Directors

Paula Rosenberg Bell

Paula Rosenberg Bell was elected President of the Preservation Society in 2019. Paula lives in Norwich, CT which is less than a thirty-minute drive to her beloved Temple Beth Israel where Paula’s parents, David and Shirley Rosenberg were active members from its inception in 1950.

Paula was the first baby to be named in the building. It was here that her brothers Warren and Joel became Bar Mitzvahs and she was married to Chris. Paula served as president of the Youth Group and USY and later as the last Sisterhood Temple Beth Israel co-president helping to keep the Sisterhood alive.

Until retiring in 2014, she was a teacher of the deaf for thirty-nine years. She provides consultation services in Deaf Education and American Sign Language. Paula also teaches American Sign Language at two community colleges.

Evert Gawendo

Vice President Evert Gawendo is delighted to be a part of the group committed to seeing Temple Beth Israel preserved. The Temple has special meaning to him as the son of Jacob and Ray Gawendo, original founding members. He went through Hebrew school, was a member of the youth groups & USY and had his Bar Mitzvah at TBI. He lives in Griswold, CT with his wife Lisa.

Evert has two grown sons, Jacob & Michael who also live in Bozrah and Franklin CT. He is a partner in The Nutmeg Companies, Inc., a general construction firm located in Norwich, CT. Evert’s pastimes include motorcycling and boating. He volunteers on numerous community boards such as the Jewish Federation of Eastern CT, the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce and the Beth Jacob Synagogue. Evert has many fond memories of Temple Beth Israel and is committed to its preservation.

 

Sheri Abrams

Sheri Abrams is the corporate secretary of the Preservation Society. Sheri grew up in Newton, Massachusetts and was a member of Temple Beth Avodah, a reform temple in Newton, for many years.

She has been the office manager for William Seeglitz, Jr., DO in Newton, MA for many years. Sheri recently moved to Brooklyn, CT with her partner, Norman Berman. Sheri has one daughter, Leah, who co-founded CustomMade Theater in San Francisco. Leah currently lives in New York City and is the founder of Undiscovered Works.

Rosa L. Goldblatt

Treasurer Rosa Drobiarz Goldblatt was born in New York, a daughter of Henry and Sophie Drobiarz, newly emigrated from a displaced persons camp in Germany. The family, which included Henry’s brother Michael, moved to a dairy farm in Central Village, Connecticut in June of 1952. They soon joined Temple Beth Israel because of the many families with young children. Henry and Sophie became very involved in Temple Beth Israel activities from Sisterhood to youth groups, ritual activities to social and fund raising activities.

Their children, Rosa, Suzanne, Martin and Marilyn, followed their lead and also became involved in Synagogue life participating in various plays, youth groups and Hebrew School. Rosa, a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C. is married to Michael, a CPA in Norwich, Connecticut and has three children-Louis, Matthew and Rachel.

Rosa works full-time in her husband’s practice as a staff accountant as well as being the office manager. She is a past Vice-President of Beth Jacob Synagogue in Norwich and has served on many committees there as well. She is also currently serving as Secretary of the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connectic

Joel Rosenberg

President Emeritus, Joel Rosenberg proudly served as the first president of the Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society. He has lived in the Quiet Corner his entire life, with his wife Beverly. daughter Bailey and son Connor. Joel’s parents David and Shirley Rosenberg were among the original group of incorporators to form Temple Beth Israel.From childhood to adulthood, Joel has only known Temple Beth Israel to be the Synagogue where he has celebrated, prayed and gathered with friends and family. 

Professionally, Joel served as the Chief Executive Officer of the non-profit organization AHM Youth and Family Services for 32 years and more recently as an advisor and fund development officer for that charity’s board of directors. Duriing his career he served as president of the Connecticut Youth Services Association, as well as on a number of statewide commissions and boards through his work in the non-profit sector and on juvenile justice causes.

He plans to volunteer more time in the years ahead to TBIPS using his skills on capital projects and the TBIPS endowment fund.  

Norman Berman

Norman became President Emeritus of the Preservation Society in 2019.  Before that, he served as president from 2014 through 2018. A founding partner of Berman Tabacco, a Boston law firm specializing in Securities Fraud class actions, Norman has practiced law for forty years. He recently moved to Brooklyn, CT after spending thirty eight years in Newton, MA. Norman was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany after World War II. His parents, both Holocaust survivors, met and married in the camp and settled on a sixty-acre farm in nearby Moosup, Connecticut and were among the early members of the Temple.

Norman grew up speaking Yiddish at home. Today he sings in the Yiddish Chorus of the Boston Workmen’s Circle and serves on it’s board of directors. Norman’s father, Misha (Morris) led High Holiday and Shabbat services at Temple Beth Israel for many years.

His mother, Bluma (Betty) was a member of the Sisterhood. His uncle, Isidore (Izzy) Levine, served on the original board of directors of the Temple and served two terms as Temple president. Norman attended Hebrew School at TBI and was active in the USY, serving two years as chapter president and a term as Connecticut regional treasurer. In recent years, Norman has spoken at local middle and high schools about the lessons of the Holocaust.

Martin Drobiarz

Marty lives in Old Saybrook, CT with his wife Elizabeth and has 3 children, Heather, Alison and Jonathan. A graduate of UCONN School of Pharmacy in 1978, Marty owns Northeast Medical Products, Inc. – a retailer and wholesaler of medical equipment, supplies and pharmaceuticals. Marty’s bar-mitzvah date was June 22, 1968 and following that, he became active in USY, serving as its president the following year.

Marty stayed involved by helping to lead services with his father Henry for several years until moving away from the area. The Drobiarz family has deep roots in Temple Beth Israel and Marty feels honored to serve on the Board of Directors.

Richard Dvorin

Richard is honored to serve on the TBI board. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife Janice. Richard grew up in West Hartford and was Vice President of Corbin Motor Sales in New Britain, CT for over twenty years.  He was active in synagogue life serving on the Board of Trustees at the Beth-El Temple of West Hartford, CT as House Chairman.

Richard also served as Men’s Club President for two terms and served as Connecticut Valley Regional President. Richard joined the board in January 2016.

Michael Gawendo

Michael Gawendo is the son of Lisa and Evert Gawendo and the grandson of Ray and the late Jacob Gawendo, founding members of Temple Beth Israel and the late Anne and William Shwartz. He is a graduate of Wentworth Institute of Technology and is employed at the Nutmeg Companies, Inc. in Norwich, CT. Michael lives in Norwich, CT with his fiancé Kristine.

 

Dora Glinn


Dora Glinn is proud to represent the Blumenthal Family on the Preservation Society’s Board. Her grandparents, Nathan and Dora Blumenthal settled in Danielson and owned D. Blumenthal Hardware store. Nathan Blumenthal was a founding member of Temple Beth Israel. Dora’s father, Jack Glinn, met her mother, Miriam Blumenthal, when he moved from New York City to Eastern Connecticut to farm with the encouragement of the Jewish Agricultural Society.

Although Dora moved from Danielson at a young age, she has maintained strong ties to the area and to Temple Beth Israel. Dora resides in Middletown, CT with her husband, Vincent Loffredo. She retired from teaching special education in East Granby, CT. after 32 years.

 

 

Matthew Goldblatt

Matthew Goldblatt is the son of Rosa and Michael Goldblatt and the grandson of Henry and Sophie Drobiarz. He is the full time accountant for the Gilman Corporation in Gilman, CT. He graduated in 2004 from Assumption College with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with a Concentration in Business. He currently lives in Norwich, CT. Matthew joined the board in January 2016.

 

 

 

Henry Mondschein

Henry Mondschein grew up in the synagogue from a young age.  His parents,  Urek and Hanka Mondschein were active in the synagogue and sisterhood.  Henry started reading on the Bima at age 9 and after his Bar Mitzvah, took part in the services, ultimately leading Friday nights and parts of the High Holiday services in the 80’s and early 90’s before ultimately conducting the services mostly by himself for many years.  He is a past president of Temple Beth Israel.

Henry is a Partner with Connect Financial Group LLC, a full service financial services firm.  He lives in Ellington, CT with his wife Amy and has two children, Aron and Sima.  Henry has a long history in non-profit leadership, ranging from Rotary International, local youth organizations and Jewish causes.
 
 

Martin Israelit

Martin joined the board in 2016. He lives in Providence Rhode Island with his wife Betty Ann. He graduated Killingly High School in 1963, attended college and in 1976 he founded Coldmasters Temperature Control. CTC is a commercial and industrial HVAC/R service, design and installation firm and in 2014 his son Jonah took over as President and CEO. Martin’s parents were Holocaust Survivors and settled on a poultry farm in Killingly in the early 50’s. Leon and Anna Israelit were among the early founders of the community and served as Hebrew School teachers. Leon served on the board of directors and Anna was active in the Sisterhood.

 

 

Alicia May

Alicia May is the great-granddaughter of TBI founding members Nathan & Dora Blumenthal, and the granddaughter of Harold Blumenthal, the Temple’s de facto caretaker for many years.  A former Killingly resident, Alicia now lives in nearby Putnam, CT with her boyfriend, Craig, and their rescue dog, Yoshi.  She works in the special investigations unit for a prominent Boston-based insurance company, and in her “spare time”, she operates Karisma Events, a wedding and special event DJ service.  Alicia is an avid singer, and in addition to lending her talents to numerous Temple events and family celebrations, she has had the privilege of performing at Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods, the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, and more.

Through her service to the Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society, Alicia is thrilled to have the opportunity to act on a personal commitment to give back to her community, while also honoring her family’s legacy in Danielson.  While she has given her time to various organizations and causes in the past, her passions are promoting religious tolerance and championing LGBTQ+ equality.  Alicia looks forward to sharing the Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society’s mission of social justice through unity with another generation, and inspiring others to share the message of acceptance and peace.

 

 

Naomi and Martin Weiner

Naomi and Marty moved to Brooklyn from the Boston area in January 1988, and until the mid 90’s they continued to travel back to their old congregation in Massachusetts. They became members of Temple Beth Israel when the membership was relatively small, but the history of the community intrigued them and we realized that quality was more important than quantity.

Naomi taught school until their daughters were born; as they got older Naomi started working with young adults as an advocate for children of parenting teens and continued counseling and running after-school programs when she moved to Connecticut.Marty ran a sales agency that his father started in 1933. The agency sold plumbing material from various manufacturers and covered the six New England states.

In 1987 Marty became Vice President of sales for a company in North Grosvenordale and for the next ten years traveled the country working with representative agencies. After that company was sold, Marty worked in sales management for a similar company in Newington, Connecticut. Marty retired after twelve years, on April 1, 2010.

 

James Alan Weiss

Jim Weiss, a resident of Pomfret, CT, recently joined the board of TBI.  Jim, a former state legislator, is married to Nancy Pritchard Weiss.  They have two daughters: Hadley and Chelsea and two grandchildren.  Jim is the founding partner of Weiss and Hale Financial in Pomfret, an investment advisory and financial planning firm, and has recently launched Savor Coaching, a life coaching/planning business.  Jim also is a chocolatier and founder of Pomfret Chocolates, a small batch enterprise.

Jim credits Henry Drobiarz (a founder) for encouraging him to recognize and explore his own patriarchal Jewish heritage.  In Jim’s words, “Henry helped me to embrace fully who I was and am; and my own mixed religious heritage…for this I remain eternally grateful.”  Jim feels compelled and happy to support TBI and its mission.

 

Adjunct Directors

Rachel Berman

Rachel grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. She attended college in Los Angeles before moving to Washington D.C. to work as a Legislative Aide for a U.S. Congressman from California. In 2013, at the height of the Syrian war, she moved to Beirut, Lebanon where she worked for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) supporting Palestinian refugees. After two years in Lebanon, she moved to New York where she earned a Masters from Columbia University in international development and humanitarian assistance. In 2017, Rachel moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she worked for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Save the Children, and Relief International in program development and fundraising to provide lifesaving services to vulnerable refugee and host communities. After two years in Ethiopia, she and her fiancé Max traveled around South America for two months and spent five weeks exploring the southern U.S. driving from Florida to Seattle.

Rachel is now based in Seattle and honored to be serving as an Adjunct Director for TBIPS. She looks forward to joining her father, Norman Berman, in contributing to the efforts of the Preservation Society in loving memory of her grandparents, Bluma and Misha Berman, who were founding members.

 

Robyn Engel 

An avid reader fascinated by the stories design can tell, Robyn is a licensed architect in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Having built both ground-up and renovated spaces with a wide variety of clients, Robyn is a proponent of inclusive, collaborative design, whether it be in the midst of a construction project or in community groups. She is a 2018 graduate of the AIA Pittsburgh Leadership Institute, and recently served as jury chair for the 2019 Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize. She is thrilled to continue her family legacy in participating with the Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society board. Granddaughter of Elsie and Irving Fetterman, Robyn sees Temple Beth Israel as a unique center of personal history, incredible architecture, and an amazing story that she is delighted to help represent today. In 2019, Robyn and her husband John were married at the Temple in the first wedding since the 1980’s

Jacob Gawendo 

Rachel Goldblatt

Rachel Goldblatt is currently the Business Manager for Research Operations at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she manages the Institutional Research Budget. In her previous role at Dana-Farber as Project Manager, she managed a software vendor, overseeing software integrations, demonstrations, training and interface usability testing in addition to being part of the management team for Core Facilities and Strategic Centers. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University and her Master of Business Administration from the Boston University Questrom School of Business.

 

 

 

Rosaline Granoff

Rosaline “Rosy” Roback Granoff, is a speech and language pathologist with a predoctoral certificate in developmental neuropsychology, who has provided evaluations, consultations, lectures and therapy for children and adolescents for over four decades. In addition to professional experiences, she has been a founding board member of The Middlebridge School in Narragansett Rhode Island as well as The Wolf School in East Providence Rhode Island, where she served as the Director of Enrollment from 1999-2020. Rosy was active in Temple Board membership at Temple Israel in Sharon Massachusetts for many years, where she participated in the founding of Hertz Nursery School. In addition to professional educational endeavors, Rosy has provided lectures, telling the story of her parents’ partisan experience in WWII, through the Sandra Bernstein Holocaust Education Program in Providence Rhode Island as well as an interview for The Providence Journal. When Rosy’s family joined Temple Beth Israel, her parents were very active in the social and youth activities. Rosy was the first female to have a Bat Mitzvah and she has very fond memories of growing up in the shul in Danielson. It is a pleasure to join the TBIPS as an Adjunct Director. 

 

Bailey Rosenberg Nascimento 

Bailey is granddaughter of founding members Shirley & David Rosenberg and Temple Beth Israel has always been an important part of her and her family’s life. As a young girl she spent many days at the temple for services and Sunday school and was excited to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah there as well. She has always appreciated the temple but as she grew older she further realized the importance that the temple had not only in the history of Northeastern Connecticut but also in the community for bringing many different people together.

Currently, Bailey is a Sales & Event Manager working out of Boston and calls the North Shore home with her husband Jhonatas. She is very much looking forward to being an adjunct member of the board and is honored to continue its work and partnerships for years to come.

Alan Turner

Al Turner was a Yeshiva of Hartford graduate. He was a past president of the Connecticut Valley Region of United Synagogue. He also served as lay-leader for Sons of Zion Synagogue and B’nai Shalom for 33 years. He served on 2 Interfaith councils and has taught in the public schools and at QVCTC. He and his wife Marcia have lived in Danielson for 36 years.

Heather Drobiarz Waters 

Claire Israelit Zweig 

Claire Israelit Zweig resides in Morris Plains, New Jersey with her husband, Gil and they have a daughter, Eliza. Claire is the daughter of Anna and Leon Israelit and sister of Martin. Anna and Leon settled in Danielson in 1950 on Cook Hill Road. Both Leon and Anna were involved with Jewish and Hebrew education at TBI. While Anna was active in Sisterhood, Leon led the Holocaust memorial committee at TBI and they were both very active fundraisers for Israel Bonds. Anna and Leon were partisan/resistance fighters during WWII along with Leon’s brother, Borys (Brooklyn, CT) and sister, Liza Shuster (Plainfield, CT). Claire was active in USY and served as President for one term. Claire and Gil founded Glenbrook Technologies in 1983. Glenbrook Technologies is a global technology company that manufactures x-ray inspection systems used for quality control purposes in various industries and for medical research purposes in the life sciences.

Board Advisors

Mort Blumenthal

Mort Blumenthal grew up in Danielson and raised his family of 3 children on Killingly Drive until moving to New Hampshire in 1973.  In his professional life, he has been a lawyer, legislator and housing advocate. His family was among the early members of Temple Beth Israel and he served on the Board of Directors. He would like to ensure that the practice and study of Judaism in Eastern Connecticut is preserved.  Mort currently lives in Marlboro, New Jersey.

 

 

Judy Engel

Judy Fetterman Engel grew up in Danielson and lived there until she was 6 years old.  She is enjoying becoming reacquainted with so many of the people on the board. After many years of living out of the area, she now has an opportunity to work on the board with new friends, and with her mother, Elsie Blumenthal Fetterman, and her daughter, Robyn Haley Engel. She is the office manager at East Lyme Oral Surgery, LLC.

Judy enjoys challenges, creative problem solving and is willing to intervene with any problems. Judy has held several offices in her community including two boards of education and East Lyme Rowing Association. She lives with her husband, and their three children.

David Fetterman 

Elsie Fetterman

Elsie was born in Danielson. Her parents, Nathan and Dora Blumenthal moved to Danielson in 1924 and were the first practicing Jewish family in the town. She was named the first President of the Temple Beth Israel Sisterhood in 1950. She was recently honored at the Temple for her 85th birthday celebration with 120 friends and family. Elsie now lives in Amherst, MA and has just completed the research for a book on the Blumenthal family published by the Killingly Historical Society.

Vita Fetterman Goldstein

Starting Over

Vita (Fetterman) Goldstein was born and brought up in Danielson and attended Temple Beth Israel in her youth. As a teenager, Vita was active in the USY chapter. She married her husband, Richard Goldstein, in the Temple, lived in Danielson and continued to be active in the Sisterhood. Vita is proud to be the daughter of Elsie and Irving (obm) Fetterman and the granddaughter of Nathan and Dora Blumenthal, obm, who were among the founding members of the community.

Vita made aliya to Israel with her husband. Their children, Bethami Gold and Ilana Freundel are married and live in Israel. Their grandchildren are Eden, Yemima and Asaf Gold. Vita tutors English, teaches art classes and participates in Israeli craft fairs. She helps to welcome new families to Israel.

Vita was one of the original participants in the creation of the Preservation Society. Temple Beth Israel has always been an important part of her life and she is pleased that this building, its history and mission are being celebrated and preserved. Vita sees to a bright future for TBI-PS. It is a special place for Danielson area Jewish families to call home.

Jack Hodys

Jack Hodys is the son of Holocaust survivors, Anna and Henry Hodys, who were founders of Temple Beth Israel. Jack lives with his wife Nancy in Pascoag, Rhode Island. They have two children, Ethan and Karen.

Lisa Kranc

Lisa Kranc is a new member of the TBIPS Advisory Board.  Lisa grew up in Plainfield and is the daughter of Sam and Sara Kranc and the granddaughter of Miriam and Joel Kranc, all early members of the temple.   Lisa remembers fondly being active in USY in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s… and even remembers participating in too many talent shows on the temple stage.  Lisa received her undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and her MBA from Columbia University.  She retired as Senior Vice President of Marketing at AutoZone, Inc in 2012 after spending 36 years in the corporate world in the marketing field.

Lisa currently serves on two corporate boards, based in Houston and Ann Arbor as well as on two non-profit boards, including as Immediate Past President of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.  Lisa is also Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board of Trustees of Brandeis University.  Lisa resides primarily in Nashville, Tennessee as well in Kennebunkport, Maine (summers only).  She and her significant other, Steven Greil, enjoy traveling all over the world, and in 2019 achieved the goal of having been to all seven continents.  She also enjoys spending time with her brother, Morris, in Israel and with her sister, Ruth, in New York, as well as with her ten nephews and nieces and her 18 great nephews and nieces

Mili Rapp

Born in NYC, the daughter of German Jews who had each come to the US in the late 20s, Mili was raised in a culturally but not religiously Jewish household. Mili and her sister were sent to all three branches of the Ethical Cultural Society: Fieldston Lower (the elementary school and on up through high school in Rivlerdale, the Bronx, the multicultural Sunday School at the Midtown branch and the summer camp in upstate New York. Thus, although surrounded by Jews, Mili had a multicultural and diverse background.

After receiving a BA at the University of Chicago in German Literature, she met her future husband Werner (Tom) Angress, who had grown up in Nazi Germany as the last Jew in his school in Berlin before emigrating to something akin to a “kibbutz” in Virginia. Upon its dissolution, he joined the American Army in 1941, was one of the “Ritchie Boys” returning to Germany to fight the Nazis. Tom witnessed every major battle of the war, serving as an interrogator (far more humane than most) until the end of the war.

After their marriage, they lived for 13 years in Port Jefferson with their two daughters and periodically her stepsons. Tom became professor of modern European and German history at SUNY-Stony Brook where Mili earned two master’s degrees – one in French literature and the other in ESOL/Linguistics. After an amicable divorce, Mili taught French and Spanish and then opened their house to mostly Latino grad students who became “older sisters” to her growing daughters.

With the exception of experiences with Orthodox relatives, Mili’s knowledge of traditional Judaism has been limited. She’s beginning to explore more of it at Temple Beth Israel under Alan Turner’s patient guidance.

Rachel Sheppard Rubin

Rachel Sheppard Rubin is the Director of Compliance for Storrs and Regional Campuses at UConn and the Executive Secretary to the University’s Board of Trustees. Governor M. Jodi Rell appointed Rachel as her Special Counsel for Ethics Compliance for the Executive Branch from July 1, 2005 through March 31, 2006. As Special Counsel, her duties included advising the Governor on public integrity issues and serving as a resource to the Executive Branch, staff of the Office of the Governor and all agency heads, on ethics laws and any ethics guidelines adopted by the Governor.

Rachel served as Managing Director and Commission Counsel for the State Ethics Commission from 1988 until 2000. She then served as a legal counsel in government affairs for ING – North America, before joining the staff of the University of Connecticut.

Rachel holds a B.S. in Business from UConn and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts. She is certified as a Corporate Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP) through the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE). She serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Connecticut Alumni Association . She is also active in the Hartford-based organization Voices of Hope: an organization created by descendants of Holocaust survivors to collect, categorize and share the experiences of Holocaust survivors for the benefit of future generations.

Fay Sheppard

Fay Sheppard grew up in Temple Beth Israel. Her parents were among the founders of the community. Her father, Herman Sheppard, served as president of the congregation for a number of years. Fay was a Senior Vice President for the Connecticut Bank and Trust Co. where she was a senior commercial/corporate lender and then Manager of New Haven Corporate of the New New England Bank & Trust Co. While with Fleet Bank she managed the Health Care and Non-for-Profit areas for Fairfield and New Haven counties.

She currently serves as First Vice President – Investments for Wells Fargo Advisors. She has served on number of boards including the Greater New Haven Jewish Federation, Society for Human Resource Managers, United Way, Strides for Cancer, Juvenile Diabetes, as well as the Anti-Defamation League of Connecticut. She has been a special honoree as the Outstanding Woman of the Year by the New Haven YWCA, as well as being named a Leslie Wexner Heritage Foundation Scholar.