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.
Abigail Michelson PorthExecutive Director
Abigail Michelson Porth
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.
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.
Paula SimonOperations and Special Projects Director
Operations and Special Projects 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.
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.
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.
Ilana KaufmanPublic Affairs and Civic Engagement Director, East Bay
Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Director, East Bay
Ilana has twenty years of leadership, community building and organizational development experience. She serves as a strategic thought partner to Jewish and secular organizations working on issues of equity and justice, and is a member of Bend the Arc’s Regional Council. Prior to joining JCRC, she was a program officer at the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation. She has a Master’s Degree in Educational Pedagogy from Mills College, and is energized by complex problems with solutions that require innovative designs. Ilana has been featured in the Jewish Times of America and the J Weekly and has published articles in eJewish Philanthropy, The Foundation Review and Independent School Magazine. A nationally recognized speaker, Ilana was featured in the series “ELI Talks: Inspired Jewish Ideas” in 2015.
Ilana is a proud Berkeley resident with deep connections to the public schools and in the civic arena. A regular participant in the Berkeley Crop Swap with a passion for creating edible bee and butterfly habitats, she leads a secret life of culinary goodness.
Jessica TrubowitchPublic Policy and Community Building Director
Public Policy and Community Building 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.
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.
Joe GoldmanPublic Affairs and Civic Engagement Manager, San Francisco
Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Manager, San Francisco
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.
Sarah FieldsPublic Affairs and Civic Engagement Manager, Peninsula
Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Manager, Peninsula
A native of San Diego and a Brooklyn-American for a time, Sarah brings bicoastal expertise in state and local government as well as faith-based community organizing to her JCRC role. She holds a B.A. in Metropolitan Studies and Politics from New York University and Master of Urban Planning from the City University of New York, Hunter College. Between degrees, Sarah was an early participant in the Bina Center’s Tikkun Olam-Tel Aviv post college volunteer and learning program in Israel. Prior to joining the JCRC staff, she worked as an aide to State Senator Marty Block, founder of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. She enjoys spending time outdoors, exploring her new home, and baking elaborate cakes.
Aimee EllisCommunity Engagement Manager
Community Engagement Manager
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.
Jessica KosminMiddle East Project Manager
Middle East Project Manager
Jessica Kosmin is originally from London, UK and joins the JCRC after living in Israel for seven years. Most recently, Jessica was the Operations Manager for the British Council Israel. She has a passion for organizational strategy, social justice campaigns and working with students on campus. Jessica has a B.A. (First Class Honors) in History from the University of Birmingham and an M.A. in Government, Diplomacy and Conflict Studies from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzlya, Israel. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the Bay Area with her family, hiking, singing and writing.
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.
Michael BeneschMembership and Special Projects Manager
Membership and Special Projects Manager
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.
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.
Jennifer KamenetzGrants Manager
Jennifer Kamenetz grew up in Northern California and has lived, joyfully, in the Bay Area since 1998. For more than ten years, she has worked in fundraising and communications for Bay Area nonprofits focused on the Jewish community and/or public education, including the Koret Foundation, the San Francisco Education Fund and Kevah. She cares deeply about JCRC’s work because its mission links her interests in Jewish and Israel studies, justice and ethics, and meaningful, inclusive community projects. She loves to write, edit and tell compelling stories that share good work and good news and, in addition to her work, is passionate about baking, reading and learning, and day trips to the ocean with her husband. Jennifer is also a soferet, a Jewish ritual scribe.
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 (with honors) from the University of California, Berkeley with a double major in English and Interdisciplinary Studies, and is an award-winning author.
Jessica SterlingEast Bay Program Assistant
East Bay Program Assistant
Jessica Sterling, born and raised in California, lives with her family in Oakland and loves to cook. 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 University of California, Santa Cruz Jewish quarterly, Leviathan: Jewish Journal, and later working for the San Francisco-based J Weekly. In addition, she worked for 10 years in the Creative Services Department of Pacific Bell Directory. She was educated at Parsons School of Design and UC Santa Cruz.
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.
Rabbi Doug KahnConsultant Services
Rabbi Doug Kahn
Doug, a fourth generation San Franciscan, joined JCRC in 1982 and has not had a dull day since. As the former Executive Director, he is currently engaged in expert consultant services on behalf of the organization.
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 presented with the Israel in our Hearts Award. In 2015, he was honored by A Wider Bridge for his commitment to LGBT Equality and Israel Advocacy.
Serena ZhenAdministrative & Program Assistant
Administrative & Program Assistant
Serena Zhen was born and raised in San Francisco. She has a B.S. in Business Marketing from the University of the Pacific and loves to use her amazing organization skills in fun and creative ways around the office. Before JCRC, she held a variety of positions, including night-shift stocker at Safeway and director at a summer camp. A Chinese American, she enjoys Korean food, Asian television dramas and variety shows, and bonding with her family. She is passionate about singing, volleyball and her Christian faith, and understands deeply how important it is to be open to new experiences. She believes that one must step into a variety of roles in order to grow and learn, and that it’s also just as important to be able pass on the knowledge you obtain along the way.
Join the JCRC Team
Interested in becoming part of the JCRC team? Check out our career openings.
JCRC Board of Directors
Hadara is an attorney practicing 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.
Marty 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.
Alexander Fromm Lurie
Born in San Francisco, Alexander is a realtor specializing in luxury home sales in San Francisco and Marin County. A graduate of Northwestern University, Alexander spent ten years in Chicago during which time he founded two companies. Alexander’s past involvements include ADL’s Chicago Glass Leadership Program, Chicago Federation’s Gesher Leadership Program, and participating as a Germany Close-up Fellow. Lurie supports The Tipping Point Community, The Fromm Institute and Eastern Horizons. Alexander is also an avid cyclist, rock climber, scuba diver, and ping pong player.
Marla has managed strategic relationships with large service partners at BlackRock since 2011. She is a member of Peninsula Sinai Congregation where she serves as the Education Committee Chair. A University of Texas at Austin graduate, she participated in university-sponsored programs focused on peace and conflict resolution, and interned for AIPAC in Washington, DC, for a semester. She also worked at the Jewish Federation in Whippany, New Jersey, prior to shifting into financial services. She now lives in Foster City with her husband and two children.
Treasurer and Budget & Finance Committee Chair
Paul 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.
Immediate Past President
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.
Members of the Board
Coalition Building/Intergroup Relations Committee Chair
Judy 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.
Alex is a late-stage technology investor with more than 20 years of investment banking experience and currently serves as a managing partner at Kingfisher Investment Advisors. As an active congregant at Beth Sholom, a parent who previously had children at the Brandeis School of San Francisco, and a very active member of the Board of Directors of Camp Ramah Northern California, Alex is a committed Jewish community member.
Aaron, 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.'
Strategic Planning Committee Chair
Jerilyn 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.
Civic Engagement Committee Co-Chair
A clean economy entrepreneur, Nick 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.
Patti Schneider Joselewitz
Development Committee Vice Chair; At-Large
Patti 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.
A product of the San Francisco Jewish community, Ben grew up in Congregation Beth Shalom. He has a BA in French Literature and Political Science from UC Berkeley, and a JD from UC Davis. He was at the forefront of pro-Israel student activism at Cal, heading the Israel Action Committee in the late 90’s and teaching a DeCal class on the history of Zionist thought for three years. Between his time at Cal and UC Davis, Ben worked for the Israel Center as Campus Outreach Coordinator, leading student trips to Israel and helping to organize Israel-related cultural events on nine Bay Area campuses. After two years as a corporate attorney at a large law firm in San Francisco, he has since transitioned into a business development role at a local web company.
Howard Kleckner, M.D.
Howard 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.
Middle East Strategy Committee Chair
Lenny 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.
Karen practiced optometry in Sunnyvale for 30 years, and also served on clinical faculty at Optometry School at Cal. Over the years, she has been an active community volunteer and was as a board member of several non-profit organizations, including Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills. She served on the board of Peninsula Interfaith Action and as president of the board of El Camino Youth Symphony Association. She and her husband lived in Cambridge, UK, from 2007-2010, where she served as a Council Member of Reform synagogue in Cambridge. Since 2003, she has been member of the Advisory Board for the San Francisco Bay Area region of Facing History and Ourselves, an international educational organization which provides training for educators worldwide with the goal of reducing prejudice and antisemitism and creating more humane and engaged citizenry.
David is the former president of the Sherith Israel board of trustees and currently co-chairs Sherith Israel’s campaign to raise funds for its seismic retrofit project. Beyond his commitments to the Jewish community, he is an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission, splitting time between consumer protection and competition. David grew up in San Francisco, attending Lick-Wilmerding High School and UC Berkeley.
Eva 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.
William Schwartz is a partner at Morrison & Foerster and concentrates on the representation of companies in business transactions and counseling involving intellectual property and technology. In addition, he has held leadership positions at the firm, including founding Co-Chair of the firm's Intellectual Property practice (1990-1997) and Managing Partner for Operations of the firm (1997-1999). Before starting his law career, William was a reporter and editor of the Asian edition of The Wall Street Journal.
Civic Engagement Committee 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.
Jennifer is a businesswoman, mother and dedicated member of the Jewish community. A partner with The Learning Accelerator, she leads the organization’s initiatives around Open Education Resources, including the K-12 OER Collaborative. Jennifer also serves as an education consultant, bringing more than 20 years of experience to help education-related organizations and companies. A congregant at Kol Shofar, she serves on the Diller Fellows and Education Awards Committees of the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund's and also as a board member for the Tam High Foundation.