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 was appointed by Mayor Edwin Lee to serve on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission in 2015. She also serves on the Boards 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 as an officer of the San Francisco Interfaith Council; on the Advisory Committee of San Francisco CARD, which trains social service agencies to prepare for emergencies and natural disasters; and 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 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.
Karen StillerMiddle East Project Director
Middle East Project Director
Karen 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Elle SegalPublic Affairs and Civic Engagement Manager, San Francisco
Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Manager, San Francisco
Originally from the Philadelphia suburbs, Elle worked for the University of California and for various public affairs firms in San Francisco before coming to JCRC. During her time at UC, she was one of the key contributors in creating the inaugural UC National Public Service Law Conference. She has also worked with various non-profits and governmental institutions in the Bay Area. When she isn’t working, Elle can often be found hunting down good movies and music, and traveling as much as possible. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UC Davis and her Master of Public Affairs from University of San Francisco.
Jessica SterlingPublic Affairs and Civic Engagement, East Bay/Public Policy and Community Building Associate
Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, East Bay/Public Policy and Community Building Associate
Born and raised in California, Jessica 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.
Michael BeneschDevelopment Manager
Michael 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.
Carole-Anne ElliottGrants Manager and Writer
Grants Manager and Writer
Carole-Anne is originally from the Boston area and has made San Francisco her home since 1999. A former newspaper reporter and forever copy editor, she loves learning about people and writing profiles and feature stories. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and History from Allegheny College and a Master’s from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Carole-Anne has extensive volunteer experience in the education sector, having worked with kids at San Francisco’s Mission High, written and edited the newsletter of the San Francisco chapter of Room to Read and, most recently, served two years as an English Educator with the Peace Corps in Moldova. She is happy to be back home with friends and family and to be resuming her loves of running, dance, reading, going to music shows and singing on road trips to Sierra Nevada backpacking trails.
Aryeh FeinJewish Coalition for Literacy San Francisco Program and Administrative Manager
Jewish Coalition for Literacy San Francisco Program and Administrative Manager
Aryeh grew up in Southern California and graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a BA in Political Science and Psychology. During his undergrad, Aryeh worked for a tutoring company. After completing the DeLet – Day School Leadership through Teaching - program at Hebrew Union College of Los Angeles, he moved to the Bay Area where he taught in both Kindergarten and First Grade at the Wornick Day School in Foster City. Aryeh has also served as a camp counselor, religious school educator and youth group program coordinator leading workshops exploring teen topics. As San Francisco Program Coordinator for JCL, Aryeh is excited that his role combines his interests in education and building a vibrant Jewish community.
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.
Tanya AvrutinDirector of Finance and Administration
Director of Finance and Administration
Tanya Avrutin joined JCRC in January 2018. She brings many years of experience in public and nonprofit accounting. Previously she worked as the Finance Director at Episcopal Impact Fund and as the Accounting Manager for the Diocese of California. Before that she was the Controller of Presidio Golf Club. She moved from Ukraine to San Francisco with her family in 1989.
Elina SterkinaStaff Accountant
Elina Sterkina joined JCRC as its Staff Accountant in 2018.
Serena ZhenAdministrative and Development Associate
Administrative and Development Associate
Serena 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.