Meet our team of bright, passionate and dedicated professionals who infuse their work with a fierce desire to create a better future for our community, our region and our world.
Rabbi Doug KahnExecutive Director
Rabbi Doug Kahn
Doug, a fourth generation San Franciscan, joined JCRC in 1982 and has not had a dull day since. In addition to his work at JCRC, Doug sits on the Board of Directors of the Graduate Theological Union, has served as co-chairperson of the Intergroup Clearinghouse which was San Francisco’s major organization addressing intergroup tensions and hate violence and was Treasurer and member of the Global Council of the United Religions Initiative, an international grassroots interfaith organization based in San Francisco. Doug is the past president of the CRC Directors Association and currently serves on the Jewish Council for Public Affairs Civility Committee. He has published articles on community relations issues in American Jewish Yearbook, Journal of Jewish Communal Service, Jewish Monthly and other publications, and also contributed a chapter for a book on the history of the Soviet Jewry movement.
Doug received his rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York and his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. He is an expert travel planner, an avid player of Words with Friends and loves movies, musicals and fine dining. In 1999 Doug was given the Jewish Community Federation’s Executive of the Year Award and in 2006 he was honored with the Israel in our Hearts Award.
Abigail Michelson PorthAssociate Executive Director
Abigail Michelson Porth
Associate Executive Director
Abby is a public affairs veteran, managing complex and sensitive community relations issues and developing and executing effective organization-wide strategies to advance JCRC’s mission of pursuing a just society and a secure Jewish future.
Abby is an Officer of the San Francisco Interfaith Council, and a member of the Board of Directors of Congregation Emanu-El and Scattered Among the Nations, an organization that assists geographically and politically isolated Jewish or Judaism-practicing communities around the globe. She previously served on the Advisory Committee of San Francisco CARD, which trains social service agencies to prepare for emergencies and natural disasters, and was proud to serve on the Board of Directors of San Francisco Head Start.
Before coming to JCRC in 1999, Abby managed a Boston-based juvenile hate crime offender program that diverted children out of the criminal justice system. She earned both her Master of Management and B.A. at Brandeis University. In her free time, Abby reads voraciously about child development and travel, and loves to hike and bake. She is an aspirational vegetarian and die-hard San Franciscan.
Michael BeneschOutreach and Engagement Coordinator
Outreach and Engagement Coordinator
Michael Benesch loves classic rock, cycling through the Headlands, photographing concerts and standing on top of mountains. Before joining JCRC, Michael spent a year in Israel teaching English at an underserved public elementary school in Petah Tikva. A San Rafael native, Michael was raised with a voracious appetite for learning, a sense of justice, and a desire to heal the world. These values inspired Michael’s passion for public policy and the Middle East, which he further developed as an Economics major at Pomona College.
Brittany CainePeninsula Program and Administrative Assistant
Peninsula Program and Administrative Assistant
Brittany Caine loves the Pacific Ocean, John Cusack movies, and the more obscure sections of the New York Times. A true California native, she grew up in both the Bay Area as well as Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. from Smith College in Jewish Studies and Theatre, and she spent much of her time at school exploring the interplay and overlap between these two fields. As a result, Brittany harbors a deep belief in the importance of the intersection of Judaism and community and is thrilled to be a part of the JCRC team.
Aliza Craimer EliasInstitute for Curriculum Services Director
Aliza Craimer Elias
Institute for Curriculum Services Director
Aliza Craimer Elias enjoys bird watching, snorkeling and diving, spending time with family and friends, quilting, reading, word games and musicals. She is originally from Canada and has a B.A. (with Honors) in Psychology from the University of Calgary and a Master’s of Philosophy in Modern Jewish Studies from the University of Oxford, where she graduated with distinction. Aliza excels at turning challenges into opportunities, creating and launching new initiatives, building strong relationships, writing, editing, and strengthening the accuracy of textbooks and social studies standards. She received the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America’s national Young Professional Award for 2013.
Myrna DavidEast Bay Regional Director
East Bay Regional Director
Myrna is an avid reader and tries to find time to read whatever is on the current best-seller list. She hails from Chicago and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Prior to joining JCRC, she spent her early career in advertising and marketing research. She started with the JCRC East Bay Region in 2003 as Outreach Coordinator and became East Bay Regional Director in 2005. In 2008, the East Bay JCRC received the Building Bridges Award from Islamic Networks Group for its formative work in Jewish-Muslim relations.
Randi Dodick FieldsJewish Coalition for Literacy Director
Randi Dodick Fields
Jewish Coalition for Literacy Director
Originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Randi has been happily living in the Bay Area for 20 years. Her career began in broadcast journalism as a network news producer at ABC News in New York, but after moving to San Francisco she began to focus her work on the local Jewish community. Randi is especially proud of her role as Co-Chair of the 2009 JCC Maccabi Games, which brought together thousands of local volunteers and participants from across the world for a week of athletic competition and social service. Randi has a B.A. from Brown University and a Master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Tatyana DunavetskyFinance and Administration Director
Finance and Administration Director
Tatyana likes traveling around the world, cooking delicious Russian cuisine and spending time with her 2 grandkids. She was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and has been living in the Bay area since she immigrated to United States 22 years ago. Tatyana began her career in the U.S. at a CPA firm but then she transitioned to the non-profit sector, first doing accounting for a Catholic congregation and then for Congregation Emanu-El. She has been with JCRC since 2008. Tatyana obtained Master’s of Science in Finance and Accounting from Kiev, Ukraine State University.
Jon FeldmanDevelopment Director
Jon received his B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park in Government & Politics and has more than twenty years of experience in the development arena working with arts, environmental, health, Jewish, and social justice organizations. He also worked earlier in his career on the staff of a member of the United States House of Representatives in Washington, DC. Jon is originally from the East Coast, and has lived in the Bay Area since 1992. He enjoys reading, tennis, travel, movies, and the Bay Area’s culinary scene.
Aimee EllisCommunity Organizer
Aimee was born and raised in the Richmond District of San Francisco. She has extensive experience in the field of public affairs, specializing in campaign strategy and public outreach. Before joining the JCRC team, Aimee was a campaign manager and strategic advisor for elected officials while working concurrently on local and statewide ballot measures. She has great love for South America, where she studied abroad multiple times during her academic career at San Francisco State University, where she received a B.A. in sociology and dance. In her free time, Aimee enjoys volunteering with the Junior League, teaching youth dance classes and rollerblading.
Joe GoldmanLegislative Affairs and Intergroup Relations Program Associate
Legislative Affairs and Intergroup Relations Program Associate
Joe Goldman has a penchant for Chipotle, politics, and all things 90s - fashion excluded. A proud Los Angeles native, Joe has a B.A. in Political Communication from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, where he graduated cum laude. He brings impressive political and legislative expertise to JCRC thanks to his work on presidential and local political campaigns, his positions at public affairs firms with both nonprofit and corporate clients and extensive LGBT and environmental advocacy. Joe is passionate about a two-state solution for Israel and enjoys traveling there as often as he can.
Emily LakritzProgram and Administrative Assistant
Program and Administrative Assistant
Emily Lakritz is a yoga, fashion and music lover and is a regular at most San Francisco concert venues. A Bay Area native, Emily grew up on both sides of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin and Redwood City. Emily received her B.A. in Communications with a minor in Textiles and Clothing from UC Davis and continues to pursue her passion for fashion and people through freelance styling work. Emily brings two years of E-commerce account management experience to her role at JCRC and is excited to learn and grow with the organization.
Makenzie MeansDevelopment Coordinator
Makenzie is originally from San Diego and moved to the Bay Area to join the JCRC team. She is an avid cyclist, a lover of books and a knitting enthusiast. Makenzie has Masters’ degrees in Public Administration and Jewish Nonprofit Management from the University of Southern California and Hebrew Union College. Her graduate program as well as her work experience has helped hone her skills in database management and fundraising best practices.
Judy Pam-BycelJewish Coalition for Literacy Program Manager
Jewish Coalition for Literacy Program Manager
Judy has devoted her professional career to education and fostering better relationships between people from all backgrounds. Prior to joining JCL she served as the Executive Director of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ) in Santa Monica for fifteen years, where she spearheaded new programs to fight bias and bigotry through education. She has also taught grades 2-12 in NYC, Larkspur and Santa Monica. She holds an undergraduate degree from University of Berkeley and Master of Arts in Education from the University of Southern California. Judy is an avid Israeli folk-dancer and enjoys her family, hiking, swimming and reading.
Jacqueline RegevInstitute for Curriculum Services Senior Curriculum Developer and Trainer
Institute for Curriculum Services Senior Curriculum Developer and Trainer
Whether at work or play, Jacqueline enjoys connecting people and ideas. At home around the globe, Jacqueline settled in the Bay Area to refine her practices as a classroom teacher, researcher, and teacher educator. Jacqueline excels at identifying growth areas and matching instructional strategies and curriculum to meet learners' needs. As a curriculum developer and teacher educator, Jacqueline introduced hundreds of developing teachers to research-based, best practices and instructional strategies. Jacqueline has a B.A. from UCLA in Political Science and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Chapman University.
Paula SimonNorth Bay Regional Director
North Bay Regional Director
Paula relocated to Sonoma County from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she served as the Executive Director of the Milwaukee Jewish Council for Community Relations. A Southern California native, she did her undergraduate work at University of California, Berkeley and earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from USC as well as a Master’s in Jewish Communal Service from Hebrew Union College. Paula was thrilled to “un-retire” to come to work with her long-time colleague Doug Kahn and share her professional expertise in the North Bay. She is equally happy to have traded 30 years of snow shoveling for cleaning her swimming pool.
Jessica SterlingEast Bay Program Assistant
East Bay Program Assistant
Jessica Sterling, born and raised in California, lives in Oakland and likes to cook (but not clean!). It is this passion for food that led her to form a cooking chavurah with several friends from her synagogue, which is still going strong. Jessica has been actively involved in publishing for the past 30 years, beginning her career at the UCSC Jewish quarterly, “The Leviathan”, and later writing for the San Francisco-based JWeekly in addition to working for 10 years in the Creative Services Department of Pacific Bell Directory. She was educated at Parsons School of Design and UC Santa Cruz, graduating with a B.A. in art.
Karen StillerMiddle East Project Director
Middle East Project Director
Karen Stiller has been with JCRC since 2002. A native of Buffalo, New York, she moved to the Bay Area in 2000, where she worked in the Preventive Defense Project at Stanford University, a project run by former high-level U.S. Department of Defense officials. Karen started her professional career in social work and nonprofit management, and has worked as Development Director and Manager of a program for formerly homeless families. She has an MSSA with a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Case Western Reserve University. In her spare time, Karen fiddles with photography and enjoys reading, hiking and traveling.
Jenny TranStaff Accountant
Jenny enjoys cooking, reading, crocheting and Find-A-Word-Puzzles. She is Chinese, but was born and raised in Vietnam. In 1990, Jenny moved to New Jersey with her family. There she received her B.S. in Business Administration from New Jersey City University. In 2006 Jenny moved to the Bay Area, and she lives in San Francisco with her husband and son.
Jessica TrubowitchLegislative Affairs and Intergroup Relations Director
Legislative Affairs and Intergroup Relations Director
Jessica is the mom of two young boys and enjoys camping with her family. She has a strong background in public policy, advocacy, and policy-making through consensus. Jessica is a California native and has been living in the Bay Area for over ten years. She has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Collaborative Governance from California State University, Sacramento.
Karen WisialowskiPeninsula Regional Director
Peninsula Regional Director
Originally from Detroit, Karen came to Bay Area via the East Coast. She loves the outdoors, especially hiking and biking, and plays bridge as much as possible. She is passionate about family, community and education. Karen is a former investment banker turned mom turned community volunteer turned Jewish community professional. She does pro bono consulting for local nonprofits through Harvard Business School Community Partners, where she serves on the Steering Committee. She holds an undergraduate degree from The University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Kelsey YoungmanJewish Coalition for Literacy Program Coordinator & Administrative Assistant
Jewish Coalition for Literacy Program Coordinator & Administrative Assistant
Kelsey hails from Southern California and is a graduate of Boston College, with B.A. in Psychology and International Studies. Prior to joining the JCL team Kelsey worked in Student Affairs at the University of San Francisco, running on-campus and international community service and student development programming. Kelsey has also assisted with marketing communication and database management and brings strong organizational skills to JCL. In her spare time, Kelsey enjoys kayaking in Tomales Bay and cooking with fresh ingredients from San Francisco’s many farmers’ markets.
Alexa ZappasInstitute for Curriculum Services Program Assistant
Institute for Curriculum Services Program Assistant
Alexa is a Bay Area native with a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. She recently moved back to the Bay from Tel Aviv, where she spent her time working as the Operations Manager for an international tourism company and lounging on the beaches of the Mediterranean. In her free time she enjoys playing volleyball, watching movies, spending time with family, and trying to learn Hebrew.
Jeremy RussellCommunications Manager
A San Francisco native, Jeremy has been a communications specialist for nearly twenty years. Prior to joining JCRC, he managed communications for a trade association. He has also worked as a general-assignment journalist for a daily newspaper, The Billings Gazette in Montana, and been a free-lance writer and illustrator for a variety of publications, including the late San Francisco Bay Guardian. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a double major in English and Interdisciplinary Studies, and is an award-winning author.
Join the JCRC Team
Interested in becoming part of the JCRC team? Check out our career openings.
JCRC Board of Directors
Rosalind was raised in England and lived in Israel and New York before moving to the Bay Area. She is Principal of Rosalind Franklin Group, providing executive coaching for nonprofit and individual clients, and she consults with organizations and individuals on issues of board governance and leadership development. She is also a coach for parents of children in crisis and in residential treatment programs. In addition to her leadership work with JCRC, she is a trustee of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago, named after her aunt, whose ground-breaking scientific work contributed to the discovery of DNA. A musician, Rosalind co-founded the California Symphony. She and her husband have three children.
Vice President and Education Task Force Co-Chair
Michael is a partner with the national law firm Fox Rothschild where he specializes in litigation and bankruptcy/restructuring. A graduate of Brandeis University with a JD from UCLA, Michael is an expert on municipal bankruptcy issues and is frequently sought-after for comments on matters related to the pending Detroit and Stockton bankruptcy cases. Michael is a member of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission which he chaired from 2011-2014. He is also the immediate past-Chair of JPAC and is a past-president of the Raoul Wallenberg Jewish Democratic Club. A native San Franciscan, Michael and his family live in one of the City’s western neighborhoods.
Vice President and Secretary, and Membership Committee Chair
Hadara Stanton is a Deputy Attorney General at the California Attorney General’s Office in San Francisco. In addition to her current roles at JCRC, Hadara previously served as co-chair of both the Legislative Affairs Committee, as well as the Task Force on Immigration, where she worked with JCRC staff and lay leaders to guide the consensus process on immigration, ultimately obtaining the Metropolitan Council’s approval of the JCRC’s policy statement on immigration issues. Before attending law school, Hadara volunteered in Bulgaria for a year with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
Treasurer and Budget & Finance Committee Chair
Paul Resnick is an investment advisor with Osborne Partners Capital Management LLC. He was previously the founder and principal of AKJ Asset Management, LLC in Palo Alto, CA, which was merged into Osborne in December of 2012. Paul has been a board member of a number of non-profit organizations over the last 35 years, including the San Francisco Art Institute, Jewish Family and Children Services, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco and the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto. While Paul’s main area of involvement with JCRC is on the financial operations side, he is deeply committed to all of JCRC’s initiatives and particularly interested in its work on Israel, economic inequality, and race relations.
Members of the Board
Intergroup Relations Committee Co-Chair
Judy Bloom has a long history of community service in both the Jewish and the greater community. Now retired, Judy has worked as a French and Spanish teacher, District Director for former Assemblywoman (now Congresswoman) Jackie Speier, Director of Employer services at JVS and a Development Officer for the Jewish Community Federation's Endowment Fund. In addition to her involvement with JCRC, Judy serves on the board of her synagogue, Peninsula Temple Beth El and works as a floral-design and fundraising consultant. She is also a Filoli volunteer, a JCL tutor at her grandson's school and a devoted fan and volunteer for her alma mater, UC Berkeley.
Aaron Danzig, a Bay Area native, currently resides in San Francisco’s Mission district. Aaron is a lay-leader at Sha'ar Zahav, where he leads services on occasion and in the past has served on the congregation's board and siddur editorial committee. He is also affiliated with Wilderness Torah. Aaron received his B.A. from UCLA and holds an M.B.A. from Duke University. A professional brand and marketing strategist, he is currently Director of Business Sales at Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Aaron enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking, playing folk guitar and classical violin, and otherwise 'getting off the grid.'
Richard Fiedotin works in the healthcare industry. Trained as a physician, he is the co-founder of Epocrates, a medical mobile app for physicians, and Benefitter, a company that helps employers and their employees gain access to low-cost health insurance benefits in the marketplace. Richard is new to the JCRC Board and is particularly passionate about combatting the anti-Israel movement, specifically BDS activities. Richard serves on the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco Board and the Northern California AIPAC Board.
Immediate Past President and Strategic Planning Committee Chair
Jerilyn Gelt is retired from the California Public Employment Relations Board, where she worked as a labor relations specialist and administrative hearing officer. At JCRC, she has chaired the Intergroup Relations Committee and co-chaired the Latino-Jewish Relations Committee and the Confronting Poverty Taskforce. She has also served as Vice President and President of the Board of Directors. Jerilyn has also been a Jewish Coalition for Literacy tutor for 15 years and represents JCRC on the Jewish Coalition to End Human Trafficking. She serves on the Boards of the New Israel Fund and Catholic Charities and is a member of the Public Issues Committee of Jewish Family and Children Services.
Nick Josefowitz, a clean economy entrepreneur, founded a company that built over $100m of solar power plants and provided thousands of homes and businesses with clean electricity. Nick founded Leadership For a Clean Economy, an organization to train and support the next generation of clean economy political leaders. He was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee to the San Francisco’s Environment Commission and also serves on the board of the California League of Conservation Voters and on the Dean’s Council of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Nick is committed to working with JCRC to combat all forms of prejudice and bigotry, including anti-Semitism, throughout our Bay Area community.
Education Committee Co-Chair
Bob Kane is a lawyer at private practice and an adjunct professor of law at UC Hastings. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UC Davis School of Law. In addition to his 20-year involvement with JCRC, Bob currently serves on the advisory board of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Bay Area Communities for Health Education. He was previously regional president and national vice president of the American Jewish Congress and president of Jewish Family and Children Services in the East Bay. Bob is also a founder and former member of the Progressive Jewish Alliance's (now Bend the Arc) Bay Area regional council.
Howard Kleckner, M.D.
Howard Kleckner has been active both in the Peninsula JCRC and Metro JCRC for over 10 years. He recently retired after working as a medical oncologist for Kaiser-Permanente and is currently the Medical Director of The Second Opinion, a nonprofit which offers free second opinions to cancer patients. Howard is a board member of both the American Cancer Society - California Division and the American Jewish World Service. His wife, Wendy, is a well-known kosher caterer and they split their time between San Francisco and Palo Alto where they belong to Kol Emeth synagogue.
East Bay Council Chair
Lenny Kristal grew up in South Africa and went to Israel as a volunteer during the Six-Day War. He has a B.A. in Psychology from Bar Ilan University, a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Cambridge and he completed a Post Doctoral Fellowship at Oxford University. Lenny lived in London for many years, where he founded MultiMedia Publishing, a book publishing and TV production company. He is the cofounder and the current President of Cognisess, a cognitive neuroscience company that builds web-based software tools for assessing, measuring, and improving cognitive performance and emotional wellbeing. He has three children and eight grandchildren, all living in London. He and his wife, Denise, live in Berkeley, and are active members of Congregation Beth Israel.
Peninsula Council Chair
Jon Levinson, now retired, spent the majority of his professional life working in sales and marketing for insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Toward the end of his career he worked as a political consultant and ran a PAC. He is deeply passionate about social services and lobbying for critical causes. In addition to his involvement with JCRC, Jon is on the Northern California Board of AIPAC, Chair of the Public Issues Committee of the JFCS of the Peninsula, and is a past member of the Board of Directors of Congregation Beth Jacob. He has been married to his wife, Diane, for 50 years, and together they have three children and seven grandchildren.
Marty Schenker is litigation partner at the San Francisco office of Cooley, LLP, where he specializes in complex business litigation. He serves on JCRC’s Middle East Strategy Committee and is also working on an initiative to build bridges between Jewish and Christian clergy. In addition to his work with JCRC, Marty sits on AIPAC’s Northern California Advisory Board and National Council. In the past, he has been active in a number of Jewish organizations, including the American Jewish World Service, Jewish Vocational Services, and the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund.
Middle East Affairs Committee Chair
Mark Schickman practices with San Francisco's Freeland, Cooper & Foreman LLP and is a nationally recognized writer and speaker in employment and labor law. He received both his B.A. and J.D. from Columbia University, and was a Wexner Fellow from 1995-1997. Mark has been President of the Bar Association of San Francisco, a member of the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California and the Board and Executive Committee of the American Bar Association and chaired the ABA Committee on Pro Bono and Public service. He has also served as Chair of the Holocaust Center of San Francisco and Resolution Chair and Vice President of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
Patti Schneider Joselewitz
Patti Schneider Joselewitz works as an impact consultant for businesses and non-profit organizations and has been active in the Jewish community for over 15 years. She has served as Assistant Director of the UJA Speakers Bureau in New York, UJC Western Region Young Leadership Director in LA, Deputy Director of AIPAC in Northern California and Development Director at the East Bay Jewish Federation. Before shifting her professional focus to the Jewish Community, Patti worked for a private consulting firm, managing executive education trainings for Fortune 500 company executives in the U.S. and Europe. In addition to her work with JCRC, Patti sits on the PNW Board of AIPAC.
North Bay Chair, and Immigrants’ Rights Working Group Chair
Eva Seligman-Kennard has spent the majority of her career working as a professional within the Jewish Community and has held positions with Jewish Family and Children Services, The Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Federation of the East Bay and the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation, among others. Her most important professional experience has been with the Bay Area Council for Soviet Jews, where she worked for many years. Eva is passionate about achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and devotes extensive efforts toward this end. In addition to her involvement with JCRC, Eva does immigration reform advocacy work, collaborates with the Marin Interfaith Council and has traveled to developing countries for many years as a volunteer to provide medical assistance.
Chair Public Policy Committee
Felice Zensius was born in New York but raised her two daughters in California. She has five granddaughters. Felice, now retired, has a Master’s in Public Administration and spent her career working in Sacramento where she was Chief of Staff for Senator Nicholas Petris in the State Senate. Felice has also served on the East Bay JCRC Council and was East Bay Council Chair for three years. She is a life member of Hadassah and is on the board of JPAC.