BAJC Board Members

Stephan Brandstatter (he/him)
I am the son of Holocaust survivors. After immigrating to the USA we first settled in Brooklyn, NY and later in 1955 moved to Claremont, NH. Subsequent to schooling, traveling and working in NYC, Chicago, LA, and Wales I relocated to VT. I am now retired from having owned and operated a restaurant/nightclub in White River Jct.,VT, and then in Brattleboro, VT, a record store from 1991-2004. In addition I am a percussionist/sound healer. Since arriving in Brattleboro 37 years ago I have been an active board trustee throughout those years, serving as Vice President and Co-President with Laura Berkowitz. I Chair the Fundraising Committee, am on the Committee Against Anti-Semitism (CAAS), Chair the Ritual Committee and am a member of the Emergency Preparedness Committee. I devote my time and energy to improve BAJC, its growth and broader visibility within the Brattleboro region.

Vice President
Rebecca Speisman
I live in Brattleboro with my partner, our 7-year-old daughter, and an entertaining flock of chickens. I work as a high school counselor, and volunteer my time as an advocate for public schools. I did not grow up with a Jewish community outside of my immediate family, and am learning so much as my child begins her own Jewish education. I also study Yiddish, and welcome the chance to converse with other speakers. I wish to serve on the board to help BAJC become a home for more Jewish families of all kinds.

Susan Auslander
I have been living full time in Vermont since I retired in 2011.  I taught mathematics for 32 years at the college level, middle school and high school. I had a consulting business to help people overcome math anxiety for my entire professional career. I now spend my time volunteering for the jazz center and BAJC. I spend a lot of time going to hear live music mainly jazz but other genres too BAJC is a big part of my life and I enjoy all my involvement both spiritually and practically.  My involvement is to give back and help community thrive.

Kate Tarlow Morgan
Kate is a documentary historian/archaeologist, dancer and teacher of the Rhythms Fundamentals and improvisational techniques, is editor of Currents Journal of Body-Mind Centering Association, co-founder of Somatic Writing Collective Series, and editorial consultant for Lost and Found CUNY Poetics Document Initiative. Author of Circles and Boundaries (essays about NYC), Kate moved to New England in 1998. Her passion for Judaism comes from family connections, 19th/20th c. immigrant stories, and the study of Zohar. As a child of the 60s’ in NYC, Kate was deeply influenced by the Civil Rights Movement and participated in the radical arts movement of the 70s and 80s. Kate supports BAJC’s striving to welcome all Jews and interested community members of all religions committed to the sharing of humanistic perspectives.  She has served on BAJC Board for 5 years and is committed to stewarding this important institution of which there are only two in Southern Vermont.

Ellen Bronstein, a long-time member of BAJC, works with the membership and cemetery committees (but is not a formal member of either). She’s currently on her third career (scientist, writer/teacher, artist), and has extensive professional experience with computer systems, publication design, organizational communications, and gender equity. She firmly believes that good writing is clear thinking made visible, and applies that mantra to all her work at BAJC. Formerly, she was an associate commissioner at the FDA (during the Carter administration), executive director of a research center at MIT, and a freelance writer/designer for many industrial and academic institutions.

Sue Lederer (she/her) I have been living in the Brattleboro area since 1975.  For approximately 30 years I have been a member of the BAJC.  As a child I lived in a rural New England town where my family belonged to a small Orthodox synagogue consisting of primarily immigrants and Holocaust Survivors.  This has given me an understanding of the amount of commitment necessary to maintain the spirit of a rural congregation in the context of a typical New England community.  Currently I am semi-retired from a career as a social worker and psychotherapist, specializing in trauma therapy.  What motivated me to join the board last year was my concern for maintaining a Jewish presence in our community. It’s important to me to join with others of varied beliefs to work on healing some of the pain that division, as it is becoming more frequently expressed, can engender.

Faith Schuster (she/her)  I was born in Brooklyn, NY, and lived there until I was ten, when we moved to what was then a rural area — Spring Valley NY, where I lived for 40 years, married Abe, had three sons and taught English. I loved teaching but took early retirement so we could move to Vermont to ski every weekday, with never a lift line.   We’ve lived here for 38 years.  Add 10, 40, and 38 and you’ll know exactly how old I am and how many years I have been active in BAJC.  I’ve been on the Board all those years, have been President of the congregation, chair or member of almost every committee at one time or another, and volunteer Administrator for many years.   BAJC is my true Jewish home and family!

Deb Schiller (she/her)  I’ve resided in Brattleboro for the past 20 years, after relocating from Tempe, AZ with my husband and 3 daughters. My home away from home has been a local elementary school where all sorts of wonderful things happen.  Having served on the BAJC board of trustees two previous times in the last 20 years, I joined the Board again, as I had been attending meetings as an interested member.  I bring a willingness to discuss issues with a sense of fairness and respect for all.

Zach Yeskel (he/him)  I grew up in North Carolina, and since then have lived in the Bay Area and Brooklyn, including a year abroad in Israel before college. We came to Dummerston, VT in March 2020 to visit cousins for spring break, and basically never went back to Brooklyn! With my family (my wife Heather and daughters May and Naomi), we’ve been so delighted and lucky to build a life here, and feel so loved and supported by the strong communities we’ve discovered. Raising our kids in a Jewish community has always been a priority for us, and having benefited so much from participating in Yalla Chaverim, I’m motivated to join the board to help strengthen BAJC for the many families like us. I’m a former high school math teacher turned techie, and have worked on Google’s education team for more than a decade.