Spokane Area Jewish Family Services is located in the building of Temple Beth Shalom. We are extremely grateful to TBS for donating office and program space, and for all of their ongoing support.

1322 E. 30th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99203
Office: (509) 747-7394
Cell: (509) 413-8254

Neal Schindler, Director

Neal Schindler

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Neal Schindler has lived in the Northwest since 2002. He worked in journalism in Seattle before moving to Spokane to earn a master’s degree in counseling from Eastern Washington University. Neal has provided counseling and social services to diverse populations since 2010. He was raised in a Reconstructionist congregation and is currently a member of Congregation Emanu-El. He loves his work as director of SAJFS. The Jewish values that are most important to Neal include humor, resilience, community, food, intellectualism, and healthy skepticism. He lives with his wife, son, and two cats in West Central Spokane.

Meet the SAJFS Board of Directors:

Miriam Berkman, Ph.D., Co-president
A position as a counseling psychologist at Eastern Washington University brought me to the Spokane area in 1992. I have been actively involved in the Reform Jewish community and have served as president of the board for Congregation Emanu-El (CEE). Coming off the CEE board, it was a natural transition to now serve on the board for SAJFS. I grew up with a strong sense of social justice developed by my parents’ words, deeds, and commitment to Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). I hope to bring the skills I have honed over the years to develop relationships, honor all peoples, and thoughtfully engage in meaningful decisions that affect the Spokane community at large, and the Jewish community in particular.

Larry Weiser, J.D., Co-president
A longtime director of University Legal Assistance at Gonzaga, Larry retired in 2015 after 35 years of service to his alma mater. He has a lengthy history with Gonzaga Law, going as far back as 1973 when he started as a student. Larry spent his entire Gonzaga Law career as director of the Elder Law Project, and the last 10 as director of the Clinic. While he taught different classes, he was best-known for his expertise in Elder Law, Dispute Resolution, Negotiation and Mediation, and Administrative Law.

Marti Martin, Vice President
The Spokane Jewish Community has been a big part of my life since moving here in 1991. I served for many years on the Temple Beth Shalom board as both a member-at-large and president. In 2003, I joined the SAJFS board, eventually serving as president. Once again, from 2020 until 2023, I had the honor of being president of this organization that is near and dear to my heart.

Meghan Hannes, Treasurer
Meghan was raised in Spokane and recently returned to be closer to her family. She works as director of human resources for Nordstrom and has an extensive background in business finances and leadership development. An experienced and strategic leader in HR with proven success in consulting and influencing leaders on all people-related topics, Meghan uses HR knowledge, in partnership with business acumen and data, to help drive achievement of overall organizational goals.

Lenya Treewater, Secretary
Lenya has been a dance/movement therapist in the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years. After completing her training at the State University of New York at Brockport and at Antioch New England Graduate School, Lenya moved to Oregon. As DMT had little presence in the Pacific Northwest, Lenya helped to found the Oregon Study Group, which continues to be a strong network of Oregon therapists. She worked mainly with mental health populations in various settings until she moved to Seattle and focused her work on the elderly. She has lived in Spokane for several years and is an active member of the Jewish community.

Dr. Carl Baum
Semiretired psychiatrist, Spokane Jewish Cultural Film Festival committee chair, and grandfather

Dr. Berdine Bender
After completing her residency in internal medicine at the University of Southern California in 1981, Berdine became a board-certified internist and ultimately a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. She has been privileged to care for both hospitalized and ambulatory patients, from teenagers to elderly adults, over the last 40 years, 36 of which have been in Spokane. With her lifelong love of music, Berdine has been a member of the TBS Choir since arriving in Spokane in 1983, serving as choir director from 1997 to the present. In her spare time, she loves to cook, read, garden, hike, bicycle, and travel with friends and family.

Holly Thompson Duffy
Holly works as an Environmental Protection Specialist for Indian Health Service.

Diana Koorkanian-Sauders (she/her)
Diana works as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the areas of health policy and program development with primary care programs for uninsured and vulnerable populations. She has served as board president of Congregation Emanu-El and currently serves on the board as past president and as a CEE representative on the TBS Education Committee. She enjoys additional volunteer and tikkun olam work through her involvement in the Spokane Alliance and working with other TBS and CEE members to support local refugee families. 

Liat Kriegel, Ph.D.
Liat is a social worker and a social work researcher. She works as an assistant research professor at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University.

Robert Morgan, J.D.
Robert is a retired attorney with particular expertise in elder law. He is a former board member of LJD Jewish Family & Community Services in Jacksonville, Florida.

Jack Sorensen
Jack grew up in Spokane and returned to the city in 2021 with his partner, Ali, after 12 years in Seattle and Tacoma. He works as a political consultant, specializing in campaigns and strategic communications. Past work includes statewide ballot measures like I-1433 (minimum wage and paid sick leave), I-594 (handgun background checks), and I-940 (police accountability), as well as candidate work and legislative advocacy campaigns, from restoring overtime protections to passing paid family and medical leave in Washington.

Nancy Wickre
Nancy was born in New York City and moved to Spokane in 1982 after living in Nashville and Portland. She worked as a nurse practitioner with a specialty in diabetes and retired in 2019. She enjoyed volunteering for several years on Temple Beth Shalom’s Senior Tea Committee and is excited to join the board of this worthwhile organization.