A Board of Trustees, elected by the membership, governs the Society. It is responsible for short and long term planning, policy decisions, and coordination among committees and projects. After elections at the June membership meeting, the Board conducts a retreat to consider the Society’s goals and strategies for the coming year. At their first meeting in July, the Board elects its officers: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Members are invited to attend meetings and to bring issues before the Board, following the process outlined in the By-laws. Please contact the President at least one week prior to the meeting to request that an item be placed on the meeting agenda.
Ethical Societies follow a democratic process in their governance and leadership. At BSEC, an elected board of members sets policy, while a professional staff provides advice and executes the board’s policies. Changes affecting the society’s constitution have to be voted on by the full membership.
Members are invited to attend meetings and to bring issues before the board. Please contact the president at least two weeks prior to the meeting to request that an item be placed on the meeting agenda. The board usually meets on the first Thursday of the month.
Jean Rohe email@example.com (President);
Rebecca Lurie firstname.lastname@example.org (Vice-President)
2012-2013 Board Members
Fiona was born in rural Australia and grew up in a variety of country towns and in the outback. She attended boarding school for Middle and High School. Every summer vacation was spent with her grandparents and many relatives at the beach. She now lives in the Victorian Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn with her husband, children and various critters. She has been coming to BSEC since 1996 and has been on the Board since 2008. Her family came to Ethical Culture for an inter-generational community with a social action bent. The guiding principles of Ethical Culture have become a touchstone for decision making. Her family looks forward to sharing their milestones, tragic or triumphant with a supportive, interested circle of “aunts, uncles and cousins.”
Member at Large
Kim Brandon was born in Baltimore Maryland. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her daughter. Kim is a professional storyteller who has written and performed her own African history stories for more ten years. She received her BA in Business from Baruch College. She has worked for fortune 100 companies, where she specialized in project management and technical writing. She is now dedicating time to her literary aspirations. She advanced her studies in fiction writing at the New School, attended North Country Institute for Writers of Color Retreats at Medgar Evers College and the New York Writers’ Coalition workshops. She is also the founder of the Brooklyn Society Writers at the Brooklyn Society of Ethical Culture. They host writing events, author readings and workshops. They published their first anthology “The Dream Catcher’s Song” in 2009. Kim first attended the Society in 2005, while her daughter enjoyed the Children’s Sunday Assembly. She was drawn to spirit of activism that she found at the society.
Born and raised in Queens, Tom has spent his adult life in Brooklyn with his wife of 26 years, Carolyn and their two daughters, Nina and Laura. They live in Sheepshead Bay, the fishing capital of Brooklyn. Tom has been a member of BSEC for 5 years. In 3 years on the Board, he focused on management improvements including balanced budgets, administrative procedures, personnel manuals and investment fund management.
At BSEC, we have a group of friends who are dedicated to social change and have an avid interest in the environment, education, economics and the developing world. While Tom is extremely interested in religious history, it is Ethical Culture’s focus on deeds and our commitments to our communities and to each other that resonates with him. For Tom, the most important aspects of religious life are the substantive values of the community and the congregation itself.
Professionally, Tom has developed New York computer systems including the NYC Parking Violations, Special Education and Foster Care Placement systems. He started and is the project manager for Options/NY, a web based foster care system that is primarily owned by non-profit agencies. Tom has a BS and MCP from MIT and an MBA from Yale.
Dr. Alec Ian Gershberg
Prof. Gershberg is a born and raised New Yorker. He is a graduate of The Bank Street School for Children and Horace Mann High School. He received his B.A. from Brown University, double majoring in American Civilization and Literature & Society. After college, he worked in the Roxbury section of Boston for the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and then taught English in Korea. Prof. Gershberg received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Regional Science Department.
At the New School Prof. Gershberg has been active in several areas. He teaches the Urban Program’s core course in Public Finance and Fiscal Management, and electives in Public Education Policy, Education and International Development and Comparative Education.
Alec joined BSEC with his spouse Lisa Servon (and our children C.C. and Milo) shortly after moving to Park Slope in 2006 because we wanted a spiritual home for our family, one that would provide an ethical community with a diverse membership.
Rebecca grew up in Washington Heights, with many meaningful memories in the woods in northern New Jersey. Growing up in the 1960’s, with a mother who was an activist and advocate, she was influenced at her core to be anti-racist and for peace and justice. She and her partner, Elly Spicer, came to BSEC in the mid-1990’s with their sons, Tyler and Cameron, aiming to join a community that supports raising conscious and caring children. She is glad to have found a place where people gather to reflect their concerns of the world and pause to feel the burdens and joys together. She appreciates that members are in engaged in a broad range of work and activism, bringing her closer to issues that she cares about, seeks to understand and support. Both her sons have done the Coming of Age process, graduating from the CSA.
Rebecca is the director of development at the Consortium for Worker Education, working with unions, businesses and community groups on education and training for employment and career advancement. Recently she has designed and implemented training programs for green jobs that connect to sustainable and just development in NYC. She has a masters degree in Organizational Change Management from The New School and a Permaculture Design Certificate.
On the board, she is working on organizational and committee structure to strengthen the member’s impact in our congregation and larger society. She is deeply committed to increasing sustainability practices at BSEC with both the facility and the programming.
Dr. Lucy McNair
Lucy is a translator and French professor who grew up in a small town in Massachusetts. She often wandered the woods as a child, wondering who first called them home and what lay beyond them. At college, a professor inspired her to immerse herself in foreign languages. She lived in Germany and France for 10 years, before settling in Brooklyn and beginning a doctoral program in translation and comparative literature where she has focused on North African Francophone writers. She’s proud to announce that she just completed her degree!
Lucy is married to Daniel Kohn, an artist, and they have two children, Anoura and Lucas, who are big reasons why they recently joined BSEC and why she is currently recording secretary. She wants her kids to be part of a small community of mixed ages and backgrounds and shared values where they can pass through the stages of childhood and get grounded in ethical reasoning. But Lucy also comes for the Sunday Platforms, to challenge her own thinking and gain clarity in a complex world.
Sunday Committee Co-Chair
Donna Minkowitz was born in Brooklyn and has lived here almost all her life. She currently lives in central Brooklyn with her wife, Karen. Donna has been a BSEC member since 2005, and for her Ethical Culture has been a spiritual home she never expected to find: a place she could explore her interests in pantheism, paganism and self-directed ethics, and also find many, many ways to grow as a person in her relationships with others. A professional writer who currently focuses on memoir, Donna also loves to cook, to do Pilates, and to walk in nature. She has a degree in literature from Yale University, and lit, storytelling, mythology and fairy tales are among the things that give her the highest pleasure, because she believes that it is in stories that we figure out what we’re here for and where we want to go.
Member at Large
I came to New York City in 2002 to attend Barnard College. As a 17-year-old from southern California, the big city (and the cold and snow!) were a bit intimidating, but when I chose a double major in Film & Political Science… I couldn’t imagine a better place to be and a better fit for what I wanted to do. In the nearly 10 years I’ve been here, I’ve found a lot of jobs, friends and activities to keep me busy… but the longer I’ve been here, the more I notice how easy it is to keep to your own bubble of the same jobs, friends and activities. My soon-to-be husband, Dan Lane, and I started attending BSEC platforms because we both came from small towns and were eager to be a part of the community around us, to get out of our bubble and get involved. In our day jobs, as non-profit video creators, we are lucky enough to learn about organizations and people all over NYC (and across the globe) who spend their days making positive change in the world. I consider BSEC to be a major change maker in my own life, in the way its people and platforms constantly surprise and challenge me, and I am incredibly excited to be on the board to help keep the tradition going!
Jean Rohe is a proud resident of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn and a 3-year member of BSEC. For her, the Brooklyn Society is a place for continual grounding and deepening of her ethical values, a place of community with an intergenerational group of fascinating people, and a place of learning. She is a musician, composer and music teacher by trade and can often be found song leading during the Sunday platforms at BSEC. She is an avid urban cyclist, gardener, and voracious potluck organizer/attendee.