Rabbi Greenbaum

Rabbi Bruce Greenbaum began his service to Congregation Beth Israel in June 1994. For seven years prior to moving to the Monterey Peninsula, he served as the Associate Rabbi of Congregation Emanuel in Denver, Colorado.

During his early years at CBI, Rabbi Greenbaum developed and strengthened programs for young people. He also helped to develop our Best Years program for seniors and strengthened the congregation’s chavurah (friendship) groups, while supporting the Caring Community, Social Action Committee, and Adult Education events. In addition to leading religious services and holiday events like the community Passover Seder, he teaches classes including Torah Study, Jewish Liturgy, and Introduction to Judaism.


It has been an important goal of his Rabbinate to interact with other faiths in the local community. Rabbi Greenbaum was instrumental in forming JCM United – Jews, Christians, and Muslims United – a group that meets on a regular basis to perform community service projects such as feeding the homeless.

The Rabbi remains active in the community as a leader for our local Rotary club, as an active chaplain for the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, and as a chaplain for the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department. He also leads multi-faith tours to Israel every few years.

Rabbi Greenbaum is usually found behind his desk Tuesday through Friday and around the synagogue on weekends. His hobbies include tennis, fly fishing, traveling, and reading.

Rabbi Greenbaum is married to Susan Greenbaum and has three grown daughters: Liotte, Shira, and Tani.


Mel Mason

Mel Mason grew up in Seaside, California, from the age of 13 after he and his mother moved there from Kentucky in 1956. Considered by many to be one of the greatest basketball players in the history of this area, he had a storied career at Monterey High School and at Monterey Peninsula College, where he was the college’s only All-American and, to this day, holds all of that school’s scoring and rebound records. In March 2011, he was inducted into the California Community College Athletic Association’s Hall Of Fame.


Highly recruited by most of the major universities in the country, Mel chose Oregon State University, where he took a stand against the racist treatment of himself and other Black athletes and students, lost his scholarship, and was barred from playing at any other university in the country. Other players who regarded him as the best player of all time in community college history went on to have professional careers. They all believed that Mel should have been there with them. “I considered this a blessing in many ways”, he would say later. “The ending of my basketball career opened other, wider doors for me that gave my life more meaning as I embarked on a now 49-year involvement as an activist for civil and human rights.” 


Mel’s activism led him to become a member of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Later, as a leader of the Socialist Workers Party, he would run for Governor of California in 1982 and for President of the United States in 1984. In 1980, after years of activism locally, Mel was elected to the Seaside City Council amid death threats and other acts of attempted intimidation.


Over his career, Mel has spoken in many parts of the world on behalf of human rights issues. In 2012, Mel completed the last of his three terms as Monterey County NAACP Branch President. He has received numerous awards for his activism and community service. His life has been chronicled in such books as Peninsula People by John McCleary; The Myths and Legends of Cannery Row by Ed Larsh; The History of African Americans in Monterey County by Jan Batiste Atkins; a book edited by former National NAACP President/CEO and Pacific Grove native Ben Jealous entitled REACH: 40 Black Men Speak of Living, Leading and Succeeding; and another more recently published book entitled Voices of Change, edited by local activists Gary Karnes and Karen Araujo.


He is married to the love of his life, Regina Mason, with whom he co-founded a nearly ten-year-old award-winning African American Family Resource Center called The Village Project, Inc., located in Seaside. He has two sons, Melvin, Jr. and Hasani.

Clyde Roberson

Born in Oakland, California, Clyde Roberson started his teaching career in 1968. He was privileged to teach in Monterey for 35 years. Clyde is honored to have served 24 years on the Monterey City Council, including now six terms as mayor. 


He started the Monterey Sports Center after students and residents repeatedly wrote that the city needed an indoor swimming facility, gymnasium, and exercise facilities. He also started the Neighborhood Improvement Program which, since 1985, has poured $75 million into residential streets, storm drains, sewers, parks, and city-wide projects. He created the Historical Preservation and Cultural Arts commissions and initiated the hotel moratorium to stop overdevelopment of our coastline.


Working with the people of Monterey, he has helped to form neighborhood associations, to develop the Window on the Bay Park and the Recreational Trail, to keep the DLI and Naval Postgraduate School on the Peninsula, to balance city budgets, and to support local business.

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