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Karen Goldstick and Marcia Meislin were introduced at a Romemu gathering of emerging lay leaders to learn more about Romemu culture and what it means to deepen community. They met for dinner afterward, and in that Indian restaurant, began mapping out their vision on the back of a napkin.  Blending Karen's serious, down-to-earth, get-it-done quality with Marcia's enthusiastic, high energy, engage the people approach, they became quick partners,  co-chairing the Yad b'Yad (hand in hand) Committee with a robust mission to strengthen the bonds of community. 

Karen and Marcia, together with much support from staff and other volunteers, built programs, events, and leadership teams to onboard and welcome new members and deepen and weave connections between members. Their teams' accomplishments include: 

  • Expanding the Home Hosting Program to organize small groups of guests to engage in themed Shabbat dinners. Their goal was to make sure that every Romemu member found a place for themselves at a Shabbat table. Since the start of the pandemic, this program has continued on Zoom.
  • Enhancing the New Member Orientation to include contacting new members one-on-one through a phone bank. Later, this evolved into  the "Ambassador Program" helping to welcome and shepherd new members to find their place in the community. Under the care and guidance of Elyse Frishman, who succeeded Marcia as co-chair, a new offering was born, called "Romemu Reconnect" to re-engage and reconnect long-term members with each other and with Rabbi Ingber in small groups. 
  • Creating home-based Havdalah programs to end Shabbat with creative poetry, dance, ritual, and high impact activities
  • Cross-pollinating with other Romemu initiatives such as temple greeters, Romemu's 10th-year anniversary celebrations, social action, community retreats, getting-to-know-you workshops, and lay leadership council.
  • During the pandemic, Karen and Elyse began a Sabbath Candle Lighting Program with informal shmoozing, poetry, psalms, and parables, followed by Shabbat rituals of candle lighting and Kiddush.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Marcia and Karen served on a task force that founded "Sacred Conversations", in which trained facilitators lead 90-minute conversations with diverse members to share how they're faring during this challenging year, reflect on what it means to be part of a community, and how being part of Romemu has deepened their lives.

Individually, these two passionate and indefatigable leaders have also contributed to Romemu in other ways. Read their bios below to learn more.

We can't wait to see you at the benefit on Tuesday, May 25th, 7-8 PM to honor these two women and to offer gratitude to Romemu for its innovation in embodied prayer, ritual renewal, its "big tent", and pioneering sense of community that integrates local neighborhood with satellite communities all around the globe!

Read Karen's and Marcia's bios below.

Caring for her Jewish community is what Karen has enjoyed for decades.  Finding ways for people to connect to each other while participating in “Jewish experiences” is her passion and what fills much of her discretionary time.  This is a labor of love in which she finds meaning, purpose and fulfillment.  “Weaving the threads of community” best summarizes her lay leadership mantra.

After 25 years in Westchester County, Karen and her husband, Jonathan started spending weekends in New York City.  They discovered Romemu with its unique blend of Torah and music.  Soon after, Friday night services and Shabbat morning services with a walk back and forth across the park became a weekly routine.  After a year and a half, it was time to meet the others in the pews and become members.  So began the slow but steady path of hosting, committee meetings, and chairing committees.   Laurie Wolko and Jamie Askin taught her what it meant to host Romemu style, Marcia Meislin exemplified how to “get it done” with a laugh (Karen is thrilled to share this honor with her), and Elyse Frishman shared a career of Jewish learning and organization.  Karen’s passion for community has resulted in the continuation of existing programs, reinforcing others, and creating new ones – New Membership Orientation, Romenu Reconnect, Havdalah programs, Lay Leadership Council, Shabbat Home Hosting, Shabbat Blessings, and Sacred Conversations. 

Karen was born in NYC and grew up in West Orange, NJ.  She attended the University of Vermont (suspiciously close to ski country) but graduated with a BFA from Parsons School of Design.  She began her career as a lighting designer right out of school.  After twenty years working for lighting design firms, she established Goldstick Lighting Design (GLD) which was her solution to balancing being a mom of two sons and her career.  “If you build it, they will come,” and so they did.  Now in its 22nd year, GLDs claim to fame is designing all the interior lighting for The Barclays Center in Brooklyn.  

Not surprisingly, Karen was president of her suburban synagogue, The Jewish Community of Harrison.  She was as active there as she is at Romemu, hence the original claim.  She follows in the footsteps of her beloved mother, Gerda Langendorff, who was Sisterhood treasurer until a few months before she left this world.

Five years ago Jonathan and Karen moved full-time to the Upper West Side.  Their two sons and daughter-in-law, Evan, Alex and Rachel, also live in NYC.  The MTA subway system has made it easy to remain the close-knit family Karen loves and cherishes.

Marcia Meislin was born with a calling to service. It's in her DNA.

In 1923, sixteen year-old Jacob Meislin arrived at Ellis Island from Russia. Already a vegetarian and humanitarian, he found a life partner in Millie, who married his ideals with her warm and indefatigable spirit. They created community in their home, where their Shabbos table was a meatless, lively feast, a hub for people facing hard times, and a place to discuss everything from Torah to Esperanto, a common language that could connect the world.

As the youngest of their five children, Marcia absorbed into her fabric her family’s Jewish and communal values. She graduated Cornell with a degree in Human Development, Cambridge College with an M.Ed., and the Gestalt Center of Long Island as a Gestalt therapist. She held a NYS Mental Health License, and certifications in Professional Coaching and Wise Aging Facilitation.

As a transformational leader, Marcia’s calling is to help people find and ignite their own spark. She began her career working with adolescents, transitioned to a VP role at NatWest Bank teaching managers authentic communication skills, and in 1987, founded MCM Management Consultants. Her clients include NASA, Life's WORC, Topps, LVMH, OU, and UJA-Federation of New York.

In 2013, Marcia published “The Goodbye Cookie; A Memoir About Never Giving Up” in which she revealed her 150 pound weight loss and the alienation she once felt. Because of her own struggles, she became passionate about empowering others. 

Growing up Orthodox in Monsey, NY, Marcia attended HIROC Yeshiva, then Ramaz High School in NYC. She has been a member of Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist Synagogues, but finally found the right fit with Romemu's “Judaism for body, mind and spirit.” Along with the indomitable and brilliant Karen Goldstick, Marcia has been co-chair of Yad b’Yad and Home Hosting, as well as a lay leader for Sacred Conversations. She was the co-chair for the 2016 community retreat, co-facilitator for “Getting to Know You”, and co-founder of Romemu’s 12 steps through a Jewish Lens. 

Marcia’s family is the wind beneath her wings. Her husband Dr. Steve Weinstein has not only been her best friend and life partner for 37 years, but he can offer the right wine for any food or mood; a perfect pairing. Their two sons, Jon and Adam, live in Stamford, CT and Manhattan, and they are all surrounded by an extended family full of love, joy, and laughter.

Tue, November 28 2023 15 Kislev 5784