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Rabbi Search Committee Members

The Rabbi Search Committee members were chosen based on their extensive knowledge of and personal investment in Ner Tamid over time, with insight into the general needs and aspirations of our membership.   These committee members serve alongside our dedicated Board of Trustees and committee advisors.


Rafael, or Rafi, was born in Israel and found his way to San Diego in 2009. He and his wife, Shuly, and their 3 children have made Ner Tamid their home. All 3 children celebrated their Bar/Bat Mitzvah at the synagogue. Rafi also has 2 children from a previous marriage and a grandson.
Rafi has volunteered at Ner Tamid from the time he joined us. Every Saturday you can find him on the bimah reading Torah. He regularly attends services and activities. He and Shuly have opened their home to host Rosh Hodesh, Schmoozers, and a variety of other get-togethers. Rafi and Shuly have become such an integral part of Ner Tamid that they were honored in 2017 at our annual gala.
Rafi is a locksmith so there's no excuse for not participating in synagogue services or activities because you locked yourself out of your house or car. Most importantly, Rafi cares about Ner Tamid, its congregants, and its future.


Terry & Paul z'l and their 8 month old son, David, moved to San Diego from Washington, DC in December 1986. Within a few months they found a Conservative start-up synagogue that was meeting in various schools in the RB/Poway area. They started participating in services and events and watched Ner Tamid grow and evolve. A second son, Matthew joined the family in 1990 and both boys were educated and celebrated their Bar Mitzvahs at Ner Tamid. Terry became more active, serving on several committees and eventually on the Board. Ner Tamid has been the only synagogue the Whittens attended since they settled in Rancho Bernardo.
Terry was born and raised in the Bronx and Yonkers, NY. She earned her BA and teaching certificate at SUNY Albany and her MEd in Counseling at Penn State. She worked at Penn State and Georgetown University before realizing her dream of becoming a teacher. A part-time summer job led to an opportunity at the World Bank in Washington, DC and she spent the next few years traveling the globe as part of a team that delivered seminars to developing countries. Terry has tried to use her skills for the benefit of her family and her community. She helped start a local group of Hadassah in 1987 and has served in various positions at the local, greater San Diego, and southern California levels.
Since the death of her beloved Paul in 2016 Terry has become an integral part of life at Ner Tamid. She is a regular participant at services, supports the activites at Ner Tamid, is serving on several committees and has come to appreciate the warmth, generosity of spirit, and friendships that have embraced her. She is excited about being involved in helping select the next Rabbi of Ner Tamid. It has been an incredible journey from the little shul she discovered in 1987.
Doug is interested in the historic origins of Jewishness, and is excited to join the search for a rabbi who will foster the tradition and inclusive community at Ner Tamid that the Bergmans have been privileged to be a part of since 2015.
After an unsatisfying half-career as a utility economist in Sacramento, Doug reinvented himself as mathemaperson at a small San Diego company focusing on voice biometric and computer hardware algorithms, and recently moved on to develop anatomic object recognition technology in x-rays.
Doug's wife, Nancy, raised over $50,000 for Ner Tamid as last year's gala chairman, and knows more about residential investment property and construction and avoiding first-timer pitfalls than just about anyone else in the real estate business.
Doug's proudest moments were his daughter Sammi becoming a bat mitzvah at Ner Tamid in 2018, and his son Levi making a double play at first base.

Merrill was born in Brooklyn, New York (too many years ago) and was raised in Connecticut. She and her husband relocated to CA in 1974 for his work at General Atomics.

Merrill has an MS in Education and taught elementary school general education and middle school remedial reading both in Connecticut and Valley Center, CA for a total of 38 years. She has been retired since 2003.
Merrill has 2 adult children and 2 grandchildren.
One of her passions is volunteering behind-the-scenes at PowPAC, the community theater on Poway Rd.
She found Ner Tamid in 2011 and fell in love with the Rabbi. It is where her grandson had his bar mitzvah and the synagogue holds a special place in her heart.
Merrill is honored to be on the Rabbi Search committee with this dedicated group


President and Founder, Barons Market

Joe Shemirani graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Civil Engineering. In 1978, he and his wife moved to San Diego to follow his dream of starting his own business. Wanting to fill the void for a smaller, easily navigable grocery store, Joe and his family opened the first Barons Market store in Point Loma in 1993. Barons Market has since grown to seven locations with two new locations set to open in 2019, and currently employs over 300 people.

Joe is named as one of the Top 500 Influential Business Leaders in San Diego by the San Diego Business Journal and in 2018, Barons Market was awarded “Outstanding Multi-Store Independent Grocery Store” by Progressive Grocery Magazine, a national trade magazine. His daughters, Rachel and Dana also work at Barons Market and serve as Vice Presidents of the company. Joe and his wife, Judy, live in Poway.

The Shemirani’s joined Ner Tamid in 1994. His son, Sean, and daughter, Dana,celebrated their B’nei Mitzvahs at Ner Tamid. The family has been an integral part of the Ner Tamid family ever since. Their generosity of time, caring, and donations have helped grow and sustain the synagogue. Joe has joined the Rabbinic Search Committee as an advisor


ANN SPECTOR, Acting VP of Ritual

Shortly after moving to Poway in 1989, Ann and her family (husband, Andrew, and infant son, Sam) joined Ner Tamid in order to affiliate with a local, Conservative, egalitarian synagogue. She was recruited for the Board and has served as Recording Secretary, Ritual Committee member, Education Chair, Ritual Committee member, and Vice President. In addition, Ann served as Treasurer of the Ner Tamid Sisterhood which was an active organization until 2005.

Her son, Sam, attended religious school and became a Bar Mitzvah at Ner Tamid. Ann reads Torah and chants Haftarah and enjoys participating in Shabbat and holiday services.

Ann grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. She received a B.A. in Drama from Washington University in St. Louis, MO and an M.B.A. from UCLA Graduate School of Management. She worked in commercial banking for several years in northern California before starting a family and relocating to Poway when her husband accepted a job in San Diego.

Sun, July 21 2019 18 Tammuz 5779