Board of Trustees

Temple Beth-El is supported by a Board of Trustees, who serve as our modern equivalent of kohanim.  

Image of Paul sqPaul Klein (President)

Paul has been involved with Temple Beth El for over a decade in various capacities.  Paul has dedicated his extensive experience in jewelry, the arts and business management to his passion of building community on City Island and beyond.  By day, Paul works as a professional jeweler and owns Kaleidoscope Gallery on City Island; Paul creates the Temple’s signature logo sailboat “Star of David” as a piece of jewelry.  Paul also serves as Vice President of City Island’s Chamber of Commerce and is deeply involved in promoting City Island and the Bronx.  Paul has lived on City Island since 1994 with his partner, Bill Rainford.  Originally from Baltimore, Paul earned a degree in business from the University of Maryland.


Ellen Ruth Topol (Vice President)

Ellen Ruth earned her doctorate in Literacy Studies from Hofstra University (focusing on women’s issues). She achieved both her Masters in Education and Bachelor of Arts degrees from New York University. She is an educator with more than 42 years in the public and private sectors teaching reading, writing and computer literacy. Her private practice uses a narrative inquiry approach to facilitate transformation. Since 2004, Ellen Ruth has studied at the School of Images (Imagery, Dream, and Morphology) with her mentor, Catherine Shainberg, based on the teachings of 13th-century mystic, Issac the Blind and his descendant Colette. Ellen Ruth is a serious student of spiritual exploration focusing on Tibetan Buddhism, Jewish Mysticism, and Kabbalah. Her first Buddhist teacher is a woman, Lama Tsultrim Allione, one of the first Buddhist Tibetan nuns. Recently, she began studying with Lama Surya Das to more deeply connect with her Jewish roots and Buddhist study. She practices T’ai Chi and studies Chinese Dietary Therapy. As a poet, she focuses on transformation and spiritual themes.She adores learning and exploring all spiritual paths. She loves to sing and, recently, has begun an exploration of singing and its positive effects on aging.

Daniella Haney (Treasurer)

Bio to follow.



Jodie Sadovsky (Secretary)

Jodie was born and raised in Yonkers, New York, attended local public schools and continued her education at the University of Miami. Jodie’s background includes management of real estate portfolios; she currently serves as site manager for affordable housing in the Bronx. Jodie lives with her spouse in New Rochelle, with their dog and several cats who adopted them.


Elaine Belasco (Membership)

Elaine joined Temple Beth-El in 2002 and joined the Board of Trustees in 2010.  Originally from Brooklyn Heights, Elaine moved to the Bronx in 1991 and to City Island in 2001.  After teaching elementary school for almost 35 years, Elaine retired in 2000 and now tutors at a regional tutoring center.  A passionate ballroom dancer, Elaine competed nationally for eight years and taught dancing classes.  She also enjoys spending time with her grandson, theater, and music.

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Barbara Gold (Programs)

Barbara and her husband Carl have been members of TBE for ten years. They have been moved by the open hearted, open minded spiritual community that TBE is. Having always wanted to be a helping professional, Barbara completed an MSW and two post-masters clinical certificates. She has been in the private practice of psychotherapy for adults and couples in Manhattan for over 25 years. Barbara has passions for music, gardening and visiting with family and friends. She has studied the piano for over 20 years and wishes to expand her repertoire into Jewish music of all types. Involvement with TBE has brought new frontiers to Barbara’s life. Her spiritual quest has found a home with our community which encourages all to accept the truth of what they feel and know. Barbara feels that it is an honor and a privilege to serve on the Board of TBE. She looks forward to building a meaningful future for TBE together with the other members of the Board.

Violet Smith (Onegs)Violet Smith

Violet came a long way from St. Louis (with a short stop in Larchmont) to City Island: she fell in love with City Island as soon as she reached the middle of the bridge. Her family of five daughters and three stepsons continues to grow. She has 15 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, nine of whom are native clamdigger City Islanders (well, almost: they were born in a hospital). Of the 15 grandchildren, nine live elsewhere in the Bronx or across the country. Violet retired after teaching for nearly 40 years. Locally she’s involved with the Hutchinson River Project and Friends of Pelham Bay Park. As a Christian, she believes that God loves and hears everyone’s prayers no matter how they worship. Violet was drawn to Temple Beth-El when one of her grandchildren died: a friend put his name on the memorial list to be prayed for each Friday night for a year. She came and continues to come because it is a blessing for Violet to be in and serve this holy place.


Helen Lerner (Tikkun Olam)

Helen grew up in Mount Vernon and attended Skidmore College, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She then earned a Masters and Doctoral degree at Teachers College. She taught for 38 years at Lehman College and ran the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program there.  After retirement, Helen has been working at the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center for 2.5 days a week as a nurse practitioner She also volunteers at the Bronx Zoo, giving tours and giving talks at different animal exhibits. Helen and her husband, Bob, a physician, have three daughters and six grandchildren. They have been members of Temple Beth-El since 2012.

Ken Binder (Facilities)


Helaine Cutler (Trustee at Large)


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