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Professional Staff

Meryl Natter, our Director, Synagogue Administration, started with the congregation in 2011. She is responsible for the full spectrum of CAI’s management. In this position she is able to fulfill her passion to serve the Jewish community while utilizing her administrative and management skills. 

She is a native of Long Island, NY, and has always been involved in synagogue life. Meryl was a professional singer and dancer for years. She transitioned into administration and sales while working in the garment, restaurant and magazine industries. While raising her children she served as the preschool music teacher at a synagogue in Montclair and as a teacher of Music Together, the internationally acclaimed early childhood music and movement program. Meryl and her two wonderful sons reside in Montclair. The family is active in their synagogue in Bloomfield. 

She is currently a member of NAASE (North American Association of Synagogue Executives).

Contact Meryl Natter. 973-226-3600 ext. 115

Geula Zamist is the director of CAI's Early Childhood Center. Geula joined CAI in August 2012. She has a BA from Baruch College and a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education from Teachers College at Columbia University.  Before coming to Agudath Israel, Geula worked as the ECC Director at the Westchester Jewish Center and the ECC Director at Ramaz.

Geula is passionate about early childhood education and has been called on to consult for a number of different Jewish institutions around the world. She enjoys getting to know families and working with teachers.

Geula is proud of all of her children and their many accomplishments and is most honored to carry the title Savta, Grandmother. 

She looks forward to getting to know all of the ECC children and providing them with a wonderful education.
Contact Geula Zamist973-226-3600 ext. 121

Rosalie Felberbaum, our full-time bookkeeper, started with CAI in April of 2014. Rosalie has an MBA and CPA and has worked in corporate, tax and non-profit accounting. She is an active member of her synagogue in Livingston.
Contact Rosalie Felberbaum. 973-226-3600 ext. 114


Debbie Lurie is our Membership Coordinator and a member of our congregation since 2002, Debbie and her family are involved in many areas of synagogue life. Debbie's professional experience in customer service and human resources is a most appreciated quality second only to her love of our community. She looks forward to speaking with you and introducing you to all that is Congregation Agudath Israel and considers it a privilege and pleasure to establish a relationship with every prospective and new congregant. Tour our building with Debbie, get to know us better.  She's got so much to tell you about our community including ways to get involved, study, and meet new friends. 

Debbie and her husband David are the proud parents of Sam and Michael. Together, the Lurie family all have found a second home at CAI.

Want more information about Congregation Agudath Israel? 
Contact Debbie Lurie973-226-3600 ext. 118

Rosalie Felberbaum. Rosalie will be our
new full-time bookkeeper. Having grown up in
the Bronx, Rosalie has been living in Livingston
for 30 years. She and her husband have two adult
children, one currently in graduate school and the
other beginning graduate school in the fall. Rosalie
has an MBA and CPA and has worked in corporate
and tax finance and most recently in non-profit
accounting at Daughters of Israel. She is an active
member of her synagogue in Livingston

Michael E. Bressman is CAI’s Director of Development. He works closely with the lay leadership, clergy, and professional staff to create meaningful giving opportunities for donors at all levels.

A graduate of Drew University (B.A.) and Columbia University (M.A.), Michael served as Director of the Annual Fund for Caldwell University immediately before joining CAI. He began his career on Capitol Hill before returning to his undergraduate alma mater as Communications Associate and Special Assistant to the President.

Michael grew up as a member of a Conservative synagogue, which is where he attended Hebrew School, became a Bar Mitzvah, and celebrated many family milestones. In college, he was an active member of Hillel.

Born in New York City, Michael was raised in Livingston. He currently resides in Morristown.

Contact Michael E. Bresssman 973-226-3600 ext. 113

Ellen Oxild is our Communications and Marketing Manager. She is responsible for all eblasts, press releases, the congregation's Website, social media, internal and external communications, as well as “The Voice.”

Contact Ellen Oxild 973-226-3600 ext. 112

Dana Ben-Avi, our Operations Manager, is involved in all aspects of running Congregation Agudath Israel. This includes physical safety of those in the building, regular upkeep of all CAI facilities, supervision of custodial assistance, set-ups for all activities, programs and classes. Dana coordinates the CAI calendar to allow activities to take place without conflicts and assists in the operation and supervision of servicing all computers, electronics and office equipment, as well as alarms and building maintenance and repair.

Dana Ben-Avi was born and raised in Israel where she attended Masorti (Conservative) schools, was active in the Masorti Noam Movement and attended the Noam and Ramah Camps. She has also served on staff at Ramah camp Poconos. A graduate of Temple University in Recreation Therapy, she has worked in that field and has expertise in working with special needs adults and young people. A 2nd Degree Black Belt (don’t mess with Dana!), she is an award-wining athlete for 26 years. As a member of the Congregation Agudath Israel family, in her “free time” Dana attends shabbat and weekday services and helps needy individuals with life tasks.
Contact Dana Ben-Avi973-226-3600 ext. 117

Allison Robinson is the Member Services Assistant in the main office. She sits at the front desk and is the first person to greet you when you come into office. She handles all the tributes and donations made to CAI, and is available to assist and answer any questions you may have. Prior to joining the CAI team, she worked as an editor for a medical journal located in Montclair. She is also an avid cook and food blogger. 
Contact Allison Robinson. 973-226-3600 ext. 110

Melissa Steb is the Development and Administrative Assistant  and newest member of the CAI family, joining us after spending five years at JCC MetroWest.  Melissa was raised in Livingston and resides there today.
Contact Melissa Steb  973-22-3600 ext. 134

Dorit Elie is the Administrative Assistant for Cantor Joel Caplan and has worked in this capacity for the past 15 years. Dorit was born and raised in Israel but has resided in the USA for the past 20 years. She has a BA in Jewish Studies, which is very helpful in working for a synagogue.

Dorit manages the Yahrzeit database and informs our members of upcoming Yahrzeits events. She is also the administrator of the Happy Purim program and manages all aspects of the Purim fundraiser. In addition to her position at Congregation Agudath Israel, Dorit is also a Religious and Hebrew Teacher at two synagogues in our area.

For any Yahrzeit or Purim related questions, contact Dorit Elie 973-226-3600 ext. 126

Andrea Malmud is the Zeller Jewish Family Service of MetroWest Synagogue Social Work consultant at Congregation Agudath Israel. Andrea came to our synagogue in September, 2018 through an affiliation with Jewish Family Service of Metrowest. She feels honored to have become part of our loving community, so that she can have the chance to listen, dry an eye, offer support, educate, and celebrate resilience.

Her role is to provide consultation, training and other services to staff, lay leaders, volunteers and members. Further, crisis intervention, brief therapy, information and referral, mutual support groups, and community education programs. And a cookie here and there.

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Cognitive-Behavior Therapist with more than 30 years experience, Andrea has worked with people of all ages struggling with anxiety, depression, anger, loss, relationship issues, parenting, substance abuse, domestic violence, and the like. She has served in the roles of Chief Professional Officer, Clinical Director, Therapist, in Outpatient and Inpatient facilities, and has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Rutgers.

She and her family love Synagogue life, and have done everything from making latkes to reading Torah to participating in Purimspiels to planning Israel trips with their Shul.

Contact Social Worker, Andrea Malmud. 973-226-3600 ext. 143

Karen Frank, our Congregation Nurse, integrates physical and spiritual health. Meeting with our members and their families, Karen consults on health concerns, assists in making lifestyle choices, helps to grapple with spiritual issues, and connects families to community resources. 

Karen makes hospital visits to our members listening to their concerns and helping in many ways to make their return home more seamless. She visits the frail and homebound members of our congregation to keep them connected to the community and safe in their homes.  Providing guidance to congregants dealing with difficult medical diagnoses or conditions, Karen consults to aid them in navigating both their treatment options and their spiritual distress. She helps families to cope with challenging situations and provides them with support.
Contact Karen Frank. 973-226-3600 ext. 141

November 14,2018 /  6 Kislev 5779