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.
Hallie BaronAssociate Director
Hallie Baron has more than 35 years experience in marketing, communications, strategy, management and problem-solving. She believes that all problems are really challenges, and that there’s an opportunity/learning experience/silver lining in all of them. Before joining JCRC, Hallie was a marketing consultant for nine years, working with many Bay-Area Jewish non-profits. After a career in the healthcare and financial sectors, she got her start in the Jewish communal world as the Marketing Director for the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation. Hallie has a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts and a Certificate of Management from Harvard University. When not working, Hallie spends as much time as possible on her bicycle and in her garden.
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.
Jeremy RussellDirector of Marketing and Communications
Director of Marketing and Communications
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.
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 BeneschDevelopment 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.
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 and Program Assistant
Administrative and 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.