Beth El Rabbi Kormis Cantor Mayer Niema and Joram Sheila and students
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STAFF AT BETH EL

Rabbi Marcelo Kormis
rabbikormis@congbethel.net

Rabbi Marcelo KormisRabbi Marcelo Kormis joined Congregation Beth El as its spiritual leader in August, 2012. Rabbi Kormis was born in Santiago, Chile. After completing his primary school education, he moved to Buenos Aires to begin his rabbinical studies at the Seminario Rabinico. During his studies at the Seminary, he also studied at Haifa University in Israel (B.A. Bible and Jewish Thought), the Hebrew University (Senior Educators Program) and Machon Schechter (M.A. Judaic Studies). In 2003, Rabbi Kormis received his ordination from the Seminario Rabinico.

Upon receiving his ordination, he returned to Santiago where he served as the head of Judaic Studies at the Instituto Hebreo (main Hebrew Day School in Chile - 1,500 students). Most recently, he served as Associate Rabbi of the Circulo Israelita congregation in Santiago, the large conservative congregation in the city – 900 family members.

Rabbi Kormis works hard to inspire people of all ages to engage in Jewish tradition, to be moved to work for social justice and to experience prayer and life-cycle events in a vibrant and meaningful way. In Rabbi´s Kormis' own words: "I don't imagine my Rabbinate as a job; to me it is a vocation. I serve this vocation with all my soul". In 2008, Rabbi Kormis was chosen among the 100 most influential young leaders of his country by the prestigious national newspaper, El Mercurio. He is married to Fernanda Auba and has three children, Mijael, Ari and Leah.

Executive Director - Susan Mittag
CongBethEl@aol.com

Susan MittagSusan Mittag has been Beth El's Executive Director since 2002. Susan moved to Fairfield, Ct from Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two children in 1995. She continued to commute to New York's garment district for seven years where she worked in sales and administration. When she decided to set her sights on a job locally, she applied for the position at Congregation Beth El. She was initially hesitant, given that she had never worked in a non-profit environment before, let alone a synagogue. Prior to her interview at Congregation Beth El, she decided to attend a Shabbat morning service to see if it would be a good fit. Upon entering the sanctuary, she was approached by many congregants who welcomed her and made her feel at home right away.

Since assuming her position as Executive Director at Congregation Beth El, Susan has immersed herself in many areas of synagogue life, happily assuming many responsibilities and befriending and assisting many congregants. As one of her many and varied functions at Beth El, she has been involved in Bar and Bat Mitzvah scheduling and has been a guest at many of them. This inspired Susan to embark on her own spiritual journey, when she decided to learn to read Hebrew with five other women and begin preparations for an adult Bat Mitzvah. Susan became a Bat Mitzvah in June 2012. The service was attended by family, friends and fellow congregants who all knew Susan to be an exemplary administrator, but were equally impressed with her enthusiasm and performance on the bimah.
Education Director - Niema Hirsch
n.hirsch@yahoo.com

Niema Hirsch Niema Hirsch has led the education program at Congregation Beth El since 2003 and brings a diverse and rich background to Beth El. She hails from Israel and moved to the United States to attend college and earn her master's degree. Prior to her career at Beth El, she was a manager at United Technologies and Computer Science Corporation. Niema grew up in Israel in a traditional Jewish family, where from a young age, she began chanting the prayers by heart and incorporating innovative melodies. Niema enjoyed and excelled in Bible studies and participated successfully in annual Bible contests. Her professional success at Beth El's Religious School is based upon a foundation of project management, educational mentoring, musical training and a deep knowledge of Judaic Studies. In addition to being the synagogue's Education Director, Niema reads Torah and Haftarah regularly and she trains congregants for the special readings on the High Holidays and Purim as well as weekly readings.

Niema has trained hundreds of students for their Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies with great success. She has motivated and inspired each student to study hard and do his/her personal best with special accommodations made for those children with learning differences. Her door is always open to both students and parents. But her involvement does not end with the bar or bat- mitzvah. Many of Beth El's high school students decide to remain in the religious school as "Madrichim" or mentors for the younger children. Niema's students boast that they have attained competence, not only with their individual Bar/Bat Mitzvah portion, but with actually leading services and feeling like they can walk into any synagogue having a level of proficiency and comfort.
Preschool Director - Sheila May
sheiladmay@yahoo.com

Sheila MaySheila May has been the Director of Congregation Beth El's K'tanim Preschool since the school's inception in 2007. Six congregants had a dream to start a preschool at Beth El for their young children. These six women along with three educators and Sheila's extensive experience as a director, worked hard to create and start K'tanim Preschool. Sheila taught preschool programs and a monthly Tot Shabbat beginning in September 2006. In September 2007 K'tanim Preschool opened their doors with 16 children in two classes, one for two-year-old and one for three-year-old children. Sheila is very proud of her accomplishments and is thrilled to be the director of K'tanim Preschool.

Sheila has a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood and elementary education and a Master's degree in special education, combined with 25 years experience in preschool education. She brings a breadth and diversity of experience to her position at Congregation Beth El. Sheila originally hails from Long Island, NY, and has been a Connecticut resident since 1975. Her philosophy for the preschool is treating every child with dignity and respect and encouraging curiosity, creativity, social skills and a love for Judaic customs. The Ktanim Preschool emphasizes the total development of each child, building a solid foundation for learning and fostering a positive self- image. Sheila lives in Newtown with her husband Bill and has two married daughters and four grandchildren.


Congregation Beth El
1200 Fairfield Woods Rd Star of David Fairfield, CT 06825
Ph. 203-374-5544 Star of David Fax 203-374-4962
CongBethEl@aol.com