Board & Staff
Board of Directors
Kenneth L. Stein
Roberta Brandes Gratz
Founder and President Emeritus
Ester R. Fuchs
Jeffrey R. Gural
Jonathan L. Mechanic
Michele Cohn Tocci
Jeffrey S. Wilks
Bonnie Dimun, Executive Director
Bonnie brings a wealth of experience in the non-profit, corporate and university arenas. She founded and was president of Dynamics for Change, a management consulting firm focusing on client relations, business development, and alliance partnerships. Bonnie also served as National Director of Education and Public Policy at Hadassah, the world’s largest women’s non-profit organization. There she created and managed the Leadership, Education and Training Center. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of Organization Advancement for Middlesex County College. Bonnie holds an Ed.D from Columbia University as well as two degrees from Rider University.
Nancy Beiles, Manager of Family Programs
Nancy develops new programs for families and private groups at the museum, including the Just-for-You initiative. A longtime journalist whose writing has appeared in a wide range of publications – from newspapers like The Wall Street Journal to magazines like Teen People and This Old House – Nancy loves to think of museum programs as opportunities to tell stories, but off the page. Whether focusing on the Eastern European immigrants and the world they built on Lower East Side or the rise and fall and rise again of the building itself, she’s got volumes to share with museum visitors. A third-generation Staten Island native who now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters, Nancy is a slow jogger, a fast reader and an antique store junkie.
Roberta Berken, Master Docent
Roberta is the Master docent of the Museum. In addition to giving tours and greeting visitors she supervises new docents and gives off-site presentations about Eldridge Street. She was also a docent for the Central Park Conservancy for many years. Roberta has a Bachelors degree in Political Science from Queens College and a Masters degree from Adelphi. She was the Social Work Coordinator at Huntington Hospital for 25 years where she also supervised graduate students and ran support groups for dialysis and cancer patients and their families. Additionally she had a private practice in psychotherapy.
Scott Brevda, Senior Educator and Visitor Services Operations Manager
Scott Brevda develops, leads and coordinates programs for the Education Department. As an historian, and lifelong New Yorker, Scott uses his understanding of his native city to bring its history to life. He first became involved with Eldridge as a docent; giving tours of the historic site to members of the public. Since becoming an Educator, Scott has led the Museum’s Cultural Afterschool Adventure (CASA) Program for second grade students. Scott has additionally developing new programs for all grades base on state curriculum standards.. Currently, he is also an Educator at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and was formerly an intern at the Queens Historical Society and the New-York Historical Society. Scott holds a B.A. and M.A. in History from Fordham University.
Eva Bruné, Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Eva has more than 40 years of experience in non-profit management and fundraising. As sole development staff person at the Museum at Eldridge Street, Eva was responsible for planning and implementing the organization’s successful $20 million capital campaign. On an annual basis, Eva oversees fundraising, management and strategic planning. Prior to joining the Museum at Eldridge Street, Eva served as Executive Director for The CityKids Foundation, Managing Director for INTAR Hispanic American Arts Center, and Director for Institutional Advancement for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Young Audiences, Inc., and the Big Apple Circus. She has served as a grant evaluator and/or panelist for numerous institutions and agencies including the Arts and Business Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and the State Arts Councils of Alaska, Florida and New Jersey. She serves on the Advisory Board of CareerVillage.org and as a consultant for Mayan Families. Eva is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts awards, a Visual Arts grant for her sculpture and a Fellowship for her arts management work. Eva received her BFA and California teaching credential from the California College of Arts, and completed a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University’s Continuing Education Program.
Mercedes Correa, Bookkeeper
Mercedes is an experienced financial professional with a BA degree in accounting from Baruch College. Over her three-decade career in accounting, Mercedes has advised a variety of businesses on bookkeeping and accounting, coordinated audits, managed payroll and a variety of other matters related to the financial health of an institution. She previously worked in the hotel and restaurant and printing industries, as well as in the garment district, which gives her a unique connection to the historical period that the museum explores.
Chelsea J. Dowell, Director of Public Engagement
Chelsea J. Dowell is an accomplished nonprofit professional with a focus on raising public profile and visibility for historic sites.
After earning a Masters degree in Historic Preservation from Pratt Institute, Chelsea spent four years at the Green-Wood Historic Fund, where she managed the 180-year-old cemetery’s development into a premiere cultural destination. Through diverse programming and an engaging public voice, she built a dedicated base of constituents whose support now positions Green-Wood firmly among New York’s significant cultural landmarks. Chelsea has also served as the Director of Communications and Programming at Village Preservation, where she worked to connect diverse audiences to the irreplaceable neighborhood businesses, personalities, and folklore. Chelsea interned at the Museum at Eldridge Street during graduate school and immediately fell in love with the spirit of the building and its history. She is thrilled to be back on the team, promoting the Museum’s place as an invaluable site of immigrant, architectural, and Jewish history in New York City.
Nancy Johnson, Archivist and Curator
Nancy has been curating the Museum’s temporary art and history exhibition series since it began in 2016. As the Museum’s archivist, she looks after its historic documents, objects and art collection. Favorite projects since coming to Eldridge Street in 2009 include editing Beyond the Façade, an illustrated history of the Eldridge Street Synagogue and its restoration; developing the permanent exhibition in 2014, and curating exhibitions ranging from the art of Kiki Smith to Harbin, China/Past-Present, combining both history and contemporary art. Nancy has worked as an archivist, curator, editor and writer for longer than she cares to admit. She has been a consultant on major projects at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Montclair Art Museum, Alan Lomax Archives, Lotos Club and many other arts-related organizations. She holds an MA in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and BA degrees in history and art history from Stony Brook University.
Sophie Lo, Director of Visitor Services and Program Management
Sophie returns to the Museum as the Director of Visitor Services and Program Management after working as a Cultural Programming Intern in 2011. A second-generation Chinese American with immigrant parents, it was at Eldridge Street where she discovered a deep affinity and affection for the diverse communities of the Lower East Side. Ever since, she has worked at the intersection of arts and culture and education. Prior to returning to Eldridge Street, she oversaw public programs at The Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, and before that managed public programs, marketing, and press relations at the Museum of Chinese in America. She has freelanced for Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and consulted on diversity initiatives for young adult novels at Scholastic. Sophie earned her BA in Culture and Media Studies from The New School and an MS in Human Capital Management and Organizational Effectiveness from New York University.
Rachel Serkin, Director of Education
Rachel Serkin develops new programs and content for the Education Department and serves as a point of contact for school and group programs. Born and raised in Brooklyn Rachel grew up surrounded by New York City history. After receiving her Master’s in Secondary Education from Hunter College Rachel has used her degree to teach in what she likes to call the most “nontraditional of classrooms.” Over the past eight years Rachel has developed and taught educational programs at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the Brooklyn Historical Society, The Brooklyn Navy Yard, The New York Transit Museum and the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum.