Renee Higer, Executive Director
Renee has been working as Temple Emanu El’s Executive Director since 1997. As a member of the senior professional staff, she functions as the Chief Operating Officer. Renee provides administrative, financial and logistical support to the sacred, social, communal, educational and cultural goals and programs of the Congregation. She is responsible for management of the congregation’s business affairs for the Temple and Preschool as well as for the physical plant, relationships with vendors, internal and external marketing and communications, works closely with the Temple leadership and other senior and support staff members.
As a trained social worker, she previously was the Senior Associate Regional Director for the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO), Ohio Northern Region, for 8 ½ years. 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 is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Temple Administration (NATA). 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.
Renee is the mother of Temple Emanu El graduate, Codie, who lives and works in New York. She enjoys reading, working out, and being with family as well as creating deep, meaningful relationships with congregants. Renee lives in Burton with her fiancé Pierre on a small farm.
Eileen Sadowsky, Education Director
Eileen joined Temple Emanu El as Education Director in June 2019 with 20+ years of experience working in Jewish education. She has held a variety of positions ranging from teacher (Hebrew, Judaica, B’nai Mitzvah, Adult & Skype) to Family Educator and Hebrew Program Supervisor in both the Cleveland and Boston Jewish communities. Parent-Child Hebrew is her favorite program to teach. Simultaneously to working in Jewish education, Eileen worked with K-12 students with special needs as an Occupational Therapist in the public schools. Her goal for students in both secular and Jewish settings is to see students become confident in their abilities and proud of what they’ve learned.
Eileen is originally from Pittsburgh but grew up in the Cleveland area becoming a Bat Mitzvah at Temple Emanu El and continued through the then combined Temple Emanu El/Fairmount Temple Religious School High School. After graduating from the University of Michigan, Eileen spent six months volunteering at a youth center in Lod, Israel before moving to the Boston area where she worked at Temple Israel while getting her Master’s degree in Human Services Management from Brandeis University. Post graduate school, she continued to work in Jewish education as a teacher and youth group leader while doing research at the Health Policy Institute at Brandeis before returning to her work with children in the public schools. Eileen and her husband, David Klapholz, came home to Shaker Heights to raise their children. In her spare time, Eileen likes to knit, read, ride her bike, walk her dog and hang out with family.
Eleanor Gulling, Director of Early Childhood Education
Eleanor began working at Temple Emanu El in 2017 as part time support in classrooms while completing her post-secondary education. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s of Social Science Administration from Case Western Reserve University. As a Licensed Social Worker, Eleanor worked with Hospice of the Western Reserve as a home care case manager.
In her role as Preschool Director, Ellie oversees the developmentally appropriate early childhood education experience for children ages 6 weeks through pre-Kindergarten with the goal of creating an engaging and nurturing environment.
Eleanor dedicates her free time to creating the best possible life for her fur baby, Audrey.
Mary Beth Laurienzo, Assistant Preschool Director
Mary Beth is a lifelong resident of Cleveland Heights. She has been working with children in the early education field for over 20 years. Prior to coming to Temple Emanu El Preschool, she was a pre-k teacher for a decade at a local childcare center. Mary Beth is an advocate for play based learning and enjoys creating lesson plans. She is passionate about literacy and cultivating a love of reading in young children.
Mary Beth has a Child Development Associate and earned a credential for trauma informed care. She believes in continued education and takes supplemental classes, attends seminars, and collaborate with other educators.
In her personal time, Mary Beth collects books and is a self-proclaimed bibliomaniac. She has been playing pinball competitively for 9 years and figure skates recreationally for exercise. She loves crafting with her Cricut and being creative.
Beth Mann, Youth & Family Program Director
Beth is Temple Emanu El’s Youth and Family Program Director, a position partially funded by the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland (JEC). She has worked in formal and informal Jewish education in Reform congregations as well as working for BBYO and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). Beth has dedicated her life to build strong connections and leadership within the Reform movement and is dedicated to ensuring the future of the Reform movement by building community 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. Beth is married to Phil, and they are parents to Michael and Morgan.
Ina Yablonsky, Bookkeeper
As Temple Emanu El’s longest standing employee, Ina began working at Temple Emanu El in 1989 first as a part-time Administrative Assistant in the Religious School and then as Bookkeeper. Ina also acts our in-house computer troubleshooter and website technician. Previously, she worked at National City Bank.
Ina and Al (z”l) have a son Ken and daughter-in-law Brenda that live in Cincinnati . Ina has two grandkids and resides in Mayfield Heights.
Judi Roseman, Administrative Assistant
Judi has been an Administrative Assistant for Temple Emanu El since 1994. In her role, she is the support staff person for Rabbi Matt. She coordinates our B’nai Mitzvah program, maintains the lifecycle database for our members and is responsible for the layout of the Bulletin.
Judi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hearing and Speech Sciences from Ohio University. She enjoys reading, podcasts and the KeyBank Broadway Series at Playhouse Square. Judi is the mother of two adult daughters, Rebecca and Stacie, and grandmother to Rose and Emma.
Darcy Hershey, Administrative Assistant
Darcy joined the Temple Emanu staff in 2019 as a part-time Administrative Assistant for the Education and Early Education departments. She also manages the Temple’s graphic design, marketing and photography needs.
She graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design. Darcy and her husband, Aaron, are parents to Dylan and Caleb. Her family has been members of Temple Emanu El since 2003.