Temple Beth-El


Executive Director - Stuart Botwinick

Stuart Botwinick joined Temple Beth-El as executive director in August 2015. He has an extensive background as a Jewish communal professional. Prior to Temple Beth-El, Stu served as assistant executive director for development at the Sid Jacobson JCC in East Hills/Roslyn. He previously served the JCC as assistant executive director for programming, senior program director and director of teen services. Many of the JCC’s hallmark programs were developed under his leadership during his 15-year tenure.

Stu grew up in the Reform Movement, where he was active in Long Island Federation of Temple Youth (LIFTY). He participated in the Union for Reform Judaism’s first Kesher College Israel Experience. Stu is a past vice president of Temple Beth Elohim, which later merged with North Shore Synagogue.

Stu received a BA in Mathematics from SUNY Albany, a dual MA in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Studies from Gratz College and completed the Institute for Non-Profit Management program at Columbia University’s Business School.

Stu lives in Plainview with his wife, Dana, a teacher, and his children, Greg and Layna. When not at the synagogue, Stu can be found surfing the Internet, working in his yard, strolling the Jones Beach boardwalk or spending the weekend at an amusement park. An avid fan of ’80s and ’90s pop culture, he welcomes your music, movie and TV trivia questions.

Contact Stu at .

Director of Early Childhood Education - Karen Wasserman

In October of 2023, Karen assumed the position of  Director of Early Childhood Education. Since 2005, she has been an Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) teacher, spending most of that time in Pre-K classrooms. She has also been director of our summer program for the past two years.

“Engaging our young children in new learning, helping to build resilience and critical thinking, and enhancing social-emotional development are chief among my goals as morah, and as interim director, I look forward to the opportunity to work with all of the teachers and classrooms, and to support and guide the wonder and beauty that motivates all of us each day,” says Karen.

Karen has always been committed to bringing joy into the lives of children. Prior to teaching, she worked in the toy industry and brand management for children’s intellectual properties. She raised her children here in Great Neck, and they had the privilege of attending E.M. Baker School and graduating from Great Neck North Middle and High Schools. They became Bat Mitzvah at Temple Beth-El. She and her husband are also graduates of the Great Neck Public Schools system, and continue to enjoy being part of the Great Neck community.

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Director of Operations and Member Liaison - Joy Palevsky

After a long career in the corporate world, Joy brought her experience to Temple Beth-El in September 2014 to serve as office manager—and has been managing the front office and helping resolve congregants’ needs ever since. She will now be stepping into a new role as Director of Operations and Member Liaison. In addition to her work in the office, her new role will include attending our Erev Shabbat service each week as well as supporting other temple programs and activities. 

Joy is a member of the International Facility Management Association. She volunteers with the Alan T Brown Foundation to Cure Paralysis and with Queens Friends of the Library. Joy resides in Briarwood, Queens.

Contact Joy at .

Controller - Cari Horn

Cari Horn joined Temple Beth-El as controller in January 2006. She has decades of financial experience.

After earning her BS in Finance from New York University in 1988, Cari worked for corporations and organizations including Putnum-Berkley Publishing Company, NYC Office of Management and Budget, and KeyCorp. More recently, she has focused on nonprofit accounting.

Joy is a curious person who is known for warmth and helps people create.

Director of Engagement & Programming - Joy Allen

Joy Allen has been part of the Temple Beth-El team, working in various roles since she began in August 2014. During the past few years, she has spent a significant portion of her time interacting with our temple families while focusing on synagogue-wide programming, social-action initiatives, teen engagement and students within our Kulanu school.

Joy is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Innovation at the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, part of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. She previously earned a certificate in Human Resources Fundamentals from Baruch College and a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies from Queens College.

Raised in Great Neck, Joy started her journey at Temple Beth-El shortly after marrying her husband, Josef. Throughout her tenure, the couple welcomed daughters Violet, 5, and Simonne, 3, and puppy, Jerry. The loving mom has been a proud and active parent within Temple Beth-El’s early childhood for the past four years.

When she’s not creating fun recipes, you can often find the Great Neck resident sipping homemade iced coffee, sitting in local coffee shops, or playing in the park with her family.

Contact Joy at .