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Renee Higer, Executive Director

Renee began working at Temple Emanu El in 1997. She oversees the temple’s finances, supervises the support staff and membership/marketing director, and ensures that the building and grounds are maintained. Renee is a trained social worker with eight and a half years experience at the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, Ohio Northern Region. She received her Master’s degree from the Mandel School of Applied Social Science of Case Western Reserve University and Bachelor of Science degree at The Ohio State University.Renee on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Temple Administration (NATA) and is currently working as the co-chair for the upcoming NATA Conference in New Orleans in November.  She is also the immediate past president of the Cleveland Area Synagogue and Temple Administrators (CASTA). In addition, Renee has facilitated sessions on leadership development throughout North America.

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Marla Wolf, Education Director

Marla has a BA in Psychology and a concentration in Judaic Studies from the University of Cincinnati.  She also has an MA in Jewish Studies with a concentration in Jewish Education from the Siegal College of Lifelong Learning.  Marla has experience in both formal and informal, secular and Jewish educational programs, and part and full-time Jewish Education.  In addition, Marla has experience in Jewish Educational Administration and studying in Israel for both short term and long term learning and volunteer programs.  Marla serves and enjoys volunteering on the Board of Trustees for the Mandel Jewish Day School and is active in the Association of Reform Jewish Educators.

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Katie Theobald, Early Childhood Education Director

Katie grew up in the Pittsburgh area and relocated to the Cleveland to attend Kent State University. She graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. Before her teaching career at TEE preschool, she worked at Hattie Larlham working one-on-one with children with developmental and intellectual disabilities. She is passionate about cognitive, social and emotional child growth and development.


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Beth Mann, Youth & Family Program Director

Beth has worked in formal and informal Jewish education in Reform Congregations as well as working for BBYO and the Union for Reform Judaism. Beth has dedicated her life to build strong connections and leadership within the reform movement. Beth is dedicated to ensuring the future of the reform movement by building community, dedication and a sense of belonging among the people she works with. Beth has a bachelor’s degree in Judaic Studies from the University of Cincinnati.



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Carolyn Abrams, Early Engagement Coordinator

Carolyn is responsible for a variety of programming for young children which include  music, crafts, stories and activities to teach children about Jewish holidays and traditions. In addition, Carolyn teaches 4th grade Hebrew and Judaics in addition to Parent-Child Hebrew in Temple Emanu El’s Religious School. Carolyn earned a Bachelors of Education and Sociology from the University of Cincinnati and taught for 8 years in public schools. She has also taught in a variety of Sunday School programs including Temple Emanu El for 7 years now.


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Ina Yablonsky, Bookkeeper

Ina started in September 1989 as a Temple Emanu El employee first as a part-time assistant in the Religious School, then as bookkeeper as well as our computer troubleshooter and website technician. Previously, she worked at National City Bank.



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Judi Roseman, Administrative Assistant

Judi is the support staff person for Rabbi Denker, Rabbi Roberts and Cantor Lawrence.  She coordinates our B’nai Mitzvah program, maintains the lifecycle database for our members and is responsible for the layout of the Bulletin.  Judi began working at Temple Emanu El in 1994 and holds a BS in Hearing and Speech Sciences from Ohio University.


Tracey Lavine, Administrative Assistant

Tracey joined the TEE staff in November 2017. She graduated from Michigan State University and later received her Masters in Education from John Carroll University. She previously worked at the Orange Schools as well as the Mandel Jewish Day School (previously Agnon).