History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
Beth Israel Memorial Chapel opened its doors in January 1982 with one funeral director and a staff of 5. We now employ 7 full-time licensed directors and a support staff of over 35 people, including 19 licensed pre-need counselors.
Beth Israel has helped more than 23,000 families in their time of need. In addition, over 34,000 people have entrusted their pre-need arrangements to us. We offer such a high level of compassion and service that the families who call on us do not feel as if they are being treated like just another number.
On June 1, 2003 we celebrated the opening of our 2nd fabulous chapel, located on the corner of Jog and Woolbright Roads in western Boynton Beach. With an area greater than 10,000 square feet and seating to accommodate more than 250 people, this facility has been described by many as the finest Jewish memorial chapel in the southeast. “What we really tried to do was to create a building the community can be proud of,” said Robert C. Mandell, Founder. “We have a very spacious and magnificent lobby and chapel with beautiful chandeliers and custom stained glass windows. We are surrounded by lovely and lush landscaping, which offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere.” The building also offers a separate pre-need area so families inquiring about planning in advance do not have to worry about interfering with a funeral service that may be taking place at the same time.
In February 2004, we completed the total renovation of our original funeral home on West Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach . The three month project was embarked upon so that the Delray facility would match the beauty that was created in Boynton. “We felt that the thousands of people who have entrusted their pre-arrangements to us deserve to have their services conducted in a wonderful setting, no matter which of our chapels they chose,” remarked Philip Wishna, Director of Marketing & Community Relations and the Pre-Need Manager. “After 22 years, it was time for a face-lift.”
In addition to the two beautiful state-of-the-art chapels, our facilities include a pre-need conference center located in the Kings Point Shopping Center in Delray Beach.
Whether plans call for local ground burial or mausoleum entombment, or burial out of state, Beth Israel is the area’s leader in Jewish funeral service and pre-arrangements. This allows us to offer the utmost personal care and attention to the families that entrust us with their arrangements.
Our Valued Staff
Darren Shapiro, General Manager
Mr. Darren Shapiro relocated to South Florida from Detroit/Bloomfield Hills Michigan in 2005 to Join Levitt-Weinstein Memorial Chapels and Beth David. Soon after, The Levitt Group joined Palm Beach Memorial, Beth Israel Memorial Chapels and Eternal Light Memorial Gardens where Mr. Shapiro serves as Regional General Manager. Shapiro lives in Boca Raton where he is very active in the local community.
Philip Wishna, Sales Manager
Phil began his career at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel shortly after its inception and has been the Pre-Need Sales Manager since 1983. He has seen the company grow from humble beginnings to become the area’s leader in Jewish funeral service and pre-need planning. Phil has been active in many fraternal and charitable organizations and has served on the Board of Directors of his synagogue and the Levis Jewish Community Center. He takes great pride in the fact that Beth Israel has helped thousands of families ease the burdens their loved ones face at the time of need by pre-planning.
Phil and his wife Sharon live in Boca Raton and have 2 sons.
Gina Woods, Office Manager
Kenneth M Kay, Funeral Home Manager
Kenneth Kay is the manager of Beth Israel Memorial Chapel’s Boynton chapel and has been involved with funeral service since 1968. After working summers for a leading Jewish funeral home in Miami Beach while attending the University of South Florida, Ken took a full time position after graduation with a degree in Political Science. While honing his skills as a funeral professional, he attained a mortuary science degree and obtained his Florida Funeral Director license. Sixteen years later Ken left his position as Vice President and went on to own and operate his own funeral home, Eternal Light Funeral Directors, in North Miami Beach.
After sixteen successful years at the helm of his own company, he eventually sold that firm and joined Beth Israel Memorial Chapels in the year 2000. He has been with Beth Israel ever since, and was named as the manager of the Boynton location when it opened in 2003. Ken and his well trained team take great satisfaction in bringing comfort to the families they serve and are proud to have Beth Israel recognized as the leading Jewish chapel serving Boynton Beach and the surrounding areas. Ken lives in Boynton with his wife of 34 years and is the father of 2 sons.
Edward Rusnak, Funeral Home Manager
Ed Rusnak joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel 4 years ago and is a Location Manager. He is a board member of Temple Beth Tikuah, he also volunteers with his service dog, Luigi, at Morse Life Senior Living Center and Hospice by the Sea.
Ed has been in the funeral industry since 1975. When we asked what attracted Ed to this field, he said: “I worked for my friend's father in my hometown. He was very respected and admired by the community.”
Ed enjoys golf, sporting events, travel, sports memorabilia, and family and friends.
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Ed said: “About 6 months ago I received the highest kudo as a funeral director from a family. The family compared me to Clarence the Angel of the movie It's a Wonderful Life.”
Jenny Adair, Funeral Care Center Manager
Jenny Adair joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel 7 years ago and is a Funeral Director.
Jenny and her husband went to mortuary school together to follow in her fathers footsteps as funeral directors. When we asked what attracted Jenny to this field, She said: “Growing up watching my father become one of the most well respected funeral directors in our area and seeing firsthand how he interacted with families, caring for them as they were his own family; developed a passion within myself to carry on as a second generation funeral director serving the families of Palm Beach county.”
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Jenny said: “Hearing how pleased the family was with how their loved one looked never gets old. I strive to please each family I serve and I consider it an honor and privilege to do what I do for a living.”
Kathryn Kippur, Funeral Director & Care Center
Kurt Weise, Funeral Director & Embalmer
Kevin White, Funeral Director
Kevin White joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel 12 years ago and is a Funeral Director. He is a member of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Wellington.
Kevin started in the funeral industry in NY in 1979. When we asked what attracted Kevin to this field, He said: “Helping those at a difficult time.”
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Kevin said: “Every day is rewarding!”
Mel Mesnekoff, Funeral Director
Michael Register, Funeral Director
Michael Register joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel recently and is a Funeral Director.
Michael started in 1990 as a student at Miami-Dade Community College and has worked in south Florida ever since. When we asked what attracted Michael to this field, he said: “In high school I was in Health Occupation Students of America and one of the rotations was a local funeral home. I was amazed at the number of details involved.”
Michael enjoys spending time with family and friends.
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Michael said: “Every time I get a hug or nice comment or letter from a family that I served.”
Gary H Arnold, Funeral Director
Gary Arnold is a 45 year veteran funeral director and has been part of the Beth Israel team for the past five years. Gary began his career while serving in the US Navy overseas, and chose funeral service because of the very positive experiences and valuable training he received during his Navy service. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry in 1968, Gary enrolled in the Miami-Dade School of Mortuary Science and completed his licensing requirements. Recognized for his knowledge of funeral service, Gary was offered an opportunity to join the faculty of Lynn University School of Mortuary Science in Boca Raton to teach Funeral Home Management and Funeral Law -- a position he held for eight years. Gary continues to find great satisfaction in helping families when they most desperately need it. He is a member of the Jewish War Veterans and has been happily married for 41 years. He enjoys spending time with his three children and being “Pop Pop” to his six grandchildren. Beth Israel Chapel is gratified to have Gary on staff and helping to bring compassionate and caring service to the families it serves.
John Brooks, Funeral Director
John Brooks joined the staff at Levitt Weinstein and is a Funeral Director. John graduated from John A. Gupton College in Nashville, TN. He joined NorthStar in February 2006 at Palm Beach Memorial Park in Lantana, FL. He enjoys traveling, reading and dining out.
Philip M. Weinstein, Funeral Director
A licensed funeral director in south Florida since 1969. Mr. Weinstein has had extensive experience in all aspects of the funeral and the cemetery industries for either local or out of state burials. He has been a resident of south Florida for 64 years
Philip m. Weinstein has been involved in the south Florida community his entire professional career. He is a member of many elder service networking organizations and is on the Government Affairs Committee of the Florida Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Directors Association. Philip is the past chairman of the Board of Trustees of University Hospital, Tamarac, FL.
Steven Helton, Funeral Director
Neil Levine, Family Service Counselor
Susan Semegram, Family Service Counselor
Charles Schwartz, Family Service Counselor
Ed Dolins, Family Service Counselor
I am a Pre-Need Family Service Counselor.
I came out of retirement in 2006 searching for something meaningful to do with my time and have enjoyed the past eight and a half years of working with families.
I have been married for 55 years to a wonderful helpful wife and have 3 successful children and four grandchildren.
I am a thirty second degree mason and have been for fifty five years.
Irwin M. Schultz, Family Service Counselor
Albert Aron, Family Service Counselor
Larry Schwartz, Family Service Counselor
Larry Schwartz joined Beth Israel Memorial Chapel in the sales department 5 years ago and is a pre-arrangement counselor. He has been a member of the Kol Tikual congregation in Parkland for 22 years.
Larry was a pre arrangement counselor for 13 years before coming to Beth Israel. When we asked what attracted Larry to this field, He said: “My parents and in-laws made pre-arrangements. I thought it was a terrific idea, believed in it, and felt I could convey that to others.”
Larry is married to Nancy with son, Jonathan, daughter, Jaclyn and son-in-law, Dan and enjoys golf and traveling.
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Larry said: “Every time I help a family in any capacity, it is rewarding.”
Beverley Bernstein, Family Service Counselor
Irene Leffler, Family Service Counselor
Jack Lawrence, Family Service Counselor
Helaine Lawrence, Family Service Counselor
Janice McAlister, Family Service Counselor
Eli Karagoulla, Family Service Counselor
Eli Karagoulla joined Beth Israel Memorial Chapel in the sales department 1 year ago and is a Family Service Counselor.
Eli has been in the funeral industry for 15 years. When we asked what attracted Eli to this field, He said: “I wanted to change my career.”
Eli enjoys reading, swimming and walking.
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Eli said: “Every time I protect a family.”
Kim Hiller, Clerical/Admin Specialist
Howard Weidenbaum, Family Service Counselor
Eric Lowenthal, Family Service Counselor
Barry Levine, Family Service Counselor
Debbie Layne, Family Service Counselor
Sam Froman, Family Service Counselor
Calvin Kline, Family Service Counselor
Marcia Zimmerman, Family Service Counselor
Donna Farbish, Family Service Counselor
Herbert Roth, Community Service Counselor
Haskel Davis III, Staff Associate
Art Sorgen, Staff Associate
Marvin Rosenthal, Staff Associate
Marvin Sternlicht, Staff Associate
Morton Weiner, Staff Associate
Morton Weiner joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel 3 years ago and is a driver. He is a member of Masons, and a volunteer police officer.
When we asked what attracted Morton to this field, he said: “I was looking for a pleasant part time position.”
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Morton said: “Meeting with wonderful fellow employees.”
Michael Leibman, Staff Associate
Larry Weinstein, Staff Associate
Larry Weinstein joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel 8 years ago and is a driver.
Larry has been working here for 8 years and is proud of his perfect driving record. When we asked what attracted Larry to this field, he said: “I was playing golf 4 days a week and wanted to get a part time job to help pay for it!”
Larry is a movie and sports buff and he knows about cars. Larry plays pool and billiards in tournaments each year. He also plays to a 12 handicap in golf.
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Larry said: “Making a very tough day for a family a little bit easier.”
Daniel Cardinale, Staff Associate
Daniel Cardinale joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel 1 year ago and is a staff associate.
Daniel has handled first call transportation needs since 2011. When we asked what attracted Daniel to this field, He said: “I enjoy helping families in their time of need.”
Daniel enjoys kayaking, going to the gym and the beach.
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Daniel said: “Helping others.”
Norton Gordon, Staff Associate
Norton Gordon joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel 11 years ago and is a driver. He is a member of PBA, NYCPD, Shomrim Society, Knights of Pithian and Variety Club.
Norton was previously a New York City Police Officer for 20 years. When we asked what attracted Norton to this field, He said: “I enjoy helping people. As a police officer, I gave aid and assistance to the public.”
Norton has 3 children and 8 grandchildren.
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Norton said: “Aiding and supporting those who are at their weakest times due to loss of a loved one.”
Robert Green, Staff Associate
Robert Green joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel 8 years ago and is a driver. He is a member of the Masons.
When we asked what attracted Robert to this field, he said: “I wanted something to do, I was tired of just hanging around.”
Robert enjoys photography, tennis and bowling.
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Robert said: “Helping others. I found this profession rewarding, making a sad day a little easier day for them.”
Scott Gardner, Staff Associate
Scott Gardner joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel as a driver and has found it to be a very rewarding experience. He is a member of the Masons, Scottish Rite and volunteers at the Shrine Hospital for Children. He is also very active in the local community and servers on the Board of Directors of community of Westchester Country Club. When we asked what attracted Scott to this field, he said: “I needed to find a great job in my retirement.” Scott enjoys aviation and web development. He has developed websites for many of the organizations were he is involved and seems to be the neighborhood “I T guy”. When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Scott said: “Being able to help
Melvin Greenbaum, Staff Associate
Melvin Greenbaum joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel 10 years ago and is a driver.
When we asked what attracted Melvin to this field, he said: “I wanted a part time job.”
Melvin enjoys the gym, racquetball, going to movies and socializing.
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Melvin said: “I enjoy working with the families.”
Gerald Rosenberg, Staff Associate
Gerald Rosenberg joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel 12 years ago and is a driver.
When we asked what attracted Gerald to this field, he said: “I was looking for a part time position where I could interact with people.”
Gerald has been married to the same lady for 51 years and is a numismatist.
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Gerald said: “Assisting people during unhappy times.”
David Rockmuller, Staff Associate
David Rockmuller joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel 11 years ago and is a staff associate. David enjoys going to the movies, sports and reading about community affairs.
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession David said: “Meeting the new NorthStar personnel.”
Larry Hiner, Staff Associate
Jeffrey Weinstein, Staff Associate
Sheldon Boxer, Staff Associate
Sheldon Boxer joined the staff at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel recently and is a driver.
Sue Lampman, Clerical and Administrative Specialist
Karen Rock, Clerical & Administrative Specialist
In 2006 after 25 years of working in corporate publishing/advertising profession, I needed a change. I wanted a position in an industry where I could be of meaningful service to people in time of need.
Born in Da Bronx, raised on Long Island, educated at
Syracuse Univeristy (BA in Psychology and Advertising).
Lifelong animal lover, vegetarian, Star Wars movie geek.
Enjoy spening time with friends, parents, sister and my rescue cat (who I rescued
from outside the chapel) Ashley Beth.
Father is a Holocaust survivor.
Karlynn Cusa, Clerical & Administrative Specialist
Linda Brown, Clerical & Administrative Specialist
La'Shatay Symons, Clerical and Admin Specialist
Katrina Meza, Clerical & Administrative Specialist
Katrina Meza joined Beth Israel Memorial Chapel in the administrative department recently and is an administrative associate.
Katrina previously worked at the cemetery for 4 years. When we asked what attracted Katrina to this field, she said: “I thought this was a good company to work for and I like detail.”
Katrina enjoys reading, horseback riding and kayaking.
When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Katrina said: “I like making families happier by helping them with their needs.”
Estelle Morganstein, Receptionist
Bernice Newman, Receptionist
Bernice Newman joined Beth Israel Memorial Chapel in the administrative department 23 years ago and is a receptionist. Bernice was previously a hotel receptionist.
Bernice enjoys puzzles, sudoku and reading. When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Bernice said: “When families thank us for our care in arranging funerals for a loved-one.”