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CBS Staff

Rabbi

Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein (He/Him/His)
 

Rabbi Niles Goldstein is 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 in 2017, 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 (He/Him/His)
 

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.

Rabbinic Intern

Art Grand (He/Him/His)

Art Grand began his spiritual journey as a lay leader, first serving as a president of his congregation, and eventually becoming a leader of the Reform Movement. Along the way, he learned that lay leadership is not just about budgets. It's about being a role model of a Jew who learns and teaches, and tries to lead a meaningful Jewish Life.

Art is currently a third year rabbinical student at the Academy for Jewish Religion California, a non-denominational seminary based on the belief that every person has a unique park of holiness within them. By being open to each other - by honoring each others' unique beliefs and experiences, we can open doors so that the divine light shines through.

Rabbi Emeritus

Rabbi Emeritus  - Rabbi Lee Bycel

Rabbi Lee Bycel (He/Him/His)

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 and Education  Director

Lauren Kaplan Synagogue Director

Marah Peresechensky (She/Her/Hers)
 

A native New Yorker and a Cuban Jew, Marah grew up on Long Island.  Her family were very active members of her local shul.

Marah holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Boston University, Master’s Degrees in Child Life and Education from Bank Street College and Long Island University respectively.  Her career path has been primarily child-focused, and knows what a quality youth program looks like and the value it provides to the greater Jewish community.

Marah has worked as a preschool teacher and a nanny, attended and staffed a summer camp. Her professional esperience has also included facilitated educational and social programs for teens and pre-teens alike, providing engaging activities and events to help shape their Jewish identies.  

Marah is looking forward to her move out West and experiencing all that Napa has to offer.

Sat, June 15 2024 9 Sivan 5784