Executive Committee Members
Tamar Szabo Gendler
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Yale University, New Haven, CT
The older of Everett and Mary’s two daughters, Tamar was inspired by her parents’ deep commitment to the transformative power of education in her choice of life pursuits. Unlike Everett and Mary, she does not have a haystack in her backyard, roll her own beeswax Shabbat candles, or attend synagogue wearing Lopi-wool crocheted ponchos and Tibetan stone earrings. But she is grateful to her sometimes idiosyncratic parents for the example that they set in living lives governed by passionate commitment to their values – both popular and unpopular.
Naomi Gendler Camper
Chief Policy Officer, American Bankers Association, Chevy Chase, MD
The younger of Everett and Mary’s two daughters, Naomi worked hard throughout her childhood to avoid doing any work in the Gendler’s substantial garden, but was very happy to eat the fruits of her parents’ labor (except kale or tomatoes). She is now an avid gardener, occasionally eats kale and even tomatoes, and is amazed that so many (but not all!) of her family’s traditions have entered the mainstream. While Naomi does encourage whole-wheat matzah consumption during Passover, her children have never ridden on the roof of a VW Bus or cover-cropped their front lawn with buckwheat.
Vice President of Population Health, American Well, Stamford, CT
As a student at Phillips Academy, Claudia was inspired by the charismatic yet infinitely approachable Rabbi Gendler. Whether building a sukkah outside the Administrative building, lighting a “ya’akov o’lantern” on Halloween, or helping students brush up on language skills at the lunchtime Hebrew Table, Rabbi Gendler brought joy and a new tradition to every observance.
Musical Theatre Writer & Lyricist, New York, NY
Tajlei began her friendship with the whole Gendler family in the mid-1980s at Phillips Academy, where Rabbi Gendler taught a memorable course on non-Western religions, mentored her with the Jewish Students’ Union, and inspired a life-changing engagement with Jewish life. Rabbi Gendler also officiated at Tajlei’s wedding. Favorite memories include havdalah celebrations, beach picnics in Nantucket, and building that creative sukkah.
Executive Director, Gendler Grapevine Project, Pittsburgh, PA
As a niece of Everett and Mary, Emily owes much of her passion to be involved in social justice and environmental issues to her aunt and uncle, who set an example as to how to lead an extraordinary life by working to make the world a better place. As a vegetarian, she enjoys sharing holiday meals with the Gendlers and continues the family tradition of substituting the shank bone with a blood-red beet on the Seder plate. Some of Emily’s favorite memories of the Gendlers include cross-country skiing on the trails in Andover, MA; admiring how her uncle made the attendees at her wedding aware of the significance of place, spirit, and nature; and having him conduct the baby naming ceremonies for her two children.
Chief Operating Officer, New York City Economic Development Corporation, New York, NY
Rachel is a niece of Mary and Everett’s and shares the travel gene that runs deep in the entire family. A lifelong highlight and formative experience of hers will always be travelling with her aunt and uncle in India and spending four days near the Pakistan border commuting from village to village by camel, sleeping under the stars, and listening to Everett regale the group each evening next to the campfire with biblical stories mirroring the day’s adventure. From suggesting source material for her graduate thesis to participating in her wedding and her sons’ britot, Everett has played a constant and meaningful role in Rachel’s life.
Rabbi Michael Paley
Scholar in Residence and Director of the Jewish Resource Center, UJA-Federation of New York and Adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Journalism, New York, NY
Rabbi Paley has served as Professor of Jewish Studies and Dean at Bard College and as Vice President of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, where he remains a member of the permanent faculty. For many years, Rabbi Paley served as the university chaplain at Columbia University and as Jewish chaplain at Dartmouth College. Rabbi Paley was the founder and first director of the Edgar M. Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel, a program that brings together outstanding students from diverse Jewish backgrounds. Rabbi Paley earned his bachelor’s degree at Brandeis and graduate degrees in Jewish and Islamic Philosophy and Science at Temple University.
Professor of Education, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Trained as a developmental psychologist, Dr. Reimer’s fields of expertise are child and adolescent development, experiential Jewish education, and developing educational leadership for Jewish camps. He has published many articles and monographs on informal Jewish education and experiential Jewish learning, and he was awarded the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish education for his book, Succeeding at Jewish Education. He has worked with various national boards and organizations, including the Covenant Foundation and the Foundation for Jewish Camp in addition to serving on the Genesis and BIMA Programs and the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Committee at Brandeis.
Author, Gardener, and Realtor, Great Barrington, MA
Sharon Strassfeld met Everett and Mary more than 40 years ago in Somerville, MA, where they were all early members of Havurat Shalom. In the ensuing years, all of them moved to Great Barrington, MA, where they currently garden together. Sharon is the editor and author of numerous books – including The Jewish Catalogues and Everything I Know: Basic Letters from a Jewish Mother – and is a managing partner of Shmalts Realty.
Reb Moshe Waldoks
Rabbi, Temple Beth Zion, Brookline, MA
Reb Moshe was given semikha (ordination) by Everett Gendler (along with Rabbis Zalman Schachter- Shalomi and Arthur Green). He has been a student of Reb Everett for nearly 30 years and currently serves as rabbi of an independent congregation, Temple Beth Zion, in Brookline, MA. Reb Moshe is the co-editor of The Big Book of Jewish Humor now in print for 32 years. He is active in interfaith relations and was one of the founders of the Jewish-Tibetan Buddhist Dialogue in 1989-90. He participates actively in Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Muslim bridge building. He is forever grateful for Reb Everett’s inspiration and support through his rabbinic career.
COO, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, New York, NY
David started his close friendship with the entire Gendler family in the 1970s as a child growing up in Andover, MA. Rabbi Gendler guided David through his Bar Mitzvah and Confirmation, mentored him with the Jewish Students’ Union group at Phillips Academy, officiated at his wedding, and participated in his twin daughters’ B’Not Mitzvah. Some of David’s favorite memories include baking whole wheat matzah in the Gendler’s wood-burning stove, counting the Omer with growing bundles of winter rye from the Gendler’s fields, and celebrating the Fall harvest in creatively built Sukkahs.
Rabbi Richard A. Block
Senior Rabbi Emeritus, The Temple – Tifereth Israel, Cleveland, OH; Past President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rick was ordained at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, which subsequently awarded him an honorary doctorate. Newsweek recognized Rick as “one of the top 25 pulpit rabbis in America.” Prior to his rabbinical studies, he graduated with honors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He is the author of numerous publications and is a Past President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), which represents more than 2000 Reform Rabbis throughout North America and beyond. Having long admired Everett, Rick is delighted to be related to him and Mary by the marriage of his and and his wife, Susie’s son, Zach, to their niece, Rachel, and to have celebrated with them the birth of Zach and Rachel’s two delicious sons, Solomon and Walter.
Rabbi Jerome Davidson
Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Beth-El of Great Neck
Rabbi Davidson served as Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth-El for 35 years and has been associated with the synagogue since 1958. He serves on the faculty of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, of which he is both president of the Rabbinic Alumni Association and member of the Board of Governors. Rabbi Davidson is past president of the Synagogue Council of America and in his youth was national president of National Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY). In 1994 he was chosen by the New York Board of Rabbis as “Rabbi of the Year,” the first Reform rabbi to receive this award.
Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman
Kehilat Kol HaNeshama, Founder and Leader
Levi Weiman-Kelman became a disciple of Everett and Mary’s even before he was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary. This included regular weekend visits to Lowell where he studied Jewish texts, organic farming and vegetarian cooking. Levi is rabbi of Kehillat Kol HaNeshama in Jerusalem, a reform congregation he founded in 1985. He is also one of the founding members of Rabbis for Human Rights.
Yale University, Class of 2017
Research Associate (2012-2013)
Smith College School for Social Work, Master in Social Work, Class of 2014