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Director of Lifelong Learning Carla Adivi

Carla Adivi
Director of Lifelong Learning

Carla Adivi has overseen Jewish education at Valley Outreach Synagogue for over a decade. Under her direction, the innovative JEWELS education program has grown from two in-home classes to a comprehensive life-long education program serving toddlers through retirees. Her desire to inspire people of all ages to embrace the joy of Judaism through authentic Jewish experiences fuels the vision for JEWELS, while her collaborative and compassionate nature helps ensure that everyone is recognized as a unique soul.

A life-long learner herself, Carla studies Mussar (Jewish character development) and conversational Hebrew, and she recently completed a two-year fellowship in the prestigious Mandel Teacher Educator Institute for the purpose of elevating staff development at VOS. She is also an active member in the Religious School Educator’s Network of the Builders of Jewish Education.

Carla is married to her husband Dan for over 30 years. They have three sons, a daughter-in-law and recently became proud grandparents.



Gerald Sternbach
Music Director

Gerald has earned thirteen Ovation nominations (winning in 2006) and seven LADCC nominations
( honored in 2007 and 2008 and 2012). In 2015, made his London debut- One Night Only with Mel Brooks,
also performed in LA, (April 2014), at the Geffen Theater- filmed for HBO. Also at the Geffen- Carrie
Fisher’s one-woman show, Wishful Drinking. Other Southern California credits: LA Philharmonic debut
(Hollywood Bowl 2005) pianist for Stephen Sondheim's 75th Birthday Concert, conducting 20
shows for REPRISE, Grey Gardens, (associate conductor-LA premiere- Ahmanson), Sondheim on
Sondheim (Southern California premiere), an ASCAP event honoring Stephen Schwartz (Wallis Annenberg),
featuring Idina Menzel, Megan Hilty, Liz Callaway, Jordan Fisher and Andrea Martin.
Other credits: associate conductor for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Merlin, and The Tap Dance Kid
(all Broadway), Les Miserablés (LA premiere company), conductor- Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song
and Dance, (national tour- Melissa Manchester). He’s worked with the likes of Leslie Odom Jr, Marilyn
Horne, Jennifer Hudson, Josh Groban, Sarah Brightman and Carol Burnett, Adam Lambert, Nancy Wilson, John Lithgow, and Judith Light; the ongoing pianist of An Evening with Groucho (with Frank Ferrante).
As a songwriter/composer- the musicals— Biting Broadway! ( with Jordan Beck and John Blaylock),
Club Mom and A Very Cherry Christmas (both with Elin Hampton). and, Heartbeats (with Amanda McBroom). His song (with Faye Greenberg)—“Mary” ( a tribute to Mary Tyler Moore) was sung by
Eric McCormack on the 2004 TV Land awards— in the presence of the sitcom's original cast.  WITNESSES, the musical based on five surviving diaries of teenagers who were victims of the Holocaust, 
has some of his songs written in collaboration with  Jordan Beck , featured with four other songwriting teams, and a  book by Tony award winner, Robert Freedman.   It had its world premiere the summer of 2022 and is slated for further productions in the coming year. He also did all of the arrangements and orchestrations for this important musical called “a triumph” by the San Diego Union Tribune.

Jack Bielan
Founding Music Director

Founding Music Director Jack Bielan is privileged to have served Valley Outreach Synagogue for thirty-three years—from its inception in 1985 through 2018.

Raised in the Beverly-Fairfax area, he has also been a longtime fixture in the Los Angeles music scene. Serving as a studio keyboardist, arranger and conductor, as well as a producer and composer, Jack’s varied discography includes a Gold Record award and a place in music history for his arranging efforts on James Taylor’s landmark “Sweet Baby James” album and the succeeding single, “Steamroller Blues”/”You’ve Got A Friend.” He has also toured the world as a Music Director and conductor/keyboardist.

In addition to having performed on recordings selling in excess of twenty million copies, Jack regards his spiritual endeavors as “the most significant part of my creative life.” During his tenure as Music Director, he produced and arranged all of VOS’ on-bimah musical presentations, in addition to composing much of the music. His first original CD, “From The Heart Of A Jewish Soul” (which prominently features Rabbi and Rebbetzin Ron and Bronwen Li-Paz) has been called “a contemporary Jewish masterpiece.”

Valley Outreach Synagogue has always been a family affair for Jack. His daughter Megan became a superb vocal soloist on the VOS bimah shortly after her seventh birthday, and her mother, Sheri Montrose, was the first VOS cantorial soloist.

Jack has authored two books, “On Loss” and “Does God Make Mistakes (Holding On To Your Faith At Life’s Most Difficult Moments).” In addition to his Jewish musical compositions, his works of contemporary inspirational and recovery-based material, including his renown “Serenity (The Serenity Prayer Song),” are sung in houses of worship all over the world. He has completed spoken audio recordings of the complete fourth edition of ”The Big Book Of Alcoholics Anonymous” and “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,” which are available free of charge on his website as a service to vision-impaired individuals and anyone else in the recovery community who might find them useful.

His personal websites are and


Administrative Staff:

Clergy Assistant, Sharona Jacobs

Office Administrator, Arlene Mayo


Finance Administrator, Karen Lavin

JEWELS Administrative Assistant, Judy Gaffin

JEWELS Deputy Program Director, Julie Blair


Sun, June 4 2023 15 Sivan 5783