from young family programming through high school with USY. For more information about youth programming, please contact Eric, or visit our youth page for upcoming events and information.

Professional Staff : Susan Karlinsky, Controller

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Susan Karlinsky joined the staff of CBS in 2012 as our first Controller.  Susan grew up in Skokie and attended Niles North High School and earned a degree in Accounting from Bradley University.  She is a CPA, and has worked both in the public and nonprofit sectors for many years, including over 16 years managing a private family foundation in our community. 

At Congregation Beth Shalom, Susan is responsible for accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll and all donation funds.  Susan works closely with our professional staff and our lay leadership on budgeting and financial reporting.  In addition, she is the staff liaison to our Social Action Committee and teaches “philanthropy” in our Gesher High School program here at CBS. 

Susan lives in Vernon Hills with her husband Sheldon (also a CPA).  They have twin adult sons, Aaron and Marc, who live in Chicago.  She is involved with her neighborhood homeowner’s association and volunteers with a few nonprofits in the area.  She enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Maria Catezone, Office Manager

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Maria has been with CBS since September, 2001.  She manages the office as well as catering, holiday Kiddushim and the kitchen.  Additional responsibilities include overseeing donation opportunities (memorial plaques, leaves, bricks), various High Holiday duties, ordering office supplies and paper goods, and day to day happenings at the synagogue.

Maria lives in Glenview.  She enjoys playing with her dog, Bailey, going to dinner, the movies, travelling and spending time with her family and friends.

Brenda Wasserman, Executive Assistant/Shabbat Kiddush Coordinator

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Brenda began working at CBS in October 2014.  Her roles include assistant to the Executive Director, IT administration, maintaining the CBS calendars, schedules and set ups, membership tasks, high holiday tasks, working closely with the Board of Trustees, office tasks and the Shabbat Kiddush Coordinator.

Brenda has been a writer all of her life so it was a natural fit for her to study Journalism at both the University of South Florida and the Florida International University School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Brenda worked at several newspapers and even assisted in launching The Chicago Tribune's Interactive Division.

Brenda loves to sing and dance so growing up in a musical family was always fun. They performed together at many venues including fundraising events for local and regional charities. Brenda also loves to read, go on road trips (it's the journey that counts!) and spend Shabbat and other holidays relaxing with family and friends.  She lives in Deerfield with her husband and two daughters.

Eleanor (Eli) Castellano, Assistant to the Clergy

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Eli has been at Congregation Beth Shalom since 2011.  She supports Rabbi Melman, Cantor Stoehr and Rabbi Ferratier.

Eli grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ, has her BA in Theatre Arts from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA and her MA in Acting from East 15 in London, England.  When she’s not at Beth Shalom, she is a stage and voice over actor in Chicago, working for numerous theatres, including BoHo Theatre, where she is a proud Company Member, Raven (Jeff Nomination - Best Supporting Actress for The Trip to Bountiful), Redtwist and Promethean, among others.  Voice over credits include Litehouse Salad Dressings (national), Microsoft, Hasbro and Abbott Laboratories.

She and her husband, Justin, are the proud parents of a fabulous little boy named Zev, a kitty named Mrs. Weasley and love trying new foods, seeing theatre, traveling and spending time with friends. 

Deanne Friedman, Communications Manager

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Deanne began working for Congregation Beth Shalom in 2011 as the Programming and Communications Assistant. In her role in communications, she managed the website as well as prepared the weekly e-newsletters, The Shalom Byte and The Shabbat Byte. She also helped in many other areas of CBS communications. In Deanne’s other role with programming, she assisted Leann, the Director of Jewish Life and Learning, in all areas of coordinating classes and programs for CBS University and Adult Education. On March 1, 2017, Deanne began in her new role as CBS Communications Manager. She will be working on all areas of communication, social media, the Congregation Beth Shalom website and bulletin.

Deanne has a Master’s of Science in Public Service Management from DePaul University. She sits on the Board of Directors of Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute where she was once employed and where her children have all attended overnight camp.

She and her husband Jeff, an attorney, love to travel with and without their three daughters. Deanne also loves to read, shop, and laugh with her family and friends.

Lisa Orlov, Education and Programming Assistant

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Lisa is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education) and National Louis University (Master’s of Education in Math Education).

She has been a teacher for over thirty years teaching toddlers through high school students in public/private schools all over the Chicagoland area. Most recently, she taught for the Board of Jewish Education and Temple Chai in Long Grove.

At Beth Shalom, Lisa is the assistant to the Educational Director and Director of Life and Learning. She is around to answer your questions regarding school, adult education and HAZAK programming.

Lisa lives in Buffalo Grove with her husband and three children who are currently away at school. In her spare time, Lisa loves to travel. She enjoys visiting Washington DC, where her daughter attends law school, Ann Arbor, Michigan, to visit her twin boys and anywhere Disney. She is a huge Michigan Wolverines fan and even painted the rock in front on her home blue with a maize “M” on it. Go Blue!

Estelle Miller, Receptionist

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Estelle has been the receptionist at CBS since 1998.  She greets visitors, manages the telephones, takes donations, assists members and staff as needed. 

She has three daughters and 8 grandchildren.  Estelle enjoys going out to dinner and spending time with her family and friends.


Susan Stoehr, B'nai Mitzvah Tutor

Susan grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada attending Congregation Beth Sholom with her family. While working towards receiving her undergraduate degree at UCLA Susan was a senior staff member at Camp Alonim in California and attended Brandeis Bardin Institute for adult Jewish learning where she was inspired by Dennis Prager and Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. She went on to gain her Masters in Jewish Education from the University of Judaism. Her love of the Hebrew language has found her teaching students, adolescents and adults, privately and in class settings for CBS as well as in the Chicago area.

Susan is a vibrant and cherished teacher to our Bnai Mitzvah students as well as our adult learners of all levels.

Professional Staff : Rabbi Sander J. Mussman, z"l, Educational Dir. Emeritus

Rabbi MussmanRabbi Sander J. Mussman, R.J.E., served as Director of Education of Congregation Beth Shalom of Northbrook, Illinois from 1972 - 2002. During his years of devoted service, Rabbi Mussman, in addition to being Director of Education, filled in for a period of 19 months as the spiritual leader of the synagogue. Prior to his coming to Beth Shalom, he was the Director of Education of North Shore Congregation Israel, Glencoe, Illinois, Congregation Bnai Emunah, Skokie, Illinois, Director of Adult Studies, Houston Jewish Community Center, Houston, Texas and Congregation Bnai Shalom, Chicago, Illinois as well as a social worker for the Illinois Department of Welfare, Chicago, Illinois.

Rabbi Mussman received his education at the Chicago Jewish Academy, College of Jewish Studies, graduate work at the Hebrew Theological College, Chicago, Illinois (Rabbinical Seminary), Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois, graduate program at De Paul University, Chicago, Illinois and the Chicago Teachers’ College. Rabbi Mussman attained his Rabbinical Ordination in 1959. 

Professional Staff : Harvey R. Gold, z"l, FSA, Executive Director Emeritus


Harvey GoldHarvey R. Gold joined the staff at Congregation Beth Shalom in July, 1972 as the Youth Director and the Executive Director. In 1975, he became the full time Executive Director. Previously he worked as the Youth Director at Niles Township Jewish Congregation in Skokie and B’nai Zion in Chicago. Harvey has spent his entire life in the Chicagoland area, gone to Chicago schools and he received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Roosevelt University in 1970. He is a member of NAASE (North American Association of Synagogue Executives), a past Board member of NAASE and a member of CASA (Chicago Association of Synagogue Administrators).  Harvey was a member of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) Midwest Region Board and Youth Commission.  In March, 2003, Harvey was honored as the guest lecturer of the Erma Lee Ettinger Lecture Series at the NAASE Convention held in New Orleans.  In March, 2007 he was honored by the USCJ Midwest Region at their annual concert for his 40 years of service to the Conservative movement. In 2011, Harvey was honored for his 40 years of service to Congregation Beth Shalom by the writing of a Sefer Haftarah in his name.

 In June 2014, Harvey R. Gold retired and was honored by Congregation Beth Shalom for his 42 years of service. In December, 2015 Harvey passed away but his legacy in our community lives on.

CBS News & Events

Friday, December 6, 2019 - 6:00pm
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