Meet our Executive Board

July 2020 - June 2022

Susie Seletz, President
Lynda Abraham-Braff, Executive VP
Barry Friedman, Administrative VP
Bill Spatz, Education VP
Todd Kart, Financial VP
Tricia Burkett, Fundraising VP
Elana Glick, Membership VP
Karen Balk, Volunteerism VP
Neal Ash, Asst Financial Secretary
David Sirota, Treasurer
Vered Cohen, Recording Secretary

Meet our current Board of Trustees

About Us

Susie Seletz

President

Susie Seletz was raised at Beth El and after thirty years away, is delighted to have returned to her home shul. During these years, she and her husband, Carl, lived in London for ten years, where their two daughters were born, as well as New York, San Francisco, and most recently Columbus. Each move was made immeasurably easier and more rewarding by having become active in synagogue life.

Professionally, Susie worked in the consumer products field, for Clairol and Procter & Gamble, before embarking on a second career in the culinary world.  She is presently a culinary instructor for 412 Food Rescue.

Email Susie

Lynda Abraham-Braff

Executive VP

Lynda Abraham-Braff and her family (Dexter, Pamela & Sharyn) have been members of Beth El since 1994. Most recently, she held the position of president of Beth El’s Sisterhood. Lynda has served on the nominating committee, is currently the special needs coordinator and teacher for the religious school, chaired many Beth El events, and works as a volunteer in different programs in the shul. She is also the co-chair of Judaic Arts for Central Great Lakes Region of Womens League for Conservative Judaism. Lynda has been in the Pittsburgh area since 1986 and was originally from Philadelphia. She received her BFA from Philadelphia College of Art and her MEd in Special Education from Penn State University. Lynda is a Special Education teacher for Wesley High School; a special needs program. She also volunteers with Wesley Family Services. Lynda and Dexter’s girls attended Beth El’s Religious School and completed their post-Bat Mitzvah studies through high school with SAJAS/JSite. Sharyn also received her teaching certificate through the Gratz program. Pamela received her PhD in Marine Science from Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Sharyn received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Email Lynda

Barry Friedman

Administrative VP

Barry Friedman and his family have been members of Beth El for over 30 years. Barry has lived in Mt. Lebanon for most of the last 50 years and has previously served on the Beth El board as well as other non-profit organizations.  Barry practices intellectual property law in Pittsburgh.  You can find him most mornings at weekday minyan.

Email Barry

Bill Spatz

Education VP

Bill Spatz is a native of the South Hills. He grew up in Mt. Lebanon and now lives in Upper St. Clair with his wife, Helena, their sons Danny, Zack and Benny, and their dogs Teddy and Atticus. Bill has been active in the Pittsburgh and South Hills Jewish community for many years. He served as chair of the Jewish Federation’s Maimonides Society and Young Adult Division. He is currently chair of the South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh’s community council. Bill has served on Beth El’s Board of Trustees and also serves as Beth El’s Youth Commissioner. His greatest hope is to help strengthen his children’s Jewish community, so it will always be a part of them.

Email Bill

Todd Kart

Financial VP

Todd has an MBA from Pitt and is a Certified Public Accountant.  He currently works for Thermo Fisher Scientific.  He is also a part time instructor at Pitt.  He lives in Mt. Lebanon with his wife, Jodi, and son, Matthew.  They have been members of Beth El for 2 years.  Matt is majoring in Bio Engineering and will be a senior at Pitt.

Email Todd

Elana Glick

Membership VP

Elana (Barkowitz) Glick has been a member of Beth El since 1995, when she and her family moved to Pittsburgh. She grew up in Mt. Lebanon and went to Slippery Rock University for her undergraduate degree where she received a BS in Health Science, and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with her Masters of Public Health. Elana has worked at UPMC Health Plan since 2011 and is the manager of the telephonic lifestyle health coaching team.
Elana has deep roots at Beth El: in addition to attending Hebrew School and becoming a Bat Mitzvah here, she also was an active member of USY in high school and served as the USY advisor at Beth El from 2012-2016. Her husband also grew up at Beth El, and he and Elana were married by Rabbi Alex in 2017.
Elana most recently served on the Board of Trustees and is thrilled to be Membership VP. She is hoping to give back to her Beth El family by playing a role in ensuring Beth El’s membership and community is strong for the years to come. Elana, her husband Bill, and their two dogs (Reesa & Lulu) live in Bethel Park.

Email Elana

Karen Balk

Volunteerism VP

Karen Balk joined Beth El in 2004 after converting under Rabbi Alex Greenbaum’s tutelage and before marrying her husband Marshall Balk, who was raised at Beth El.  Professionally, Karen enjoyed a career in IT before going to law school and clerking for a Pennsylvania State Superior Court Judge.  She is now a busy mother of three and lives in Squirrel Hill.  Karen has enjoyed various volunteer opportunities at Beth El and looks forward to encouraging others to do the same!

Email Karen

David Sirota

Treasurer

David and his wife joined the Beth El community in 2008. He has served for four years as Beth El’s VP of Finance and is currently in his second term as Beth El’s Treasurer and member of the Executive Board. He also has served on the Board of Trustees. When not volunteering at Beth El or assisting with his son’s sports and after-school activities, David is retired.

Email David

Vered Cohen

Recording Secretary

Vered (Birmaher) Cohen has been a member of Beth El since 1989 when her family moved to Pittsburgh from Israel by way of New York City. She has served on the Board of Trustees and is thrilled to be able to participate more in the synagogue through the Executive Board. Her parents and extended family are from Colombia and she is proud to be a part of the growing Jewish Latinx community in town and at Beth El. She loves working with children and young adults as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at her practice, The Via Center.  Rabbi Alex married her and her husband, Ryan, in 2013, some 20 years after they first met in the halls of Beth El’s Hebrew School. She spends her time gardening, crocheting and running around with/after her three young kids and husband.

JOIN US 

 Looking for a new spiritual home?
You are welcome at Beth El.

Recent blog posts

The quickest picker upper…

I grew up having paper towels handy for many uses, especially in the kitchen. Wash your hands; dry with a paper towel. Spill on the floor; wipe with a paper towel. Rinse fruits and vegetables; spread to dry on a paper towel. You get the idea. Once we started composting, we would add the used…

Read More
Read more

Cloth Napkins: One Small Step to Reducing Waste

It is hard for all of us to be thinking about the environment during the pandemic, but it is still possible to maintain some of our green practices despite the situation. Since we all are spending more time at home these days, and specifically in the kitchen, I thought I would focus there. This tip…

Read More
Read more

Try Composting to Reduce Household Waste

When considering all the things people can do to decrease waste, I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss composting. It is an age-old method of greatly reducing waste that can all be done from your own home. The potential impact is enormous, as the EPA estimates that food scraps and yard waste together make up…

Read More
Read more