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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 partner of 24 years, Patrick Thomi, composer and musician, her adult son, Aaron, her 2 spoiled cats, and jewelry making. 

Contact information: 949-362-3999 ext 213,

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: Overseeing the educational programs for learners of all ages which ranges from supporting My Grown Up and Me, to b’nei mitzvah programs, all the way to adult education. If you want to learn about it, I can help!

Contact information: 949-362-3999 ext 102, 

Myka Thompson, Director of Operations

Myka is a Southern California native and the proud mother of two sons, Bryson and Preston. In 2011, she found Temple Beth El as a parent looking for an exceptional preschool to place her youngest son. Both the Judaic curriculum and full inclusion program were big draws for Myka. In 2013, an opportunity to join the Early Childhood Center staff arose, and Myka became the face of the temple’s preschool, greeting families, helping teachers, and working closely with the director to support the needs of the ECC program in its entirety. Starting in 2015, Myka moved into a full-time position with the temple and now supports our wide variety of programs, services and members. She is the go-to person at the temple for everything, and meets every challenge with a bright smile and can-do attitude. When Myka isn’t at the temple, she is enjoying her boys’ many baseball practices and games, or spending quality time with friends and family at the beach.

Contact information: 949-362-3999 ext 100 ,

Wendy Yesharim, Program Director/B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator

Wendy Yesharim wears many hats at Temple Beth El. She is the Program Director and B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator at Temple Beth El. She has been dedicated to the field of Jewish education for more than 20 years. Starting out as an assistant pre-school teacher on the east coast, she quickly learned that she has a love for supporting children and families. She also takes great pride in creating and developing, an educational consulting business focusing on the emotional and physical developmental needs of adolescents. Wendy earned an Early Childhood teaching and administrative certification from Saddleback College.  She is passionate about insuring that children have a positive and loving school experience. Wendy cherishes her time in and outside of the classroom. Temple Beth El has been her home since the opening of the ECC in 2001. Playing an active role in the Orange County Jewish community has allowed her the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of countless families. Fostering strong connections between parents, children and communities is her greatest passion.

Contact information: 949-362-3999 ext 317,

Kellie Herrick, Account Specialist

Born and raised in Southern California she currently resides in Huntington Beach. Proud mother of two sons, Jonathan who is currently serving in the U.S. Navy and residing in Virginia Beach, VA with his beautiful wife Victoria and Kyle, a Junior at Marina High School. Kellie is also blessed with two wonderful Grandsons,  Axle who just turned 5 in November and Rhys who turned 1 in December. She attended Irvine Valley College where she received an Associates of Science Degree in Accounting and Western College receiving an Associates of Art Degree in Paralegal Studies. She worked at Disneyland for almost 20 years where she was voted by her peers as the Cast Member of the Year within Security and Emergency Services in 2015. Kellie was very excited to join the Temple Beth El Team in December 2019. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her son Kyle, musical theater, building model doll houses, reading, the beach, sailing, and attending baseball and hockey games.

Responsibilities/duties: Providing member support on account issues with regards to membership, schools, donations, demographics and much more. Bookkeeping and accounts receivable items. Assisting with ShulCloud inquiries including member reports, donation reports, database management, dedication notifications and yahrzeits.

Contact information: 949-362-3999 ext 214,

Karol Johnson, Communications Coordinator

Responsibilities/duties: Managing social media content. Creating and design advertisements, newsletters, programing booklets, b'nei mitzvah pamphlets, brochures, banners, flyers, posters, logos and all marketing collateral. Coordinate release and processing of all digital and print media. Creating email blast content and layout. 

Contact information:, 949-362-3999 ext. 103

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: Providing customer service (in person and/or on the phone), answering phones, distributing incoming mail, sending invoices to accounting, applying checks and sending checks to the lockbox, sending out mailers, assisting CJL with any projects, assisting the ECC with pick up/drop off, assisting ECC with data entry and some accounting, filing, assisting in Friday night services (when in person), and calendar data entry.

Contact information: 949-362-3999 ext 316,

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,

Thu, January 20 2022 18 Shevat 5782