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Executive Director & Staff

Amy Berkowitz Caplan: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Amy has been a Jewish communal professional for well over 25 years. Most recently, she took a short hiatus from the community and joined the Attorney General's office, working with the Opioid Response Unit. Prior to her time at the AG's office, Amy spent 13 years at Denver Academy of Torah in a variety of roles including Director of Operations and Director of Admissions and Communications. Amy was the Director of the Holocaust Awareness Institute at DU and has worked at the Jewish Federation in both Colorado (formerly Allied Jewish Federation) and L.A. Amy was a founding board member of Ekar Farm. 

Amy, her husband, Ilan, and their three children, have been members of Rodef Shalom since 2018 and she has served on the Board of Directors for Rodef Shalom for the last two years. All three of their children have had their B'nai Mitzvah at Rodef in the past three years. For fun, the Caplans can usually be found walking, biking, or hiking around Denver and our surrounding mountain towns. 

Contact Amy here.

Sean Sanford: Clergy & Executive Director Assistant

Sean is a graduate of Georgetown University and has been working in a variety of different fields since moving to Denver. He recently converted to Judaism, and working to elevate our Rodef community is deeply meaningful to him. Sean is happily married to the beautiful Victoria, and enjoys spending time with her and the kids.  Sean enjoys the outdoors, movies, reading, multicultural cuisine, and certain nerdy interests. (Keywords: Godzilla, Star Trek, DC superheroes.) 

Contact Sean here.


Jamie began her career in pharmaceutical advertising. After just a few years, she switched her focus to the much more fulfilling work of non-profit marketing. Jamie has worked with NCJW Essex (NJ), JCC MetroWest (NJ), JFS MetroWest (NJ), and Montclair State University's Alexander Kasser Theater.

Jamie attended Ithaca College where she received a B.A. in Art. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Ira,  and two children, Farrah and Aaron. Jamie is grateful to be able to be a virtual addition to Rodef Shalom and the Denver community.

Contact Jamie here


J.R. has been a member of the Rodef staff for over 10 years.  He is responsible for the general cleaning and maintenance of the main synagogue building, school building and the surrounding grounds and setup and breakdown of chairs, tables and other necessary furniture for Rodef events.  J.R. is also a friend to many of the preschool children and families and members who grew up at Rodef.

Education Directors & Staff 

Rabbi Carrie Benveniste: Director of Congregational Learning

Carrie Benveniste .jpegRabbi Carrie Benveniste's career as an educator began during her undergraduate years at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she worked with teen parents in the Teen Academic Parenting program. After college, Rabbi Carrie participated in Avodah in NYC. Rabbi Carrie received her ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California. While in rabbinical school, Rabbi Carrie taught in both after-school religious school programs and day school programs. She served as the director of a small congregational school in San Luis Obispo and the co-director of a congregational school right off of Venice Beach. After ordination, Rabbi Carrie served as the Director of Education and Assistant Rabbi for the Malibu Jewish Center. Most recently, Rabbi Benveniste has served as the Director of Education at Congregation Tikvat Jacob’s Ohren Education Center in Manhattan Beach, CA.

Rabbi Carrie is the mother of two teenage children, two dogs, an African grey parrot, and a goldfish. She is a native Californian and has spent most of her life enjoying all that the West Coast has to offer.

Contact Carrie here

DAWN SPECTOR: Director of Early Childhood Education & Programs

Dawn, a New York native, attended college in Jerusalem and at Queens College in Flushing, N.Y. where she obtained a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing with an emphasis on education. She obtained her Preschool Director's Certification from Aurora Community College and has been involved with Jewish Education for over 20 years. She loves being able to reach children at a young age and help instill a passion for learning and Judaism that will hopefully last a lifetime. She is actively involved in the community teaching Hebrew, tutoring children in remedial Hebrew for their B'nei Mitzvahs, leading a Rosh Chodesh teen girls group, being a para chaplain through Jewish Family Service, and volunteering at community events.

As Director of Early Childhood Education, Dawn's responsibilities include all things for infants to five-year-olds. Dawn is the Director of the Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC ), supports early childhood programming on Shabbat and holidays, and ensures the smooth transition from early childhood programming into other synagogue-based youth opportunities. 

Contact Dawn here

Bobbie Parris: Director of preschool Pedagogy

Bobbie has been working in the Jewish Community since she was a teenager.  She has degrees in Elementary Education, Psychology, and Early Childhood Education.  In addition to teaching kindergarten and preschool, and directing preschools and religious schools, Bobbie has also directed Girl Scout camps and outdoor education programs.  As Director of Pedagogy, she is thrilled to work directly with teachers on curriculum and classroom management as well as the integration of Judaism into every day! 

Bobbie and her husband Jeff have four (mostly) grown children, a son-in-law, and a fur baby child as well.  She loves to read, cook, and spend time with her family. 

Contact Bobbie here

Cate Sawyer:  operations MANAGER

As Operations Manager, Cate supports the day-to-day business operations for the preschool and religious school. She also provides synagogue support for membership data, and various High Holiday projects. Her professional acumen includes information systems–development, software rollout and training; content development; proposal writing; and large-scale project leadership/management for national and global corporations.

Past social action collaborations: Urban Peak Denver, Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives, International Philanthropic Fair, and Sister Cities International.

Cate holds a master's degree in International and Intercultural Communication from the University of Denver.

Personally, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, and the outdoors.

Contact Cate here.

Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784