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Professional Staff

Mara B. Suskauer

Executive Director 

Mara Suskauer joined Temple B’nai Abraham as executive director in November 2021. Prior to joining TBA, she was the director of lower school admissions at Golda Och Academy and before that was the executive director of Israel advocacy and education at Jewish National Fund. She has spent her career leading Jewish non-profits and has family roots at TBA, as her husband’s family members belonged to TBA when it was in Newark.

Mara has a Master of Public Administration, Non-Profit Management, from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts in Business and International Affairs from Kennesaw State University.

While Mara has southern roots and grew up in Marietta, Georgia, she’s been in New Jersey for almost 20 years. When not at TBA, you can find her around town with 3 kids, trying to sneak in runs with the SOMA Foxes, or walking a very friendly Bernese Mountain Dog with her husband.

Debbie Aronson Ziering

Director of Early Childhood Education

Debbie has been an early childhood educator for over three decades and has been associated with B’nai Abraham’s pre-school programs for over 36 years. She is a graduate of Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and a minor and training in Special Education and Day Care Management. Debbie, a pre-school math and language arts specialist has developed the school’s literacy related curriculum for all age levels. She has been instrumental in formulating the latest theories and translating them into curriculum and programming. Debbie is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Melissa G. Weiner

Director of Jewish Learning

Before joining Temple B’nai Abraham in 2012,  Melissa had served as the Director of Education and Lifelong Learning of Morristown Jewish Center Beit Yisrael, Morristown, NJ,   Previously serving Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative synagogues in Massachusetts, Missouri and New Jersey, she has created curriculum for CAJE in St. Louis and presented workshops on Family Education in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Missouri.

Melissa earned her BA from Brandeis University and MA from Brown University, and has studied in Israel. She has been honored with both regional and national Solomon Schechter Awards for her many innovative programs such as the Jewseum, Lions of Jerusalem Day and Lech Lecha. She was the Recipient of 2007-2008 United Synagogue Conservative Judaism NJ Region Norman H. Winter Professional Excellence Award.

Laura Wold

Office Manager

Laura has been with the Temple B’nai Abraham staff since 1984. She is a veritable font of knowledge when it comes to anything regarding TBA, whether past, present or even future! Her computer expertise is legendary, and she has been essential in implementing numerous computer program upgrades throughout the years. Laura trains and supports TBA staff through these vital improvements. She is certified as a Notary Public.

Alia Covel

Communications and Marketing Manager

Alia has a professional background in journalism, both Jewish and secular. She has been with Temple B'nai Abraham since 2021. She was a writer, editor, and blogger for New Jersey Jewish News for some 17 years, where she received several awards from the New Jersey Press Association. She was also editor of the TAPinto SOMA website for two years. She has been a volunteer for the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest New Jersey for more than 25 years. Alia holds a BA from The Ohio State University. Alia’s responsibilities include creating TBA communications, social media, marketing, and website upkeep.

Tracey Bent

Director of Facilities and Technology

Tracey joined the staff of Temple B’nai Abraham in 1991. As Facilities Manager, he oversees a staff of dedicated workers to ensure the maintenance and security of the Temple's building and grounds. Tracey is a Certified Educational Facilities Manager (CEFM) in New Jersey, a designation administered by the NJDOE's Office of School Facilities Planning.

In addition, he manages the operations of the Temple’s computer systems and technology services. A Microsoft Office Specialist and Microsoft Certified Professional, Tracey continues to pursue his education in the computer field. Tracey has guided the temple in implementing “green” and environmentally-friendly efforts in many aspects of temple life. He studied electronics at DeVry Technical Institute in Woodbridge and attended Union County College in Cranford. Tracey has been a dedicated Livingston Volunteer Fire Department member for more than 20 years and currently serves as Deputy Chief. 


Marcia Swaybill

Event Coordinator

Marcia has had a diverse professional background that included administrative positions on Wall Street, in higher education, as a paralegal, and as a professional organizer. She earned Master’s and Bachelor's degrees in English, and a Certificate in Paralegal Studies. Marcia is an avid reader, mahjong player, loves attending rock concerts, and walking her crazy Australian Cattle Dog, Pepper.

Viara Bencosme


Viara holds a BS in Accounting from Monroe College in New York. With more than a decade of experience, Viara is essential to the day-to-day flow of the accounting processes for TBA. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Viara is a mother of two and enjoys nature, fashion, and glamour.

Tue, July 23 2024 17 Tammuz 5784