Sign In Forgot Password

Our Staff

Lisabeth Lobenthal (LB), Executive Director 

Lisabeth Lobenthal (LB) has dedicated her professional and volunteer life to the Jewish community.  Earning her Bachelors degree in Religious Studies from the University of Michigan and Masters in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University, she began her career in Federation work.  Soon after, she began serving synagogues in the capacity of Executive Director.  Lisabeth took a couple of breaks from synagogue work to dedicate her time to Israel-related organiazations, but returned to her true passion of synagogues in 2015.

She is dedicated to working in partnership with lay leaders, clergy, and staff to build a vibrant, welcoming, progressive community.  She has worked in and been affiliated with both the Reform and Conservative movements and is equally comfortable in both settings. 

Lisabeth is committed to a nurturing work environment, creating a positive and fulfilling experience for members, a culture of philanthropy and fulfilling the vision and potential of the synagogue. 

Her passions and joys outside of work are her husband, composer and musician, Patrick Thomi, her adult son, Aaron, her  spoiled cat, and jewelry making. 

Contact information: 949-362-3999 ext 213,

Michelle Onufer, Associate Executive Director 

Michelle is a business professional with a passion for process optimization and improving the user experience. She found her way into Jewish Communal Service after a career in Management; working in software development and UI/UX design.

Michelle is dedicated to fulfilling the strategic vision of this community. With a deep commitment to the experience of others, she will be partnering with lay leaders, clergy, and staff to nurture this progressive community; creating experiences where people experience

the joy of being Jewish.

With a B.S. in Management Science from the University of California, San Diego Michelle's background in Economics and Operations Research blended with her secular and Jewish work experience brings an eclectic mix of skills she is thrilled to share with this vibrant community.

When not at TBESOC, Michelle can be found enjoying the outdoors, riding her Peloton, crafting, or cheering on her kids sporting events.Contact information: 949-362-3999 ext 100,

Johannah Sohn, Director of Congregational Learning

Johannah has spent the entirety of her career working in the field of Jewish education; “it is my passion and I believe it is my calling,” she says. Johannah has had the opportunity to work with every age group from newborns to adults and loves helping to make Judaism come alive for everyone! She worked in many Jewish educational settings from religious schools, to camp, to Hillel and even a Jewish day school.

Johannah is a nationally recognized visionary and educational leader known for redefining elementary education through the conception of the Zebrack Design Lab (an innovative classroom environment based on Design Thinking principles). She has extensive experience in strategic planning, change management, curriculum development, and facilitation. As a flexible and adaptable professional with a proven history of working with diverse constituencies, her work includes coordinating, organizing, and inspiring both lay and professional leadership.

Committed to lifelong learning, Johannah has a master’s degree in education from American Jewish University, a doctorate in education from Northeastern University and is a proud alumna of the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI) at The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Responsibilities/duties: Contact  me for any questions regarding educational programs for learners of all ages, b’nei mitzvah programs and adult education. 

Contact information: 949-362-3999 ext 102, 

Melissa Nguyen, ECC Director

Ms. Melissa was a Director/Owner of a Preschool Facility in Garden Grove for 8 years.  She earned her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University Dominguez Hills and Bachelor of Arts in IDS in 2009. Ms. Melissa has many years of experience in the classroom with students in Early Childhood Education.  She loves to interact with young children and their inquisitive minds and wishes to continue to work with other educators to provide a great and safe learning environment for the young scholars. She is an educator with the passion to provide the best quality enrichment education to students of all ages. She believes every child has the potential to achieve great academic success when provided with the right learning tools and a strong supportive system.

Contact information: 949-362-3999 ext 317,

Samantha Hoffman, Director of Teen Programs/Assistant Director of the CJL

Samantha has spent her entire professional career working in youth education. Her favorite settings for education are not necessarily within the four walls of the classroom, in fact her passion for informal education led her to earn a Masters in Jewish Education with an Emphasis on Experiential Education from the Hebrew College.

Beginning with a Bachelors of the Arts in Modern Jewish Studies from Cal State Northridge, Samantha is grateful for her prior roles at Religious Schools, Jewish Day Schools and Jewish Overnight Summer Camps, where she was awarded the inaugural award for Excellence in Jewish Education from the Foundation for Jewish Camps.

When Samantha isn’t working she enjoys spending time with her husband Zach, daughter Dora and dog Kate. Her favorite hobbies include rooting for the New York Yankees and watching Lifetime Movies.

Contact information: 949-362-3999 ext 107,

Jesse Ramos, B. Mitzvah Coordinator

Shalom, my name is Jesse Ramos (Hebrew name Lev). I am from Delray Beach in Palm Beach County, Florida. I moved to California in early 2019 after graduating from the University of Central Florida. I currently live in Orange with my wonderful girlfriend, Laura, our dog and cat, Lady Stella and Miss Dahlia, plus several fish. Among my passions are theatre and film, aquaponics, the Miami Heat, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I love planning and organizing, especially for big moments in people's lives. I remember my bar mitzvah fondly, and understand the importance of making each celebration unique and tailored to the individual, while maintaining tradition and respect. I look forward to meeting you. I am honored to join the Temple Beth El community and look forward to growing together!

Contact Information:

Peter Greenberg, Bookkeeper

Peter is an accountant from the Boston area who recently moved out here to Southern Orange County.  He has many years of accounting experience both in the Non-profit and For-profit worlds.  He is happy to have found a community here at Temple Beth El and hopes to find someone to commiserate with about the Red Sox.

Contact information:

Daphna Danesh-McCoy, Administrative Assistant

Daphna started with Temple Beth El of South Orange County as a temporary employee in September 2020. She was hired as a full time employee in April 2021. Daphna was born in Newport Beach, CA and resides in Lake Forest with her husband of five years. She attended Irvine Valley College and received a certificate in Word Processing and Administrative Management in 2006. In her spare time she enjoys event planning, baking, cooking, and spending time with her husband and family.

Responsibilities/duties: Contact me for any questions regarding general temple information and the Early Childhood Center. 

Contact information: 949-362-3999 ext 316,

Brittany Roswell, Education Department Administrative Assistant


Brittany went to school in Scottsdale, Arizona with a focus in Interior Design. She then spent 25 years running and managing restaurants in Scottsdale, Arizona as well as throughout Orange County, California; everything from wine bars, to large scale casual dining, to fine dining, etc. What she enjoyed most was the attention to details as well as the hospitality aspect and the constant interaction with so many different people.

In 2019 she moved to Aliso Viejo and her children began attending Temple Beth El’s Early Childhood Center. In early 2020 she decided to make a huge life change in order to enjoy motherhood more and follow a longtime wish to work with and make a difference in the lives of children. She spent time as a substitute teacher and teacher’s assistant in the ECC while continuing her education in Early Childhood Development. In the Fall of 2022 she took on the role of Education Department Administrative Assistant. She is still continuing her education in Childhood Development as well as enjoying all aspects of being able to work with both the children and families within Temple Beth El’s Preschool and Religious School programs.

When she is not working, she is that mom that can always be heard miles away cheering from the sidelines of her children’s sporting events.

She also enjoys cooking, decorating, party planning, snowboarding, going to the beach, raising money and awareness for Childhood Cancer, enjoying quality family time with her husband and children, and making them laugh.

Contact Information: 949-362-3999 ext 303,



Juan Rodriguez, Maintenance Lieutenant

In 2003,Temple Beth El of South Orange County hired Facility Services Partners Inc. to provide the custodial support for our facility. At that time, Juan was working at SOKA University as Facility Services’ Facilities Engineer, and ever since has been leading the custodial team here at the temple. Juan loves that no two days are the same at Temple Beth El! He does everything from  fixing, repairing, and maintaining equipment to set ups and clean-ups. Juan and his wife have four amazing children.

Contact information: 949-891-3865,

Wed, March 29 2023 7 Nisan 5783