Meet Our Board
Our Executive Committee
Daniel Petcher, President
A bright and happy guy who likes dark and bitter chocolate! Daniel is a computer hobbyist as well as a professional Administrator. He is particularly interested in scripting to watch machines handle the more mundane parts of his job. Daniel just started a new job, so he gets to automate new things that he hasn’t worked-on before.
Outside of work, Daniel and his wife and two ridiculously-cute cats, recently left the suburbs to live in near the shul. They love to travel, but that’s been very limited this year. Daniel’s time outside of work is mostly consumed by Congregation Shaarie Torah. He’s a regular at morning Minyan, meetings of the Board of Directors, and a few committees.
I love to bicycle and I hope to commute by bike again, if I ever return to working in an office.
Raphi Rosenblatt, Vice President
Raphael (Raphi) Rosenblatt is a native of Gainesville, Florida. Raphi has always been deeply involved with the Conservative Movement and Jewish leadership. Raphi grew up attending Camp Ramah (first Palmer, and then Darom) and was the first camper at Ramah Darom ever to be hired as a Rosh Eidah (section leader). Throughout high school, Raphi was active in USY, including holding the position of Regional President for HaNegev, the southeaster region of USY. While studying at Brandeis University, Raphi led both the Conservative minyan on campus as well as the Conservative Jewish student organization.
Raphi currently works as a Senior Director for Grads of Life, a national nonprofit that helps companies around the country implement more inclusive hiring programs. Raphi’s passion for social justice was cemented when he joined Teach For America out of college. He spent 3 years teaching high school math in the Bronx, during which time he also earned a Masters in Education from Pace University. Raphi attended Brandeis as a Justice Brandeis Scholar, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with degrees in Economics, Politics, and French. He also holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Raphi and his husband, David Morgenstern, were immediately attracted to Congregation Shaarei Torah because of its traditional practices, warm environment, and engaged members. Raphi currently serves on the Ritual Committee at CST, as well as helping to co-lead young adult programming.
Peter Lyman, Treasurer/Past President
Peter has dedicated over two decades serving in various roles at CST. Filling the posts of Treasurer and member of the Executive Board, as well as positions on the finance and cemetery committees. Peter Lyman was awarded the Harry R. Nemer Award in 2017. Peter has worked in municipal government on both coasts, specializing in water systems and water flow, and taught economics at Cornell. In 1998, after several years away, they moved back to Portland and to the warm, familial embrace of Shaarie Torah. Peter and Anna are parents to three children: Tamar, who lives in Portland with her daughter, Libi; Laura, who is working on a PhD in mathematics at Stanford; and Jacob, whom they adopted from Vietnam. Of their early years at Shaarie Torah, Peter fondly recalls his special bond with the late Rabbi Yonah Geller, whose pithy admonitions were delivered in a deep, gravelly voice. Peter has made many contributions to Shaarie Torah, such as the gates through which all of us pass on our way into the synagogue. Made of imported Jerusalem stone and wrought iron, they feature a striking replica of the Ten Commandments at the pinnacle, so very apt since the words Shaarie Torah mean “Gates to the Torah.” Peter and Anna donated the gates to honor the memory of Anna’s mother, Lyuba.
Melissa Cohen, Secretary
Rick Cohen, Men's Club Representative
Richard Cohen is a lifetime member of Shaarie Torah. His family have been members since 1908 and seen the synagogue go through many changes and updates over the years. He personally has been a full dues paying member since 1980 and has served on the board in various capacities since 1980. He is a past president and has served as a vice president for 5 different administrations. He was also a Men’s Club president. Rick received the Harry R. Nemer Service Award in 1993.
Shira Newman, Sisterhood President
Our Board Members
Trevor is an avid traveler and a wandering Jew who finally made his way to Portland. He grew up in/near Louisville, KY and moved across the country while an undergrad as a Purdue chemical engineering co-op student prior to graduating in 2010 and moving to Knoxville, TN. Trevor was actively involved in his shul during my 3 years in Knoxville,TN, 5 years in Houston, and 2 in Bloomington, IN while he finished his MBA at the IU Kelley School of Business in 2019. Having been active in at least a dozen shuls over the course of his travel and multiple relocations, he enjoys getting to see the similarities and differences across communities and what each of them uniquely offers. Trevor has found his home in Portland and look forward to staying here much longer than his previous stop-overs. Yes, he is also a travel/airline nerd scouring the PDX and other airport monitors for all the flights and times whenever he travels.
Trevor moved to Portland in the summer of 2019 and have been working in Intel finance ever since. He was drawn to the warm CST community and am proud to call CST his “home” shul. In his free time Trevor enjoys hiking, traveling, playing tennis and table tennis, and serving as a BBYO advisor for Portland’s oldest chapter– Sol Stern AZA #65.
Andrea has had a lifelong connection to the Earth, the natural world, and to G-d. She feels closest to the Divine when she is standing among trees. She taught Hebrew school at Shaarie Torah, spending the year with the students exploring the environment and climate change through a Jewish lens.
Andrea lives in Portland with her husband, Ali, and son, Cameron. Their adult daughters are spread afar: Arielle in Sweden with granddaughter, Liana; Emily in Massachussetts; and Lauren in Maryland.
Anne LeVant Prahl
Anne LeVant Prahl has been coming to Shaarie Torah since 2012 and has been a member since 2014. She has found her place at Shaarie Torah through volunteering for committees, studying Torah with friends, and learning to participate in leading services. She spends most of her time planning and executing works in fiber: knitting, quilting, and embroidery, which she gives to her husband, children, and grandchildren. In her spare time, Anne is the curator of the collection at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education and the chair of the Governor’s Oregon Heritage Commission.
Ann Sanderson is a long-time member of Shaarie Torah, drawn here by the warm and close-knit atmosphere that the synagogue offers. With a strong commitment to community, Ann has actively participated in local politics, various community organizations, and her local business district. As a successful small business owner in Southeast Portland, her hair salon not only gained its 15-minutes of fame as a filming location for Portlandia but also served as the inspiration behind the innovative CST home haircuts during the challenging times of the pandemic. Always curious, Ann spends her off hours learning new things and teaching her dog tricks.
Robert “Chaim” Solgan
Chaim moved to Portland from SoCol in late 2018 to follow his children. Mattison and Moriah. Within the first year, he found CST and instantly knew this was to be his new ‘home’. Two years after that (in 2021), Chaim (finally) became a Bar Mitzvah here—fifty-one years later than ‘most others’ his age did. He worked most of his professional life in the Foodservice Industry in hotels, clubs, a number of special projects, two different Jewish Senior Living communities, and also owned and ran two Mexican Restaurants in the Lake Arrowhead area—the primary place of were his children grew up and went to school. With Covid-19 ablaze & most of the full service hospitality ‘in-flux’, two years ago he decided to retire. He has and continues to lead (a few different) classes in Winetasting. He also consults those who have ‘stereos/music reproduction equipment’ in optimizing “the accurate reproduction of sound in your current/future listening space by crucial speaker adjustments a number of other variables—free service to CST members (once upon a time an active member of the [now disbanded] Society of Audio Consultants). He loves to bike, hike, cook/eat and most anything to do with helping anyone who needs a hand in whatever comes their way. He feels so very honored to be here helping our community in whatever manner he can…
I’m a native Portlander. Graduated from Mills College (women’s school in Oakland, CA) with a BA in Speech & Drama (in three years rather than four) and received my MEd from PSU in Educational Administration. Was married to Myron Jacobson for almost 40 years until his death at 62. I have three sons; Irwin and Steven, who live in California with their wives, and David, who is still single and lives in Bend. I have six grandchildren, three boys, three girls, two SO mates, and five granddogs.
I enjoy volunteering, watercolor painting, hand crafts (when arthritis allows), walking, reading, traveling, cooking and entertaining. I also love to laugh. I’m a published author of two books and am working on another two; one a anecdotal record of my life for my family and one another childrens’ book. I play pan and mah jongg.
I live alone and am happy doing so.