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The Wexner Foundation is a nonpartisan, interdenominational, pluralistic organization.
Leaders need to know what kind of leader they are. I would describe my leadership style as an “insurgent.” My mentality is “let’s go take that hill!”
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Leadership development for Jewish Communal Professionals in the field
Judith Belasco is the Executive Vice President at Hazon. In this role, she serves as the Chief Program Officer and oversees the growth and development of Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming and Environmental Education (JOFEE) through transformative experiences, thought-leadership, and capacity-building. She strengthens program delivery and operations across all of Hazon’s programs, and manages development, marketing and communications. She brings to the role extensive experience with staff development and training, new program expansion, and evaluation-based program improvements. Prior to joining Hazon in 2007, Judith was the Program Coordinator at Linking Food & the Environment (LiFE) at Teacher’s College, Columbia University and a Program Associate at the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System. Judith is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and graduated with a Masters of Science in Nutrition and Public Health from Columbia University and holds a Bachelors degree in Urban Studies from Vassar College. Judith lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY with her husband and two children.
Rabbi Scott Perlo is the Associate Director of the Bronfman Center at 92Y, and is a leader in the field of Jewish open outreach. Formerly a rabbi at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Moishe House, and the Professional Leader's Project, he's taught Torah to thousands of unaffiliated Jews, their partners, and those interested in Jewish life of any background.
A regular writer, Scott has been published in The Washington Post, The Forward, and The Huffington Post, among other publications.
A California native, he gets back to his beloved Pacific Ocean to surf and to dive whenever he can. He lives in New York with his partner, Yael, a Constitutional lawyer, and their son.
Josh Steinharter is the Founder and Executive Director of the JCC Maccabi Sports Camp, a Jewish overnight camp launched through the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Specialty Camp Incubator. The summer of 2018 marks the camp’s 5th anniversary and has impacted the lives of hundreds of Jewish children through its mission to build strong character and Jewish community through sports. Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Josh found comfort and connection through competitive sports and involvement in the Jewish community, including summers at URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute. Josh graduated from the University of Miami (FL) and spent a year abroad studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Prior to founding camp, Josh was the Athletic Program Manager at the JCC of San Francisco, overseeing the youth sports program and serving as the Delegation Head for the JCC Maccabi Games. He is the co-creator of the JCCSF Fellowship in Sports Leadership, a year-long program which teaches teens leadership skills through the lens of coaching youth sports and a proud member of the JCCA’s Merrin Fellowship for Teen Professionals, a program designed to develop leadership skills and enrich Jewish identity. Josh and his camp, are current participants in the Upstart Accelerator, a selective program for innovative new Jewish non-profit organizations. Josh was honored by the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California when he received the coveted Golden Bagel Award. Josh enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with his family. He and his wife Meghan live in San Francisco with their sons, Benjamin and Jackson.
Violetta Shmulenzon serves as the Chief Program Officer and Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Edith and Carl Marks JCH of Bensonhurst. A native New Yorker, her family is originally from Odessa, Ukraine. The JCH, a Jewish Community Center, located in south Brooklyn is home to thousands of Russian-speaking Jewish (RSJ) emigres and their families–resettling nearly 50,000 RSJ immigrants at the height of immigration in the 90’s and serving this community for the nearly three decades afterwards. Violetta rose from a counselor to a madricha and later director of camping and leadership development at the JCH, having the opportunity to develop multi-faceted initiatives to meet the evolving needs of the RSJ community of NY. Taking a few years away from the JCH, Violetta was the recipient of the Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship in International Jewish Service, on behalf of JDC, working overseas in Jewish renewal activities in Odessa, Ukraine and migrant issues in Jerusalem. Violetta also served as the Program Director for Overseas Experiences on the JDC Entwine team overseeing hundreds of college students and young professionals in learning about the global Jewish world. Violetta holds an MSW from Columbia University.
Elana is a results-oriented, values-driven leader with nearly 15 years of experience, four at the senior level. She is guided by the Jewish imperative of tikkun olam, to repair a broken world. Elana oversees all grant programs for the 10th largest foundation in Los Angeles, with assets of $1.25bil under management. In 2017 her team launched a $1mil capacity-building pilot, among the first of its scale for any Jewish community foundation in the US. She manages the vetting and distribution of the Foundation's grantmaking through Cutting Edge, Next Stage, Israel, General Community, and Capital Grants. She also guides donors in strategically designing their philanthropy for greater impact, and currently works with families who combined have charitable assets of over $300 million. Previously, she served as a public affairs consultant on a national telecommunications merger in Washington, D.C. She also served as assistant regional director for the Anti-Defamation League and as a fund development and strategic communications consultant for clients including a regional medical center and a national think tank. Elana graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor's degree in geography and received her master's degree in anthropology from the Universidad de las Americas as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar to Mexico. She serves on the Family Philanthropy Advisory Council of Southern California Grantmakers and as a panelist/moderator at nonprofit events. Elana is frequently quoted on philanthropic topics in the Jewish Journal, her articles have appeared in such publications as the Forward, and she was interviewed on Live Love Thrive. In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Wexner Field Fellowship, a three-year intensive leadership and professional development program for 15 emerging Jewish leaders in North America. She was born and resides in LA, having lived in the Bay Area, Washington, D.C., NYC, Brazil, Mexico and Spain.
Rabbi Jennifer Ossakow Goldsmith is the Managing Director of Congregational Learning and Leadership Initiatives at The Jewish Education Project in New York. Born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Jennifer received her BA from the University of Michigan and rabbinic ordination and MA in Religious Education from HUC-JIR. Jennifer’s ongoing study of leadership theory drives her commitment to helping Jewish leaders harness their resources to create meaningful change. Prior to her time at The Jewish Education Project, Jennifer worked as the Director of Life-Long Learning at Larchmont Temple helping engage families at every age and stage of their Jewish journeys. Her current work concentrates on fostering and spreading educational innovation that helps learners thrive through consulting, grant initiatives, online resources, professional networks, and leadership development. She facilitates workshops and seminars on innovation in part-time Jewish education and leadership across the country. Jennifer lives in New Rochelle, NY with her husband, Rabbi Howard Goldsmith, and their two children Lev and Talia.
Julia Malkin Reger is the Director of Development and Expansion at OneTable, overseeing the financial resource development and geographic expansion of the organization. Julia has spent over ten years working in Jewish communities across the country. She came to OneTable from Jewish Federations of North America, where she spent time in both the Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence and the National Young Leadership department working with lay leaders and professionals involved in the over 150 local Jewish Federations. Previous roles include positions at the Jewish Federations of the East Bay (Oakland, CA) and Greater Los Angeles, Progressive Jewish Alliance (now Bend the Arc), and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. A San Francisco native, Julia received a Masters in Jewish Nonprofit Management from the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management at Hebrew Union College and a Masters in Public Administration from University of Southern California (BA from Colby College). Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, baking, and volunteering and running endurance races with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program.
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg currently serves as Rabbi-in-Residence at Avodah, where she strives to expand the Jewish community's understanding of how to most effectively work for social and economic justice. She is the author of Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting, which was a National Jewish Book Award finalist and PJ Library Parents' Choice, and Surprised By God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion, nominated for the 2010 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish literature, and five other books on Judaism on and sex, feminism, and ethics. She has been named by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of ten “rabbis to watch,” and by the Forward as one of the top 50 most influential women rabbis. She has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, and The Atlantic. Before her ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University in Los Angeles, she received her B.A. in Religious Studies from Brown University and worked in San Francisco as a freelance writer. She has also served as Senior Jewish Educator at Tufts Hillel, Campus Rabbi at Northwestern Hillel, and Director of Education at Ask Big Questions. She lives in the Chicago area with her family.
Beth Young is the Director of Education at Temple Judea in Coral Gables, FL, working to provide engaging educational opportunities for learners from infants to adults. She is particularly interested in cultivating rich affective experiences that lead learners to continued positive Jewish involvement. A product of the Reform movement’s summer camps, Beth works closely with URJ Camp Coleman. Beth holds a Masters in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, CA and a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks College. She completed her undergraduate studies in political science at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. In 2004 she received the title of Reform Jewish Educator and in 2017 completed the Senior Educators Cohort through m2: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education. Beth serves on the national board of the Association of Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE), planned the South Florida Day of Learning in 2016 and co-chaired the national conference in 2011. In February of 2016, Beth was recognized with the Distinguished Educator’s Award by ARJE. Beth is married to Rabbi Danny Young and they are proud parents to twin girls.