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Marty Gilbert, Executive Director

Marty Gilbert grew up in Brooklyn, New York and has spent the majority of his adult life in East Brunswick, New Jersey. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in English. Marty enjoyed a successful professional career as a general manager for various retail companies including Borders, Barnes & Noble and Target before becoming the Temple Administrator of Temple Emanu-El West Essex in Livingston, NJ, in 2014. Since 1971, the Gilbert family have been members of Temple B’nai Shalom in East Brunswick, a congregation that Marty’s parents were founding members. During the past 35 years, he has served on a variety of committees and has been a member of the Board of Trustees. In 2014, Marty combined his lifelong passion as a Jewish lay leader with a new vocation as a synagogue professional. Marty and his wife, Lori, have already become part of our Etz Chaim family. They have three grown children living in the New York metropolitan area.

Debbie Deutsch, Director of Education

Debbie Deutsch received her B.S. in Special Education from Florida State University and her M.Ed. in Education Administration and Supervision from George Mason University. After enjoying a fourteen-year career as an educator, Debbie became our Preschool Director in 1995, and Religious Education Director in 2011. Here at Etz Chaim, she has created a warm and caring environment in which children progress at their own pace in a hands-on developmental program. Debbie hails from Bowie, Maryland and has the unique distinction of being one of our three-generational families at Etz Chaim. She is the ideal person to initiate our children into Judaism and its wonders!

Lauren Chernau, Assistant Director of the Preschool

Lauren Chernau received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Georgia. She taught in the public school system for 10 years before joining the Etz Chaim Preschool team in 2007 as a teacher. Lauren became the Assistant Director of the preschool in 2021. Lauren acts as a support for the faculty and families of the preschool focusing on curriculum consulting and teacher mentoring. In addition to being the assistant preschool director, Lauren is the Director of our preschool summer program called Camp Ruach! Lauren is a long-time member of Etz Chaim, dating back to the start of the synagogue. She lives in Sandy Springs with her son Mason, and she has two other grown children, Madelyn, and Grant.


Aram Blankenship - Facilities Manager

Betsy Fitzwater - Office Manager

Christine Bezdek - Bookkeeper

Bernice Isaac - Communications Administrator/Digital Content Coordinator

Karen Chauvin - Administrative Assistant

Tiana Plendl - Department of Education Administrator

Allison Barchichat - Department of Education Financial Administrator

Tue, July 23 2024 17 Tammuz 5784