Meet Our Staff

Administrative and Office Staff

Steve Hecht

Executive Director

Steve Hecht, FSA, Beth El’s Executive Director has been at Beth El for just over 16 years. He manages the support staff and maintains a close working relationship with Rabbi Alex and Rabbi Amy, the Executive leadership, and the Board of Trustees. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Economics, Steve spent several years in retail management and in operations experience, and soon earned an FSA (Fellow in Synagogue Administration). Through the years, Steve has been extremely active in the national organization, North American Association of Synagogue Executives (N.A.A.S.E.). He has served six years on the N.A.A.S.E.’s Board of Governors as its National Membership Chair, been an instructor at two conferences, published in their journal, co-chaired the national strategic plan and served as the ritual chair at two conferences. Steve and his wife Lynn have been married for 37 years and have two children (Adam, Dana), a daughter-in law (Jessie), a grand-dog (Kramer), and a 19 year old cat (Sammy).

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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 over 20 years. 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 35 years and have 3 children; Sara, Jeremy (married to Lisa Milner) and Mo (married to Seth Harris).

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Leslie Gura

Administrative Assistant

Leslie Gura, Administrative Assistant, has been at Beth El for 7 years. She works closely with Steve Hecht, 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 for 44 years and they have one child (Leigh), a son-in-law (Christopher), and two granddaughters (Isabella and Genevieve.)

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Claire Passmeyer

Catering Coordinator

Bashert is a wonderful Yiddish word which has many layers of meanings. In its basic form it means “meant to be.” While many associate Bashert with meeting a soulmate, the word also can apply to meeting an old friend, rescuing an animal, or getting a certain job.

When Elizabeth Stork walked into the Beth El Judaica shop to shop for her daughter, she met Margie Stang and after a lengthy conversation, she became the caterer for our shul. Bashert.

When Elizabeth moved on at the end of 2017, her daughter, Claire Passmeyer, stepped in, bringing experience in both retail management and customer service in the restaurant industry to the position, as well as interesting, exciting ideas for Beth El events.

When she’s not in Beth El’s kitchen, she is working toward her Bachelor’s degree, while her husband is completing his PhD. Both are studying in the field of Social Work. Bashert. They live in Mt. Lebanon, with their four-year-old daughter Charlotte, who you may see “helping out” in the kitchen from time to time.

Claire looks forward to meeting everyone at Beth El and helping congregants to host the best events possible — from small gatherings to special occasions — at the shul.

Stop in the kitchen the next time you are attending an event at Beth El that includes food to say hello!

Email Claire

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Recent blog posts

On Grief

The following is the text of Rabbi Amy’s 2018 Yom Kippur sermon: A few months ago, I was out for dinner with my book club.  At the end of the meal, along with the check, the waitress gave us a handful of wrapped sesame candies.  One of my friends said with a wistful smile, I…

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Spiegel Religious School Update

Our kids have been busy participating in many fun programs and events! On February 4, our Chaverim students participated in the annual World Wide Wrap. Synagogues from all over the world take part in this one-time-a-year-event, held on Super Bowl Sunday. Rabbi Alex taught students and parents how to put on tefillin, and students had…

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Making Connections with South Hills Jewish Community High School!

At the South Hills Jewish Community High School, we strive to keep our post-B’nai Mitzvah teens connected to their Judaism and to each other!  The program, which is open to all South Hills Jewish teens regardless of affiliation, provides exciting opportunities for new social connections and expanded learning.  This collaborative program is held here at Beth…

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