Meet Our Staff

Administrative and Office Staff

Chris Benton

Executive Director

Chris joined Beth El as Executive Director in March 2020. In this role, she manages the support staff and maintains a close working relationship with Rabbi Alex, Rabbi Amy, the Executive leadership, and the Board of Trustees. She is passionate about congregational life and the sacred work found at the heart of it.

Chris’s interest in mission-driven organizations and determination to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others have been growing since high school. With a B.A. from Chatham College in 1993, the majority of Chris’s professional experience has centered around non-profit administration, communications, and development. During her 15-year tenure at Rodef Shalom Congregation, Chris advanced from Events Coordinator, to Development Director, to Communications Director, and finally, Assistant Director. Most recently, she served as the Development Director of a private high school.

Chris and her husband, Eric, have been married since 1996. Their family includes two dogs, Beasley and Kayla.

Email Chris

Nicole Mezare

Program & Communications Director

Nicole Mezare provides programming support and expertise for non-profits in Pittsburgh. She has developed and implemented unique and engaging programs per the initiatives she has worked with as a program director, concert musician and college educator, having held positions with Temple Sinai, Jewish Community Center and Carnegie Mellon University. Nicole moved to Pittsburgh in 2001 after pursuing graduate work in San Francisco, CA and completed her Master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon University in 2002. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys cycling, running, hiking and skiing. Nicole and her husband live in Squirrel Hill with their two sons.

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Debbie Goldberg


Debbie Goldberg, Beth El’s bookkeeper, has been at Beth El since 1995. She manages our entire accounting cycle, working closely with our Financial VP. Debbie is a graduate of Robert Morris University and holds a BSBA in Accounting. On Tuesday nights, you’ll often find Deb working at Beth El’s Bingo, our largest fundraiser. Deb and her husband Harold have been married since 1980 and have 3 children; Sara, Jeremy (married to Lisa Milner) and Mo (married to Seth Harris), and two grandchildren.

Email Debbie

Leslie Gura

Administrative Assistant

Leslie Gura, Administrative Assistant, has been at Beth El since 2008. She works closely with Chris Benton, Rabbi Alex, members of the Congregation, and is currently the Editor of the KOL. After graduating from Robert Morris with an Associate of Science Degree in Secretarial Science, Leslie worked for Fortune 500 companies including American Express and Gulf Oil Corporation. Leslie and her husband David have been married since 1971 and they have a daughter, a son-in-law, and two granddaughters.

Email Leslie

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Recent blog posts

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…

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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…

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Redefining Trash and Moving Away from the Curb

Redefining trash and moving away from the curb.  That has been the theme at my house as the years have passed and we put less trash and recycling out for collection. Why? The amount of waste humans produce is astonishing and not sustainable. Many communities, my own included, have been aghast at the recent reduction in…

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