Cohort III Fellows 2021-2023

Judy Alperin

Judy Alperin serves as the CEO of the Jewish Federation, Foundation & JCC of Greater New Haven. Prior to her current role, Judy served as the Assistant Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley in Allentown, PA. After graduating from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Political Science, Judy served the JCC of the North Shore in Marblehead, MA as Assistant Camp and Youth Director. Relocating to the Lehigh Valley, Judy directed the Hillel Society at Lehigh University and served as Director of Camp, Membership & Program Services at the Allentown JCC before opening and operating a custom-order desserts business, Sweetiepies. During Judy’s tenure at the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, the community received a Sapir Award for Campaign Excellence from United Jewish Communities (now Jewish Federations of North America, JFNA). In 2013, she was selected to participate in the inaugural class of JFNA’s Fundraising University. Since the onset of the pandemic, Judy has worked with local philanthropists to found Masks for Heroes and Masks for CT which has distributed 1.5 million surgical masks to frontline workers, first responders, vulnerable populations and individuals.

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Lisa Armony

Lisa Armony is Director of the Rose Project, and was recently appointed Senior Director of Community Relations at the Jewish Federation of Orange County. As Rose Project director, Lisa develops an array of educational programs on Israel, antisemitism and delegitimization as well as leadership development and advocacy training for diverse demographics within the Jewish community. She has also worked extensively on local college campuses, and developed an experiential educational program on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for students of diverse backgrounds that has been scaled nationally. In her new role, she oversees community and Israel engagement, leadership development and grant making. She has also served as executive director of Hillel Foundation of Orange County with responsibility for three campuses and held several professional positions in the Jewish community in Toronto. A former professional journalist, Lisa was a correspondent for several Jewish publications and wrote for professional trade journals. She holds a BA and graduated Magna cum Laude in Political Science from Cornell University and an MA from Yale University. She has also studied at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle East Studies and earned a certificate in Israel experiential education from the iCenter and George Washington University. She is currently completing a dual master’s degree in Jewish and Israel education from the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Ronnie Conn

Ronnie Conn is the Chief Operating Officer of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus. In this capacity, Ronnie oversees the Early Childhood Education, Fitness and Camp and Youth Services departments, along with other strategic initiatives. Prior to joining the JCC of Greater Columbus in 2019, Ronnie spent almost a decade at Westside Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles where he most recently served as Assistant Executive Director. Ronnie is passionate about JCC work and its ability to serve as the community’s town square. Ronnie received his B.A. in Psychology from The George Washington University and has an MA in Jewish Communal Service from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and an MPA from the University of Southern California. In 2016, Ronnie received the Mark Meltzer Young Professional Award from Jewish Communal Professionals of Southern California. He currently serves as the co-chair of the HUC-JIR Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management Alumni Association. Ronnie is married to Melissa and is the father of two incredible children.

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Abbey Feinberg

Abbey Feinberg is as the Annual Campaign Director at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation where she oversees the strategy and implementation of their $23 million unrestricted annual campaign and missions program. Prior to joining Federation in 2013, Abbey was Director, Development at United Way of Miami Dade and Vice President, Annual Campaign at THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. Abbey received her B.A. in Jewish Studies from the University of Maryland, her M.S.W. from the University of Southern California and M.A.J.C.S. from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Abbey is a graduate of the Jewish Federation of North America’s Fundraising University program and Federation Executive and Recruitment Education Program Scholar.

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Brad Finkel

Brad Finkel is the Chief Operating Officer for JCC Chicago. In this role, he provides leadership and oversight for all aspects of agency operations, identifying and executing opportunities for operational strength and improvement, supervising key program department leaders and works as part of the agency leadership team. Prior to becoming the COO, Brad served as one of the agency’s Regional Vice Presidents and Director of Camp Chi, resident camp of JCC Chicago. Brad has been a part of JCC Chicago since 1998. Brad received his Bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications and Jewish Studies from Indiana University and a Master’s degree in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus Institute. Brad currently is a mentor for other Master’s degree students at Spertus Institute. He has participated in the Lekhu Lakhem program- Jewish and Education Journeys for JCC Resident Camp Directors, Senior Fellowship of the Mandel Center for Jewish Education of the JCC Association of North America and the #2020 Beyond Leadership Program.

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Abbey Frank

Abbey Frank is Senior Director for Program Operations and Planning at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. Abbey began working at Jewish Federation in 2016, where she oversees and leads the strategy team of volunteers and professionals to identify organizational priorities, set the grantmaking processes, and determine program investments. Previously, Abbey served as a Grant Officer at The Pew Charitable Trusts managing grants and relationships with organizations serving vulnerable adults in the Philadelphia region. Prior to that, she was Director, Strategic Planning at Managance Consulting & Coaching where she managed strategic planning and business planning for nonprofits and associations striving to increase impact. Abbey has also worked in public policy both inside and outside the government, serving as an advocate for poverty reduction policies and low-income workforce development programs. Abbey received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan and received both an MSW and MPA from Columbia University.

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Meggie Fredman

Meggie Fredman is AJC’s Associate Director of Young Leadership. In this role, she helps empower and engage young Jews around the globe through the oversight and support of AJC’s three realms of Young Leadership: AJC’s high school program Leaders for Tomorrow (LFT), AJC’s Campus Affairs Department and AJC’s young professionals’ initiative, ACCESS. Meggie previously served as AJC’s Assistant Director of Leadership Development and Board Engagement, where she developed and implemented programming for AJC’s national Board of Governors as well as initiatives to help cultivate new national leaders. While at AJC, Meggie redesigned and relaunched AJC’s Sholom D. Comay “Leadership for the Future” Fellowship for emerging leaders. Meggie received her B.A. from Boston University where she graduated with honors. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration, with a concentration in Nonprofit Management, from George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. She is active in strengthening her local St. Louis Jewish community, where she lives with her husband and two daughters, and serves on the board of St. Louis’ Jewish day school.

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Dan Goldwin

Dan Goldwin is the Executive Director for Public Affairs for the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Chicago (JUF), which includes the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and JUF’s Government Affairs Department. The JCRC brings together more than 40 Chicago-area Jewish organizations help create a unified Jewish voice on matters of concern to the Jewish community, and operates as JUF’s community relations arm. JCRC, through coalition building and public and private advocacy, works on the frontlines of countering antisemitism and other forms of prejudice and bigotry, works to keep Israel safe, strong and secure, and strengthens inter-group relations to promote mutual respect, understanding, cooperation and justice. Dan joined the Jewish Federation of Chicago in August 2018 after working at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (“AIPAC”) for four years as Midwest Regional Director and Deputy Director. Prior to joining AIPAC Dan was the Midwest Executive Director for Israel Bonds for three years, and before that was a litigator and consultant for 10 years at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, LexisNexis/Applied Discovery, Navigant Consulting, and AlixPartners. Dan graduated from Northwestern University’s School of Law in 2000, and from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994. Dan grew up in South Bend, IN and moved to Chicago from Washington, D.C. in 1995. He lives in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood with his wife and two daughters.

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Stephanie Hausner

Stephanie Hausner is currently the Interim Director for the Israel Action Network at the Jewish Federations of North America. In this role, Stephanie oversees JFNA’s work on fighting antisemitism and delegitimization of Israel on campus, in local space, and on all levels of government. She also serves as JFNA’s lobbyist on Israel and Antisemitism issues. She speaks frequently at Federations and conferences across the country and oversees a robust training program for federation leadership. Stephanie has over a decade of experience working in the Federation system in various capacities including Community Relations, Young Leadership, Synagogue Engagement & Jewish Education, most recently at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. Stephanie recently completed eight years serving as an elected Councilwoman in Clarkstown, NY. She was named one of Rockland County’s “40 under 40″ in 2010 and in 2013 was included in “The NY Jewish Week’s 36 under 36.” Stephanie graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in International Relations.

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Matt Kernkraut

Matt Kernkraut is the Chief Development Officer for Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, one of the largest and fastest growing Jewish communities in the United States, where he leads an integrated Financial Resource Development (FRD) enterprise and strengthens the Palm Beach Federation’s role as the community’s center for Jewish philanthropy. In partnership with leadership, Matt advances Federation’s vision of developing the financial resources necessary to ensure a vibrant Jewish future by leading the annual campaign and supplemental giving; planned giving and endowments; marketing and creative services; events and missions; and agency and special campaigns. Prior to joining Federation in 2018, Matt worked at Harvard University for 16 years in professional roles of increasing responsibility, including as Vice Dean for External Relations at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and as Director of West Coast Development for Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Matt has a Master of Education degree in Higher Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services from George Washington University. Matt and his husband live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida with their two young children.

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Naomi Knopf

Naomi Knopf is Chief of Staff at Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, where she oversees Governance, the Jewish Community Relations Committee, Jewish Community Security, and Marketing & Communications. She has been at Federation since 2011, starting in Planning & Allocations, and worked on revising the governance structure, streamlining the allocations process, strategic planning, agency relations, and grants management. She also has extensive experience as a grant writer. Prior to working as a Jewish professional, Naomi worked in the education sector as a Program Officer at New Visions for Public Schools, where she conducted research, comprehensive planning for schools, and data analysis. She taught School-Based Budgeting to graduate students at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs, and was a policy and financial analyst for the NYC Board of Education in various capacities. Naomi holds a BA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University and an MPA from New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She is a board member of the Teaneck Junior Soccer League, and volunteers in her synagogue. Naomi and her husband live in Teaneck, NJ with their two children.

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Ashley Lasher

Ashley Lasher is the Executive Director of the Asheville Jewish Community Center. In this role, Ashley leads an 80-year-old JCC – North Carolina’s oldest – in its mission to strengthen Jewish identity, celebrate Jewish culture, and build inclusive community. Ashley became Executive Director of the Asheville JCC in July 2019 after spending nearly a decade working for the Literacy Council of Buncombe County, first as the Development Director and for seven years as the Executive Director. In the 15 years prior to leading the Asheville JCC, she served on a variety of JCC committees and spent six years on the Board of Directors. Ashley holds a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from UNC-Chapel Hill. Ashley grew up at swimming at the Asheville JCC pool, celebrated her bat mitzvah in their social hall, and sends her young children to daily programming at the JCC. She loves bringing her experience and passion to work on behalf of an organization that has played an integral role in her life.

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Allie Lipner Rosenblum

Allie Lipner Rosenblum serves as Director of Development Operations at AJC. Allie came to AJC in 2013 after four years as a campaign professional at UJA-Federation of New York. Before that, she raised funds for the University of Maryland’s Maryland Fund for Excellence and completed fellowships with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and EMILY’s List. Allie is an alumna of UJA-Federation of New York’s Shapiro Family Fellowship. Allie holds an MPA from Baruch College – CUNY and a B.A. in modern American history from the University of Maryland at College Park, where she was enrolled in the University Honors College.

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Liv Mendelsohn

Liv Mendelsohn is Director of Accessibility and Inclusion at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre and Artistic Director of the ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto. Through UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, Liv directs the ITANU Inclusion Initiative, and the Toronto Inclusive Synagogues Working Group of 28 synagogues. She has been a field instructor for the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, faculty at the Ruderman Jewish Leadership Institute on Disabilities and Inclusion, a 2018 Civic Action DiverseCity Fellow, and a 2019 mentor for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy. Liv is the recipient of a City of Toronto 2019 Equity Award. Liv is currently a member of the City of Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, the City of Toronto Museums’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Committee, and the Civic Re:Action Toronto COVID Recovery Task Force. Liv’s leadership and community building are infused with the spirit of “nothing about us without us”. She holds an M.A. in the history of public health from the University of Toronto, and a M.Ed from the Ontario Institute for Studies In Education. She lives in Toronto with her journalist husband and two boys, and has been baking her way through this pandemic.

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Maxima Patashnik

Maxima (Max) Patashnik is the Director of the JCRC and Government Affairs at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle where she has worked for about five years. In this position, Max supports numerous Jewish institutions in the Puget Sound Region and heads up the intergroup relations, coalition building, grassroots advocacy, and lobbying work of the JCRC and Federation. She believes in honoring the diversity of our Jewish communities to deepen understanding and respect across differences. Prior to her current role, Max was with the Washington State Legislature for six years, first as a legislative aide and then as a communications specialist. In 2020 Max was the recipient of the Pamela Waechter z”l Jewish Communal Professional Award. In 2016, she completed the Anti-Defamation League’s Glass Leadership Institute and the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Seminar for Young Jewish Leaders. Max holds a degree in International Studies and French from Willamette University. She is a fourth-generation Seattleite where she currently lives with her husband, toddler, and cat.

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Shelley Rood Wernick

Shelley Rood Wernick is the Managing Director of the Center on Aging and Trauma at The Jewish Federations of North America. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Center advances services for Holocaust survivors, other older adults with a history of trauma, and their family caregivers, through grants to local service providers, a national resource center, and outreach to aging service providers and government agencies. Previously, Shelley lobbied on behalf of The Jewish Federations of North America and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, conveying policy priorities to Congress and the White House and training communities to advocate for the diverse populations they serve. On behalf of Federations, Shelley led the Congressional initiative to install the Jewish Chaplains Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Before joining the nonprofit sector, Shelley was a foreign policy advisor on Capitol Hill. Shelley earned an MBA from Georgetown University and a BA from the University of Florida, where she currently serves on the board of Hillel.

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Darren Schwartz

Darren Schwartz is the Chief Planning and Strategy Officer for the Jewish Federation of San Diego where he oversees the organization’s strategic planning and direction focused on caring, community building, identity and peoplehood. In addition to managing the department, he also holds a portfolio focusing on seniors, Holocaust Survivors and Poverty in the Jewish community. Darren has been a Jewish communal professional for 15 years, serving in various capacities at the San Francisco JCC, Jewish Federation of San Diego County, Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego and the Lawrence Family JCC. One of his major areas of focus has been teen engagement where he developed and launched a community-wide Jewish Teen Foundation and a comprehensive Jewish Teen Initiative. Darren is a proud alumnus of the Shofar Fellowship (BJE San Francisco), Jeremiah Fellowship (PJA) and M2. Native to San Diego, Darren lives in the neighborhood of Del Cerro with his wife Dara and three kids Vivian, Delilah and Sammy.

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Karen Sher

Karen Sher is the Vice President of Community Leadership and Engagement for Jewish Federation of St. Louis where she oversees several initiatives including the Millstone Institute for Jewish Leadership where she designs and facilitates the Millstone Fellows 8 session leadership program for emerging and established leaders, JProStL professional organization, PJ Library and programming for Families with Young Children and Teens, Jewish Federation’s Israel Center connecting community with Israel through travel and educational experiences and the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC). In addition, Karen works with Federation’s Jewish community lobbyist building relationships with legislators on the local, state and federal levels. Karen’s previous work with Federation included 6 years in financial resource development. Karen’s volunteer career includes co-founder and founding President of Nishmah, a Jewish non-profit for women and girls, member of JFNA’s National Young Leadership Cabinet, Board and Executive committee member of Washington University of St. Louis Hillel, Board member of The JCC, Co-chair of Jewish Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy and Federation Board member and was the recipient of Jewish Federation’s Grossberg Young Leadership Award. Karen is a graduate of the Baltimore Institute for Jewish Communal Service where she received her Master’s in Social Work and Masters in Jewish Studies.

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Stefanie Tuzman

Stefanie Tuzman is the President & CEO of Jewish Nevada, Nevada’s Jewish Federation. After graduating from Western Michigan University, Stefanie moved to Las Vegas to begin her career. She worked for BBYO for 2 years before joining Jewish Nevada in 2009. She has held several different roles within the organization including the Director of Young Leadership, the Director of Women’s Philanthropy and the Director of Annual Giving. Stefanie spent a short time back in Detroit working at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit as the Director of NEXTGen before coming back to Nevada to take on the role of CEO at Jewish Nevada. Stefanie has 2 kids, a 4-year-old girl and a 4-month-old boy, who she loves to spend all of her free time with!

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Martín Yafé

Martín Yafé is the Chief Program Officer of the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood, located in Northern Manhattan, NY. As CPO, Martín oversees most of the Y’s programs (over $5,000,000), including the areas of After School, Summer Camp, Workforce Development, Inclusion, and the newly created Norman E. Alexander Center for Jewish Life. Martín was born in Argentina, where he served his community in a variety of areas, including as Youth and Camp Director, Cantorial Soloist, and Director of Buenos Aires’ Community Emergency Plan. When Martín moved to Israel for his graduate studies, he lectured on the Middle East Conflict. He later moved to Sydney, Australia, where he served as the Director of Youth Education and Cantorial Soloist for Emanuel Synagogue, Experiential Educator at Emanuel School, and Education Officer for the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. After almost 4 years, Martín moved to New York where he served as Planning Executive for UJA-Federation – overseeing allocations in Israel, Jewish communities globally, and NY’s day-camps – and as a consultant for a joint program between JCRC and Jewish Education Project, developing Israel-engagement-related content. For the High Holidays, Martín continues to serve as Cantorial Soloist for Midway Jewish Center in Long Island, NY. Martín holds a B.A. in International Relations (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella), a M.A. in Security Studies (IDC-Herzliya), and a Certificate Degree in Jewish Philanthropy (Yeshiva 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 –