Sign In Forgot Password

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

Executive Director Stefanie Kushner has held a variety of positions at Temple Beth El intermittently for the past 16 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 Kendra Sager, RJE is a Jewish educator with nearly two decades of experience in supplementary Jewish education. Her love of Judaism was nurtured as a camper and staff member at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, the Union for Reform Judaism camp in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. While her early career was in design and marketing, she always maintained a role in her local synagogue teaching Hebrew, Jewish studies, and b’nai mitzvah students. After many years working in education for Temple Sholom of Chicago, she moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where she currently serves as the director of lifelong learning of Temple Beth El. Until recently, Kendra was also the director of Midrasha Hebrew High School for the Jewish Federation of Madison. She holds a Master of Arts in Religious Education from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion and a Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus Institute with a concentration in Israel education. She also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Washington University. Kendra lives in Madison with her husband, Jon, children Caleb, Molly, and Maya, and dog, Chewie. 

Additional staff located on the Contact page. 

June 16, 2024 10 Sivan 5784