Joshua Ben-Gideon


Rabbi Joshua Ben-Gideon joined our community as its spiritual leader in 2008.  His family's connection to Madison dates back almost a century as his maternal grandparents each attended the University of Wisconsin in the 1930s. Also, his sister is a recent graduate.  You might see him around town on his bike, buying kosher chicken at Trader Joe's, or being Abba (father) with his children, who attend Randall Elementary, West High School, Talmud Torah and Midrasha.

Read Rabbi Ben-Gideon's welcome message.

Read Rabbi Ben-Gideon's Centerite column.


Elissa Pollack

Executive Director

Elissa joined the staff in 2013. She is no stranger to our community, having been a member of Beth Israel Center since 1995 and an active volunteer starting in 2001, including a term as President (2008-2010). Her husband, Jon, teaches U.S. History at Madison College and is an honorary fellow in the UW-Madison Jewish Studies department. Her sons, Ari and Noah, are graduates of Gan HaYeled, Chug Ivrit, Talmud Torah, and, in Ari's case, Midrasha. Prior to joining the professional staff at Beth Israel Center, Elissa ran her own communications and PR business and was the Online Communications Manager for Jewish Federation of Madison.


Beth Copelovitch

Education Director

Beth Cohn Copelovitch was raised in Falls Church, VA in a family that valued and continues to value Judaism and a strong connection to the Jewish community.  After many afternoons, Shabbatot and Sundays at Congregation Olam Tikvah, and many, many, many weekends at USY conventions, she attended Brandeis University and graduated with a BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.  Beth received her Masters in Jewish Education from the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, where she served as president of the Graduate Student Organization and the commencement speaker for her class.  Beth worked as a kindergarten and 1st grade Hebrew and Jewish studies teacher at Cohen Hillel Academy in Marblehead, MA, as well as many other positions in religious schools, camps and youth groups throughout the country (okay, really only the East coast!). Beth is married to Mark Copelovitch, whom she met at a USY convention long, long ago and they have two children, Micah and Dafna.


Deborah Hoffman

Program & Youth Director

Deborah has dedicated much of her professional life to Jewish youth since her own teenage years at a synagogue in Columbus, Ohio.  She attended Camp Ramah in Wisconsin as a camper, and worked there as a counselor and later graduated from UW-Madison.  At Beth Israel Deborah coordinates volunteers, oversees the youth groups, MOUSY and Kadima, and teaches on Shabbat mornings. Many of our youth have learned to lead Torah service and countless other life lessons from Deborah.