Clergy, Staff & Board of Directors


Rabbi Asher Knight
Rabbi Asher Knight- Senior Rabbi
Rabbi Asher Knight is Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth El in Charlotte, North Carolina. He joined Temple Beth El in July of 2016. Prior to coming to Temple Beth El, he served for nine years as Associate Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El, in Dallas Texas and as the rabbinic intern for Rockdale Temple in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rabbi Knight grew up in Denver, Colorado. He graduated with a B.A. from the University of Denver cum laude in 2001, with a major in International Studies and a concentration in Middle East security. Rabbi Knight attended Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion at its Jerusalem and Cincinnati campuses, receiving his M.A. in Hebrew Letters in 2006 and rabbinical ordination in 2007.
Rabbi Dusty Klass
Rabbi Dusty Klass- Associate Rabbi
Rabbi Dusty Klass was born and raised in Seattle WA. She completed her undergraduate work at University of California, Santa Barbara and spent her junior year abroad in Dublin, Ireland. Before entering rabbinic school, Rabbi Klass spent two years as NFTY-SoCAL Regional Advisor, supporting and guiding teen leaders of the Reform Jewish youth movement. She was ordained from the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion with masters degrees in Hebrew Letters and Jewish Educational Leadership. Rabbi Klass is passionate about youth work, social justice, and meeting people where they're at.
Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas
Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas- Cantor
Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas is the Cantor at Temple Beth El in Charlotte, where she has served since July 2011. A native of Bayonne, New Jersey, Cantor Thomas studied History and Jewish Studies at Rutgers University with a particular emphasis on Jewish women’s history. Following graduation, she worked for three years at Temple Beth El learning about Jewish professional life from the inside. She was ordained as Cantor in May 2011 after completing the 5 years of study at the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem and Manhattan.
Rabbi Beth Nichols
Rabbi Beth Nichols- Director of Lifelong Jewish Learning
Rabbi Beth Nichols sees the rabbinate as an opportunity to help people form meaningful relationships with Judaism, God and the Jewish people. She strives to make Judaism feel accessible, relevant and applicable by developing and supporting a diversity of ways for people to connect and find meaning.
Rabbi Judith Schindler
Rabbi Judith Schindler- Rabbi Emerita
Rabbi Judith Schindler served as Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth El from 2003-2016 and as Associate Rabbi from 1998-2003. She is currently Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University of Charlotte. Prior to coming to Charlotte, she was an Associate Rabbi at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Tufts University in 1988 (magna cum laude), her Master’s from the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles in 1993, and her rabbinic ordination at the Hebrew Union College in New York in 1995.
Cantor Andrew Bernard
Cantor Andrew Bernard- Cantor Emeritus
Andrew Bernard served as cantor at Temple Beth El in Charlotte, NC from 1999 to 2017. Under his leadership, the synagogue launched a number of nationally-recognized initiatives including the b’nei mitzvah peer tutoring program, the teen band and teen vocal ensemble, and a comprehensive human sexuality program known as STAR (Sex, Torah, and Relationships). While engaged in many aspects of congregational life, Cantor Bernard’s focus was creating innovative, engaging, and meaningful worship, and working with youth. As the congregation’s longest-serving clergyperson, Cantor Bernard was a teacher and mentor to students in grades 3–12 and beyond for 18 years. Upon his retirement, the congregation recognized Cantor Bernard’s work by renaming the youth engagement fund in his honor.


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Director of Development and Member Services
Clergy Assistant
Hospitality Manager
Director of Congregational Engagement
Gift Shop Manager
Religious School, B'nei Mitzvah, & Confirmation Assistant
Membership Administrator
Youth Advisor
Business Manager
Operations Assistant
Music Specialist

Board of Directors

2020-2021 Board of Directors
Effective 7/1/20

Executive Committee
President – Benjamin Benson
1st VP – Cyndee Patterson
VP Finance – Robin Buckler
VP Administration – Ken Katz
VP Education – Allen Sherman
VP Planning – Jill Blumenthal
Secretary – Jamie Bryan
Treasurer – Liam Stokes
Immediate Past President – Evan Wilkoff

1 Year Term
Doug Benson
Jeremy Naman
Stephen Philipson
AJ Secrist

2 Year Term
Shameina Markel
Jason Shechter
John Small
Renee Sutker

3 Year Term
Mark Cohen
Eden Gobuty
Alan Kronovet
Lisa Shpritz

Legal Counsel – Eric Frick
Brotherhood – Brian Emery
Sisterhood (Women of RJ) – Julie Dermack
SPICE – Bob Wolf
LIBERTY – Emily Adamo

Business Manager – Dan Shane
Senior Rabbi – Asher Knight
Associate Rabbi – Dusty Klass
Cantor – Mary Thomas
Controller – Mark Risco

Honorary Lifetime Board Members
Honorary Lifetime President – Norm Levin
Honorary Lifetime President – Jonathan Howard


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