In this section:
Cohort IV 2022-2024
Sam Aboudara is the Chief Operating Officer of NJY Camps. In his role, Sam oversees the day-to-day infrastructure and organizational systems of one of North America’s largest collection of Jewish overnight camps, serving more than 3000 young people, across 2000 acres of land, and employing 800 seasonal staff each summer. Sam previously spent 8 years as a Camp Director, before becoming the Director of Operations and Engagement at JPro Network. Sam grew up and began his career in the UK at Maccabi Great Britain, before becoming a self-employed consultant, where he worked with a variety of UK-based education and training providers. Sam holds a B.Sc. in Sport and Exercise Science from Loughborough University and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Gratz College for which he was awarded the Midcareer Fellowship from the Legacy Heritage Foundation and is also a JCC Association Scholar. Sam completed an Executive Certificate in Design Thinking from Pace University’s Lubin Business School, in which he still serves on the school’s advisory board. Sam lives in Morristown, NJ with his wife Sarah, and is the proud parent of two daughters, Madelynn and Ellie.
Matt Abrams Gerber
Matt Abrams Gerber has served as the Chief Operating Officer at the Riverdale YM-YWHA in Bronx, NY for seven years. He oversees all major program areas of the Y and was instrumental in the creation of the award-winning Riverdale Jewish Community Partnership (RJCP), a consortium of 18 local Jewish institutions. Matt began his career in the conflict resolution and intergroup relations field. A social group worker and community builder at heart, Matt entered the JCC world as the athletic director at the 14th Street Y. After directing the National Young Leadership Department of the Jewish Federations of North America for several years, he returned to the JCC movement as part of the Mandel Center for Jewish Education at JCC Association, helping local JCCs put the “J” in JCC (or the “H” in YM-YWHA). Matt graduated from Haverford College with a BA in Sociology/Anthropology and a concentration in Peace Studies. He also holds an MSW from Hunter College in New York. Matt lives in Riverdale with his wife, Karen, and daughter, Halleli. He loves to sing and can sometimes be found on stage as part of the Riverdale Repertory Company at the Y.
Marni Allen is the Vice President for Volunteer Mobilization and Leadership at Combined Jewish Philanthropies. In this role, she leads CJP’s work in the areas of governance and volunteer mobilization, ensuring that the organization connects volunteers with high-quality opportunities to share their time and talent to advance the Jewish community. Marni believes her most important role is serving as a force multiplier for talent, and throughout her career has worked to bring people together in impactful partnerships. Marni has held leadership positions in nonprofits in Boston and Washington, DC, including at Babson College and the Brookings Institution. She currently serves on the board of Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley and is the Head Coach of a local Girls on the Run team, a national program that inspires girls to be healthy, joyful, and confident. She received her M.A. in public policy from Georgetown University and her B.A. in political science from Swarthmore College. Marni lives outside Boston with her husband, three children, and their Portuguese water dog.
Steven Baker is the Chief Philanthropy Officer at the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and Minnesota Jewish Community Foundation, where he oversees an integrated strategy and implementation of securing nearly $22 million in annual, community, and legacy funds. Prior, Steven spent 15 years in various fundraising roles at JEWISHcolorado, the Trust for Public Land, consulting, and the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona. BBYO has been a large part of Steven’s life, from a teen to professional, where, as the Mountain Region BBYO Director, he was a part of a cohort supported by the Jim Joseph Foundation to receive a Masters in Business Administration in Nonprofit Management from Indiana University and a Certificate in Informal Jewish Education from Hebrew College. Steven’s undergraduate degree from the University of Puget Sound focused on Business, Economics and Math.
Michal E. Becker
Michal E. Becker is the Engagement Director of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Michal was a community-builder long before she joined the Federation. She co-founded and organized the first Jewish community organization in her Nashville neighborhood and has played a key role in its tremendous growth in the years since. As Engagement Director at the Federation, Michal has established a strategic and data-based approach to creating, implementing, and evaluating engagement programs. She has managed multi-organizational programs for volunteers and newcomers, among other target groups, and has strengthened communication and cooperation among participating organizations. Most recently, Michal has led the Federation’s efforts to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees in the Nashville area. Managing dozens of volunteers, she ensures that the refugees are getting the attention, resources, and care they need to start their lives anew. The impact of this project has been even broader than the fundamental cause of helping individuals: it has contributed to the Federation’s engagement efforts and strengthened the organization’s network of partners, both locally and nationally. Prior to moving to the U.S. in 2008, Michal worked on research and policy projects in Israel, including projects on the issue of EU-Israeli relations and on foreign involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She also led dialogue workshops for groups of Israeli and Palestinian young professionals. Michal holds two master’s degrees in International Relations, from Vanderbilt University and New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Ben-Gurion University.
David L. Cohen
David Cohen currently serves as the Director of Community Affairs for the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. The Boston JCRC, through its network of agencies, organizations, and individuals, serves as a catalyst for building a strong and vibrant Jewish community in Boston and around the world; advocates for a safe, secure, Jewish, and democratic state of Israel; and promotes an American society which is democratic, pluralistic, and just. David has spent over 20 years as a Jewish community relations specialist and Jewish educational leader – having also served as JCRC Director for the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, as Associate Director for ADL’s New England Region, and as Director of Israel Advocacy for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. With a deep background in Israel education, Holocaust education, and interfaith outreach – David has worked with synagogue and church populations, young adult networks, campus Hillels, and Jewish youth organizations on initiatives ranging from the Teens for Tzedek year-round service-learning project in Boston – to the successful passage of Diversity, Inclusion, and Holocaust Education bills in the state of Virginia. David is excited to now be working to re-energize the Boston Partners for Peace network in Greater Boston, which seeks to amplify grassroots, bridge-building efforts between Israelis and Palestinians. David holds a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University, a master’s degree in international political history from Boston University, and a master’s degree in Jewish education and organizational leadership from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Isabel de Koninck
Rabbi Isabel de Koninck has served as Executive Director and Campus Rabbi for Hillel at Drexel University since 2010. Complementing her role as Hillel’s Executive Director, Isabel regularly serves as an adjunct University instructor teaching courses such as Civic Engagement 101, and her much acclaimed Honor’s Seminar Great Works: Harry Potter as a Sacred Text . Isabel’s passion for Jewish life starts with the belief that Judaism is a relevant and inspiring framework for engaging the daily opportunities and challenges of today’s world. Her work in the Hillel movement focuses on building the institutional structures and educational pedagogies necessary to support, maintain and grow deeply diverse and inclusive Jewish campus life. Isabel resides in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia with her wife and two daughters. When not on campus, she can be found running and hiking the trails of her beloved Wissahickon Valley Park.
Stacey Aviva Flint
Stacey Aviva Flint is a public speaker, writer, educator, and Urban Planner. Currently, Stacey is the Director of Education and Community Engagement at JFNA. As a Jewish woman of color, combating racism and antisemitism are central to her work. Stacey’s mission is “shalom bein adam lechavero,” translated from Hebrew as “bringing peace between a man and his fellow.” To this end, she has dedicated her 20+ year career to community economic development and Jewish social justice and engagement. Stacey has a BA in Political Science from the University of Cincinnati, a Masters of Urban Planning and Public Policy for UIC (CHICAGO), a certificate in Jewish Leadership from Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership/Northwestern School of Professional Studies, and a certificate in Adult Jewish Learning from Spertus Institute. She loves to hike and thrift shop, write in her Blog for the Times of Israel, all while nurturing a college student and a teenager.
Derek Gale is Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, where he provides leadership and oversight for the operational areas of staffing, budgeting, fundraising, marketing, as well as strategic initiatives and objectives. Previously, Derek served as Senior Director of Community Building & Allocations and Director of Financial Resource Development at Jewish Federation. Derek volunteers as Vice Chair of the Reach Out and Read Kansas City Advisory Board, and is the founder of Kansas City Restaurant Week, which has raised more than $3 million to benefit a variety of Kansas City nonprofit organizations. He is a graduate of the Allstate Foundation Greater Good Nonprofit Leaders Program, the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning & Leadership’s Certificate Program, and holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree in communication (cum laude) from the University of Denver. Derek is married to Amy and is the father of two young children.
Evan Goldman serves as Executive Director, Public Affairs at the Jewish Federation of Broward County. Previously, he was Chief Executive Officer of Helping Abused, Neglected, Disadvantaged Youth and Assistant Director of Public Affairs and Organizational Development for the Children’s Services Council of Broward County. In addition, Evan holds volunteer leadership roles with several boards, including Temple Bat Yam of East Fort Lauderdale, Children’s Literacy Initiative, The Village Square and the Broward County Children’s Service Board. Evan was recognized by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute with the 2010 Angels in Adoption Award. In September 2012, he received the Children’s Advocacy Award from Legal Aid Service of Broward County and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida. He received a 2014 Leader in Law Award from Lifestyles Magazine and in 2015, was recognized with the Staff Leader of the Year – Organization Award at the 5th Annual Non-Profit Academy Awards. Evan earned a B.A. from American University in Washington, DC and a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, FL. He lives in Fort Lauderdale with his wife and son.
Adam Kolett serves as the Executive Director of the Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach. He attained his MBA from Brandeis University at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and holds an MA in Jewish Professional Leadership from the Hornstein Program. Prior to his current role, Adam worked for seven years at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation in various capacities, including as Assistant Director of Community Planning and Director of the North Dade Branch. As a child, Adam lived in Page, AZ, Redlands, CA, Memphis, TN, and Austin, TX, and through his moves and experiences learned how inclusive and strong Jewish communities can help shape a person’s life, decisions, and even the world. After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas, Adam made Aliyah and served on the Young Judaea Israel professional team, ultimately becoming an Assistant Department Director of Year Course. It was during those years working with college-aged students that Adam made the decision to dedicate his life’s work to the Jewish community. Adam also served in the Israel Defense Forces before returning to the United States to pursue his career in Jewish communal work. Adam, his wife Francine, and his three children Matan, Aviva, and Noa live in Delray Beach where they can often be found taking Luna for a walk.
Naomi Lamb is the Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at JewishColumbus, the integrated Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation, in Columbus, Ohio. She joined in June 2020 and serves as the internal leader for the organization. In this capacity, she also oversees key departments, including Finance, Marketing, Impact and Community Relations, Governance and Operations. The combination of building a high performance team, striving for operational excellence and strategic planning and execution – all in an effort to create a thriving and sustainable Jewish community – makes this the perfect role for Naomi. In addition to her love for the Jewish community, building on her HR experience, Naomi’s passions are developing talent and building a best-in-class work environment; she is proud of how she has worked with the JewishColumbus leadership team to create a talent strategy that has led to significantly increased employee engagement. Prior to joining JewishColumbus, Naomi spent over a decade in HR leadership roles at various Fortune 500 companies, including Owens Corning, L Brands and Sears Holdings Corp. She also served on the board of Jewish Family Services, chaired the JCC HR and Early Childhood Committees and was an incoming Board member and Community Impact Chair at JewishColumbus. Naomi has a Master of Labor and Human Resources and a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies from The Ohio State University. Originally from Cleveland, Naomi lives in Bexley, Ohio with her husband Paul and two sons Simon and Emmett.
Lisa Long is the Financial Resource Development Director for the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation. She has been in this role since joining the Federation in April of 2018. Youngstown is a functional Federation where Lisa oversees the Annual Campaign, Capital & Emergency Campaigns, Major Gifts & all other fundraising for the Federation & its agencies. She also acts as the director of the Youngstown Area Jewish Foundation, which manages more than $40m in assets. Lisa has been in nonprofit management in Ohio & Vermont for more than 19 years. Prior to that she was an Associated Press Award Winning television news anchor, reporter and producer in Michigan, South Dakota & Vermont. A Chicago area native, Lisa holds a B.S. in Mass Communications from Miami University (Oxford, OH).
Amy Marks is the Associate Vice President of Philanthropic Partnerships and Experiences for Hillel International where she has worked since 2017. In this role, Amy oversees the strategy and implementation of Hillel International’s $30M institutional giving program focusing on growing overall resources for Hillel International and its local affiliates. She is also responsible for developing leadership experiences, engaging Hillel stakeholders from around the world, that deepen their connection and commitment to the Hillel movement. Prior to joining Hillel International, Amy was the Development Director at Kansas University Hillel and the Director of Youth and Camping for Temple Israel in Minneapolis, MN. Amy received her B.A. in Secondary Education: Language Arts from Indiana University. Amy lives in Harlem, New York with her husband and son.
Judith Moses Dworkin
Judith Moses Dworkin is the Vice President of Campus Life and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Hillel Ontario and formerly the Senior Director of McMaster Hillel since 2015. In 2021, she was named a Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence by Hillel International, the highest honor awarded to Hillel employees. She is a graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Education in the Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education (HALE) program and she holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from the Schulich School of Business at York University. Originally from Toronto, Judith has worked at Hillels in North Carolina and Michigan as well as Michigan Humanities the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities where she advanced public programming in non-profits across Michigan. Judith has over 20 years of professional experience in government, higher education, and non-profit organizations.
Gabe Most is Chief Experience Officer (CXO) for JCC Association of North America. In this role, he guides the Association’s work aimed at enhancing the quality and value of the relationships between and among JCCs and between JCCs and the Association. Efforts include fostering and facilitating peer-to-peer support between JCC professionals; online tools for JCCs to access the deep well of experience and expertise in the field; convening peer communities for resource- and practice-sharing; and JCC Movement data collection, analysis and reporting. Prior to his work at JCC Association, Gabe spent most of his career in the American Jewish communal world including significant tenures at American Associates Ben-Gurion University, Jewish Federations of North American (formerly United Jewish Communities), Young Judaea and, most recently, Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. His work has included program development and administration, marketing, operations/IT, consulting, leadership development, governance and fundraising. Gabe is a graduate of Young Judaea year Course and holds a BA in Jewish history from Columbia University. He lives in New York City where he is a volunteer with the American Red Cross in disaster response and with The Trevor Project in advocacy for laws and policies that aim to reduce suicide rates among LGBTQ young people.
Rori Picker Neiss
Maharat Rori Picker Neiss serves as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St Louis. Prior to that she was a member of the clergy team at Bais Abraham Congregation, a Modern Orthodox Jewish synagogue in University City, MO. Rori is also honored to serve as the Rabbi in Residence at Holy Communion Episcopal Church, chair of the cabinet of Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis, and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Rori is one of the first graduates of Yeshivat Maharat, a pioneering institution training Orthodox Jewish women to be spiritual leaders and halakhic (Jewish legal) authorities. She previously worked as Acting Executive Director for Religions for Peace-USA, Program Coordinator for the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, Assistant Director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, and Secretariat for the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, the formal Jewish representative in international, interreligious dialogue. Rori is a David Hartman Center fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, a CLAL Rabbis Without Borders fellow, and co-editor of “InterActive Faith: The Essential Interreligious Community-Building Handbook.” She is married to Russel Neiss, a Software Engineer for Sefaria, and they have three children.
Betsy Polk Joseph
As the Director of Jewish Life at Elon University, Betsy Polk Joseph leads a dynamic team, mentors a strong board of student leaders, helps to shape the direction of Elon Hillel’s Jewish Life Advisory Council and works closely with Elon staff, faculty and administrators. She currently serves on the Hillel International Directors Cabinet and is a Shalom Hartman Fellow. As an engaged community member, Betsy was tapped to serve on Alamance County’s Emergency Food & Shelter Program. She is also an active member of Judea Reform Congregation where she has served several terms on the Board of Trustees, leads congregation-wide listening sessions and designed and facilitates LEAD-JRC. A cohort program for emerging congregational leaders. Betsy, a certified coach and mediator, is the co-founder of The Mulberry Partners, LLC., a coaching and consulting practice that’s helped hundreds of community-focused leaders in North Carolina and beyond communicate, collaborate and resolve conflict. She is the co-author of the award-winning book, Power Through Partnership: How Women Lead Better Together (Berrett-Koehler Publishing). Betsy received a BA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and an MS from American University in Organization Development.
Alexandra Roth-Kahn is the Managing Director of the Caring Department at UJA-Federation of New York. Through strategic planning, grant making, and convening, the work of the Caring Department supports members of the Jewish community and beyond who struggle with issues related to poverty, employment, aging, disabilities, mental health, and end-of-life. Alex develops new models of care to respond to these challenges and stimulates innovation in the field. The work of the Caring Department is actualized in New York, Israel, and the Former Soviet Union. In her former role at UJA-Federation of NY, Alex managed the Connect to Care initiative, UJA-Federation’s comprehensive response to the recession offering employment and career transition services, financial counseling, legal services, and emotional support. Alex graduated from Brandies University with a BA in Sociology and Judaic Studies. Upon graduation, she participated in a year-long fellowship at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, in Manhattan. Alex then went on to receive an MSW, with a specific concentration in social work administration, from Columbia University. Alex was a fellow in the Muehlstein Institute for Jewish Professional Leadership at Columbia University. She lives in Westchester with her husband and three children.
Rich Walter is the Chief of Programs and Grantmaking for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Prior to joining the team at Federation in July 2020, Rich has had a distinguished career working in a wide variety of Jewish communal and educational settings. He brings extensive experience increasing community involvement in Jewish formal and informal learning, developing leadership and engagement programs, and facilitating conversations about and involvement with Israel. Rich served as the Associate Director for Israel Education at Emory University’s Institute for the Study of Modern Israel and as Vice President of Curriculum and Outreach for its sister organization, the Center for Israel Education (2012-2020), Director of Jewish Life and Learning at the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven (2007-2012), and Director of Education and Community Development at the Bureau of Jewish Education in Rhode Island (1999-2007). From 1997 to 2001 he taught in the Solomon Schechter School in Providence, Rhode Island. He was educated at Brandeis University where he received his BA and MA degrees focusing on Near and Eastern and Judaic Studies, politics, and history. Rich is originally from the suburbs of Boston and is still a devoted fan of the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins. Rich loves to cook, and he especially enjoys sharing his culinary creations with friends and family.
Cohort III 2021-2023
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.
Lisa Armony is Director of the Rose Project, and Chief Impact Officer 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.
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.
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.
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.
Abbey Frank is the Senior Advisor for a family foundation where she is responsible for working with the foundation chairs to develop a strategic vision for the foundation’s philanthropic efforts and to identify areas for future granting. Her current focus is in the areas of Jewish education, continuity and engagement, and Israel partnerships. Prior to her current position, she served as the Senior Director for Program Operations and Planning at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. During her tenure, she oversaw and led 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 and as Director of Strategic Planning at Managance Consulting & Coaching where she managed planning and business planning for nonprofits 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. She received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan and received both an MSW and MPA from Columbia University.
Meggie Wyschogrod Fredman is AJC’s Director of the Alexander Young Leadership Department. In this role, she helps empower and engage young Jews around the globe through the oversight 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 the department’s Deputy Director. Prior to that role, she served as AJC’s Assistant Director of Leadership Development and Board Engagement, where she developed and implemented programming to strengthen AJC’s national Board of Governors and national leadership. 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. Meggie is currently a Fellow in the Mandel Institute for Nonprofit Leadership’s Executive Leadership Program. A native Bostonian, she now resides in St. Louis where she lives with her husband and two daughters.
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.
Stephanie Hausner is currently the Chief Program Officer of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Stephanie focuses on strengthening conference activities and working with member organizations on combating antisemitism and promoting a vibrant US-Israel relationship. Prior to his role she was the Managing Director for the Israel Action Network at the Jewish Federations of North America. Stephanie oversaw the Israel Action Network’s federal and state advocacy efforts, campus, and community initiatives. Among other achievements, she coordinated the pro-Israel community’s efforts to successfully pass anti-BDS legislation, which has resulted in 33 states doing so thus far. Stephanie worked in the Federation system for over 15 years in various capacities. She also served two terms as an elected Councilwoman in Clarkstown, NY, and served on the Democratic National Committee from 2009-2012. Stephanie graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in International Relations and a concentration in American Foreign Policy. She was also listed in “The Jewish Week 36 under 36.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Liv Mendelsohn, M.A., M.Ed., is the Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence at the Azrieli Foundation. She also works with JCC Association of North America as an Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility consultant. For seven years, she was the Director of Accessibility and Inclusion at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre and Artistic Director of the ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto. 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, and a Civic Action Fellow. Liv is the recipient of a 2019 City of Toronto Equity Award. She is currently a member of the City of Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, and a Senior Fellow at Massey College of the University of Toronto.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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).
Cohort II 2020-2022
Zach is the Chief Development 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.
Jessica Brown Smith
Jessica Brown Smith is the Chief Operating Officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. In this role she responsible for the development and implementation of the Federation’s new strategic plan and has oversight of community planning, community relations, marketing, Jewish life and learning, and young adult outreach and engagement. Jessica also staffs organizational Governance, which, under her guidance, has brought innovative approaches to board education, on-boarding of new members, board member self-assessment, the structure of board meetings and board communication. Previously, in her role as Senior Director of Development, Jessica provided strategic direction and vision for all Federation income streams and under her leadership the Federation saw consistent growth in all areas of Financial Resource Development over the last decade. Over the course of her 24 -year long career with the Federation Jessica has also held the titles of Director of Campaign and FRD, Assistant Marketing Director and Marketing/Campaign Associate. Jessica is currently a Fellow in the Mandel Foundation Executive Leadership Program the mission of which is to strengthen the capacities of talented Jewish communal professionals who lead important nonprofit institutions. She was also part of the inaugural cohort of the Jewish Federation of North America’s Fundraising University and 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.
Roxanne Cohen is a values-driven professional with a passion for strengthening Jewish communities through philanthropy. She currently serves as an advisor and consultant to non-profit organizations and philanthropists, and as a leader in her local Jewish community, including as President of Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo, CA. She has worked in a variety of capacities over 25 years, most recently as Managing Director of Community Impact at the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. She brings expertise in crafting philanthropic initiatives, leading strategic grants processes, training and empowering leaders, fundraising and donor engagement, and communicating effectively about impact. Roxanne holds a BA from the University of Michigan, MSW from Columbia University, and MA in Jewish Studies from Jewish Theological Seminary. She also received a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University, studied at Tel Aviv University in Israel, and is an alumnus of the Mandel Executive Leadership Program.
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).
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.
Anita Denes-Meador is Chief Program Officer for JCC Chicago. Anita began work in her position in 2018, and oversees JCC Chicago programs and community engagement in Chicago, Skokie and Evanston. Previously, Anita 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. Anita 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, Jason was a health care policy specialist and entrepreneur. Immediately prior to joining the JCC, Jason 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, Jason 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, Jason was the CFO and COO for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation of Pittsburgh. Jason also spent time as a forensic accountant for a Big 4 accounting firm and as a police officer in Baltimore County, MD. Jason has an MBA from the University of Baltimore and a BA in Criminology from the University of South Florida.
David Kurzmann is Senior Director, Community and Donor 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 Bensonhurst, 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 Psychology from Long Island University and her Master of Science in Social Work degree from Columbia University.
Cohort I 2018-2019
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 Chief of Staff of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington in Washington, D.C. She recently held the role of Interim Vice President of Planning at Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston. Prior positions at CJP include Associate Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, 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 CEO of Young Judea Global. Previously, she served as the executive director of Community LAB/Resources 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 Program Officer at the Jewish Community Center Association. She oversees the growth and development of programs that fall into JCC Association’s signature portfolio including JCC Maccabi, JResponse, and JWB Jewish Chaplains Council. Most recently she served as 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. Sue was at 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 is the Executive Director of Camp Laurelwood in Madison, CT. Previously, he served as the Assistant Executive Director of the Springfield (MA) Jewish Community Center. Prior to that, he was 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 Chief Executive Officer of American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Prior, she served as 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 Chief Program Officer of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. Previously, he served as 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 Chief Operating Officer at the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, where she oversees Marketing, Leadership Development, and Strategy and Governance. She previously served as the Vice President of 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 Senior Vice President of Operations at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. She has been with the Federation since 2005. In her time with the Federation, she has worked in the areas of Operations, 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 President & CEO of the Mandel JCC of the Palm Beaches. Most recently he served as Chief Operating Officer of the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In his previous executive role, he directly managed 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 President of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. Most recently, she served as Senior Vice President and the Chief Strategy Officer in which she oversaw 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 is the Director of Collaborative Leadership and Jewish Engagement at Jewish Silicon Valley. Most recently, he served as Director of Communal Leadership and Jewish Engagement 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 including 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).