The Kehilat Hadar Board

All incorporated non-profit organizations are required by law to have a board of trustees that is formally and legally responsible for them. For religious congregations, the members usually invest the trustees with the authority to run the congregation by electing them to serve on the board, and the trustees are therefore accountable to the members.

As of February 2018, Kehilat Hadar’s board oversees the community’s strategic vision, high-level planning, and fundraising efforts, and it also supervises the Steering Team. (The Steering Team focuses on the operational side, running Kehilat Hadar services and other programs from day to day.) New trustees are elected at Kehilat Hadar’s statutory annual meeting, at which voting members can vote either in person or by proxy. After each election, the board determines which of the trustees will serve as officers for that year.

View the bylaws (adopted at annual meeting, 2/25/2018)

Board Members

Emily Scharfman
President, 2018-2020

Emily lives on the UWS with her son Eli. She has been a lawyer in the tech start-up space for over three years. She has been involved in KH since 2005, as well as Mechon Hadar. She is also a Wexner Heritage Fellow, and will be completing her 2 year fellowship in the summer of 2018.

Before college, Emily spent a year on the Nativ program, including spending 5 months at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Emily holds a BA from Yale, and a JD from NYU.

Steven Melzer
Vice President
, 2018-2020

Steven is Director of Strategic Initiatives at The New School, exploring the future of higher education. He has worked over a decade in strategy, planning, and operations in the K-12 education space, leading school budget strategy, class size policy, and curriculum logistics at the NYC Department of Education; operations including HR, organizational strategy, finance, and IT at Expeditionary Learning, a national education reform nonprofit; and education technology and process innovation at Uncommon Schools, a public charter school management organization. In the private sector, he was a business strategy consultant with IBM and operations advisor with Amplify, an education technology firm. Steven also serves on the executive board of The LAMP, a media literacy nonprofit.

Steven has participated in Kehilat Hadar since 2005. He has served the community on the Shavuot retreat team, Scotch Whisk(e)y club, and Purim trivia night team. He dreams of running a kosher deli and perfecting the art of smoking meat and curing fish in a tiny NYC apartment he shares with his infinitely patient wife, Tracy. Steven received his BA in economics, political science, and music from Columbia; and his MS, focused on nonprofit management strategy and education policy, from Hunter College.

Tim Bernard
Secretary 2019-2020

Tim has attended Kehilat Hadar since 2004, was a co-chair of the Shavuot retreat in 2011 and a Shavuot team member from 2010-2018. He currently also answers incoming email to Kehilat Hadar. Tim directs online community education programs for JTS, having previously worked for the website Seeking Alpha, and as a middle school Judaics teacher.

Tim was ordained in 2009 at JTS, and has also spent time learning at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and at Yeshivat Hadar. He was raised in London, and earned an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Bristol. Tim became a US citizen in 2017. He is married to Ashira Konigsburg, with whom he enjoys traveling, hiking and visiting modern art galleries.

Meir Schecter
, 2018-2020

Meir has been coming to Hadar on a regular basis since 2002. He has attended all but the first Hadar Shavuot Retreat. He has been arranging the classes given at the retreat since 2007 and has taught a class at each retreat that he has attended. He has been on the Shamash Team since its inception. Meir is the first, and current, CEO of the Hadar Scotch Club/Whisk(e)y Society.

Meir started his 45+-year professional career working for NASA on the Apollo program. Software that he developed was instrumental in the safe return of the Apollo XIII astronauts. He later worked on Skylab and various other satellites.  Subsequently, he worked on US Navy defense systems, and finally went to work as a consultant to governmental pension systems.

Meir is married to Mary Federico and has four children and fourteen grandchildren. Nine of his grandchildren live in Israel and  Meir enjoys visiting them at least twice a year.

Meir enjoys golfing and travelling with Mary.

Max Arad

Max is the Assistant Director of Operations at the Rabbinical Assembly. He earned a BA in International Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. Max has been involved with Kehilat Hadar for over four years, first serving as Chair of the 2014 Shavuot Retreat, then joining the Shamash team and serving as a member of the Steering Team for the last three years. During that time, he has continued to chair the Shavuot Retreat each year (registration for 2018 coming soon!), managed KH's relationships with the facilities it uses (Schechter, JTS, High Holiday spaces), and been heavily involved in KH's finances and fundraising efforts.

Max is honored to be a part of this exciting transition in Hadar's organizational structure, and looks forward to continuing to help it grow and thrive.


Mara Braunfeld

Originally from Texas, Mara's identity and early Jewish experiences were strongly influenced by her family, participation in youth group, and summers spent at Jewish camp. She earned a BA from Brandeis University and a Masters in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Her professional roles have included Director of Education at a synagogue in Westchester and her current work as Director of the Center for Family Life and Director of Programs for Infants + Young Children at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. Mara served on the Board of the Association of Reform Jewish Educators for many years and co-chaired a task force to create a new mission statement for the organization. Since 2013, she has been a member of the Education Advisory Council for Camp Ramah in the Berkshires.

Mara and her husband Daniel have been connected to Hadar since they moved to NYC in 2007. They are proud parents to three amazing children, Ronit, Ravi and Hana (the two oldest who “play Hadar” by reading their stuffed Torahs while wearing blankets as talitot).

Aaron Kasman

Aaron has been an active member of the Kehilat Hadar community for more than 10 years, having served as gabbai, shamash and member of KH's steering team. He is a frequent shaliach tzibbur at Kehilat Hadar on Shabbat and on holidays, where he loves to introduce new melodies alongside old favorites.

An engineer by training, Aaron works for Google as a technology manager. At work and as a volunteer, he helps people, teams and organizations (including Kehilat Hadar!) implement technology effectively, innovate and manage change.

Rabbi Ashira Konigsburg

Ashira has been involved in the leadership of Kehilat Hadar since 2007. She is a member of Steering Team where her focus has been on revising Kehilat Hadar’s governance structure and ritual. She is also a Shamash and has been a Gabbai, a member of the Shavuot Team and Leadership Team. Ashira is the Director of Operations at the Rabbinical Assembly. She earned an MA in Talmud and Rabbinics and Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

A native of South Florida, Ashira spent her undergraduate years at the University of Maryland and has spent many summers in a variety of roles at Ramah Darom in Georgia, including directing the climbing program. She enjoys traveling, hiking and climbing. Find her on Twitter: @ashirak.

Lanni Solochek

By day, Lanni is a Digital Content Strategist with American Jewish World Service. By night, she is a fitness enthusiast, cheese aficionado, and Netflix extraordinaire. Lanni hails from Arizona, holds degrees in Journalism and Gender Studies from UW-Madison, and currently lives Hadar-adjacent in the Upper West Side.

Lanni has called Kehilat Hadar a second home for more than 2 years. After joining the Kiddush Team a week into her New York tenure, Lanni has continued to be an active volunteer for food prep, greeting, and holiday schlepping. She is thrilled to be on the inaugural board and looks forward to bringing the best snacks to every meeting.

Board Meeting Minutes

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