Sign In Forgot Password

Staff

 

Rabbi Joshua Lesser

Rabbi Joshua Lesser leads Congregation Bet Haverim as a place dedicated to celebrating all aspects of Jewish life and creating an accessible and engaging spiritual home. Together he and the members of CBH have fostered a warm environment balancing the needs of a diverse community. Rabbi Josh is dedicated to contributing to the Jewish community and the city of Atlanta in positive ways. 

With an eye for innovation and encouraging new leaders, Rabbi Josh has been instrumental in illuminating the skills and talents of the CBH community. As a catalyst, he supports the creativity, ingenuity and enterprising spirit of members as they engage in synagogue life. His collaborative leadership has helped cultivate CBH’s flourishing music program, the CBH Community School, the Eli/Rose Adult Program Fund, a teen book group and the b’nai mitzvah process, along with numerous creative rituals and services. He breathes new life into Jewish tradition. His adventurous spirit has propelled him to found new programs like the Rainbow Center, a Jewish communal response to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

 

Amy Robertson

Executive Director

As Executive Director, Amy divides her attention between the forest and the trees, ensuring that both the daily operations and the longer term vision for our community are executed carefully and according to the values of our community. One the one hand, she works closely with the board to oversee our finances, manages the staff and office needs, supports our lay leadership and volunteers, assist the Board in determining issues of governance, and tries to be sure that the broader community knows about the important work our community does. On the other hand, she works with Rabbi Josh and the board to continually renew and revitalize our community’s vision for our future and our strategy for getting there. 

Amy’s professional background straddles education, administration, and community building. During her lengthy career as a student, she worked as a Director in the Office of Student Life at both Rice University and Harvard Divinity School, where she was tasked with bringing together a multitude of departments and personalities to create welcoming, coherent, informative, and well-executed orientation programs for hundreds of incoming students. While finishing her dissertation at Emory, she began working as Director of Education here at Bet Haverim, which, at that time, had a relatively small school of about 80 students. During her four years as education director, she developed administrative and curricular systems that enabled continued growth while also bringing a culture of increased collaboration to the school, and worked to bring CBH’s values – and warmth – to the most minute details of school operations. Under her leadership, K-7 school enrollment grew by 40%. As Executive Director, Amy strives to do much the same thing for the wider CBH community. 

Amy earned her B.A. from Rice University, a Master of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Religion (Tanakh) from Emory University. She loves learning, problem solving, value-based decision making, and community building – and as a context for all of these things, Judaism. She grew up in an interfaith family on Long Island, and now makes a musical, chaotic, philosophical, and joyful home with her partner Will, who is the choir director here at CBH, and their two children, Levi and Noa. She does her best to make time for reading, music, exercise, and, perhaps most importantly, gazing off into the woods behind her house.

 

Gayanne Geurin

Music Director

Gayanne Geurin is responsible for the artistic integration of music programming in the congregational life at CBH. As music director, she researches and selects music for the congregation’s chorus and band, creating its overarching feel. She leads a weekly Wednesday morning and every other Monday evening chant  and meditation service. She serves as a lay cantor leading and co-leading many services at CBH. 

Gayanne co founded the chorus at Congregation Bet Haverim in 1999. While helping to create the synagogue’s music program, she delved deeper into her longtime avocation as a singer and immersed herself in researching Jewish music of all eras and cultures. She developed an innovative approach toward musically enriching Jewish liturgy, working closely with Rabbi Lesser. She has fostered an inventive musical spirit that has evolved organically from the pool of CBH’s musician members, trained and untrained alike. This collaborative sensibility, which fits beautifully with Reconstructionist ideals, has provided the character and foundation for the music program.

Gayanne trained under Robert Shaw as a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. More recently she studied spiritual drumming with Layne Redmond, Akiva Wharton and Shoshanna Jebweb. She has studied under groundbreaking Jewish musicians Basia Schecter, Shefa Gold and Jacqueline Westhead. She has done extensive training with one of a kind improvisational vocal performer and  teacher Rhiannon. Most recently she completed Jeanette LoVetri's Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method Levels I, II, III.

Beyond music, Gayanne holds a master's degree in religious studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a master's in clinical social work. She was a psychotherapist for 27 years. Now, when not working at CBH she offers vocal coaching and life coaching sessions at her home studio. She has two adult children, Micah and Sarra.

"Maybe it's only once in a lifetime that one has the opportunity to be in the mix of great musicians and thinkers who volunteer and dedicate their talents toward making music with a purpose. I have that blessing as music director of CBH," says Gayanne. "The spirit of willingness from the singers and instrumentalists to offer their gifts is astounding.  I am amazed and honored to work with one of the most talented musicians I have ever met in Will Robertson and the most receptive and innovative rabbi in Joshua Lesser.

 

 

 

Will Robertson
Choir Director

Will Robertson is CBH's chorus director and bandleader and the composer or arranger of much of the synagogue's repertoire. 

Will studied classical double bass, composition and choral conducting at Rice University in Houston and the Kodaly Pedagogical Institute in Hungary and music production at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has been the producer of all of CBH's albums to date. 

As an instrumentalist, Will has worked or performed with Grammy-winning and -nominated musicians such as John Mayer, Clay Cook (Zac Brown Band), Shawn Mullins and Pat Sansone (Wilco). Will has also produced/engineered, performed with and arranged for artists such as Rebecca Loebe (featured on the debut season of NBC’s “The Voice”), David Berkeley, Arlington Priest, The Brilliant Inventions and Eliot Bronson. Will’s work has been featured on TV and radio worldwide. 

Will, his wife Amy and their two children are actively involved members of CBH. 

"The thing I have found most compelling about working with the musicians of CBH is their thirst for fusing all sorts of different sounds in interesting ways," Will says. "We somehow manage to successfully navigate a number of different stylistic roads, merging many varied traditions (Jewish and otherwise) with popular song, world music, ancient chant and all sorts of sounds you'd never expect to hear in a synagogue. I think this musical audacity is directly attributable to the culture of the congregation; incredible leadership from Rabbi Josh and Gayanne; a group of singers and instrumentalists with the focus, energy, dedication and desire to work to create something really unique; and, not least, the interpretive spirit of Reconstructionist Judaism. It's an honor and an incredible pleasure to be a part of this group."

 

 

Jenna Gould
Events and Volunteer Manager

Jenna Gould is experienced in event management and volunteer engagement in both nonprofit and corporate settings. After several years supporting attorneys and bankers, Jenna transitioned to a career in nonprofit member engagement and development, working with organizations that include Atlanta Contemporary, Art Papers, Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, and Midtown Alliance. She is a passionate advocate for the arts and social justice.

Jenna is a classically trained musician and holds a B.A. in music and French from Davidson College. She is a staff singer at Northside Drive Baptist Church, and she performs with Les Trois Voix, a women's trio focusing on early music. In her spare time, Jenna enjoys experiencing contemporary art, reading, and drinking coffee. She lives in Kirkwood with her dog Caleb.

 

 

 

Kate Hennessey
Education Program Manager

Kate (Adina) Hennessey has been working in Jewish education settings professionally for 8+ years. She has worked with a diversity of denominations (from Orthadox to Interfaith) and with a broad spectrum of age groups (from infant to middle school). She has worked at many Jewish schools and organizations around Atlanta.  

Kate has worked as a Jewish education teacher, camp counselor, curriculum writer and consultant, and preschool administrator. She is passionate about teaching traditional Jewish and Hebrew topics in fresh experiential and sensory ways that help reach and engage children of all learning types and backgrounds. Kate believes in instilling a love of learning in children and that no child should feel bored about their Jewish education!

Kate is trained in the Hebrew Through Movement program. She also created a children’s Middot Yoga program, which she led weekly with Jewish preschoolers.  

Though her spare time is limited as a working single mother and student, Kate enjoys art, yoga, mussar, Ted Talks and Netflix originals, exploring new places around Atlanta, and spending time with the people she loves. 

 

 

 

Laurie Slack
Communications Manager 

Laurie Slack enjoys making things. She studied visual art at Carnegie Mellon University, went on to design costumes for various theaters around Atlanta, moved into the Jewish non-profit world here in Atlanta and then served as Jewish Programs Director at the Katie & Irwin Kahn JCC in Columbia, SC for six years.  After her return to Atlanta, Laurie found her way back to CBH and now handles the website, flyers, Facebook, eblasts, and other communication projects for the synagogue. She has a wonderful husband, Andy, and a delightful daughter/jedi, Orli.

Laurie also teaches art at Jewish summer camp, teaches Hebrew school and serves as PTA co-President at her daughter's school.   In her free time, Laurie likes to cook, ride her bicycle around Decatur, read books, putter in the garden and create her own artworks.

 

 

Agatha Walker
Rabbi's Assistant

Agatha Walker has many years of experience as an administrative assistant and enjoys the variety of tasks that the job has to offer. 


Agatha is a graduate of Emory University and a native of Atlanta. She is a devoted mother to a wonderful daughter. Agatha loves reading, knitting, eating ice cream and pizza, hiking and spending time with friends and family.

 

 

 

Julie Lakric

Administrator

Julie Lakric is originally from Milwaukee, WI. Her background is as a Certified Preschool Teacher and she has always loved working with children. Julie has three children, two daughters and a son. She loves the theater and has passed this passion down to her children. In fact, many hours have been logged driving her daughters to rehearsals, practicing lines, and enjoying performances. Her son started to film the performances and this quickly developed a business, which grew into filming shows for local schools. Julie became the sidekick for her son and helps to carry equipment.

A few more fun facts about Julie…she loves Italian food and could eat pasta every day! Her favorite sport is football and her favorite team is the Green Bay Packers, she’s a very loyal Cheesehead! But is there any other kind?

 

 

Thu, December 13 2018 5 Tevet 5779