Cohort II Fellows 2020-2021

Zach Briton

Zach is the Chief Donor Experience Officer of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, where he oversees the strategy and implementation of securing more than $25 million for the local, national and global Jewish communities through relationship based fundraising, cohort development and impactful immersive experiences. Prior to joining Federation in 2012, Zach spent six years securing major gifts and building student and young alumni philanthropy programs at The George Washington University. Zach received his Bachelor’s degree from American University in American Studies, a Master’s in Political Management from The George Washington University and was selected to participate in the second cohort of The Jewish Federation of North America’s Fundraising University program.

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Jessica Brown Smith

Jessica Brown Smith is the Senior Director of Development of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. In this role she oversees and provides strategic direction and vision for all Federation income streams including the annual campaign, endowment, supplemental giving, emergency campaigns, government grants, corporate sponsorship and missions. Under her leadership the Federation has seen consistent growth in all areas of Financial Resource Development over the last decade. Jessica is also responsible for staffing the Board of Directors and Governance Committee, which, under her guidance, has brought innovative approaches to board education, on-boarding of new members, the structure of board meetings and board communication. In the wake of the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh on October 27th, 2018, Jessica was a critical part of a small professional leadership team who helped lead the community through its darkest days. At that time, her primary role managing the fundraising efforts of the Victims of Terror Fund and working closely with local and national foundations, as well as corporations that contributed millions of dollars to the Fund. Over the course of her 22 year long career with the Federation Jessica has held the titles of Director of Campaign and FRD, Assistant Marketing Director and Marketing/Campaign Associate. Jessica was part of the inaugural cohort of the Jewish Federation of North America’s Fundraising University and she completed an intensive Developing Executive Leaders Program with the Penn Cannon Group. She is a recipient of the Ira & Nanette Gordon Community Professional Achievement Award, which recognizes an outstanding Jewish community professional in Pittsburgh. Jessica received a Bachelor’s of Science in advertising and marketing from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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Roxanne Cohen

Roxanne Cohen is a Managing Director of Community Impact at the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, based in San Francisco, CA. In this capacity, Roxanne directs a newly defined Resilience and Security Portfolio, which includes programs and grants in the areas of leadership development, community relations, safety and security, and global Jewish responsibility. She also oversees the Federation’s Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative, Community Security Program, and Capital Planning Committee. She has held several roles at the Federation over 19 years, and brings expertise in philanthropy, development of strategic initiatives, and community partnerships. She also worked previously at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center (Foster City, CA), American Friends of the Hebrew University, and UJA-Federation of New York. Roxanne holds a BA from the University of Michigan, MA degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, and has studied at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

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Sam Cohen

Sam Cohen is Vice President, JCC Maccabi at JCC Association of North America. Sam was previously at the Merage JCC of Orange County, California for almost a decade where she most recently served as the Associate Executive Director. In 2018, she relocated to New York City for her new continental role in the JCC movement. Since 1999, Sam has participated as an athlete, coach, Delegation Head or Games Director at 30 Maccabi Games across 4 continents. She believes strongly in the power of sport to build strong Jewish community and identity. Through her work with the JCC Maccabi Games she works with more than 80 JCCs and communities across North America and the globe. Sam is originally from London, England and is an alumnus of the Legacy Heritage Fellowship program. She received her undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations from University of Manchester and her master’s degree in Human Rights from London School of Economics (LSE).

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Andrew Cushnir

As Executive Vice President, Donor Relations at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Andrew is a professional leader of the Federation’s efforts to raise funds through Annual Campaign, strategic philanthropy priority projects, and planned giving.  He previously served as the Federation’s Chief Program Officer, overseeing all programmatic and partnership activities in L.A., Israel, and internationally. He was also the Federation’s Director of Business Divisions and New Business Initiatives and led the community relations and social services teams and the Planning & Allocations Department.  Before becoming a Jewish community professional, Andrew was a Board member of the Federation, president of his synagogue and participated in the Wexner Heritage Program.  He also practiced law at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP and SunAmerica, Inc.  Andrew graduated from UCLA, was a Fellow with the Coro Foundation  and received his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

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Anita Denes-Meador

Anita Denes-Meador is Regional Vice President, City, for JCC Chicago. Denes-Meador began work in her position in 2018, and oversees JCC Chicago programs and community engagement in Chicago, Skokie and Evanston. Previously, Denes-Meador served as the Director of the Dina and Eli Field EZRA Multi-Service Center (2013-2018), a JUF affiliated social service agency that works to prevent hunger, reduce isolation and mitigate other self-sufficiency barriers. Before that, she was Assistant Director at EZRA, overseeing the Outreach and Advocacy Program and the Housing Locator. She had previously managed an interim housing program administered by EZRA that served homeless individuals and families. Denes-Meador received her B.A in Sociology from Loyola University and has dual M.A degrees from the University of Michigan in Urban Planning and Social Work, focused on Community Organization and Community and Social Systems. She also holds a Certificate in Jewish Leadership from the Spertus Institute in partnership with Northwestern University.

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Karen Elam

Karen Elam is the Director of the Levine Center to End Hate, an initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester that addresses hate in all its forms through education, dialogue, and positive action. Karen was promoted to oversee this new endeavor after serving as Director of Community Relations for two years. Prior to that, she was the Deputy Director of a multi-sector collaborative creating system-wide change to combat pervasive, deeply rooted poverty in the City of Rochester. From 2013-15 she was Vice President of Organizational Advancement at Trillium Health, a comprehensive LGBTQ-affirming health care organization. Before moving to Rochester with her family in 2013, Karen served as National Director of Development and Communications at Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps in New York City, where she worked for 10 years. Karen was a Peace Corps volunteer and subsequently worked as a cross-cultural trainer in Honduras, Central America from 1990 – 1994. She received a BA from the University of Virginia and MEd from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the proud mother of sixteen-year-old triplets and has been blessed to share the adventures of parenting with her husband, Howard Solomon.

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Sally Flinchbaugh

Sally has been the Chief Operating Officer at the Oshman Family JCC since 2014. Prior to coming to Palo Alto, she was the Executive Director of the JCC of the East Bay for five years. She earlier served on their Board as the Board Treasurer. Sally’s extensive not-for-profit experience includes work with domestic and international development and environmental organizations, including the American Refugee Committee and Rainforest Action Network. Additionally, she worked on poverty issues in Africa for the World Bank. She earned an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA and an MA in Anthropology and her BA in Human Biology from Stanford University.

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Mindee Fredman

Mindee Fredman is the Vice President of Community Impact at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis where she oversees needs assessment, plan/strategy development, investment of community resources and impact evaluation. She has worked in the Jewish communal field for nearly 25 years and holds a BA in Anthropology/Archaeology, a Masters in Jewish Nonprofit Management and a Masters in Social Work. In her tenure at Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Mindee has also managed projects in the areas of development, Board governance, supporting foundations, leadership and professional development. She recently served as the Director of Community Investment where she ensured the appropriate investment of communal resources were executed in a manner that was collaborative and impactful. She works directly with Israel investments, education, engagement and travel though committees and community missions. She has served as an adjunct professor in the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University and is currently an Adjunct Student Advisor. Mindee is a proud alum of the Wexner Heritage Program and was the 2017 recipient of the JProStl Career Achievement Award.

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Hana Gruenberg

Hana Gruenberg currently serves as the Managing Director of the Jewish Life department at UJA-Federation of NY. Hana began her career at UJA-Federation of New York after graduate studies at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. During that time, Hana was a graduate fellow as part of the FEREP – Federation Executive and Recruitment Education Program. Following nine years at the Minneapolis Jewish Federation where Hana worked as the Director of Strategic Evaluation she returned with her family to New York. Hana is back at the UJA Federation of NY as a member of the Senior Management Group.

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Chavie N. Kahn

Chavie N. Kahn is Director of School Strategy and Policy at UJA-Federation of New York. Chavie led UJA-Federation’s Day School Challenge Fund initiative, working with NY day schools and yeshivas to generate over $84M in new endowment dollars. Through strategic initiatives, campaign consulting, capacity building, and building external relationships with school leadership, funders, and stakeholders, Chavie works to strengthen the over 200 NY day schools and yeshivas for today and tomorrow. Chavie is a former litigator at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, and at Prudential Securities. She is active in her community and has served on non-profit boards, including the executive boards of Manhattan Day School and American Friends of Nishmat. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Chavie received her JD from Cardozo Law School. Chavie and her husband live in NYC and are blessed with three children.

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Jason Kunzman

Jason Kunzman is the Chief Program Officer for the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh and has served in this capacity for nearly 3 years. Before entering Jewish communal service, Kunzman was a health care policy specialist and entrepreneur. Immediately prior to joining the JCC, Kunzman worked with Pennsylvania’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging in the rollout of Medicaid managed long term services and supports across the Commonwealth. While in Washington, DC, Kunzman served as the Director of Account Management for a health IT startup focused on improving the use of prescription medications through predictive analytics and an integrated decision support engine. He also assisted in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act serving as the Deputy Director for a $260 million national grant program in which 17 diverse communities from across the country engaged in large scale transformation efforts combining health IT, performance measurement, quality improvement and payment reform. Before his service with the federal government, Kunzman was the CFO and COO for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation of Pittsburgh. Kunzman also spent time as a forensic accountant for a Big 4 accounting firm and as a police officer in Baltimore County, MD. Kunzman has an MBA from the University of Baltimore and a BA in Criminology from the University of South Florida.

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David Kurzmann

David Kurzmann is Senior Director, Community and Donors Relations, at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Prior to joining Federation in July 2019, David served four years as Executive Director of JCRC/AJC: A Partnership for Community Relations and Jewish Advocacy. This new initiative united the local community outreach platform of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Detroit (JCRC) with the global advocacy resources of AJC. Prior to returning to his hometown in 2015, David worked in the Chicago Jewish community. He was assistant regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Midwest Office. David began his career at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, IL. David holds a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies and Political Science from the University of Michigan.

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Eric Lightman

Eric Lightman is the executive director of the JCC of the Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Pennsylvania. In this role, Eric is leading the JCC into its second century of operation, creating and implementing a vision to strengthen the Jewish community, contribute to the local community, and ensure long-term sustainability. He has also served as the assistant executive director of the Rosen JCC in Orlando, Florida, and has worked at the Weinstein JCC in Richmond, Virginia and JCC Rockland in West Nyack, New York. Eric holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Maryland, and master’s degrees in non-profit management and Hebrew and Judaic studies from New York University. He has participated in the JCC Merrin Teen Fellows and JCC Graduate Scholars programs, and was the recipient of the Taub Fellowship. In 2018, Eric received the Jewish Communal Professional Award for exemplary service to the Orlando Jewish community. A native of Rockville, Maryland, Eric is married to Margo, a nurse practitioner, and is the father of two sons, Max and Eli.

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Naomi Rosenfeld

Naomi Rosenfeld is the Executive Director of the Atlantic Jewish Council, the Jewish Federation of the eastern Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador. Naomi holds a bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University (in Kingston, ON, Canada) where she graduated with the gold medal in Psychology and admission into the Tricolour Society – the highest non-academic non-athletic honour that can be bestowed upon a student. Naomi also received a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Masters of Arts (MA) in Jewish Professional Leadership from Brandeis University. During this time, Naomi was a recipient of JFNA’s FEREP Graduate Scholarship and the Charles R. Bronfman Scholarship from the Hornstein Program. Naomi is a proud board member and the Assistant Treasurer of JPRO Network – the professional resource organization for all employees of Jewish organizations across North America.

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Rachel Rubenstein

Rabbi Rachel Rubenstein is the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County, NY (JFGOC). In addition to her work overseeing the programming and operations of the JFGOC, Rachel directs the Zachor Anti-Semitism Initiative, an innovative program of the JFGOC working to root out anti-Semitism in Orange County through education, community building, and security. Rachel was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary where she also received a Masters of Jewish Education. Prior to her work in Orange County, Rachel served as the Rabbinic Educator at Avodah in New York City and as the Rabbinic Intern at Carmel Academy in Greenwich, Connecticut. Rachel has participated in several diverse learning fellowships including with the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, AIPAC, and T’ruah.

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Sami Sinclair

Sami Sinclair is the Vice President of Development for JCC Greater Boston. In this role, she oversees the annual campaign, including all targeted and programmatic fundraising, and Our Campaign to Re-imagine the JCC, a comprehensive capital campaign effort that has raised more than $16M to date. Sami joined the JCC after six years at Combined Jewish Philanthropies, where she served as Director of Development, Affinities, overseeing the mid-level Annual Campaign and supervising Women’s Philanthropy and the Professional Network teams. Prior to moving to Boston, she was a Campaign Associate and Manager of Women’s Philanthropy for the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas following a career working on political campaigns in Nevada, Oregon and California. Sami graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Political Science and Spanish.

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Dani Weinstein

Dani Weinstein is Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ (CJP) Associate Vice President of Women’s Philanthropy and Young Adult Philanthropy. In her role, she oversees the philanthropic strategies related to young adults 22-40, and women. Dani has worked at CJP since October 2011. Prior to working at CJP, Dani worked at The Jewish Federation of North America, as the Director of Development Affinities Programs, working on national and international programs and events for Women’s Philanthropy and Young Adults (TribeFest, Heart to Heart Mission, International Lion of Judah Conference), as well as the Jewish United Fund in Chicago. Dani was born in Syracuse, NY, is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and holds a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University. She is the proud aunt to 7 nieces and nephews who live around the world!

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Nataly Yusim

Nataly Yusim is the Chief Operating Officer at Galbut Family Miami Beach JCC on the Simkins Family Campus (MBJCC) in Miami Beach, FL. In this role she, oversees daily operations, supervises key department leaders and works as part of the executive team. Nataly was born in the Former Soviet Union and immigrated with her parents to Brooklyn, NY. After arriving to Brooklyn she quickly discovered the Marks JCH of Bensohurst, where she participated in various programs and before long, joined its staff team. To this end, Nataly has had the privilege of working within the NY JCC community in various roles for over 12 years. In 2011, Nataly joined the Miami Beach JCC team and together, with the executive staff Nataly, helped to build the new Miami Beach JCC facility and develop all of its programing. Now in its 7th successful year Nataly leads the MBJCC as the Chief Operating Officer. Nataly is an alumna of the Jewish Experiential Leadership Institute and is a past Field Advisor for Merrin Teen Professional Fellowship. She currently serves on the board of NCJW Miami as the Vice President of Marketing. Nataly received her Bachelor’s Degree in Phycology from Long Island University and her Master of Science in Social Work degree from Columbia University.

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“As the world changes, our programs will change, but the need for enlightened, informed leadership will never go away.”

– Morton L. Mandel, Chairman and CEO, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation –