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CBS Staff


Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein

Rabbi Niles Goldstein is excited to be the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Shalom of Napa Valley. Rabbi Goldstein, an experienced and dynamic Reform rabbi and educator, is also the award-winning author or editor of ten books, including Gonzo Judaism and God at the Edge. He was the founding rabbi of The New Shul, an innovative and independent synagogue in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, which he served for over a decade. Prior to his arrival at CBS Napa, Rabbi Goldstein worked in a variety of congregational, interfaith and academic settings while based in his native Chicago.

Learn More about Rabbi Goldstein

Music Director

Gordon Lustig

Gordon Lustig began leading music for Friday night services at Temple Beth Torah in Fremont, California when he was 12 years old. Just out of high school he was asked to be a song leader at UAHC Camp Swig in Saratoga, CA. Gordon composed the song “Hine Tov M’od,” based on B’reisheet when he was only 19 years old and that song is now sung all over the world. He worked at Swig every summer for the next 6 years where he song lead, composed, arranged, and continued to keep the bar high after Debbie Friedman ended her tenure at Swig. Gordon also co-produced the second recording at camp called, “Mi-libeinu - A Song from Our Heart”.

Gordon is essentially a self-taught guitarist. At age 25 he attended the prestigious Dick Grove School of Music in Studio City, CA. Upon graduating from the Grove School Gordon composed the main themes and background music for television sit-coms, including “Chicken Soup” starring Jackie Mason and Lynn Redgrave. He composed music for “One People, Many Stories,” a Jewish short story series which aired yearly on National Public Radio. Gordon has produced recordings by various artists from Ladino singer Judy Frankel, to the Jewish rock band Mah Tovu.

Gordon’s involvement in camps, synagogues, and Jewish music has influenced countless children and adults over the years and continues to inspire with his musicianship and humor.

Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Emeritus  - Rabbi Lee Bycel

Rabbi Lee Bycel

Rabbi Bycel began his tenure at Congregation Beth Shalom in 2012. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Jewish Studies and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco. In 2014 he was appointed by President Obama to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council.

He has brought to CBS many years of experience including fifteen years as the Dean of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, where he was the Senior Academic and Administrative Officer of the campus and director of the rabbinic school. He was Assistant Professor of Leadership and Applied Theology. He has also served as the Smither Visiting Professor of World Religions at the Claremont School of Theology. Throughout his rabbinic career, he has also served as a congregational rabbi, director of the Redford Center and President of the Brandeis-Bardin Institute.

Read More About Rabbi Bycel, Emeritus

Synagogue Director

Lauren Kaplan Synagogue Director

Lauren Kaplan

Lauren found her passion of working in the nonprofit sector early on and has been working within the Jewish community since she was sixteen. She holds two Associate’s from Santiago Canyon College, and a Bachelor’s as well as a Master’s degrees from the American Jewish University, where she was enabled to find her footing to really become a versatile leader. Lauren’s unique personal background brings most people’s creative thinking forward and is always happy to have a chat with you and make a connection.

Lauren has worked with many nonprofits, including the American Lung Association (Los Angeles), American Jewish University, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, ChosenTV, JCC Maccabi Sports Camp, Rainbow for Girls, and URJ 6 Points Sports Academy. Having connections to so many varying organizations she has learned how to be an efficient problem solver with many different missions.

Lauren has lived in Illinois, Indiana, and California. With her mother being from the California border town of Calexico and her father from New Jersey suburb of White Meadow she, and her older siblings, have had fantastic learning experiences from coast to coast. Her family is very tightly knit and will certainly become as much a part of CBS as Lauren.

She is an avid traveler, nationally and internationally, and has traveled to almost every state. She and her fiancé, Zack, enjoy getting outdoors with lots of hiking, and if you’re looking for anyone for a good game night they are more than happy to join. Napa is the newest home for Lauren and Zack, and they look forward to exploring everything Napa has to offer.

Education  & Engagement Coordinator

Lauren Kaplan Synagogue Director

Leah Savage

Leah is passionate about education and particularly loves helping children learn through experimentation and play. Leah has worked for several years in education with children as well as adults, in formal and informal settings. She worked for a decade at Camp Haverim, a Jewish day camp in Southern California, where she helped children create a Jewish community and embrace their Jewish identity. A devoted Bruin, Leah earned her BA in history and her Masters in Education at UCLA before she moved to the East Coast to earn her MPhil in history, focusing on racial identity in the United States, at Stony Brook University. 

Camp Director

Lara Shumer Camp Director

Lara Shumer

Hi, my name is Lara Shumer and I am a bilingual 5th grade teacher in Sonoma.  My family (hubby, kid, and pets) and I moved to Napa three years ago so my husband could join the family business of Napa Nuts.  I have been teaching for over 13 years and still love it.  I have taught in the religious school for the last three years as well.  I enjoy running, singing, reading, and dancing.  It is my first time directing camp, but I plan on having a lot of fun, and hope the kids do too.  

Tue, October 26 2021 20 Cheshvan 5782