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Clergy & Staff

Rabbi Jonathan Biatch, DD, MAHL earned a BA from California State University, Northridge, in radio-television broadcast management and then participated in a Jewish students’ institute and worked as a television production assistant in Israel. He earned a master’s degree in Jewish communal service from Brandeis University and worked for seven years at Jewish Federations in Buffalo, St. Louis, and Houston. He then entered the rabbinical program at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, receiving his master’s degree in Hebrew letters in 1991 and rabbinic ordination in 1992. Rabbi Biatch served pulpits in Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Alexandria, Virginia, and in Glendale, California, before joining TBE in 2005.
His spouse, Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, is president of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice. They have two children, Samantha and Joshua, and are proud of their accomplishments as actors. Rabbi Biatch plays the accordion.
Cantor Jacob Niemi  joined the Temple Beth El community in the summer of 2019. He earned a BA in sacred music with a minor in Hebrew language from Florida State University in 2013. He then continued his cantorial studies at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, earning a master’s degree in sacred music in 2017 and ordination as a cantor in 2018. Following ordination, he completed an extended unit of clinical pastoral education, serving as an interfaith chaplain at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Cantor Niemi is a prolific songwriter, with several melodies composed for Jewish sacred texts (especially liturgy), as well as songs with his own original words. His setting of Adon Olam was recently published by Transcontinental Music Publications in the ninth volume of the Shabbat Anthology. Cantor Niemi lives in downtown Madison, and he is looking forward to exploring and building relationships within the Madison community.
Executive Director Stefanie Kushner has held a variety of positions at Temple Beth El intermittently for the past 14 years, including: program director, financial consultant, and director of business operations. Her wide range of experiences with Temple Beth El prepared her well for taking on the role of executive director in June 2019. Stefanie received her BA at the University of Michigan and has gained financial and managerial experience through her experience as computer programmer, director of training, and as an entrepreneur. Stefanie and her husband David, along with their children Alex, Rachel and Emily—all of whom celebrated becoming b’nai mitzvah at TBE—have been members since 2004. Having the understanding of TBE from the prospective of the staff as well as a congregant gives her dual insight to help TBE continue to be a place of community, education and worship.
Director of Lifelong Learning Nicole A. Jahr, RJE  (Reform Jewish Educator), joined TBE in 2015. She earned a BA from California State University, Fresno, and a master’s degree in religious education from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. She is working on her second master’s at Spertus Jewish Institute for Learning and Leadership and is also an iFellow with The iCenter for Israel Education.  Her passion is to guide every person on their Jewish journey through tikkun olam, learning and/or Temple involvement.  Nicole has worked in Jewish education for over 30 years, in roles ranging from religious school teacher, Jewish preschool director to education director. She lives in Middleton with her husband, Herb.  Her loving daughters are Samantha, who lives in metro Detroit and Lauren who is a recent graduate of Middleton High School.
Associate Executive Director Kendra Sager
Program Coordinator Aleeza Hoffert
Accountant Carole Ruiz de Chavez, C.P.A.
Facilities Coordinator Steven Gregorius
Administrative Assistant Sue Knudson

Administrative Assistant Melissa Osborne

Cantor Emerita Deborah Martin
November 21, 2019 23 Cheshvan 5780