Director of Congregational Learning
Ben grew up outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, as an active member of his temple youth programs. He was a NFTY regional board member in high school and later became the president of Hillel at NC State University where he received a degree in Religious Studies. Ben spent time working at synagogues in the Raleigh and Boston areas before landing in Santa Barbara, CA, where he spent seven years as the Director of Youth Engagement at a Reform congregation. He has also spent ten years as Jewish overnight camp staff and as a counselor and song leader for NFTY events, and was awarded lifetime membership to NFTY-SoCal for all he provided to the region. Ben is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Jewish education in Hebrew Union College’s Executive Master’s Program for synagogue educators. His wife, Dalia, is working on her doctoral dissertation in English literature. Ben and Dalia moved to Omaha to join the Temple Israel community in 2019. Feel free to ask Ben about his history as a comedian and ballroom dance competitor.
Cassandra Hicks Weisenburger
Director of Communications
Cassandra Weisenburger moved to Omaha in 2006 to attend Creighton University where she majored in Graphic Design and Photojournalism. Cassandra has worked for Temple Israel since 2011 and also does photography on the side. She was married in August 2017 to her husband, Joel Weisenburger. She has two cats, Gizmo and Bob, and enjoys spending her free time volunteering at the Nebraska Humane Society.
Director of Engagement and Events
Mindi is friendly, energetic, outgoing, hard-working, and passionate about Jewish life, qualities that make her the perfect fit for this role. Having grown up at Temple Israel, Mindi has deep roots in our congregation and in the Omaha Jewish community. Since returning to Omaha several years ago, Mindi has been active as a Jewish educator, teaching religious school at Beth El, and as a volunteer leader at Temple Israel. Mindi’s many recent contributions to our congregation having been meaningful and impactful, including her work as co-chair of our Adult Purim Bash (both last year and this year), as a participant in our Leadership Development class, as a member of our Temple Board of Trustees, and as the co-chair of the search committee that found and selected Ben Mazur as our Director of Congregational Learning.
Misty began working at Temple Israel in 2006. She previously worked for nine years as Office Manager at a meat packing plant. She grew up in Defiance, Iowa and currently lives in Minden, Iowa with her husband Bryan and two sons, Brody and Tyler. In her free time, Misty enjoys golfing, scrapbooking, and spending time with family.
Youth Engagement Coordinator
Ben grew up outside St. Louis, Missouri, and is joining us from Denver, Colorado, where he graduated in June with a B.A. in History and minors in Judaic Studies and Psychology. In high school, he was heavily involved with Jewish youth programs, serving on his temple youth group board and later on the NFTY Missouri Valley regional board as communications vice president. He spent three years at the URJ Kutz Camp, where he found his Jewish identity as a camper and then a two-time staff member.
At the University of Denver, Ben served as President of DU Hillel for a year, bringing dynamic programming to that community. Starting this past October, Ben began working as a part-time interim youth advisor at Temple Emanuel in Denver, a congregation of 2,000 member families while finishing his senior year. Ben saw his numbers double for NFTY event engagement and increased meeting frequencies during his tenure, as he empowered his teens to do more and think out-of-the-box.
In his free time, Ben enjoys playing guitar, traveling to see family, discovering new coffee shops and restaurants, as well as hiking.
Michelle was born and raised in Omaha and joined the Temple Israel staff in 2016. She attended Arizona State University and previously worked as an advocate for elder care in various communities in the Omaha area. Michelle loves being a mom to her two sons, Brady and Collin, and in her free time enjoys horticulture, painting, reading, hiking, the outdoors, and spending time with family.
Jeff was born in New York City and lived there until he moved to a dairy farm in Connecticut at age 12. He has a BS in Biochemistry from Marietta College in Ohio, a Masters Degree in Food Science from the University of Georgia, and a Master of Arts in Business from Central Michigan University. He spent 38 years in the Food Industry and then joined the Temple Israel staff in 2018 after retiring and had to fill the big shoes of Vicki Ducharme. Jeff has also served on the Temple Israel Board and been treasurer 3 times.
Jeff has two grown daughters, one in Seattle and one in Denver. He sings in two choirs, Kol Rina at Temple Israel and the Mastersingers of Omaha, and loves music, especially jazz and classical. In his free time, Jeff enjoys reading, theater, running, biking, and exercise. His other hobby is sports car racing and he volunteers as a corner worker for the Sports Car Club of America and has traveled all over the US and Canada working races. Jeff currently lives in Carter Lake and has two cats.
Scott was born and raised here in Omaha. He attended the college of life, majoring in “jack-of-all-trades.” He’s worked in many areas and has been at Temple Israel for 8 years. Scott has owned many pets including dogs, gerbils and frogs. He enjoys collecting crystals/rocks and creating art in his free time.