Sarah Beutel is the Vice President of Community Building at the Jewish Federation of Ottawa. She was born and raised in Montreal where she received a BA from McGill University, then moved to Ottawa to attend Carleton University and received a Masters of Arts in Public Administration. Sarah has many years of work and volunteer experience with not-for-profit organizations. In 2009, Sarah began working for the Jewish Federation of Ottawa; she was awarded the Federation’s Young Leadership Award in 2004. As a long-time member of Na’amat, an international women’s charitable organization, Sarah held many positions at the national level, and is currently the Immediate Past President of Na’amat Canada.
Tova Birnbaum is the Director of Jewish Content at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto. She was born in B’nai B’rak in an Ultra-Orthodox home, was one of the founders of the BINA Secular Yeshiva in Tel Aviv, where she designed and led secular Shabbat and holidays services and events, and was also the head of the post army program. Tova had recently served as the Central Shlicha (emissary), Director of the North America Region of the World Zionist Organization and founded, with the Ameinu organization, the Voices Fellowship for Liberal Zionist Discourse. She is a teacher of Talmudic Rabbinic Literature, a Judaic studies lecturer and a Theater Midrash workshop facilitator. She is also a secular Jewish life cycle ceremonies officiant. Tova is an actress and a Jewish performance artist. She holds a BA in Psychology and Jewish Philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an MA in Theater from Tel Aviv University.
Elisa Deener-Agus is the Interim Vice President of Planning at Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston. She recently held the role of Associate Vice President, Strategic Initiatives where she was responsible for managing CJP’s strategic planning process and 2015 Greater Boston Jewish Community Study. Prior positions at CJP include Associate Vice President of Planning, and Assistant Director of CJP’s Initiative for Day School Excellence, focusing on day school affordability and financial sustainability. She has spoken at numerous Jewish national conferences and institutes on topics including the power of logic models in changing organizational culture, and raising endowments for middle income affordability plans. Holding degrees from University of Pennsylvania and NYU Law School, before coming to CJP in 2008 Elisa was a labor & employment and immigration attorney and active volunteer in the Jewish community, including serving on the founding Executive Board of Gateways: Access to Jewish Education.
Adina Frydman is the executive director of SYNERGY: UJA-Federation of NY, which helps synagogues thrive by providing thought leadership, resources, learning opportunities, and by continuously conducting research and testing new models. In addition to leading a team that works with over 600 New York congregations, she has contributed to thought leadership in the area of synagogue change by producing leading research in areas such as Voluntary Dues, Synagogue Engagement of Young Adults, Russian Speaking Jews, and Empty Nesters, as well as developing key attributes for a thriving synagogue. Before coming to New York in 2008, Cantor Frydman was the Director of Focus Israel at the St. Louis Jewish Federation, where she worked to foster engagement between synagogues and Israel. Cantor Frydman received a Bachelor of Music from Stetson University and Cantorial Investiture from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute for Religion.
Sue Gelsey is the Chief Operating Officer at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, NJ. Before originally joining the JCC, Sue worked with the Union of Reform Judaism as a Regional Youth Director and Assistant Camp Director. She was then part of the Kaplen JCC team for almost 20 years working with teens, youth, camping, JCC Maccabi Games, and programming prior to serving as COO. Sue leveraged her JCC experience and joined MediFit, an international fitness management company, in their newly formed Community Services team as Vice President where she worked with many JCCs enhancing their wellness programming and management. Sue returned to the Kaplen JCC in 2015 as COO and oversees all programming and operations including business development and new initiatives. Sue is a presenter on strengths, teams, service and management. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Judaic Studies and Psychology and Master’s from Temple University in Recreation Management.
Rabbi James Greene
Rabbi James Greene is the Assistant Executive Director of the Springfield (MA) Jewish Community Center. He previously served as the Program Director and Director of the Center for Jewish Life and Learning at the Addison-Penzak JCC in Los Gatos, CA. Rabbi James is an active outdoorsman, and is committed to cultivating Jewish life that is more closely connected to the earth. He is a TorahTrek Wilderness Guide, and is an instructor for the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Youth Opportunities Program. Rabbi James was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2008, and currently serves on the executive committee for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. He has continued his professional development with fellowships in social justice with the Religious Action Center and the American Jewish World Service.
Jennifer Gross is a Vice President at UJA-Federation of New York, heading the Affinity Campaign. Before joining UJA professionally in 2014, she raised capital for hedge funds, most recently as Principal and Managing Director at Archview Investment Group, an event-driven credit opportunities hedge fund seeded by Blackstone, where she led the capital-raising team. Ms. Gross volunteers her time at a number of organizations including serving as the Chair of Hadassah’s Investment Group, Board member of Northwestern University Hillel, and Board member of Meir Panim, an Israeli relief organization. She received her B.A. in political science from Northwestern University.
Daniel Held is the Executive Director of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education, which builds capacity for Toronto’s system of Jewish education and engagement. He has a wide range of experience in strategic philanthropy, including authoring the Greenbook on Jewish Day School Financial Sustainability and Affordability for the Jewish Funders Network and AVI CHAI Foundation. Daniel is a graduate of York University’s Jewish Teacher Education program, holds a doctorate in education from JTS’s Davidson School of Education and is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. He has also been a frequent columnist for the Canadian Jewish News writing on education, identity and engagement.
Renée Kutner is the Vice President of Marketing for Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, where she is focusing on strategic redefinition of Federation messaging and branding, as well as providing execution oversight of all internal and external marketing. Prior to joining Federation, Renée spent six years running Peace by Piece Organizing – a professional organizing business where she helped bring order to chaos and peace to her clients’ otherwise hectic lives. Previously, Renée spent almost ten years in advertising and marketing, taking a short break to receive her MBA from UCLA. She received her B.A. in Economics from University of Michigan. Renée is very active in multiple community organizations, most notably including having co-chaired the merger steering committee that led to the development of Atlanta Jewish Academy – Atlanta’s only preschool-12th grade day school.
Michelle Labgold is the the Chief Planning Officer of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation (GMJF). In this capacity, she is responsible for assessing local needs and trends, establishing priorities, overseeing volunteer engagement, creating collaborative efforts and ensuring the appropriate investment of communal resources. She has worked in the Jewish communal and human services field for 28 years and holds a Masters in Public Administration. Prior to her position at GMJF, Michelle was Senior Director of Domestic Affairs at the Jewish Federations of North America, Director of the Westside Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles and Administrator of the Jewish Home for the Aging in Los Angeles.
Abbie Levin is the Vice President of Development at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. She has been with the Federation since 2005 and directs the Federation’s annual fundraising effort, the Campaign for Jewish Needs. In her time with the Federation, she has worked in the areas of Development, Community Planning and Allocations, Young Leadership, and on several high priority projects. Previously, Abbie served as the Program Director for North Carolina Hillel. Her leadership activities include strategic planning and development efforts with her synagogue, B’nai Jeshurun Congregation. Abbie holds a B.A. from the University of Maryland, and an M.B.A. and an M.A. in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University. Abbie is a Federation Executive Recruitment and Education Program Scholarship recipient and was selected to the inaugural class of the Jewish Federation of North America’s Fundraising University.
Paul Lurie is the Chief Operating Officer of the JCC of Greater Baltimore. In this role Paul supervises key operating areas of the JCC and works closely with executive team colleagues on strategy, analysis, and the agency’s fiscal management. No stranger to the J, Paul has served in executive and directorial roles at the JCC since 2003. Paul sits on the JCC Maccabi Operations and Support Team and has served as the national chair for the JCC Maccabi Sports Advisory Committee since 2013. He is a certified coach’s instructor through the JCC Maccabi/Rutgers Youth Sports Research Council. Paul was a member of the Amy Beth Rosenberg JCC Maccabi Leadership Program and is an alumnus of the Merrin Teen Professional Training Program. In 2013, he received the Baltimore Outstanding Jewish Communal Professional award. Paul holds an MBA from Towson University and Bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Economics from UMBC.
Jesse Rosen is the Chief Operating Officer of the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In his executive role, he directly manages the wellness, education, and community services businesses of the $13 million social services agency. He joined the JCC team in 2013 as Games Director for the 2015 JCC Maccabi Games that Milwaukee hosted. After his Games leadership, he held the Interim Business Manager position. Before entering Jewish Communal Service, he had previously served as an Advance Associate for the White House. Rosen has also held key leadership roles in public service, political campaigns, and large-scale special events. In 2012, Rosen served as Associate Parade Director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee of President Barack Obama. A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Rosen attended and worked at the University of Minnesota.
Erika Rudin-Luria is a Senior Vice President and the Chief Strategy Officer at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. In this role, she oversees Federation’s strategic planning, community development, allocations, governance and marketing functions. In her tenure at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Erika has provided vision and direction to drive planning and research agendas and has been responsible for developing multiple initiatives to meet community needs. When Erika first joined the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, she served as a Supporting Foundations Manager, managing 13 supporting foundations and the development of the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. Since then, she has served as the Planning Director, and then the Vice President of Community Development. Erika is a graduate of Brandeis University and earned her MSSW from Columbia University’s School of Social Work and her MA in Judaic Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia
Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia is the Community Engagement Director of the Addison-Penzak JCC of Silicon Valley. He previously served as Jewish Community Liaison for VITAS Healthcare and, prior to that, spent ten years teaching Jewish Studies at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto, where he served most recently as Director of Israel and Jewish Studies Curricula. After studying at Deep Springs College, he earned a B.A. with Highest Honors in English Literature from UC Berkeley and received his rabbinical training from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He has completed both the Rabbinic Leadership Training Program and the Tikkun Middot Training Program of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. He teaches and lectures on topics ranging from parenting, Jewish meditation, Jewish perspectives on the afterlife, ethical dilemmas in extending life, and reading and writing ethical wills.
Adam Silver is the Chief Executive Officer of Calgary Jewish Federation and Calgary Jewish Community Campus Corporation in Alberta, Canada, where he is responsible for leadership and oversight of the community’s fundraising, allocations, campus development, and community planning activities. Prior to that, he served as Executive Director of The Betel Centre, a Jewish social service agency for older adults in Toronto. He was also an adjunct professor in Seneca College’s Community Services department, where he taught community practice, casework, and social policy. In his previous volunteer life, Adam participated on the boards of Bialik Hebrew Day School, Beth David Congregation, and Solar Stage Children’s Theatre. Adam received his M.Ed. in Adult Education and Community Development from the University of Toronto (OISE), completed graduate work in philanthropy and development at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, and earned a B.A. in History from York University. Adam was acknowledged as a “Partnership Builder” by United Way of Greater Toronto, completed UJA/Federation of Greater Toronto’s Joshua Institute for Leadership, and was selected to join the inaugural cohort of the Community Health Leadership executive program at the Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto).
“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 –