Leadership

Several past presidents of WTB

WTB is governed by a Council comprised of women of diverse faith traditions. It meets monthly to plan the activities of the organization. Council members hold staggered terms of one to three years, beginning each September. The Advisory Board, comprised of past Council members, gives guidance to the Council.

WTB’s President for 2019-20 is Barbara Bova. Barbara served for many years as secretary of WTB. She is a retired teacher at Jamesville-Dewitt High School and a member of the Syracuse Live Theater Awards Academy. A lifelong Syracuse resident, she is a mother of two and grandmother of three.

Muna Al-any was born into a family of ten children in Iraq and was raised in the Islamic tradition. After Desert Storm, she and her two children traveled to Jordan as refugees. Living there was difficult, but Muna managed to work both as a hairdresser and as a TV videographer. In 2007 she and her family made their way to the U.S., again as refugees. Within two weeks of her arrival here, she attended a WTB meeting, and she has been active with WTB ever since. Muna has continued her education since arriving in the U.S., becoming proficient in English and continuing to do freelance videography. She enjoys cooking for many friends and is well known for her wonderful and warm hospitality.

Judith Alderman is our Treasurer. She is a United Methodist pastor in the Syracuse area.

Lina Alsafadi is a former vice president of WTB. She was born in Jordan; she has a four-year college degree in social studies and public administration. She worked in management at Toys R Us and has three children.

Betty Lamb is a former president of WTB. She has a background in both Christianity and Judaism. She taught religious education in the Roman Catholic church for many years. Betty is now active at both Temple Adath Yeshurun and Temple Concord. She is currently a Vice-President of Temple Concord Sisterhood and sings in the choirs at both congregations. She is President of the Syracuse Federation of Women’s Clubs and has been an active volunteer and board member of the Everson Museum Members’ Council and the Syracuse Sounds of Music Association. She is retired from a career in retail and education. Betty spends summer months on Murray Isle in the Thousand Islands, where she is the Contract Postmaster and retiring Treasurer of the Murray Isle Association. Mother and grandmother of five, she is a great-grandmother and an Arbonne Independent Consultant.

Carol Lipson is a vice president of WTB. An Emerita Professor of Writing and Rhetoric at Syracuse University, she helps organize events for local SU Emeriti. She has held several positions with the  Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music, including president, and currently is corresponding secretary and listserv manager. Carol has served in several leadership positions at Temple Adath Yeshurn, including as Vice President. She represents it on ACTS Leadership Council and is a member of the ACTS Education Committee.

Joy Pople is a former president of WTB. She directed the Baldwinsville Volunteer Center. From her international travel experiences, she has become committed to fostering understanding and cooperation among people of various cultures. After retiring as publications director of the Universal Peace Federation, she has been active as a Master Gardener for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County and as a Cornell Master Naturalist volunteer. Her faith background is in the Mennonite, Episcopal and Unification churches. She and her husband, John, have two children and one grandchild.

A former WTB president, Ann Eppinger Port worked for many years as a freelance medical writer and editor. She is currently writing and editing literature on addiction and codependency for a worldwide Twelve Step fellowship and also serves on the board of that organization. Her ongoing interests include complementary and energy-based healing modalities and Jewish history, spirituality, and mystical traditions. She is a Reiki Master and has trained in Psych-K. She and her husband, Howard, have two adult sons and two young grandchildren.

Cindy Rahrle is a Vice President of WTB.

Sue Savion is president emerita of WTB. Raised Catholic, she is currently active at May Memorial Unitarian-Universalist Society, where she co-chairs the Green Sanctuary Committee. A retired reading specialist in the Syracuse city schools, Sue is editor of the newsletter for the Transpersonal Psychology Association of Syracuse and has published four teacher resource books and poetry as well as a book on Matilda Joslyn Gage. Her two daughters and three grandchildren live nearby.

Cara Steiner grew up in a small town in Ohio. Her family has been Mennonite for many generations, but her close friends and extended family have always included people of diverse religions and nationalities. She is a nurse; most recently she was director of a small not-for-profit associated with the New York State Department of Health; before that she was director of nursing for the Onondaga County Health Department.

WTB co-founders Danya Wellmon and Betsy Wiggins

Danya Wellmon, a co-founder of WTB, is a retired medical technologist with the American Red Cross. She is the mother of three and lives in Dewitt. Danya bridges the Christian and Muslim traditions, as she grew up in a Methodist family but reverted to Islam in 1992. Danya served as a Vice-Chair of the Leadership Council of United Religions Initiative (URI) North America, an NGO with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Betsy Wiggins, a co-founder of WTB, worked as a speech pathologist in Syracuse, primarily with patients who have had strokes. She spent much of her life in Georgia and worked for former President Jimmy Carter at the Carter Center. She served on the board of the North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) as Program Chair.

Melek Yavuz is a former vice president of WTB. She is a Registered Dietitian and received an MS from West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in Community Nutrition. She is a member of American Dietetic Association and Central New York Dietetic Association. Melek is an active member of CNY Rise Center and participates in Turkish cultural events. In her spare time she loves cooking, reading, and playing with her son and daughter.

Rosalie Young is retired after working as a family counselor and professor in the Public Justice Department at SUNY Oswego. She has been involved in numerous community organizations dealing with Judaism, social action, mediation, and conflict resolution. She and her husband are members of Temple Adath Yeshurun. She keeps busy enjoying her four children and ten grandchildren and is learning to play the drums.

Sis Zucker

Advisory Board

This group of women, all former Council members, provide special expertise to the Council:

Judy Antoine was born in Iowa and raised in Chile , the child of Methodist missionaries. Judy attends May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society. She is a retired Spanish teacher in Syracuse City Schools. She began attending WTB meetings when her daughter, Giselle, converted to Islam. Judy lives with her husband in Syracuse, mentors an Iraqi family and delights in having her son and his family living close by.

A historian of education, Joan Burstyn, is a professor emerita, Syracuse University. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Congregation Beth Shalom-Chevra Shas and is currently co-authoring a book titled: Searching for God with a Study Partner. They have three children; one lives in Wisconsin (where Joan and her husband recently moved), and two live in Israel (where Joan and her husband travel for annual visits).

Jennifer Roberts Crittenden is a former president and before that secretary of WTB. She coordinates our sewing program with New Americans and the Book Club. A retired English teacher, Jennifer lives with her husband in Bridgeport, a suburb of Syracuse. She enjoys activities with grandchildren, enjoys Oneida Lake, travels whenever possible, volunteers at a nursing home, and is active in her Roman Catholic Church.

Daryl Files was born in Chicago but has lived in Syracuse for four decades. She formerly owned and operated a sports bar with her husband, Noel, and has been a personal development trainer. She has been very involved with many local non-profits, including the Northside Butternut Community Police Center and now InterFaith Works. Daryl is Jewish. She is the mother of four daughters and the grandmother of three. She is a former vice-president of WTB.

Mam-Yassin Sarr Fox is from The Gambia, West Africa. She was born into a Muslim family, was educated in Baptist, Methodist, and Catholic schools, and now follows the Bahá΄í faith. She earned a Ph.D. in Teaching and Curriculum at Syracuse University and is the director of Starfish International, a nonprofit organization whose mission focuses on meeting the educational needs of Gambian girls.

Terra Harmatuk is a minister of Covenant of the Goddess (COG) and HPS Circle of the Rising Phoenix. She says she lives an eclectic-Wiccan spiritual path. She believes that there are many paths to spirit. She has been employed by the Onondaga County Department of Social Services for decades. She and her husband live on Onondaga Hill and have two children.

Penny Hart is a previous vice president of WTB. She a native Syracusan and a licensed United Methodist pastor and chaplain at Elderwood at Birchwood. Now pastor at Apple Valley United Methodist Church in Nedrow, her previous appointments were at the Liverpool 1st UMC, Gethsemane UMC, and Rockefeller UMC. She has been a volunteer with Contact hotline, worked as a facilitator for its school program and coordinated its Teen Talk radio show. Penny is married with three children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Saro Kumar is Hindu and grew up in Malaysia. While there, she studied for 13 years at the Holy Infant Jesus Convent and was taken by her grandmother to Chinese, Buddhist, and Hindu temples and to Christian churches. Saro studied medicine in India and the U.S. and worked as a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Hutchings and Elmcrest Children’s Center.

Patti McGuire is involved at St. Lucy’s Roman Catholic Church. She works for Bennett Business Services and is the administrator for the Institute of Certified Records Management. She enjoys camping, canoeing and biking and volunteers on a “lean-to” rescue team in the Adirondacks.

Gay Montague, a previous WTB president, retired from teaching and working with teens in crisis and writes children’s books focusing on issues of peace and non-violence. She volunteers with local refugees and considers spiritual peacemaking as art of her ministry. Gay was coordinator of the 25h Congressional District Campaign and a U.S. Department of Peace and enjoys traveling. She and her husband have six children and six grandchildren.

Smita Rane is Hindu. While living in Syracuse, she worked at a visitors’ center at Syracuse University. She has now returned to her native country of India, where she volunteers at a school and camp for underprivileged children, mentors some of the boys there who are interested in starting a candle-making business to contribute to their families’ incomes, and helps build the skill sets of women who have suffered disfigurement at the hands of abusive husbands and families. Wherever she lives, Smita loves to get involved in her community to learn about other cultures and to share her culture with others.

Bonnie Shoultz lives at the Zen Center in Syracuse and was ordained a Buddhist nun in 2003. She is Buddhist chaplain at Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel and is a contract chaplain with InterFaith Works, teaching meditation at the Onondaga County Justice Center and Hillbrook Youth Center. She has two adult children and one college-age grandson.

A pioneer in developing vocational training for special-education students in Central New York, Liz Spence was born in Jamaica, British West Indies, of Scottish Baptist missionaries. She grew up in the northeastern U.S. and from an early age has been involved in issues of peace and justice. She is a founder of what is now Peace Action of CNY. Liz has two grown sons and resides in Liverpool.

Margaret Susan Thompson teaches history, political science, and religion at Syracuse University, where her research focuses on Catholic nuns and the intersections of religion and politics. She is an associate member of the IHM [Immaculate Heart of Mary] Sisters of Monroe, Michigan. She grew up in the Jewish tradition and is now a Catholic.

Lisa Warnecke has been President of GeoManagement Associates since 1989, conducting research and advocacy about Geographic Information Technology (GIT)  in the nation’s 50 states and local governments, as well as federal public lands and related environmental/natural resources issues. Lisa has authored numerous related articles, book chapters and reports. Lisa considers herself to be a spiritual seeker and currently mentors refugees who wish to market their handicrafts.

Edith Washington-Woods, a previous vice president of WTB, is the minister at Unity of Syracuse.

Safeta Cerimovic Zauvjek is from Bosnia. She heads the women’s group at the Ahmadi mosque in Syracuse and works in health information management.