Meet the administrative team of Temple Beth Sholom

Jeff Graff
Executive Director

Jeff joined Temple Beth Sholom as its Executive Director in 2020. He oversees synagogue business operations, including finance, human resources, development, membership, and marketing/communications. Jeff most recently served as Temple President, and has held other board positions, including Treasurer and Chairman of the Budget Committee, as well as serving on numerous other committees and task forces. Prior to joining the Temple as Executive Director, Jeff worked as a real estate developer, an auditor, and a commercial lender. Jeff and his family joined the Temple more than 15 years ago. He and his wife Leslie have two adult daughters, Erica and Brittany, who grew up at the Temple and became b’nei mitzvah and confirmands. A native Floridian, Jeff is a graduate of Miami Beach Senior High, received his bachelor's degree from Florida State University and has a masters degree in accounting from Florida International University.

Margie Zeskind
Head of School

Margie Zeskind holds a Master of Science Degree in Pre-K/Primary Education. She started her tenure as the Director of Early Childhood Education at the Foundation School in July 2007.

Prior to this position, Margie was the Director of the Helene and A.B. Wiener Early Childhood Department for the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education in Miami, Florida. There she provided professional resources and consultation for staff development, mentoring and leadership development for early childhood education directors and educators for twenty-one Jewish early childhood programs.

She authored two simultaneously awarded National Covenant Foundation Grants for the Jewish south Florida early childhood community. Additionally, she is co-author of I Went To My Cousin’s Crispening, and The S.A.G.A. Approach, which is a resource guide for Jewish early childhood educators working with issues surrounding religious diversity, funded by The Jim Joseph Foundation. She is one of the co-developers of the Kesher L’ Yisrael Initiative that was designed for early childhood educators to partner with children and families to build connections to Israel, the land, the people and the state.

Mark Baranek
Director of Congregational Engagement

A native of Toronto, Canada Mark attended the Associated Hebrew Day School of Toronto followed by the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto. He completed his undergraduate work in International Relations at York University in Toronto. Later, he achieved his Master’s Degree in the Horenstein Program from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

In 1983, Mark launched his career as Assistant Director of Education at Temple Emanu-El. He then spent eight years as Director of Education at Temple Samu-El or Olom. In 1997, Mark joined Temple Beth Sholom as the Director of Education and Youth; encompassing education programs from “birth to college.” 

Mark has been active in the community for many years. He has been a member of the Coalition on Advancement of Jewish Education since 1988 and was on the national board for two years as the Southern Regional Representative. He is a member of the National Association of Temple Educators, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Council of Education Directors and Hebrew Educators Alliance. Mark holds a permanent principal’s license from JESNA and a continuing Hebrew teacher’s license from the Miami Board of License. Mark has visited Israel 28 times and has chaperoned numerous teen and adult groups. He lived in Israel in Jerusalem and on Kibbutz Tel-Yitzchak. Mark served seven times as a bus captain on the March of the Living, a two-week journey to Poland and Israel. He's been a volunteer basketball coach at Miami Senior High School since 1988 and his teams have won seven state championships. Numerous players have gone on to play at the college level and even the NBA. Three of his players are active in the NFL. Mark loves his work and gets the most satisfaction from seeing the smiling, nurtured, and positively impacted children of Temple Beth Sholom.
Craig Berko
Director of Membership

As Director of Membership, Craig leads the recruitment, engagement, retention, and stewardship of congregants. Through outreach and programming, he welcomes and creates meaningful connections for new members. Craig joined Temple Beth Sholom in 2019, and his career has focused on facilitating the growth of community. Previously, he served as Executive Director of the Florida Chiropractic Society, growing membership and managing conferences. Craig earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Florida Atlantic University, and a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and Doctor of Chiropractic from Cleveland Chiropractic College in Los Angeles.

Katy Boyask
Director of Advancement

Born in England, Katy Boyask graduated from St. Mary’s University with a BA (Hons) in Drama and Theater Arts. In 2003, Katy started her nonprofit career in South Florida at Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach. From 2005 to 2012, she worked for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation in a variety of campaign and management roles. In 2012, Katy managed a Mega Mission to Israel and was responsible for training a team of recruiters and solicitors, resulting in 700 participants, including 130 for a pre-mission to Poland. Moving to New York City in 2012, Katy worked for several nonprofits, including as the director of development at Park Avenue Synagogue, where she managed a $2.7 million annual appeal and a $65 million capital campaign. Before moving back to Miami, Katy returned to the Jewish Federation world and worked as a campaign director for UJA-Federation of New York.

Carlos Calmet
Director of Finance

Carlos is a deeply experienced senior financial leader of area nonprofits. Before joining Temple Beth Sholom’s administration, he was Controller at St. John Vianney College Seminary – Archdiocese of Miami, and he has also served as Senior Accountant for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami.

Prior to joining the nonprofit sector professionally, Carlos held sales and accounting positions for Maroone Nissan of Kendall and Brickell Motors. Carlos earned his B.S. in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University.

Alvaro Campos

Alvaro Campos came to the U.S. from Colombia in 1998, where he had been working for a building maintenance company. He continued to pursue this field over the years, joining the maintenance department at Temple Beth Sholom in 2014.

Heriberto Cardona

Heriberto Cardona came to the U.S in 1997 from Colombia where he was working for a funeral home. He joined the Temple Beth Sholom maintenance department in 1998 as an outstanding floor supervisor. Heriberto is married and has two children and two grandchildren.

Seth Cohen
CLASP Fellow

Born in Pembroke Pines, Seth Cohen began his Jewish journey in a South Florida Reform synagogue, and has always been involved with Jewish youth and camping. At eight, he got his first taste of Jewish camp over one fall weekend, and never looked back, attending Camp Coleman for five years. Seth was actively involved with his junior and senior youth groups at Temple Kol Emeth in Marietta, Georgia, where he served on the TYG board. Because camp has been such a meaningful part of Seth’s life, he has been working at summer camps as a counselor since his freshman year of high school

Prior to joining Temple Beth Sholom as a CLASP (Camp Leadership and Synagogue Professional) Fellow, Seth was an assistant program director, counselor and specialist with URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy East in Massachusetts, and also worked as a teacher at Makom Community, a Jewish after-school enrichment program in Philadelphia. Seth earned his Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from Penn State University. In his spare time, he enjoys watching and attending sporting events and snuggling with Simon, his miniature poodle. Seth is most excited to be the CLASP Fellow for Temple Beth Sholom, where he will help others discover and explore Jewish camp. Our CLASP Fellowship is sponsored by Shelley Rubin and Marshall Pasternack, the Rabbi Davis Youth Fund and Rabbi Pomerantz’s Forward Fund.

Noemi Cortes
Assistant to the Rabbis

Noemi spent the last fifteen years working within various Jewish organizations and joined Temple Beth Sholom in May of 2015. She was born and raised in Chile and moved to Miami when she was twelve years old. Noemi attended ITT Tech where she graduated with a degree in Computer Science and is currently back at college pursuing an Ocean Engineering degree. She loves staying active and practices Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In her spare time she enjoys outdoor activities, especially surfing.

Ariane Davis
Assistant to Cantor Porat and B'nei Mitzvah Coordinator

Ariane has a long history with Temple Beth Sholom, with more than 16 years in various office management and administrative positions. We are delighted to welcome her back to the Temple family.

In addition to strong organizational and interpersonal skills, Ariane also bring extensive graphic design experience to her position at Temple Beth Sholom. Ariane earned her B.A. in Commercial Art from Miami’s International Fine Arts College.

Lois Kotzen
Assistant to the Executive Director

Lois Kotzen has been working at Temple Beth Sholom since 1990. She is a graduate of Miami Beach Senior High School, attended the University of Florida and George Washington University. She is also a graduate of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School and had her adult bat mitzvah at Temple Beth Sholom. Lois’ children are Rabbi Andrew and Michal Koren, Stacy and Robert Budowsky and Dean and Dr. Rosa Kotzen. She also has six grandchildren: Max, Avishai, Shiri, Ethan, Mia and Rex.

Jenny Lowhar
Director of Marketing and Communications

Jenny has been with Temple Beth Sholom since 2018. As the Marketing and Communications Director, she draws on her experience from both the for-profit and non-profit worlds to create a compelling presence for Temple Beth Sholom in print, direct mail and digital media. She brings more than two decades of experience as a graphic and web designer to the position, and also enjoys documenting temple life through photography. Jenny oversees the marketing for the Innovative School of Temple Beth Sholom as well as the Supplemental Programs (including After-School Enrichment, Parent-Child, and Infant Care programs). Originally from Barbados, Jenny earned her Bachelor of Science in Business, Advertising and Marketing from the University of Miami.

Jesus Parra

Jesus Parra came to the U.S. from Colombia where he was working as a clerk in a bank in Bogota. He joined the Temple Beth Sholom maintenance department in 2003. He has three grown children in Bogota.

Antonio Rojas

Antonio Rojas came to the U.S. in 1993 from Colombia, where he had been a professional boxer for many years. He started working for the Temple Beth Sholom maintenance department in 2006. He and his wife, Maria Claudia have three children.

Jeannette Santamaria

Jeannette Santamaria, joined our maintenance department in 2015. She came to the U.S. from Nicaragua having worked for the Miami Herald for fifteen years prior to joining the Temple staff. She is married and has two grown children.

Barb Shimansky
Director of The School for Living Judaism/Jlab

Barb Shimansky joined Temple Beth Sholom as the Director of the School for Living Judaism in June, 2017. A native of suburban Detroit, she is a graduate of Michigan State University and earned a Master of Social Work from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts in Religious Education from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. Barb has been granted the coveted title of Reform Jewish Educator (RJE).

Formerly, Barb was a social worker with a focus on children in school, foster care, and juvenile justice settings. She also has extensive experience in Jewish youth education at both the elementary and secondary levels, previously teaching and directing youth programs at congregations in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Barb worked in the area of congregational support for the Union for Reform Judaism, and most recently served as the Director of Education at Congregation Sinai in Milwaukee. 

Raised in the Reform Movement, Barb is an alumna of NFTY and the URJ Kutz Camp. She previously served as a faculty member of URJ camps Kutz and OSRUI, and currently spends time each summer on the faculties of URJ Camp Coleman and URJ 6 Points Creative Arts Academy. She has facilitated workshops on topics such as informal education and junior youth programming at both regional and North American URJ gatherings. Barb has published several articles regarding the engagement of youth and families in Jewish learning experiences, and she serves on the leadership team of the Association for Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE). Barb and her husband, Jake, live in Miami Beach with their three sons, Ethan, Aidan, and Caleb.
Michael Svayg
Director of Building and Facilities

Michael Svayg is the Director of Facilities and Building Operations. He came to Temple Beth Sholom in 1997 from Cleveland, Ohio where he managed the Building Operations for Suburban Temple for over 17 years. Michael was born in Chernovits, Ukraine and came to the United States in 1980. He earned his B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering from Chernovits State University and a Master’s Degree from Kiev University in Plant Operations of Military and Civil Buildings and also holds an Equivalency Degree in Civil Engineering from Cleveland State University. While in Ukraine, Michael was a Head Manager of Plant Operations and an Assistant General Director of The Republic Gas Company. Michael is married to Michelle, and they have four children and five grandchildren.

Adam Trautenberg
Director of Logistics and Technology

A Miami native, Adam grew up in North Miami Beach and worked as a camp counselor for Camp Simcha at Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus. After graduating from the University of Central Florida, he moved to the Washington DC metro where he ran a team building, outdoor education, and adventure summer camp company. Missing the warm winters and his family, Adam moved back to Miami permanently in early 2018. Adam enjoys anything outdoors, especially kayaking, sailing, and snorkeling. He likes running and exploring Miami.