March 12, 2020

We learn in a famous Talmudic phrase “Kol Yisrael arevin ze ba-zeh” – which means “We are all responsible for one another” (Sanhedrin 27b). This has particular relevance in a pandemic like the one we are currently experiencing, when most people who become infected have few, if any, symptoms, yet nevertheless become vectors of transmission to others. This situation poses a particularly serious risk for those whose age or underlying health make them especially vulnerable. 

It is our concern for others – and not just our own personal health – which should motivate our actions. 

At TBY we have already chosen to cancel a number of programs.  We have been in constant communication about these cancellations and have made decisions with the best interests of our members in mind.

Starting tomorrow at 3pm, all TBY Religious Services, Schools, activities, programs, and meetings will occur online or will be canceled.

This decision was made with a sense of responsibility to do our part as a congregation to protect all our members and the broader community.

We understand that it is important for our community to hear from our Clergy during this time. As such, each week prior to Shabbat TBY will provide all members with a link to a video. The content of this video will vary from week to week.

Effective today, the plan for other activities, programs and meetings is as follows:

All committee and board meetings – online/conference calls

Monday and Thursday Mah-jongg
Play Rehearsal online beginning March 15th
Weekly Torah Study online only beginning March 14th
Wednesday with the Rabbi online only beginning March 18th
March 14th - Jewish Movie Night
March 15th - JCAL
CANCELLED through April 26th (online options beginning March 22nd)
March 18th - Book Club online
March 19th - Bar/Bat Mitzvah training online only
March 26th - Jewish Mindfulness
March 27th - JCAL Shabbat & Pre-Party
March 29th - Cantors Concert
April 1st - Security Event
April 9th - Community Passover Seder
April 18th - TTOBYCHELLA
April 19th - WTBY Blood Drive
April 25th - Movie Night

We are still working through the digital options for these events (some will be via video conference/streaming and others will be teleconference only).  Please look to our weekly announcements for details and updates.

Our Temple members are one part of our TBY family and the staff that makes the programming and education happen are another big part. As of today, I have asked all non-essential employees to work from home. We will still have a receptionist on duty during business hours and staff will diligently respond to emails. Below please find a complete list of staff with email address.

Of course, our rabbis and cantors remain available throughout to provide pastoral care through this challenging time.  

Rabbi Gersh Zylberman, Senior Rabbi –
Rabbi Rayna Gevurtz, Associate Rabbi –
Rabbi Miriam Philips, JCAL Director –
Cantor Jonathan Grant –
Cantor Elisa Waltzman, Associate Cantor –
Debbe Katz, Clergy Administrative Assistant – 

Administrative Staff
Mark Gulner, Executive Director –
Efrain Banuelos, Facilities Manager –
Susan Gunawan, Finance Manager –
Lesa Hodgkins, Accounting Clerk –
Orly Levy, Development Assistant –
Joy Orbase, Office Manager –
Hilary Rosen, Communications & Marketing Specialist –
Beth Swift, Office Receptionist –
TBY Preschool/JCAL/Youth
Laura Gramling, TBY Preschool Director –
Laurie Nada, TBY Preschool Administrative Assistant –
Melissa Seidner, JCAL Administrative Assistant –
Melinda Weiss, Assistant Director of Education & Youth Engagement –

Should you need immediate service during business hours please call the office at 949-644-1999. If this is a medical emergency, please call 911. If you need to get a hold of someone at Temple Bat Yahm and it is after hours please call the emergency number, (949) 697-6718.

 With blessings of health for all in our community and beyond,

Rabbi Gersh Zylberman         Mark Gulner                           Coby Sonenshine
Senior Rabbi                           Executive Director                  President

*JCAL Calendar subject to change. Families will be notified of any additions or modifications to the school calendar. If you are unsure, please call (949) 706-0644 or email Melissa at

Jewish Center for arts and learning

JCAL is Temple Bat Yahm's innovative Jewish supplementary education program combining a traditional Reform Jewish education with interactive and experiential learning activities.

JCAL Mission Statement
Jewish learning is a life-long commitment. In order to live as a Jew, one must understand the basic tenets of Judaism. At Temple Bat Yahm Religious School, we strive to instill a commitment to G-d, Torah, and Israel which are all at the heart of Judaism.

A basic knowledge of Hebrew provides our students with the ability to participate in all aspects of Synagogue life.  It is our goal that each student feels a connection to the synagogue as a central feature of his/her Jewish life.

By celebrating and observing Jewish holidays both at Temple Bat Yahm and at home, students will be able to maintain a joyful connection to Jewish life and tradition. Through teaching Jewish values and ethics, we want our students to understand that all Jews are connected to and responsible for one another, the Jewish community, and the world around them.  At Temple Bat Yahm, religious education will result in a strong, positive Jewish identity.

(949) 644-1999 | (949) 706-0644

1011 Camelback Street, Newport Beach, CA 92660