Facebook Blog



Ellen Torres - President


Ellen Torres has been connected to Las Cruces since 1975 when her father, an engineer, was transferred to work at White Sands Missile Range, and he moved the Deutschman family here from Buffalo, New York.  Las Cruces remained Ellen’s home base throughout her many years in New York and then California, moving here permanently in 2012 and joining Temple Beth-El. Ellen has been a teacher and school administrator for over 20 years, and is currently an Assistant Principal at Mayfield High School.

Ellen has volunteered at Temple Beth-El in many capacities, including being Chairperson of the Adult Education Committee, Volunteer Coordinator for the Jewish Food and Folk Festival, and Secretary of the Board of Trustees. She was elected President of the Board on May 10, 2016.

Ellen has three loving children–Sheba, Shira, and Shan, and three precious grandsons—Jaden, Tyler, and Ayden. She finds great support and solace in her wonderful husband, Fred.


Jeff Lewis - Vice President


Avis and I moved to Las Cruces in May of 2012, after spending 27 years living in South Florida.

The majority of my career was spent in working in the group health insurance industry as a claims examiner, supervisor, and cost control consultant for large corporations primarily Caterpillar Tractor Company in Peoria, Illinois. I spent 13 year with Metropolitan Life, and than numerous years in South Florida as claims manager for several HMOs.

At Temple Beth El, in addition to the Mensch Club, I am chairperson of the Religious Practices Committee and am a member of the social action committee.

I am a good listener and look forward to my time on the board. Listening and compromise has become a lost art in our society, and I hope I can bring both to the board.

 allen blum

Allen Blum - Treasurer


I was born, raised and educated in Connecticut. Joined the working world as a Biological Science teacher before moving to the private business of Consumer Goods Companies.  Before retiring in 2008, Michele and I moved to Las Cruces in 2007 were we integrated into the southwest life style.  We joined Temple Beth-El in 2009, to continue with our religious beliefs.  I have maintained an active role in our Pueblos Home Owners Association, serving as an Executive Board Member.  I enjoy maintaining a very active life style by playing a lot of golf, participating in Spin programs along with many other physical activities.  I would like to note that Michele and I will be celebrating our 42 wedding anniversary in July.




Diane Fleishman - Secretary


Diane Fleishman and her husband Stu decided to retire to Las Cruces on the third day of their visit here. One deciding factor was the welcome they received from Temple Beth El.  Diane has been active in every congregation  they have belonged to as they moved around the country. I hope that my experience in larger and smaller congregations can add to the TBE community. I have a passion for Jewish education and community building and support our efforts for social action. Diane retired from Millersville University in PA where she was responsible for internships, career services and community services and where she learned the value of creating and maintaining relationships on and off campus. She also held numerous positions in professional organizations including conference planning and management.


Ned Rubin - Trustee 


Ned retired as an addictions and health psychologist in Milwaukee in 2013 when he and his wife, Francine, moved to Las Cruces to escape the Midwest winter.  He had heard about the synagogue and rabbi here at TBE from the cantor where he was previously a member and joined very soon after relocating.  His interests lie in the area of Jewish ethics and values applied to modern life and the role and place of Judaism in a larger cultural context.  

 Jeff 1

  Jeff Brown - Trustee


Jeff Brown is a native of Chicago.  Cherri and Jeff moved to Las Cruces and joined the Temple in 1984.  Jeff is chair of the TBE History Committee and has previously served on the Board of Trustees, as a Temple officer and as a member of other committees.  He retired from NMSU as an associate dean and emeritus History faculty member in 2016.  Jeff is very happy to provide service to the Temple.





Ann Berkson - Trustee


My husband and I have been in Las Cruces and members of Temple Beth El for 26 years.  This is the second time I have served on the TBE board. In 1994, I co-founded the 2004 Fund that led to the building of our new synagogue. My granddaughters are in the Sunday school and my son just came off the board.  I believe that temple security and starting an endowment fund are important to the future of our congregation and for ensuring that TBE is my grandchildren's home for Jewish learning for years to come.


Mike Lieberman - Trustee


Michael Lieberman moved to Las Cruces in January 1980 and joined Temple Beth-El about 1992. He retired from the United States Department of Agriculture, Southwestern Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory in 2009. He has served as chair of the Building and Grounds Committee and on the TBE Board of Directors for about 20 years, Vice – president of BOD, on and chair of the (then) Worship Committee, and contributed toward many other temple committees and functions.  I was involved with the functioning of B&G and the Board during the transition from the Parker temple through this location.  I was involved with the formation of the Mensch club.




Pearie Bruder  - Trustee


My husband Ronnie and I are Las Cruces natives.  Ron and I came back home after graduating from Temple University and living in Philadelphia for many years.  I've worked in many various leadership roles throughout my life and career from Girl Scout cookie mom to Lion's Club fundraising coordinator.  I have been involved with Temple Beth El in many capacities.  I very much enjoy all the work with an especially strong passion for our Religious School.  Our family is committed to the contributing to building a strong foundation to ensure our Temple's longevity. 






Susan Michelson - Trustee


Susan Michelson and her husband, Bill Stein, moved from the Washington DC area to Las Cruces in 2003.  Susan was a corporate vice-president with Science Applications International Corporation and retired in 2008.  She has been active in both TBE Sisterhood and various TBE fund raising activities.  Susan also is on the board of the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society.  Susan and Bill have travelled three times to Israel and have had wonderful educational and cultural experiences there, and recommend that every one of our members should consider visiting..


Sue Brown - Trustee


Susan Brown came to Las Cruces in 1971, earned a doctorate from NMSU and worked there for 30 years providing academic support services to undergraduate and graduate students. Currently she is on a national team, training professionals who are assisting low-income, first-generation students to successfully enter and graduate from college.

She joined TBE in 1980, has served as co-advisor of BETY, participated on the social justice committee, attended adult ed classes, and volunteered at many events. She is particularly interested in Temple Beth El's involvement with social justice issues and takes pride in joining members of TBE and other community groups to ensure fairness for all. Two of her grandchildren are currently enrolled in religious school.



Rabbi Larry Karol


Rabbi Larry Karol came to Temple Beth-El in 2011 after he held positions in Dayton, Ohio (3 years); Topeka, Kansas (22 years); and Dover, New Hampshire (5 years).  He met his wife Rhonda in 1981 (just after his rabbinic ordination) while she was working at the Dayton Jewish Center, and they were married in 1982. Their son, Adam, was born in 1986 and now lives in New York City and works for the Union for Reform Judaism while pursuing a career as an R&B/Soul singer, songwriter and performer.Rabbi Karol enjoys music (listening, singing and songwriting) and working with congregants and community members to bring to life the Jewish values of respect and consideration for all people, principles that guide his teaching at Temple and his participation in multicultural and multifaith pursuits.  













missing person

Mensch Club