temple_aliyah.jpg

Senior Staff

Maureen Sweeney
Executive Director 

Maureen comes to us most recently from the position of Synagogue Director at Adat Shalom, a Conservative synagogue in West Los Angeles.Prior to working at Adat Shalom, Maureen, a bar-accredited graduate of Pepperdine Law School, worked at several law firms as well as volunteered with the California Department of Justice.   She has taught at Valley Beth Shalom and Temple B’Nai Hayim, organized programming at Camp Ramah in California, and completed the Anti-Defamation League Salvin Leadership Institute.  She is also a member of the North American Association of Synagogue Executives and the Professional Association of Temple Administrators.Maureen has three daughters – Rina, Nili, and Liora. 

Andrea Segall
Early Childhood Education (ECE) Director  

Andrea began her career at Temple Aliyah 28 years ago, although she and her family have been members even longer, since 1985.  She and her family have been part of our community beginning with Parent and Me classes, her daughters both are alumni of our ECE Preschool, Religious School, had their Bat Mitzvahs and weddings here too.   With a degree in Early Childhood Education, she began teaching at Temple Aliyah in 1986 and after many wonderful years in the classroom, transitioned into administration.  She has been the ECE Director for the past 12 years.  Temple Aliyah is her home and she is proud to play an important role in our community. 

Rabbi Adam Schaffer
Director, Sevran Center for Jewish Learning & Living (Religious School) 

Rabbi Adam has been working at Temple Aliyah since July, 2011, but he and his family have been congregants since moving to the Valley in 2005.  He has loved his time at Aliyah both personally and professionally because of the great community of people that make up the congregation.Prior to working at Temple Aliyah, Rabbi Adam served as the School Rabbi at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge for seven years where he taught Judaic Studies, Cantillation, Tefillah, and Jewish Ethics. He prides himself on being an eclectic and musical rabbi who defies denominational labels. 

He has, over the course of his schooling and career, served in a variety of capacities including as a congregational rabbi in Bremerton, Washington, an assistant education director in Santa Ana, and a chaplain at UCLA Hospital.  He holds rabbinic ordination and a Master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Hebrew Union College here in Los Angeles, and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania.  His proudest role, however is being the abba to his two children, Ezra and Eliana, and his greatest honor is to be married to the wonderful Melissa Sandler. 

Avi Vogel
Youth Director From the time he was a child Avi has breathed Jewish Youth. He was an active member of USY starting in elementary school, growing as an educator through his work as a teacher’s assistant at Temple Aliyah’s religious school, and spent four summers polishing his skills with children by working at Camp Ramah in Ojai. A graduate of Oberlin College, where he took courses in the Education discipline, he has long dreamed of working with youth and is excited to do so at the Temple he grew up at.
Lisa Cobey Lopez
Community Caring Director 

Lisa CobeyLopez is Temple Aliyah’s Community of Caring Director as well as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a background in Early Intervention and Jewish Education.   Lisa earned a Teacher’s Certificate in Religious Studies from Gratz College, her B.A. with honors in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University, and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina.   Lisa has worked with Jewish families for over 20 years as a teacher, youth group leader, and program coordinator.  Lisa also runs a private practice, providing psychotherapy from ages 3 through adulthood and trainings for parents and teachers. 

She is married to Michael, a Los Angeles native, and they are proud parents to Zachary, an ECE graduate, and Michaela, current ECE student.At Temple Aliyah, Lisa oversees our Community of Caring which primarily involves outreach to our congregants in times of need (bereavement, illness) and joy (newborns) in conjunction with many amazing volunteers that visit those who are sick or homebound, deliver Thinking of You bags, provide meals, assist with driving and many other tasks.  Lisa works closely with Jewish Federation’s Ezra network to provide resources and referrals when needed such as for assisted living, mental health professionals, etc. 

In addition, Lisa in collaboration with the Temple’s Community Outreach Committee, plans Social Action and Interfaith Events such as Making Sandwiches for the Homeless and Mitzvah Day.  Lastly, Lisa is available for support and guidance to our B’nai Mitzvah Students as they figure out their Act of Tikkun Olam (a.k.a. Mitzvah Project).To help volunteer for Community of Caring/Community Outreach, please check out:  Www.Templealiyah.org/showyoucare

Alicia Cohen Kraus
Membership Engagement Director 

Alicia has dedicated her career to facilitating the growth of Jewish communities through positions with Hillel (CSUN, Univ. of Delaware and Old Dominion University), synagogues, and a JCC.  She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Occidental College, a M.A. in Jewish Communal Service (non-profit management) from Hebrew Union College and a M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from USC. After a decade on the east coast, Alicia is thrilled to be back in Los Angeles.  She is a proud Temple Aliyah ECE parent, at-home yogi, and Shabbat dinner host.

Ben Vorspan
Creative Director

 The son and grandson of rabbis, Ben sidestepped the family business (but not by far) by specializing in the field of synagogue & Jewish non-profit website design.  After serving as web producer for the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, Ben founded Inspired Multimedia, a web design company specializing in Jewish non-profit website design, as well as developed Tools 4 Shuls, a series of low-cost web applications specifically created for synagogues. 

In 2016, Ben joined the Temple Aliyah staff as Communications Director, and quickly became known for his creativity and vision.  Ben takes credit for many of the clever things you see, hear and interact with at Temple Aliyah, but in true introvert fashion, you’ll only hear him say it in a brief sentence buried in a bio at the bottom of a web page no one will ever read.

When he’s not making Aliyah great again, Ben spends time with his wife, Elana, and two energetic boys, Evan and Judah.  Ben is a firm believer that everything you need to know can be learned from TV, so you’ll often find him watching cooking and home improvement shows, or you’ll find him cooking or improving his home.