Executive Committee

The Executive Committee of the Union for Progressive Judaism is responsible for governance and oversight of the organisation. Elections are held every two years for President, two Vice-Presidents, Honorary Treasurer, Honorary Secretary and two members at large. The President has the prerogative to appoint representatives from affiliated bodies (as specified in the constitution of the UPJ), as well as members at large for specific portfolios. The Executive Director serves on the Executive Committee ex-officio.

Current members of the Executive Committee are:

PresidentStephen Freeman
Stephen is the immediate past president of NSTE and was an active member of its board for over 10 years. He strongly believes Progressive Judaism provides pathways and connections for many Jews who would otherwise abandon their Jewish heritage and that the UPJ provided a vital role in providing resources and a community voice on behalf of Progressive Judaism. Stephen is a lawyer with a major law firm in Sydney, has two sons Alex and Antony and lives with his partner, Rebecca Dreyfus at Crows Nest on the lower North Shore.



Vice-PresidentRoger Mendelson
Roger has considerable business experience to contribute to his role at the UPJ. He is the author of two published books on business. He served as president of Temple Beth Israel from 2005-2008, and as vice-chair of Progressive Judaism Victoria (formerly "The Victorian Union for Progressive Judaism") for one year. Roger believes that the Progressive Movement should strive to be accessible, welcoming and  relevant in a pro-active way. Roger is married to Sue, and the couple has three grown children.



Brian Samuel

Brian has been associated with the Progressive movement all his life . He is a Past President of Temple Beth Israel from 2008-2010 and President of Progressive Judaism Victoria from 2012 to current . In addition to his involvement with Progressive Judaism he is involved in a number of community organisations . He has been associated with the clothing industry for just on fifty years with expertise in marketing. He has been appointed an Ambassador for White Ribbon Australia , an organisation that campaigns to stop violence against women. He believes that Progressive Judaism brings innovation and creativity to Jewish traditions. It should provide pathways to its members and friends to enjoy an engagement with Progressive Judaism that enhances their lives through spiritual enrichment , learning and community. Brian is married to Jenny and they have two grown children and five grandchildren.


Honorary Secretary: Jim Cyngler

Jim was born in Ramat Gan, Israel. He has lived in Australia since he was 2 years old. A lawyer by training, Jim has developed an expertise in facilitating change through dialogue for individuals, organisations and Boards. He has for over 25 years chaired and served on many not-for-profit Boards, both within and outside of the Jewish Community. Jim was President of The King David School for 11 years during which he oversaw substantial organisational, infrastructure and enrolment growth. He is currently President of The Kedem Community. He was awarded an OAM for services to Jewish Education in 2009.



Honorary Treasurer: Sally Castle

WUPJ Representative: Sharene Hambur


Committee member: Bob Cooper

Committee member
Alison Dwyer

Alison is the Immediate Past President of Beit Shalom Synagogue in Adelaide and has been serving on the board of Beit Shalom since 2006.  Alison grew up in the American reform movement in a large Jewish community in Baltimore, Maryland but was driven to become actively involved in synagogue management when joining a much smaller community.  Alison delivers an urban renewal project for the South Australian Government in one of Adelaide’s lowest socio-economic areas and will bring strong project management, strategic thinking, budgeting and governance skills to the UPJ executive.  Alison is passionate about supporting the smaller Jewish communities in our region to ensure they are able to have sustainable progressive congregations and stay connected to Judaism.

Committee member: Joel Mendelson

Joel works as a Principal Performance Analyst for the Western Australian Office of the Auditor General. He has also taught Human Resource Management, Industrial Relations and Small Business Management in all of Western Australia’s public universities for the past 10 years. Joel is currently President of Temple David Congregation, and has previously served the congregation in the roles of Assistant Treasurer and Senior Vice President. He has also served on the committee / boards of many other volunteer organisations. Joel was also active in the AUJS movement, in 2003 traveling to Israel as part of the Birthright Israel Program. Joel is passionate about ensuring the relevance of Progressive Judaism, especially younger members of the Jewish community.


ARZA president: Barbara Ford

My family from Germany were early members of Temple Emanuel where I celebrated my Bat Mitzvah. Later we joined North Shore Temple Emanuel.  There I was actively involved in many committees including the Senior Citizens concerts over the past 27 years. While at NSTE I became a Board Member and Vice-President and, for several months, General Manager in the synagogue office. My involvement on the NSTE Board introduced me to the UPJ and their annual conferences. Since then I have regularly attended these conferences and become more involved in the work of the Progressive Movement. Prior to my retirement I worked in Telecommunications with both IBM and Plessey. My now retired partner Charles Simon and I live in Drummoyne. We have always enjoyed travelling and we have been fortunate to do this for both work and pleasure.

Moetzah chair: Rabbi Adi Cohen

Netzer federal mazkira: Shira Appelboom
Growing up in a Progressive Jewish household in Melbourne, it was unsurprising that Shira completed 13 years of schooling at The King David School and celebrated her Bat Mitzvah at Kedem. She attended her first Netzer camp at the age of 3 as the daughter of the camp medic. Shira’s progressive Jewish journey continued with the Shnat Netzer program in 2013 where her enthusiasm for youth empowerment and Progressive Jewish education exposed her to the world of Progressive Jewish leadership. She is therefore very excited to fulfill the role of Federal Mazkira of Netzer in 2015. Outside of Netzer, Shira spends her time at Monash University studying a double degree of Arts and Law and volunteers at the student run vegan and vegetarian Wholefoods café at the Clayton campus. She enjoys puzzles, hiking, improving her Hebrew and reading Winnie-the-Pooh. She looks forward to the challenge of shaping the vision of Netzer Australia and being an active member of the UPJ executive.

Netzer Shaliach: Nadav Shachmon
I was born and raised in Jerusalem, where I studied at a conservative school. After graduating from high school, I spent one year doing volunteer work in a parallel Israeli framework to Shnat. I began my path in the army as a Combat-Paramedic. Straight after my release, I began BA Psychology studies in Tel Aviv, while continuing my work in the field of education by conducting leadership and Jewish identity seminars for teenagers and officers. Subsequently, I have chosen to work with various groups of American and British teens during their stay in Israel throughout the years, and despite all of the hardships, the incredible sensibility and patience one must put into this kind of practice- I have always felt that I am in the right place. After moving to Tel Aviv I worked at an advertising agency and completed a MA in Business Management.


Executive Officer: Jocelyn Robuck

Jocelyn’s role at the UPJ has expanded recently to provide a high level of support to the Executive and committees, lead and coordinate projects, act as point of contact for UPJ constituents and partners through the region and worldwide, as well as continue editing Gal Chadash, the UPJ’s quarterly e-newsletter, coordinating UPJ gatherings and conferences, website management and numerous other projects.