RABBI MARC BOONE FITZERMAN
Marc Fitzerman was raised in Oak Park, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Educated at the University of Michigan, he went on to a masters degree and ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. After five years in Kansas City, he came to Congregation B'nai Emunah in 1985.
Rabbi Fitzerman places a high priority on lifelong Jewish learning, working closely with small groups on classic Jewish texts. The purpose of these sessions is to discern the values, arguments, and differences in perspective that animate Jewish civilization. His goal as a teacher is not to prescribe or enlist, but to involve people in ongoing conversation.
Rabbi Fitzerman has worked carefully to broaden the worship program of the congregation so that men and women of different experience and religious sensitivities can find a place at the Synagogue. Newcomers will likely sense that B'nai Emunah is not a one-size-fits-all congregation. Experimental liturgy, instrumental music, and egalitarian language are all now as rooted in the congregation as more traditional forms.
One of Rabbi Fitzerman's current projects is to bring a Hillel program to life on campuses in Northeastern Oklahoma. He is the founding president and fundraiser for Hillel in the eastern part of the state, based on the campus of the University of Tulsa. Rabbi Fitzerman is deeply committed to social activism as a defining focus of Synagogue life. Our best-practices mentoring program at McClure Elementary School is the result of his efforts, and he is now working to broaden our commitment to the cause of the homeless mentally ill.
Rabbi Fitzerman is married to Alice Blue, a senior planner for Community Service Council of Tulsa. The Fitzermans have two children: Micah who works as a screenwriter and internet content developer in Los Angeles, and Nina, who has just begun work in the Teach for America program in Washington, D.C.
ELIYAHU KRIGEL, MA, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
Eliyahu Krigel was born in Kansas City, MO. Graduating with a BA in Religious Studies, Eliyahu attended Sarah Lawrence College, the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, and Naropa University. Eliyahu also holds a Masters of Arts from the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS).
After a total of seven years serving as Director of Education in Colorado and California, and Dean of Students at the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy in Kansas City, Eliyahu began his role as Director of Education at the Synagogue in 2008. Eliyahu is a member of the Jewish Educators Assembly and is also a graduate of the New Directors Institute through the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
Eliyahu shares Rabbi Fitzerman's passion for life-long Jewish learning. He works collaboratively with the professional staff, lay-leaders, and families of the Synagogue to invest Jewish life with meaning and opportunities for self-identification. He is committed to accessibility and demonstrates a contagious passion for learning. Eliyahu teaches an adult b’nai mitzvah course, various classes on provocative Jewish topics through the Adult Institute of Jewish Studies and Midrasha, as well as a weekly class on basic Judaism for early childhood educators at Congregation B’nai Emunah Preschool.
During the summer months, Eliyahu attends the Institute for Southern Jewish Life Education Conference, participates as an advisor at Anytown, the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice human relations camp, visits Camp Ramah, and leads the b’nai mitzvah camping trip with Synagogue seventh graders . Eliyahu is a participant in the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute (MTEI) and will graduate from the program in May of 2010. In addition, Eliyahu is receiving graduate credit for his work at MTEI through the University of Cincinnati in the pursuit of an Executive Doctoral Program at JTS.
Eliyahu is married to Shanti Finney-Krigel, MA who is a Dance Therapist at Resonance Center for Women. The Krigels have two beautiful children. Kaela-Hannah currently attends B’nai Emunah Preschool and Isaiah-Kavod is an entering third grader at the Mizel Jewish Day School. Eliyahu is a nature enthusiast and accomplished percussionist, and is delighted and honored to have found a spiritual, personal, and professional home at B’nai Emunah.
GREG RASKIN, PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Greg Raskin is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma and a product of the Tulsa Public Schools. His parents, uncle, brother, sister, and several in-laws also live here. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in sociology. After a short stint in St. Thomas and south Florida, he quickly went to work in the Tulsa restaurant scene and played in local jam bands. In 1990 he joined Local Hero, a regionally touring reggae band. During that time, he began reconnecting with his Jewish background after a chance encounter with a book on Kabbalah from the Synagogue Library.
In 1994, Greg began working in the social service field, focusing on children. His first position was at Shadow Mountain Hospital, then in the FAST program for Family and Children's Services. While working at F&CS, he earned a masters degree in special education from OSU, subsequently teaching in the Sand Springs School District for four years.
In 2001, after much gentle arm-twisting by Rabbi Fitzerman, Greg began working at Congregation B'nai Emunah as the Program Director. Greg's hope is to help create a welcoming and stimulating environment, where Jews of all stripes can engage in the work of creating meaningful contemporary Jewish lives. He hopes that members will be connected to their past, in step with current realities and living in anticipation of the future. Greg has an unrequited love for Jewish Renewal, and hopes to help stimulate Jews in Tulsa to feel comfortable with many forms of Jewish prayer and interest that are creative, modern and informed.
Greg has felt most fortunate over the years to have partnered with Rabbi Fitzerman and resident musical genius, Jon Glazer, along with many other volunteers and para-professionals, in continuing to grow the music programs at the Synagogue. Music is a language that helps draw people together and engage them in heartfelt, soulful encounters. Taking a fresh look at the many ways in which music can benefit the Synagogue and the larger Tulsa community has helped stimulate the Synagogue community in exciting ways. Forward!
Greg is married to Corey Wren Williams, who is the Executive Director of Sustainable Tulsa. Corey invests herself fully in advancing a Tulsa that increases its responsibilities toward environmental stewardship, thoughtful economic growth, and commitment toward a higher quality of life for all Tulsa residents. Corey and Greg have two daughters, Lily and Sophie, who are interested, curious, and in love with the world.
BETTY LEHMAN, SYNAGOGUE ADMINISTRATOR
Betty Lehman is the go-to Synagogue professional for arrangements, logistics, and coordination of every kind. She has a special gift for assisting our members in planning life-cycle events, and has earned a well-deserved reputation for thoroughness, efficiency, and commitment to service and care.
Betty has a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education from the University of Arkansas. Before her arrival at B'nai Emunah in 2001, she had a twenty-year career as Branch Director and Youth Development Director of both the YWCA and YMCA organizations. Other career experiences include work with Tulsa Children's Coalition and Executive Director of Friends of Early Education.
Betty has been married for 35 years to Keith Lehman, a therapist at Parkside.She is the proud parent of daughters, Kate and Abby. She lives with her husband on five acres of land in Creek County. Betty is a gifted artist and takes great pleasure in photography, knitting, and her love of four dogs and many cats.