Beth-El Congregation

Board Members


Jeff Kaitcer


Jeff Kaitcer (President) A member of the Temple for almost 30 years, Jeff has been a Board Member as well as President of Men of Reform Judaism (MRJ). He served on the Search Committee that hired Rabbi Zimmerman. He was previously a member of the Board of Directors and the Treasurer for the Jewish Federation of Tarrant County. He was a member of the Executive Director Search Committee for the Federation.

Jeff is a Past-President and currently Secretary in Perpetuity of the Isadore Garsek Lodge of B’nai B’rith. His wife, Randee, has been an officer in WRJ, and his daughter Alison celebrated her Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation at the Temple. Jeff has been an attorney in Tarrant County for the past 35 years. Board Certified in Family Law, Personal Injury and Civil Litigation, he is a past President of the Tarrant County Family Law Bar Association.

A self-described “avid, though lousy,” golfer, he has chaired the MRJ golf tournament for a decade.

Joan Katz


Joan Katz (Vice President) is a community volunteer who has served on many boards, chaired several capital campaigns and participated in a variety of searches, including the recent searches that brought Rabbi Zimmerman and Rabbi Ottenstein to Beth-El.

She and her husband, Howard, joined Beth-El when their daughter was going to be confirmed. Little did they dream that their future son-in-law would also be in that class; Lori Katz and Brad Sturman married in 2014 and are the proud parents of Sam Sturman. Joan currently serves on the boards of the Joan Katz Breast Center and Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth.

She is a past member of the boards of Gladney Center for Adoption, the Junior League of Fort Worth, the Multicultural Alliance, Cook Children’s Medical Center, Trinity Valley School, and the Jewish Federation.


Cynthia Alkon has been a member of Beth-El since 2012. She is from San Francisco, CA and has lived in seven states in the United States and seven countries. This is Cynthia’s first term on the Beth-El Board. She also chairs the Worship Committee.

Cynthia is a lawyer who is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at the Texas A&M University School of Law.



Julie Diamond and her family have been members of Beth-El since they moved to Ft. Worth from New York, NY in 2002. She and her husband, Kevin, have two daughters, both of whom had their Bat Mitzvahs at Beth-El. Julie is in her second term on the Beth-El Board. She has co-chaired the Temple’s annual fundraiser five times.

Julie is a Certified Public Accountant and serves as controller for several companies. She is also active with the Tarrant County Medical Alliance and the Fort Worth Country Day Parent Faculty Association. She likes to cook with wine, and sometimes even adds it to the food.




Laurie S. Kelfer (Immediate Past-President) and her husband, Howard, relocated from Boston to Ft. Worth and they have been members of Beth-El for almost 30 years. Laurie grew up in a congregation in the Catskill, NY area where her father served as President of the temple for many years.

Her professional background includes a Master’s degree in nursing and work as a pediatric nursing administrator in Boston, Dallas and Ft. Worth. She currently works full time as a Realtor. Laurie was a Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) Co-President and has served on the Temple Board several times. Her two adult sons work and live in Dallas. Both attended Beth-El religious school and celebrated their Bar Mitzvahs and Confirmations at Beth-El.

Contact Laurie Kelfer at


Todd Blumenfeld was born and raised in Rockville, MD. He moved from New York City to Fort Worth in 2008 with his wife, Ashli Rosenthal Blumenfeld. He is a partner at the law firm Friedman, Suder & Cooke. His practice focuses on patent litigation, as well as representing numerous food manufacturing entities on aspects of their business.

In addition to serving on the Beth-El Board, Todd is also the Vice President of Administration at the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Todd and Ashli have two children, Elanor and Will, and a dog, Theodore. Todd’s favorite pastimes include spending time with his family, cooking and traveling.



Jackie Bzostek has been a member of Beth-El for 34 years. She and her husband, Barry, who both grew up in Brooklyn, moved to Fort Worth in 1976 after time in Syracuse, NY and Key West, FL. Their three adult children grew up at Beth-El, and one daughter was married and named her two children at the Temple.

Jackie has spent her professional years focused on education; she worked at Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas for 22 years, many as Director of Education and Training. She has pursued her passion for youth and education through her involvement with Beth-El Religious School, as a volunteer, 7th grade teacher and chair of the Religious School Committee. She has also chaired the Family Activities and Social Action committees and served as President of WRJ.

She is immediate past chair of the North Central Texas HIV Planning Council and serves on the Board of Directors of the Multicultural Alliance.



David Eberstein has been a member of Beth-El since moving to Fort Worth in 2012 with wife Valrie Luskey, a Fort Worth native, and their two children, Simon and Charlotte. David grew up in Dallas and gained his strong connection to Judaism through close friends and family as well as a transformative trip to Israel when he was 16 years old. David currently works in finance for New York-based Greenhill & Company and joined the Temple’s Board in 2016.

He serves on the Endowment Committee. In his freetime David enjoys watching Texas Longhorns sports and cycling around the trails and roads of Fort Worth.



Laurie James has been a member of Beth-El for 11 years. She has served on a variety of committees, including various positions in WRJ and the Family Activities Committee. She is currently serving her second term as a Board Member and is chair of the Social Action Committee.

In her work as a nationally certified school nurse, she is active in the Texas School Nurses Organization. She is also a freelance writer for the Fort Worth Weekly, the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, and other publications.

She lives in Arlington with her husband, Jason, and daughter, Kaylie, who is the social action chair of FWFTY and part of the Confirmation Class of 2017.


Dr. Corey Mandel was born in Brooklyn, NY. He grew up on Long Island before moving to Israel, where he graduated from medical school. He met his wife, Neta, back in New York, and they moved to Fort Worth in 2003. A pediatric cardiologist at Cook Children’s Medical Center, Corey has served on the Clinical Excellence Committee and Clinical Informatics Committee at the hospital. He has also served as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Jewish Education Agency.

This is his first term on the Temple Board. Corey and Neta have two children, both of whom attended pre-school at the Lil Goldman Early Learning Center and are currently enrolled at Beth-El’s Religious School. The older child recently became a Bar Mitzvah in the first official ceremony presided over by Rabbi Zimmerman at Beth-El.


Ruth Roper grew up in Helena, AR, and attended a temple named Beth El in that small town. She and her husband, Doug, moved to Fort Worth and joined Beth-El Congregation in 1970.

Ruth has served multiple terms on the Temple’s Board and has chaired fundraising at the Temple as well. She is also the self-appointed “Plant Lady”.



Evelyn Siegel was born in Columbia, SC, where she attended an Orthodox synagogue for services and a Reform congregation for Sunday School. She and her husband, Martin, moved to Mineral Wells in 1950 and joined Beth-El. Her four sons all attended Religious School and had their Bar Mitzvahs and Confirmations at Beth-El, and many of her grandchildren have had their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs at the Temple as well. Evelyn has worked with the religious school teachers on arts and crafts activities for decades and has served multiple terms on the Religious School Committee.

This is Evelyn’s first term on the Temple Board. Evelyn taught at Fort Worth Country Day for 17 years. After her retirement in 1984, she ran the Evelyn Siegel Gallery for 21 years. She has served on numerous boards in Fort Worth, including the Community Council (later the United Way) and the Council of Jewish Women. A founder of Senior Citizens Services of Tarrant County, she has continued to guide that organization for 50 years.


Howard Bellet (MRJ President) is a member of the Men of Reform Judaism’s national governing Executive Council. Howard and his family have been members of Beth-El Congregation for 16 years. He has served two previous terms on the Temple’s Board of Directors. His wife, Roberta, has served as President of Beth-El’s Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ). Their daughter, Caitlin, celebrated her Bat

Mitzvah and Confirmation at Beth-El. Howard, a Certified Financial Planner™ professional, has been a Fort Worth Scottish Rite Foundation Scholarship donor and a sponsor of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of North Texas Light the Night Walk.



Anna Caplan (WRJ President) has been a member of Beth-El for 30 years. Originally from New York, Anna moved to Fort Worth with her family in the mid-80s after pit stops in Galveston and Tulsa.

Anna is now the mother of two Beth-El religious school students, Gabe and Maya, with her husband, Jeff. A freelance writer and food critic, Anna has served as a Temple Board Member and on the Search Committees for Rabbi Ottenstein and Rabbi Zimmerman. She has chaired the WRJ's annual Donor Brunch and served as president of the Parents' Club at Lil Goldman Early Learning Center.