Our Staff



Mychal Copeland

Contact Rabbi Copeland at [email protected]

Rabbi Mychal Copeland speaks and writes about the inclusion of LGBTQI people and interfaith families in religious life.  She is the co-editor of Struggling in Good Faith: LGBTQI Inclusion from 13 American Religious Perspectives [Skylight Paths Publishing, 2015]. Prior to joining Sha’ar Zahav, Rabbi Copeland was the Director of InterfaithFamily Bay Area where she helped couples navigate a diversity of religious and cultural backgrounds.  She served for thirteen years as a university Rabbi, first at UCLA and later at Hillel at Stanford University.  She earned a Masters in Theological Studies and Secondary Teaching Credential from Harvard Divinity School in 1995, and a rabbinical degree from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2000.  In 2005 she was recognized as being an Exemplar of Excellence by Hillel’s International Center, the highest individual honor for Hillel professionals. She served as the Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in New York City, the world’s largest Jewish LGBTQ community and has carried that work into her career with college students.  Mychal is a certified yoga instructor and fuses Jewish spirituality with movement in her yoga teaching.

Photo by Norm and J.


Sharon Bernstein

Contact Cantor Bernstein at [email protected].

Cantor Sharon Bernstein, a native of California, grew up in Palo Alto, where she frequented Conservative synagogue Kol Emet and graduated from Palo Alto High School. An avid musician from a young age, she studied piano and voice, performing in concerts, operas, and musicals through junior and high school. Her musical studies continued at the University of Redlands, where she graduated in Voice and Piano. While in college, she took an active role in the local Jewish community and Hillel, sparking an ever-growing interest in Jewish music and prayer. After graduating, she served as the High Holy Day cantor for Arizona State University, and then as part-time cantor for Temple Beth Haverim in Agoura Hills and Congregation Sha’arei Torah in Arcadia while working for Alfred Publishing Co., Inc. as their International Sales Manager. During this time, she studied with local cantors, worked at her Hebrew, started writing music on Jewish themes, and became increasingly more interested in Jewish music and liturgy. Her life took a turn in 1999, when she enrolled in the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She spent a year in Jerusalem and the two following years in New York City. In 2002-2003 she devoted her last school-year to doing research for her MA Thesis (The Italian System for Chanting the Torah According to the Torino Tradition) and served as an instructor in Hazzanut for the JTS Cantorial program in Jerusalem.

Israel and Jerusalem proved extremely inspiring to her both in the discovery of the richness of the Jewish musical traditions and in the shaping of her parallel career as a Yiddish performer.  Through the wondrous resources of the Hebrew National University, she has been able to learn melodies from a wide array of traditions – Sephardic, Ashkenazi, Italian, Hasidic – to teach and sing with the congregation, and to perform Yiddish songs which are little known.

As a Yiddish performer, she has presented in venues such as RAI National Italian Radio, the Ancona Klezmer Music Festival (Italy), the Center for Jewish History, the Berkeley Jewish Music Festival, and Yung YiDish, Jerusalem; has taught in the Vilna Summer Yiddish Program and KlezCalifornia; and recorded several of Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman’s songs on her album:  Af di Gasn fun der Shtot.

Her compositions include ditties on Jewish themes (such as The Heir and the Hair), music for the synagogue, and settings for several Yiddish poems, and she has a particular love for teaching and mentoring folks of all ages.

She joined Sha’ar Zahav in 2007, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work and grow with such a warm, vibrant, and passionate community.



Rabbi Q

Rabbi Q (she/her) is our new, half-time Educator, working with our Beit Sefer Phyllis Mintzer. She will be running our school, tot and teen programming. She received her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and was ordained at Hebrew Union College, where she also completed a Master’s in Jewish Education. As a Reform rabbi and Jewish educator, she is passionate about building inclusive, values-based communities and utilizes Jewish texts, rituals, and traditions that offer us so many ways to survive, thrive, and make meaning in our lives. Rabbi Q comes to us with over 20 years of experience in Jewish education and school administration. We can also sense her competence, warmth, and playful spirit. She has already begun her work with us, and can be reached at [email protected] for Beit Sefer matters. We will call her Rabbi Q, but her full name is Lisa Levenberg.

Welcome Home Project

Rabbi Reuben Zellman

Rabbi Reuben Zellman (he/they) is a graduate of Hebrew Union College, and has been a transgender activist since 1999. He has written many articles and educational materials about gender and sexuality and Judaism and has taught at congregations, conferences and universities around the United States. Rabbi Zellman served Sha’ar Zahav as a rabbinical intern from
2006-2010. They will be joining our staff in a new part-time position (2 days/week), leading the Welcome Home Project serving our transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming community, and our Journey to Judaism conversion program. While Rabbi Zellman is also well-known as a musician, we are hiring him onto our staff with a specific set of roles that doesn’t include music or regular service leading. We will be calling them “Rabbi Reuben.” They can be contacted at [email protected]

Executive Director

Danny Shapiro

Danny Shapiro (he/him) holds a Biology degree from Boston University and earned an MA and rabbinic ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles. He served as the Jewish Chaplain and Hillel Director at the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, California, and then he managed graduate student life and fundraising at BU Hillel. Danny is excited to move back to the west coast and join the Sha’ar Zahav community. While Danny is an ordained rabbi, he is not joining our staff in a clergy capacity. He has a passion for administration and is excited to join our team as Executive Director. He would like to be called “Danny.”

Contact Danny at [email protected]

Assistant Director of Administration

Kerasa Tsokas

As the Sha’ar Zahav Assistant Director of Administration, I focus on the day-to-day administrative operations in the office as well oversee the building and facilities. 

I also make sure all services, holidays, ceremonies, B’Mitzvah’s and more, are coordinated with the families, clergy and staff. 

Contact Kerasa at [email protected]

Facilities Staff

Jason Ashworth and Matthew Diana

Matt and Jason make up our facilities staff. They work at Sha’ar Zahav to ensure a clean environment and enable all of our services, holidays, ceremonies, bnei mitzvah and more are set-up to CSZ’s standards. In their spare time, Jason is practicing to become a professional billiards player and  Matt has two other jobs.