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Community Recognizes GHBIC Leaders

President, Maneck Bhujwala

Maneck BhujwalaManeck Bhujwala was born in Bombay, India and came to the United States in 1965 as a graduate student. He has Master’s degrees in Engineering, Business Administration, and Interfaith Action. He worked as engineer and manager for many high-tech companies in California, including on a NASA project. He co-founded two Zarathushti (Zoroastrian) organizations, and served on their Boards. Currently he is Overseas Director of the World Zoroastrian Organization U.K., and serves as a volunteer priest. He has been with the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council (GHBIC) since 2005 and served on its executive committee. He currently also serves on the Boards of Orange County Interfaith Network, and North American Interfaith Network, on the Administrative Committee of the Center for Religion, Loma Linda University, and on the Advisory Council of The Guibord Center, Los Angeles. He also gives talks at schools, colleges, churches, interfaith organizations, radio and TV, and Parliament of World Religions.

Vice-President, Pattie Mercado

Pattie MercadoReverend Pattie Mercado joined the GHBIC when she was called to serve as the Spiritual Director at the Huntington Beach Center for Spiritual Living in February 2019. Pattie and her husband of 34 years have 2 adult children and share a strong commitment to serve their spiritual community together. For the past 20 years Patie has participated as a leader, collaborator, and participant with local and global organizations to bring forward a greater conversation and experience of individual value and collective unity.

Treasurer, Emrah Erduran

Maha RagabEmrah Erduran is the Community Liaison of Pacifica Institute. He taught Math in Middle schools and High schools and worked as a school administrator. Currently, he is a small business owner. He has been living in Huntington Beach since 2012 with his wife and two kids. He dedicates to serve to the community by volunteering for several organizations. He has served the Silk Road Festival organizing committee, GHBIC’s Community Service Day, and 4th of July Parade committees. He is dedicated to interfaith and intercultural dialog. He organized several luncheons, seminars, talk series and forums. During the month of Ramadan, he has been organizing Iftar dinners with various faith groups. He is a member of Orange County Sherriff’s Department Interfaith Advisory Council and The United Nations Association of Orange County (UNA-OC).

Secretary, Janet Ewell

Janet EwellJanet Ewell is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, joining in 1962. A retired educator, she was raised in Oregon and attended college at BYU in Utah. She and her late husband David moved to Huntington Beach in 1975 where their four children grew up. She enjoys backpacking, kayaking, and swimming, but her greatest joy is serving in the California Newport Beach Temple. She is the lead author of a high school journalism text. Her other published writings include “Seeing Psalms as the Libretti of a Holy Drama.”

Past President: Penelope Nichols

Penelope NicholsPenelope Nichols is a life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a member of The Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council since 2015. She and her family moved to Huntington Beach in 1997 and quickly fell in love with its beauty and strong sense of community. She has spent all of her 25 years as a stay-at-home mom in volunteer positions such as: Church Youth Group Director, Church Youth Camp Director, Relief Society Women’s Group President, PTA President, Millennial Choir and Orchestra Youth Choirs President/Coordinator, Foster Parent, Days of 47 Parade Committee (Utah), Jr. Miss Pageant Housing Co-Coordinator (Utah), GHBIC’s Community Service Day Coordinator, GHBIC’s Thanksgiving Service Coordinator, HBPD’s Homeless Task Force Volunteer Mentor, Robyne’s Nest Mentor, Point in Time Homeless Count Participant, and countless short-term volunteer positions in the community and her church. Her family says she is a “professional volunteer”.

She was raised in California’s South Bay area where she met and married her husband Scott in 1991. They have four adult children. She enjoys self-help books, family gatherings and meals, holding babies, working with and inspiring teenagers, missionary and church service, helping others, daily walks, and musical theater. She sings many of her conversations with her husband and children and wishes she could live IN a musical! Her conversational singing makes them nuts and her happy! Her favorite daily counsel to herself and family is, “Love God. Love others. Love yourself.”, “Choose to pre-love, not pre-judge.” and “Choose what leaves you free to chose again.”

Member at Large: Rabbi Stephen J. Einstein

Rabbi Stephen J. EinsteinStephen J. Einstein was born and reared in Southern California, and is a cum laude-Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UCLA. He was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he also earned his doctorate. Mentor to many rabbinical students, in recognition of his years of service, the College-Institute also awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Rabbi Einstein served congregations in Parsippany, New Jersey and Westminster, California, prior to founding Congregation B’nai Tzedek, Fountain Valley, California in 1976. He remained the synagogue’s rabbi until his retirement in 2012. He is now Founding Rabbi Emeritus.

Rabbi Einstein was Vice President of Member Services of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, having previously served for 12 years on the Conference’s Ethics Committee, 6 years as Chair. He is Past President of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis, the Orange County Board of Rabbis, and the Orange County Bureau of Jewish Education. He is currently on the Board of CSP (Community Scholar Program) and the Anti-Defamation League. He was the recipient of the American Jewish Committee’s Micah Award for Human Relations, and in 2014, Orange County Human Relations tendered him their Legacy Award.

He taught Orange County’s Community-wide Introduction to Judaism class from 1976 to 2017. He is co-editor of Introduction to Judaism: A Sourcebook, which was used in basic Judaism courses throughout North America for over three decades. He is also co-author of Every Person’s Guide to Judaism. For over two decades, he served as Co-chair of Reform Judaism’s Commission on Outreach, Membership, and Sacred Community. Dr. Einstein has taught at California State University, Fullerton in the Department of Comparative Religion.

Active in interfaith affairs, he is Past President (and current Board member) of the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council, served on the Interfaith Advisory Committee of the Alzheimer’s Association, and is an active member of the Catholic-Jewish Dialogue. He is on the Board of CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice) and is a volunteer Chaplain for the Fountain Valley Police Department. For three years, he served as Chair of the Governing Board of Fountain Valley Regional Hospital. A prior School Board Trustee, he was a member of the Personnel Commission of the Fountain Valley School District from 1990-2017. He now serves on the Board of the Fountain Valley Schools Foundation.. He represents the 72nd Assembly District on the Central Committee of the California Democratic Party. Rabbi Einstein is listed in Who’s Who in America.

Rabbi Einstein and his wife Robin reside in Fountain Valley and are the proud parents of four children and seven grandchildren.

Member at Large: Jynene Johnson

  • Convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Wife to Larry M. Johnson
  • Mom of 6 (3+3), Mimi to 14
  • Former professional dancer and choreographer
  • Israel travel director for 30 years
  • Religious teacher and leader
  • Love to sew and DIY
  • Home entertaining
  • Oregon raised
  • Museum lover
  • List maker
  • BYU alumni
  • Dream to be with my family forever!

Member at Large: Judy Osuna

Judy OsunaJudy Osuna serves a staff minister at the Downey Center for Spiritual Living. She is also the Community Outreach and Education Manager at Alzheimer’s Family Center in Huntington Beach. Judy is an innovative speaker, motivating educator, and empathetic support group leader. Judy is the author of You do not have to be Behind Bars to be in Prison, you are your key to freedom.

Member at Large: Lachelle Carrozza

Lachelle Carrozza joined the GHBIC in 2019 and immediately fell in love with it’s mission, outreach, meetings, and members. She has lived in Huntington Beach for the majority of her life and is dedicated to serving the community. She is married with 3 children and attends Seaside Community Church. She volunteers with several non-profits and founded one of her own in 2020, Konquer Together Projects.

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