Board of Directors

Michele Edelman


Michele Edelman is currently the Head of Growth for Premiere Digital, a trusted Media, Entertainment Services and Technology Solutions company based in Los Angeles, CA where she is responsible for all sales and marketing on a global level. Prior to Premiere, Michele held the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications role at Vubiquity and prior to that a 15 year executive at Warner Bros., with roles in Direct To Consumer, Digital Distribution and Home Entertainment.  In 2009, Michele co-lead the industry’s first universal Movies On Demand program and helped forge a campaign with the cable operators and movie studios garnering $30M in media to promote Transactional Movies On Demand at a time when traditional video stores were closing.  We now live in a world of pure digital distribution as a result of this campaign.

She sits on the Executive Advisory Board for the Harrington School of Communication and Media and was on the National Board of Directors for GLAAD. Michelle is a 20 year resident of Venice along with her wife, Amy and their two Boxers, Polly and Pickles.


Alden Oreck


Alden Oreck recently moved to Venice from Tel Aviv. A native of New Orleans, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Masters in Business Administration from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. Since graduating, Alden has worked in a variety of global marketing, strategy and consulting roles at Fortune 50 tech firms.

In his free time, Alden can be found in his garden, running half marathons and playing beach volleyball.

Alden found Open Temple last year and experienced the most meaningful Yom Kippur he has ever had. He is grateful to work with Lori and the entire Open Temple team.


Pamela Kasden Petrigliano


Pamela carries over 17 years of experience in the Digital Marketing space and was responsible for launching several successful start-ups. She began her career in Marketing Research, supporting such clients as MTV, American Express, Kimberly-Clark and Coca-Cola, and then moved onto launch and manage the CRM initiative at Sony Pictures. She spent the following 8 years at MXM, one of the largest digital agencies in the U.S..  In her role as Group Account Director, she successfully applied her client service, strategic and analytical skills to accounts such as Gerber, Purina, Disney, Juicy Juice, PowerBar, Buitoni, and other Nestlé brands. Finally she joined two colleagues and fulfilled her entrepreneurial desire by launching 7th Floor Digital, a boutique digital marketing firm in Los Angeles with a focus on consumer marketing and e-commerce.  Pamela earned a B.A. degree from Cornell University.

Pamela loves bringing people and ideas together. Whether it’s forming a mutually beneficial business partnership, uniting friends or (at age 9!) realizing that the local tailor’s leftover leather scraps were the perfect raw materials to meet schoolyard demand for Cabbage Patch Kid mini-skirts – she revels in making connections. In her free time, Pamela has played an integral role in the launch of a very successful restaurant in Santa Monica, she researches and consults friends on the LA food scene and enjoys planning dinner parties with her husband and two kids.  However, something was missing in her life.  Growing up in Brooklyn, NY and attending services at a temple with a very close knit community, which her Grandfather was a founding member, she hoped to discover a similar connection for her family.  In the search for an organization which was open to their interfaith marriage & supported their desire for spirituality, she and her husband were introduced to Open Temple. When they arrived at the Electric Lodge, they were immediately struck by the energy, creativity & warmth of the community. Rabbi Lori’s service was different from anything they had ever experienced & they found that it was the first service their kids actually sat through & enjoyed! Each event they attended thereafter continued to inspire them both spiritually and intellectually. Recognizing that Open Temple fulfills a much needed role in a community where Jews long to connect with their roots in a more innovative and progressive way, it is with great joy that Pamela has accepted a position on the board.

Brad Pomerance

Past President

Brad Pomerance currently serves as the Host of Air Land & Sea, broadcasting weekly on the national cable network Jewish Life Television, JLTV. As Host of this global travel series, Brad has traveled to Barbados, the Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Jamaica, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan. He also serves as the Host of JLTV’s weekly news magazine, The J Report with Brad Pomerance.

Brad is also hosting Uncovered in the Archives, a historically driven television show that Brad developed. This program is airing on PBS-affiliate, KVCR.

Brad recently concluded a long run as Host of Charter Local Edition, which was broadcast daily on the California Channel. In this capacity, Brad interviewed elected officials at all levels of government, from Mayors to Supervisors, from State Legislators to Members of the U.S. Congress, from Governors to U.S. Senators. Brad conducted these interviews at bureaus throughout the State of California, in the state capitols of Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin, and in the nation’s capitol, Washington, DC.

Previously, Brad hosted HLN’s Local Edition in Los Angeles, reported and anchored for KDOC’s morning news program Daybreak OC and reported for LA City View Channel 35’s news magazine LA This Week. Brad has been nominated for three Los Angeles-area Emmys – for his work at Channel 35 and on Local Edition.

Brad received his Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations, Cum Laude, from The University of Southern California, and his Juris Doctor, With High Honors, from The George Washington University Law School.

Brad is married to Tina Fuller Pomerance. They have two daughters, Ivy and Paige. You can follow Brad on Twitter @bradpomerance.

Denise Berger

Denise and her husband were among the founding families of Open Temple and have maintained a connection since the start.  Professionally, Denise merged her background in the business sector with her passion for corporate social responsibility to become a professor and consultant in organizational leadership.  She served as a Managing Director at Aon Risk Services, a global insurance broker and consultant, and then earned a doctorate in education from Pepperdine University. Currently she teaches at Pepperdine and Vanderbilt and is a founder and consultant at Gazelle Advisors, focusing on strategic development including financial excellence, marketing, organizational culture and effectiveness, and equity, diversity & inclusion. She is a board member at Environmental Charter Schools and Lionsraw. AND, Denise is the founder and designer of Aliki Designs – Greek-inspired, handcrafted, everyday elegant jewelry.

Denise and her husband are an interfaith couple who live in Manhattan Beach and are the proud parents of two college age children.

Julie Cantor

Julie is not a third-grader, but she is Eze’s mom. She is an entrepreneur and attorney. An expert on issues in law and medicine, she teaches a course on reproduction, medical ethics, and the law at the UCLA School of Law. She is an aficionado of minimalist architecture, modern art, and Italian design.

Ezekiel Brennan Cantor-Baum

Eze is a third-grader at PS1 elementary school in Santa Monica. When he is not attending Open Temple Board meetings, he enjoys playing with friends, building in Minecraft, and playing sports. He is an avid participant in Creative Torah with Rabbi Lori, and, this year, he plans to master the entire Hebrew alphabet.

Warren Flesch

Born and raised in Beverly Hills, Warren had the typical American Jewish upbringing. Harvard-Westlake school, sports, lots of music, and, of course, an extravagant over the top Bar Mitzvah. “For whatever reason, I didn’t fit in with any of those conventions and found myself disillusioned with organized religion, Judaism and the cultural identity I grew up with,” he reflected.

After attending school at UPenn in Philadelphia, living the life of a professional musician, world traveling hippy, and finally Wall Street professional, Warren finally settled back down in Los Angeles, met his wife, had a child and decided to rediscover his Judaism. His wife, Jaqlyn and he connected strongly to Rabbi Lori and felt an immediate connection and desire to contribute to Open Temple. He’s excited to see what the future holds!

Natascha Shamis

Natascha is a teacher, private tutor and ocean conservationist. She was born in Hong Kong, grew up between New York and Berlin and before graduate school, did a stint in Tel Aviv interning for the Women’s International Zionist Organization. Natascha has a degree in psychology and early childhood education and a masters in mental health counseling.

On a summer night two years ago, Natascha drove to Venice and decided to park her car in the Electric Lodge. She heard music coming from the “house next door” and when she saw a sign for the “Open temple for the Jewishly curious,” she decided to crash the party. It just so happened to be the opening night for the new recording studio. “After being so welcomed that night, I knew it was no coincidence I stumbled across Open Temple, I knew I had found my place.”

Natascha is an active member of both Heal the Bay and Surfrider Foundation, advocating for cleaner waters and the eradication of single use plastics that jeopardize those who live in and enjoy the ocean. She free dives in a professional mermaid tail and teaches children about the ocean when she is “suited up” in her tail.

Danya Shults

Danya Shults is an entrepreneur with the heart of a storyteller. She believes that we are all more alike than we are different and is a connector of people and dots. Danya loves building from scratch and has worked at non-profits, tech startups, VC firms, and founded her own company.

Danya is currently volunteering as the content development lead for CVKey Project, whose mission is to reopen communities responsibly during the COVID-19 pandemic without compromising privacy. Prior to that, Danya founded Arq, a media company and community that helped anyone connect with all things Jewish in a relevant, inclusive way.  It was through Arg that Danya met Rabbi Lori and became a Co-Creator with Open Temple.

Previously, Danya created the marketing and community functions at Spark Capital, was a founding employee and leader of culture and community at Skillshare, and fought for educational equality as a Director of Recruitment at Teach For America.

Danya was born and raised on the East Coast, educated in the Midwest, and lives with her husband and daughter in sunny Los Angeles. This year she will lead Open Temple’s new Community Committee.


Nikki Lebow

President Emeritus

Nikki and her husband Dave Lebow are active members of the Venice community. Nikki is on the Advisory Board for Miriam’s House as well as the Board of Directors for the Dyslexia Association of Southern California and is an avid fundraiser. She is the President of the Parent’s Association and chairs social events at Park Century where her daughter attends school. Her experience at Open Temple with her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah inspired her to help Open Temple grow so that others could experience the meaningful ritual shared by her family and guests.

Blake Fogel

Founding President

Blake has made a name for himself in leasing, acquisitions, dispositions, asset management and repositioning. As a determined entrepreneur, Blake rose through the ranks at some of the industry’s top firms, eventually becoming a member of the executive team, and then Vice President at Westwood Financial Corp. (WFC).  At the time WFC owned and managed over 8 million square feet of retail space spanning 13 states and 25 markets. Additionally, Blake and his teams have sold over $200 million in assets and acquired over $650 million in new assets. Now, Blake has brought that experience and acumen to the Venice-based Fogel RE, growing his footprint and continuing his impact on the industry.

Blake has been present at Open Temple Happenings since our first Rosh HaShanah, and has a hunger for all things spiritual.


One who occupies oneself with the needs of the community is as though one has occupied oneself with Torah.

Talmud Yerushalmi, Berakhot