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Our Leadership

Board of Trustees 2021-2022

David Yudis - President
Adrienne Cohen - 1st Vice President
Matthew Cabrera - 2nd Vice President
Jason Stern - Treasurer
Andrew Levine - Secretary
Coby Sonenshine - Immediate Past President
Lesley Salazar - Adult Programs Trustee
Andrew Robben - Membership Trustee
Ellen Phillips - Religious Life & Policy Trustee
Patty Seyburn - Strategic Planning Trustee
Robin Shulman - Youth Education & Programs Trustee
Brian Brenner & Renee Dellar - Trustees-At-Large
Sandra Chakmak - Women of Temple Bat Yahm President
Steve Fink - Parliamentarian (Non-Voting)


Leadership Council 2021-2022

Gwen Gluckman & Rob Greenfield - Adult Ed Chairs
Jill Edwards - Caring Committee Chair
Kim Greenhall - Capital Campaign Chair
Sally Spiro - Clergy Relations Liaison
Danielle King - ECE/TBY Preschool Liaison
Barry Katz - Facilities, Security & IT Liaison
Leora Fogel & Greg Shavitz - High Holy Days Taskforce Chairs
Mark Brown - Interfaith Taskforce Chair
Debbie Margolis - Legacy & Endowment Chair
Amir Kahana - Social Action Taskforce Chair
Emily Leach & Ellen Rasch - Youth & Youth Families Events 

David Yudis - TBY Board of Trustees President

Recognizing something greater than oneself is a principle David and his wife Liz agreed on early in their relationship. Living a Jewish life, one that acknowledges God, is dedicated to understanding Torah and connects to Community has always included participation at Temple. Coming from an East Coast traditional synagogue in the last millennium to a vibrant Los Angeles congregation in 2000, David and Liz finally had the opportunity to fulfill a promise in 2013. Having first visited Temple Bat Yahm while on vacation in the 1990’s, the couple promised one another that if they ever moved to Newport Beach, they would join TBY.

It was the strength of tradition and warmth of community they had first experienced years prior that made TBY their desired new home. Here, their children, Gabriel and Blossom, have celebrated Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Since joining the Temple, David has had the pleasure of serving in various leadership roles, working on Committees and collaborating on bringing multi-talented Jewish professionals to TBY’s staff.

David is a business psychologist and President of Potential Selves, a leadership development company focused on executive coaching and team effectiveness. He is a proponent of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and committed to continuously improving. 

It is an honor for David to serve at Temple Bat Yahm. He hopes that any person seeking to flourish finds TBY a place to do so, and together we make the world a better place.

Our Staff

Mark Gulner - Executive Director

Mark was born and raised with his twin brother, Scott, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended the University of Minnesota and received his degree in English Literature. While attending University he met his wife, Amy, and they have two children, Henry and Margaret, a dog, Max (Munten z’l), and a cat, Arlo. Away from work, Mark enjoys spending time with his family, friends, and, if he can find the time, squeeze in a round of golf. His parents are both retired school teachers and also reside in Orange County.

Prior to joining Temple Bat Yahm, Mark has worked for and with a number of congregations across the country. Most recently he was the Executive Director at Congregation Beth Am in San Diego. Prior to at Beth Am, he served as a Director of Engagement, Director of Membership, Regional Director for United Synagogue Youth and as a Youth Director at historic Temple of Aaron in St. Paul Minnesota.


Laura Gramling - TBY Preschool Director

Laura came from Temple Beth El South Orange County, where she worked 11 years as an inclusion aid, a preschool teacher, and as the assistant director of the Early Childhood Center, before coming to Temple Bat Yahm in July 2014.  The native Californian received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from the University of Arizona and a Masters degree in Clinical Neuropsychology from San Diego State University.  Laura worked with head injury patients for the Defense and Veterans Head Injury Program as well as with children prenatally exposed to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.   Laura earned her Early Childhood Credential through Saddleback College and has been very involved with curriculum planning for the early childhood classroom.  In addition, Laura has a passion for our Full Inclusion Program and helping each child to succeed.  She is a member of PACE, CQEL, NAEYC as well as CAEYC.   She has now been our ECE Director for over 6 years and continues to evolve our TBY program to stay up to date with current Developmental and State Standards.

Laura's husband Kevin, is an attorney with Klinedinst Law Firm and regional commissioner with Laguna Hills AYSO, and together they have three daughters.

Laura would love to meet you and your children. Contact her today for a private tour of the Preschool by calling (949) 644-6563.


Rabbi Miriam Philips - JCAL (Religious School) Director

Rabbi Miriam Philips enjoys serving as the Director of Youth Education and Family Engagement (also known as the JCAL Director) for Temple Bat Yahm. JCAL, the Jewish Center for Arts and Learning, encapsulates Rabbi Miriam’s learning philosophy: that children learn best in community and through doing. After all, the world - and Judaism - stand on three things: Torah (love of learning and questioning), Avodah (service to God) and G’milut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness). In Judaism, learning and doing are intertwined.

Rabbi Philips grew up in rural Washington State, where her family had to work to be Jewish, and so started her on her path toward the rabbinate. She also spent part of her childhood in  Seal Beach, CA, from which Orange County town her husband Danny also hails. Rabbi Philips attended Brandeis University, where she graduated summa cum laude with a major in History. After college, Rabbi Miriam volunteered in Israel for a year with Project Otzma (sponsored by the Long Beach Federation) and worked for congregations in the San Francisco Bay Area. For rabbinical school, she attended Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC) in Jerusalem and LA. While there she earned her Master’s degree in Education.

Before joining Temple Bat Yahm, Rabbi Philips served as the Director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Emanuel in Andover, MA, for four years. Then she and her family moved to Silicon Valley so she could take a position as Director of Family Learning at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, CA. Rabbi Miriam and her family now consider themselves home in Orange County and at Temple Bat Yahm.

Rabbi Miriam is the proud (and busy) mom of two children. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, gardening, reading and dancing, which have now become family activities. Her blessing for her children is her same wish for all the children (and human beings) at TBY: may you be curious and kind.


Our Professional Staff

Our lay leadership is supported by a wonderful full-time professional staff under the leadership of our Executive Director, Mark Gulner. With over 60 years of combined synagogue experience the TBY leadership is complemented by an administrative, accounting and maintenance staff whose many talents include a warm welcoming and engaging relationship with our congregational families.

Efrain Banuelos
Facilities Manager
Contact Efrain about the facilities here at TBY or if you have a question about our standing security protocols.

Mel Bordelon
Director of Youth Engagement
Contact Mel for all things Youth Programming and Engagement.

Susan Gunawan
Finance Director
Contact Susan if you have questions regarding the Temple's accounting.

Lesa Hodgkins
Accounts Receivable
Contact Lesa about membership financial status, Preschool and/or JCAL School payments, or high volume ticket sales.

Debbe Katz
Clergy Administrator
Contact Debbe about clergy appointments, bereavement
simchas, oneg sponsoring, or Cantor's Concert.

Beth Swift
Front Desk Receptionist
Contact Beth about Shabbat, High Holy Days, programming and events scheduling, reservations and ticket purchases, Yahrzeit changes, Tributes, or general information.

Sue Penn
Director of Membership & Concierge Services
Contact Sue about membership opportunities ans status, chavurah, clubs, b'nai mitzvah program, or lifecycle events.

Hilary Rosen
Director of Communications
Contact Hilary if you have questions regarding advertising, marketing and publicity, or social media, or facilitiy rentals and scheduling. 

Matthew Ross
Technology Integration Specialist
Matthew is responsible for helping produce the digital presentations of our online learning and religious services and recordings.

Melissa Seidner
JCAL Administrator
Contact Melissa if you have questions regarding JCAL enrollment, programming, or initial b'nai mitzvah scheduling.

Tue, July 5 2022 6 Tammuz 5782