Board of Directors

The Synagogue Council of Massachusetts is governed by a Board of Directors that reflects the diversity of our community, including volunteer leaders from across the spectrum of Jewish religious belief and practice. Meet our Board members.


Dr. Fred Cohen, President

After completing his term on the Regional Board of the UAHC (now URJ), and while still president of Temple Shalom of Newton, Fred was appointed the new Reform movement officer to the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts. In that capacity he has been Secretary, Treasurer and currently Second Vice President. Fred has chaired the Membership Task Force, helped re-write SCM's By-Laws, and has helped lead the Reform Shabbat service at several Shabbatons. Residents of Newton, Fred and his wife, Stephanie, have gone on Unity Missions to New York and on both Unity Missions in Israel.

Elizabeth H. Pressman, Vice President

Elizabeth was educated at a Conservative synagogue in Hartford CT and Camp Ramah. As an adult she continues to study and actively participate in the Jewish community, including as a past president of Temple Emunah in Lexington, on the regional board of USCJ and Camp Ramah of New England, and currently Treasurer of SCM. Elizabeth and her husband, Bob, have been married for 47 years and have two sons, a daughter and 8 grandchildren.

Image of Barnert KesselBarnet Kessel, Treasurer

Barnet is a native of Boston who grew up in Canton and currently serves as Executive Director at the Vilna Shul. He is strongly committed to Jewish renewal, continuity, and innovation locally and internationally. A former chair of CJP's Young Leadership Division, Barnet and his wife, Nava, live in Newton where they are starting a family.


Dr. B. David Stollar, Secretary

David, a native Canadian and graduate of the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine, served on the Tufts University School of Medicine faculty for 41 years, including 15 as Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and two as Interim Dean of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. He, his wife Carol and their three children joined Temple Reyim in Newton in 1964. Active especially in its adult learning programs, he was congregation president in 2005-2007 and continues to serve on its Board. He is a singer with Koleinu. He and Carol, a clinical nutritionist who, in retirement, earned a Masters degree from Hebrew College, participated in the second Unity Mission to Israel in 2012.


Rachel Adler-Golden

Rachel spent her childhood as part of small Jewish community in Niagara Falls, New York, and as an adult has been inspired by the size, vibrancy and diversity  of  the Greater Boston Jewish community.   She is past president of Shir Hadash in Newton, which she and her husband joined with their two young children 28 years ago.  Rachel credits Shir Hadash for nurturing her love of Jewish education.    A former Sunday School drop out, Rachel celebrated her adult Bat Mitzvah at Shir Hadash in 1993, regularly leads services, and tutors Bar and Bat Mitzvah students.   A music teacher for over 35 years, Rachel currently runs a private piano studio in her home in Newton.

Image of Elisha GechterElisha Gechter

Elisha is the Program Manager of the Wexner Israel Programs at the Harvard Kennedy School and has been working in the Boston Jewish Community since 2007. A graduate of the Heller Hornstein master's program at Brandeis University, she lives in Cambridge with her husband and daughter where they attend the partnership Minyan, Minyan Tehillah. Gechter was named a 2015 Chai in the Hub honoree by Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

Sharon Levinson, Past President 

Sharon has over 30 years of experience in the field of Jewish Communal Service. With a MSW from Wurzweiler School of Social Work, she has held two national positions with Amit Women and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studied in Jerusalem, and has worked for Jewish Federations, JCCs, family agencies and geriatric centers. A seasoned professional in the area of volunteer management, Sharon currently administers a program that trains people 55 and over to become pro bono nonprofit management consultants for SOAR 55. She also serves on the board of Ma’ayan – the women’s torah study initiative, and resides in Newton and Jerusalem.

Dr. Jay Sage

Jay Sage retired as a physicist from MIT Lincoln Laboratory to pursue his interest in Jewish genealogy. He served as president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston and continues in many leadership roles. He is a "poster boy" for the Synagogue Council's unity message, having belonged over the years to Reform, Conservative, and now Orthodox synagogues.

Arnold Zaff, Past President

Arnie is a retired lawyer who much prefers wrestling with Jewish texts to wrestling with opposing counsel. He is a Unity Mission alum and has chaired several Synagogue Council committees. Arnie and his wife, Dale, live in Newton, where they are members of Temple Emanuel, a Conservative synagogue. Their son Jonathan and his family live locally and are members of a Reconstructionist synagogue. Their son Eric received rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, a Modern Orthodox yeshiva, and he and his family are members of an Orthodox synagogue in Skokie, Illinois. Indeed, a Synagogue Council family.