Board of Directors

John Gertz - Chairman

John Gertz received an M.A. in psychophysiology from Haifa University and Technion in 1981. John holds duel Israeli-American citizenship and was decorated for distinguished service in the Israeli army.

He moved to San Francisco in 1981 to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of California at San Francisco. At the same time, he began a career in film and TV production,

Founding Zorro Productions. Gertz has been responsible for Zorro motion pictures, TV series, stage productions, and over a thousand licenses.

Gertz has served on many nonprofit boards and committees, including Tehiyah Day School, Berkeley-Richmond JCC (president), Israel Bonds, Jewish Federation, AIPAC, American Friends of Technion, Beth El Synagogue, and Operation Exodus. John is a Wexner Fellow. He recently completed a third term as Chairman of the SETI Board, which specializes planetary and space science.

Gertz lives in Berkeley with his wife, Susan. They have four children in their blended family.

Nitzhia Shaked - Vice Chair

Nitzhia Shaked was born and raised in Jerusalem. She received her LL.B. (Juris Doctor) from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and became a member of the Israeli Bar in 1976. In 1979 she received an LL.M. Degree from Harvard Law School.

Professor Shaked became a member of the California Bar Association in 1989. She has been engaged in Jewish text research and teaching since the mid-seventies. She has held faculty positions at Boston Hebrew College and the University of California at Berkeley. She has taught in the Department of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University and at Sonoma State University.

She teaches weekly Parashat Hashavua classes at Congregations Netivot Shalom in Berkeley and B'nai Shalom in Walnut Creek, as well as weekly biblical text classes.

Nitzhia is also a published artist, whose paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museums. She is long-time theatre subscriber, attending numerous plays annually in the Bay Area, New York, London West End, and Israel.

Michal Kohane - Secretary

Born and raised in Israel, Michal Kohane has been deeply involved in the Jewish Community of Northern California for almost 25 years. She acted as rabbi, was a Jewish federation executive director (the only sabra in this position!), founded the website Rejewvenate | Home, and more. Her passions are in writing (blog at:, teaching (mostly Jewish texts), and traveling (from personal trips to tour guiding).

Michal holds a BA in Studies of Israel and Education, MS in Jewish Studies, and MA in Clinical Psychology. She recently has begun to pursue doctoral studies in Psychology.

Michal has taken classes with A.C.T. She has always enjoyed theatre and stage opportunities, such as being the MC for large community events.

Joyce Ahern - Treasurer

Joyce Ahern is an active and avid theatergoer. She is a devoted student, reader, gardener, and since her retirement from school administration has been an ardent traveler.

She earned Bachelor’s, Master’s, and two graduate Library and Information degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as a Master’s in Comparative Literature.

She taught at UC and was a school administrator, children’s and school librarian for over thirty years.

Joyce was a co-founder of Tehiyah Day School in 1978 and served as an officer on the board for many years. She had the pleasure of being the Jewish Community Library’s children’s librarian. She was also the founder and acting director of the East Bay School for Girls.

Over her career an as educator, she gained experience in both public and independent schools, and in nonprofit organizations in San Francisco and the East Bay. Joyce is delighted to be working with the vibrant Jewish Circle Theatre team.

Seavan Sternheim

Seavan Sternheim grew up in the United States in an American-Israeli family and made Aliya following completion of his undergraduate degree in business.

After serving in the Israeli military and beginning his finance career in Israel, Seavan moved back to his hometown of Palo Alto, California.

Seavan has over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and is a senior executive at an investment management firm. Seavan has an MBA from Santa Clara University.

With encouragement from his wife, Seavan began acting for fun over five years ago, starting with an improv class in English. He instantly fell in love with improv and decided to further his acting experience.

After meeting Ofra Daniel, Seavan joined Bama Ivrit, JCT's Hebrew language community acting group. Seavan has performed several times doing improv, as well as in Shvavei Chayim (original monologues) and Kassit Tel-Aviv.

Marjorie Wolf

Marjorie Wolf holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from California College of Arts and Crafts and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a focus on Health Science Management from Golden Gate University. She also has taken advanced classes in Textiles at Richmond Art Center and San Francisco City College.

Marj has been a healthcare manager for over 35 years. She has been a consultant locally and internationally, working with hospitals, academic medical centers, health plans, medical groups and governments. She was the Network Director/CEO of the Sierra Pacific Network, for the VA, and COO for Telecare Corporation of Alameda. She worked for Kaiser Permanente and was the hospital administrator for Kaiser Hospital in Martinez.

Marj has been very active in the Jewish Community. She has been the Acting Executive Director of The Judah Magnus Museum of the West and the Executive Director of the JCC of the East Bay. She was President of the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay and a member of the American Jewish Distribution Committee.

Udi Gotlieb

Udi is a Bay Area hi-tech professional with over 20 years of experience in marketing and business development in global markets. He joined the Jewish Circle Theatre in 2009. Since then he has been instrumental in guiding the theatre's strategy and marketing activities.

Udi earned his Bachelor's Degree in Cinematography and Political Science from Tel-Aviv University and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the Technion.