NCMC Board of Directors
Marcie L. Barth is Co-founder and Chairperson of Newark Center for Meditative Culture in Newark, NJ. She engages primarily with non-profit organizations, making use of her planning, creative, and organizing skills along with her understanding of meditation and social engagement. She is a founding board member and Secretary of Buddhist Global Relief, a hunger relief organization. She is also a freelancer with decades of experience, having up until recently worked as a graphic designer and art director that included her role as partner in the award-winning design and marketing firm Barth and Co. Marcie also served for two years on the board of Flowering Lotus Meditation & Retreat Center in Mississippi. For several years she helped plan and coordinate educational programs, events, and retreats for the Yin Shun Foundation in New Jersey. She is a mentor in a correspondence course for prisoners with the Buddhist Association of the United States in New York.
Marcie began her inquiry into both still and moving meditation in 1998 with a focus on tai-chi. In 2001 she began to commit her training to tranquility, insight, and loving-kindness meditation and the ongoing study of Buddhist philosophy and psychology. She has been fortunate to study and practice with Master Teachers. Her practice bridges both Theravada and Mahayana traditions along with working through other spiritual, secular, and conventional means. She has helped compile and edit Dharma books. Her personal passion is to maintain, develop, and promote intentional living as best as she is able through her practices of mindfulness, meditation, teaching, and social justice. These efforts include conscientious consumption, the right to food and shelter, non-discrimination, protecting our children, and protecting our environment. Marcie always leaves time for free-play, family, and friends. For more biography details go to her LinkedIn Page.
• Along with being Co-founder/Chair of NCMC, Marcie develops programs and is a meditation and dharma teacher with NCMC.*
Jennifer Becher is an artist who is passionate about uniting her community in Elizabeth/ Newark NJ and promoting health and wellness. She believes many of us have forgotten that we are all connected and need to balance our inner energies in order for a harmonious world. She has a committed meditation practice since 2016 at NCMC. There she learned how to practice different styles of meditation, such as walking meditation and metta meditation, that helped her become more compassionate. She is a student at Kean University studying health and psychology. She aspires to get her Masters in Occupational Therapy. Jennifer was born in Brazil and raised in Elizabeth, NJ. She speaks English, Portuguese and Spanish. She spends her spare time volunteering at a social group for adults with mental and physical disabilities.
• Jennifer presents in yoga and mindfulness who also provides tri-lingual assistance and program support with NCMC.
Kamilah Crawley is a Certified Health Education Specialist with over 10 years of experience planning and implementing sexuality and health education workshops and trainings for students, parents, community groups, teachers, and professionals. Over the years, she has implemented several evidenced-based HIV and Pregnancy prevention interventions and provided individual educational counseling utilizing both client-centered and risk reduction skills. Currently, Kamilah works for the Children’s Hospital of NJ at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center as a Program Coordinator. She provides pregnancy prevention education and counseling and coordinates and develops health and wellness programs for their School-Based Youth Services Program in Newark. She received her B.S. in Public Health from Temple University and her Master of Public Health from the Rutgers School of Public Health. Kamilah began her meditation practice in 2014 with her first weekend residential retreat in 2016.
• Kamilah is a presenter, meditation group peer-leader, and mindfulness instructor with NCMC.*
J. Javier Cruz was born and raised in Florida, Puerto Rico, but has lived in the Greater Newark area for decades, hence he is bilingual, speaking his native Spanish and English. He currently resides in Harrison, NJ and works as a stationary engineer at a plant in Newark, NJ. Though Javier has had a committed meditation practice for over 10 years, he was introduced to meditating 17 years ago while in the AA 12-Step Recovery Program. He is a Buddhist practitioner with residential retreat experience and has studied with Insight Teacher Dennis Maurer who teaches at IMCNJ under the guidance of Narayan. Javier’s main practice is lovingkindness (metta), using it in his daily life along with developing it methodically as a meditation discipline. Having seen and experienced much suffering and troubles in his family, meditation, especially metta, has been key to his well-being and stability. In his spare time he volunteers for a hospice. His priority is his family and he spends much time and attention on his children, grandchildren, and girlfriend.
• Javier is a bilingual meditation and Dharma teacher with NCMC.
Ib’nallah S. Kazi (Kazi) is a Las Vegas-based spiritual wellness coach, medicine movement, and meditation teacher, born in Panama and raised in New York City. He graduated from Adelphi University in 1981 with a BA in Psychology. Following careers in human services, public education and public health in the New York City area, he then placed an emphasis on wellness and personal development through his own program, presently known as The Spirit-Centered Life. As a spirit-centered wellness coach, he gently guides wellness seekers through the process of integrating the medicinal forces inherent in our Heavenly (spiritual), Human (social) and Earthly (natural) environments. Kazi has had a committed meditation practice for over 30 years and applies many disciplines. This includes Taoist, Sufi and Ancestral Meditation Medicine, having become an Ancestral Meditation Medicine Initiate through the Center for Ancestral Meditation Medicine taught by Brother Ishma’el Jamal.
Kazi has built a diverse education and training. His adolescent rites of passage began in 1974 when he became a Five Percenter, a splinter group from the Nation of Islam. It was during this period of his life that he developed a deep interest in wholistic health, social justice and what came to be known as transpersonal psychology and its implications for the esoteric and mystical dimensions of religion-spirituality.
Along with his friend and hiking partner Sala Nolan, Kazi founded the Harriet Tubman Hiking Society in 1988 to expose the African-American community to the strengthening, healing and spiritually grounding benefits of immersion in nature. The society offered guided day hikes and weekend backpacking retreats in NY and NJ forest and preserves.
Through the mid to late 1990s he developed his internal martial medicine skills, beginning with his training in Tai-Chi Chuan, in 1994 as a student of Master Yusef Bey. Concurrently he was trained in Yara Mba, a perpetual-motion form likened to a physical jazz that borrows from aikido and African dance. He also studied herbal and meridian medicine with Yara’s creator, Professor Milford Graves of the International Center for Medicinal and Scientific Studies.
In the early to mid 2000s he integrated fitness training and massage, becoming a Certified Health-Fitness Instructor in 2001 from the Academy of Applied Personal Training Education, Hofstra University and a Certified Massage Therapist in 2004 from the Institute of Therapeutic Massage, University of Medicine and Dentistry Newark. He also became certified in Royal Thai Medical Massage by Maria Pattane-Seidman in Florida.
Kazi became an Intrinsic Coach through Intrinsic Solutions, International, developers of a system of coaching through intrinsic, extrinsic and systematic valuing, which provided a dynamic framework for guiding clients through the process of self-healing via self-knowing.
• Kazi was until 2017 based in Newark NJ for 13 years and serves on the board of NCMC as a Spiritual Advisor and Lead Teacher.*
Saraswati Andrea Lee is a senior disciple of Reverend Jaganath Carrera, Spiritual Head and Founder of Yoga Life Society. Under his direction she is completing seminary training to become Yoga Life Minister in 2018. She is a certified Yoga instructor and performs Kirtan with Mirabai Catherine Moon. She is a Preschool Assistant Teacher at Montclair Cooperative School in her hometown of Montclair, NJ.
• Andrea serves as the Treasurer of NCMC where she presents on meditation and mindfulness and instructs Yoga and chanting sessions for retreats.*
Ihsaan R. Muhammad graduated from Rutgers Law School and has been until recently a practicing lawyer. Still retaining his law certification, he is now a branding and marketing communications consultant at his own company IHSAAN Marketing. Born and raised in Newark, he leads drum circles there and in the surrounding area. He is also active in a local yogic community.
• Ihsaan serves as the Secretary of NCMC where he also leads drum circles and makes community presentations on mindfulness.*
Cornelia Santschi is currently studying in the Community Dharma Leader Program (CDL5) through Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society to become a meditation teacher. She is Co-founder of NCMC. She has been a vipassana (insight) meditator and dedicated student of Buddhist psychology for over 15 years. She is the director of Neuro-psychology at the Institute for Neurology in NJ, and founder/director of Anatta World Health & Education Outreach, a grassroots non-profit that creates and supports medical and educational programs in developing countries.
• Cornelia is a meditation teacher and insight community liaison for NCMC.*
*Founding Board Members