Lay Leaders

Sha’ar Zahav is shaped by its members who tirelessly dedicate time and effort to create a close-knit community that celebrates the sacred in each and every one of us. Find out a bit about the lay leaders serving on Sha’ar Zahav’s Va’ad, or Board of Directors.

Va'ad (Our Board)

Mike Shriver

President

It is an honor to be considered for President of the Va’ad at Sha’ar Zahav. I’ve been a member of Sha’ar Zahav for eight years now and have served not only on the Va’ad as an at-large member and Vice-President, but also assisting in our development and fundraising efforts alongside Martin Tannenbaum and our outstanding Resource Development Committee. I currently sit on the Finance Committee, Personnel Committee, and Building Committees. Being a part of our volunteer Tech Team has been incredibly important to me. I also enjoy being a part of our Theater Chavurah and the Disability & Accessibility Committee.

I bring to the Va’ad years of prior non-profit Board experience, including being a past Chair of the National AIDS Memorial. Currently I also sit on the Board of Directors of the Castro Country Club. I had the privilege of serving as a Board member of amfAR (the American Foundation for AIDS Research). Before I retired, I served as the Special Adviser to the Mayor of San Francisco on AIDS and HIV Policy and was the co-director of the AIDS Policy Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) and the AIDS Research Institute (ARI). I was honored to serve as Health Commissioner for the City and County of San Francisco.

Over the past few years, we have made tremendous strides in our fiscal stewardship of the synagogue and are now in an incredibly strong position regarding our financial management of the shul. Our Endowment has grown tremendously, and that is a gift to the future of the congregation. However, these next two years will be not be without challenge as we wrestle down our structural deficit while at the same time increase financial support from our members. My plan for the next two years is to continue our conversations and processes around access and accessibility, around Israel and Palestine, and around security. I am looking forward to working with our dynamic staff, strengthening our policies and procedures across all areas of life in the synagogue, and strengthening and growing this brilliant, vibrant community. I continue to be amazed at the incredible and consistent support of our congregation.
Sha’ar Zahav remains a very important part of my life. Giving back to this community is
the very least I can do to express my gratitude.

Martin Tilzer

Treasurer

Contact Martin at [email protected]

Morey Lipsett

Recorder

I have been serving as Va’ad Recorder since September and am excited about the opportunity to continue for a full-year term. I grew up at SZ, attended Beit Sefer, and was Bar Mitzvahed in 2010. I rejoined SZ in 2019 when I moved back to SF from college, and during that time, I served on the Adult Education Committee and taught a course on Angels in America. For my day job, I am a PhD student at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, working on a degree in Jewish Studies.

Patty Caplan

Vice President

I joined Sha’ar Zahav in 2003 when my first child was ready to start at Beit Sefer.  Over the years I have been on the Children’s Education Board (including as Chair) and the B’Mitzvah Committee.  For several years, along with Karen Schiller, I have coordinated the matching of B’Mitzvah students to mentors.  Both of my children were B’Mitzvahed at SZ.  Since 2022 I have served as trip planner for the Congregation’s intended trip to Israel.  I’m currently participating in the Israel Programming work group which has organized several speakers on antisemitism, history, and geopolitics.  I served on the Va’ad from 2013 to 2015.  

My professional background is in non-profit health care management and consulting.  I was Chief Operating Officer of Mission Neighborhood Health Center from 2012 to 2021.  I currently provide project management, program implementation and leadership development training to Bay Area non-profits.  I serve on the board of the Sanville Institute which provides continuing education and scholarships in Social Work and clinical psychology.

I am honored and excited to join Mike Shriver and the other candidates for Officers of the Va’ad.  

Sara Haber

Vice President

I appreciate the opportunity to serve my congregation as a member of the Va’ad and Vice Prez to the amazing Mike Shriver. I’ve been a member of Sha’ar Zahav since the early 1990s. I’ve served on the Dues, Membership, Social Action and Nominating Committees.  It has been my honor to serve on previous Va’ads with presidents Diana Bookbinder, Arthur Slepian, Ora Prochovnic, James Carlson, Nancy Levin and Marc Lipshutz. In recent years, Steve Mazer and I have been your ever-lovin High Holy Days logistics team.  We also coordinate greeters and security professionals for every service and event under SZ’s new security policy. I have the pleasure of organizing volunteers for our fabulous Community Seder on the second night of Passover. In addition to the wonderful volunteers that normally greet you at the door at services, I also coordinate (read nudge, nag and cajole) Tech Support volunteers for our synagogue Zoom services and events. (Please talk to me about joining either of these essential teams!) I cherish the ways in which our community brings challenge as well as joy and inspiration to my life.

Steve Mazer

Vice President

I moved to the Bay Area in 2000, via Jerusalem and New York. I joined Sha’ar Zahav in 2001, and while it was not a perfect fit for me religiously, it was soon clear that I would put down roots in this community for the long term. Twenty-three years later, I think I was right. In those early years, I got involved in the life of SZ in many ways, including the Israel Committee, High Holiday logistics, and co-chair of a new Programming Committee. I was also a b’mitzvah mentor to three amazing young people – the last of which was Josh Muller, whom I will now join on the Va’ad (a fact that gives me great naches/joy, and also a little anxiety about how quickly time flies).  I took a years-long break from official leadership roles, but during the pandemic I felt the pull to reconnect with SZ in a more consistent way.  So I tiptoed back in, and then one thing led to another, as it often does. I joined the Reopening Task Force and chaired its successor Health & Safety Committee; joined the Building and Personnel Committees; and came back to High Holidays as project manager, with my logistics partner Sara Haber. I will be honored to serve the SZ community on the va’ad and as vice president.

 

Barbara Cymrot

Board Member

Brad Friedman

Board Member

Brandie Solovay

Board Member

I’m honored and excited to be joining the Va’ad at Sha’ar Zahav. My wife and I joined this community during my conversion process in 2021. Prior to joining we took the Intro to Judaism course as well as Journey to Judaism – both were wonderfully offered via zoom. Through taking courses, attending Shabbat and other holiday events, and attending committee meetings – all remotely, I started meeting people. Everyone, including our Rabbi, was so welcoming, I found an amazing community at Sha’ar Zahav that I never had before and didn’t know was possible. I felt so lucky to be a part of the family through my conversion process, getting married, and having my baby girl. Since then, I’ve experienced joy as a part of Sha’ar Zahav. I have remained very involved with the Disability and Accessibility committee, the Ritual committee, and have continuously attended monthly Va’ad meetings as a guest.

I am a fat, blind, (now) Jewish, lesbian attorney. I have practiced multiple areas of law. Currently, disability rights and discrimination are my main area of focus. I also have extensive experience in both immigration law and criminal defense.
I love spending time with my wife, our daughter, and our family, which includes our pint and pony sized pups. I have many hobbies; I enjoy swimming, shopping, drag shows (I spent the summers as a teen with my Grammie in Vegas, hanging out with the drag queens from La Cage on the Vegas strip), museums, and traveling.

I find the work that I do in the many capacities I do it in very rewarding. Specifically, the work that I do for fat and disability communities. As the Director of Fat Legal Advocacy Rights and Education (FLARE), a project of my law office (Solovay Law), which was originally founded by my wife, Sondra, over 20 years ago, I get to advocate for fat people and pass anti discrimination laws like the law my wife originally helped pass here in San Francisco.

I am looking forward to bringing my perspective through my experiences and expertise to the Va’ad and getting the chance to work closely with a great group of people.

Franco Martinez

Board Member

Heidy Zohar Ramirez

Board Member

During my three years as Development Director at Sha’ar Zahav (SZ), I focused on engaging both existing and new members. This role provided a wonderful opportunity to learn about SZ’s history firsthand through coffee chats with founders, long-time members, local residents, leaders, and new members. Managing day to day operations, programs, and gathering community feedback to enhance organizational processes and systems in order to provide a valuable membership experience.

As a Jewish queer woman of color, finding spaces where I felt a sense of belonging was often challenging. However, at Sha’ar Zahav, I frequently experienced a profound sense of community and acceptance. SZ is a unique, passionate, and devoted community, providing a safe space for spiritual exploration and communal connection.

Professionally, my experience was primarily in finance. Working in institutional asset management for many years. More recently, however, my work shifted towards working in grants management for a foundation and presently, in renewable energy, focusing on grantmaking efforts that foster innovation and support affordable clean energy initiatives to help achieve our state’s net-zero emissions goals.

I am excited to bring my personal and professional knowledge, experiences, and unique perspective to the Vaad as a board member. I deeply respect and value the dedication of SZ volunteers and members. In this new role, I plan to continue listening, building, and growing from SZ’s strong foundation and history.

Josh Muller

Board Member

Ruth Schoenbach

Board Member

Shelli Rawlings-Fein

Board Member

I started attending SZ Friday night services in 2002.  I met my husband Martin during a service in 2003; Rabbi Angel married us later that same year, and we now have two children, Sadie age 19 and Lia age 13. Through the years I have: been a teacher’s aide at BSPM, mentored two b’mitzvah kids (highly recommended!), co-chaired the old welcoming committee, helped develop Recovery Shabbat, and enjoy attending services and events. This will be my third stint on the Va’ad, including 9 months as the Recorder in FY 22-23.  In my professional life, I work for The City at the Department of Early Childhood (First 5 San Francisco) where I  am a manager of our city’s system of family resource centers.

Tirtza Pearl

Board Member