Karen Berk
Director of Administration

“The Jewish community has always been sacred, comfortable and important to me. Since coming to Milwaukee 16 years ago, the Sinai family helped make Milwaukee feel like home. It is my great hope and desire that being part of the Sinai professional staff, I am able to continue making Sinai a warm, welcoming, and comfortable place for all. I also want my children and our children to think of Sinai as home just as I do and I’m excited to be part of making that happen.”

Karen Lancina was born in Park Ridge, Illinois, and grew up in suburban Chicago. Her family belonged to the Reform Congregation, Beth Tikvah in Hoffman Estates where she attended religious school. Karen first came to Wisconsin as a camper and, later, counselor at the Union of Reform Judaism Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute in Oconomowoc. Her seven years at OSRUI made Wisconsin her “home away from home.”

After earning a Bachelor of Science in public administration, personnel, labor relations and management from Indiana University, Bloomington, Karen worked in personnel at Lord & Taylor and then in benefits at Jim Beam. She remained in benefits with large manufacturing companies for most of her career. A position as manager of benefits at Master Lock brought her to Milwaukee in July 1993.

Karen joined the staff of Congregation Sinai as director of administration in September 2009. Her responsibilities include management of the synagogue’s financial matters and facilities.

She has served the congregation as a volunteer on the board of directors. She has also taught Hebrew, advised the youth group, chaired an education director search committee and the ritual committee, and co-chaired a cantor search committee.

Jen Friedman
Director of Engagement

“Congregation Sinai is characterized by warmth, learning and dedication to the traditions and progress of the Jewish people.We embody the values of K’hillah (Community), Avodah (Ritual Life), Torah and Tikkun Olam (Repairing of the world).

We celebrate together in joy and comfort one another in sorrow.Every life cycle event creates a bond to Jewish life and to the synagogue.Life cycle events have the capacity to be transformational, having an impact that extends far beyond the event itself. We see our vibrant community as an extended family, where we can be known and cherished.

Through study and learning we search for knowledge, understanding and Jewish continuity.We can connect with God, with our community and with ourselves through worship, study and participation in Jewish activities. The sense of holiness found in our synagogue translates to our homes and our every-day lives.Through Tikkun Olam we help those in need and promote social justice. As Jews we are responsible for one another, our greater community, Israel and the world.”

Jen Friedman joined the staff of Congregation Sinai in August 2009. A native of Lexington, Massachusetts, she grew up in synagogue life as a daughter of a Reform rabbi. She is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and mass communication. Her first marketing job, for Revlon, brought her to Milwaukee in 1992. Her husband, Fox Point native Ari Friedman, kept her here.

Professionally, Jen has “held every position” at Wisconsin Region BBYO over 10 years, ending her tenure there in 2007 as executive director. Since then, she has served as an independent consultant to BBYO Inc. and as marketing coordinator for Mequon Jewish Preschool, where she planned and executed a fundraising gala and wrote grant proposals.

In addition to her professional and family obligations, Jen is active as a volunteer in the community, serving on the board of Milwaukee Jewish Federation, BBYO Youth Commission, and Maple Dale-Indian Hill Educational Foundation, among others. She recently completed a term as president of National Council of Jewish Women.

Jeri Danz, School Administrator

Ilene Wasserman, Bookkeeper

LeRoy Johnson, Jr., Head Custodian

Tracey Hassinger, Kitchen Coordinator


Rabbi Emeritus, Jay Brickman

Rabbi Brickman was born in New York City and graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology. He was ordained rabbi and awarded the Doctor of Divinity and Master of Hebrew Literature degrees from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In 1947 he was awarded the Bertha Guggenheimer Fellowshipfor study at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He served as Rabbi of Temple Israel, Staten Island, New York from 1948-1955 with two years leave for service as chaplain in the U.S. Army. Rabbi Brickman remains a vital presence at Sinai, teaching a variety of classes.