Jeremy Ben-Ami, President. Jeremy Ben-Ami is the founder and President of J Street, bringing to the role both deep experience in American politics and government and a passionate commitment to the state of Israel. Ben-Ami’s family connection to Israel goes back 130 years to the first aliyah when his great-grandparents were among the first settlers in Petah Tikva. His grandparents were one of the founding families of Tel Aviv, and his father was an activist and leader in the Irgun, working for Israel’s independence and on the rescue of European Jews before and during World War II.
His political resume includes serving in the mid-1990s as the Deputy Domestic Policy Advisor in the White House to President Bill Clinton and working on seven Presidential and numerous state and local campaigns. He was Howard Dean’s National Policy Director in 2004 and helped manage a Mayoral campaign in New York City in 2001. For nearly three years in the late 90s, Jeremy lived in Israel, where he started a consulting firm working with Israeli non-profit organizations and politicians. He was chosen by America’s weekly Jewish newspaper, the Forward, for three years as part of the Forward 50, their compilation of the most influential Jewish Americans. He was one of 50 “People of the Decade” selected by Ha’aretz, the influential Israeli daily newspaper, and the Jerusalem Post included him in its list of the 50 Most Influential Jews in the world. Ben-Ami received a law degree from New York University and is a graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Relations at Princeton University. Contact Jeremy
Alan Elsner, Special Advisor to the President. Alan Elsner has had a long career at the top ranks of American and international journalism prior to joining J Street. As State Department and later White House correspondent for Reuters News Agency, Elsner traveled the world with Secretaries of State and was on first name terms with presidents and vice presidents. His sharp questioning during the Rwanda genocide forced the United States to change its policy and was later highlighted in the Hollywood movie “Hotel Rwanda.” As Reuters National Correspondent, Elsner was the agency’s chief writer on 9/11/2001 and his byline was featured on the agency’s stories that day and through the subsequent period. Elsner is the author of two novels and two works of non-fiction. His first book, “Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America’s Prisons,” was hailed by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy as a “wake-up call” and welcomed by the political left and right. Elsner later testified to governmental and independent commissions on prison reform. His first novel, “The Nazi Hunter,” was described by Publishers’ Weekly as "a gripping debut thriller and a compelling tale." Winner of the Knight International Journalism fellowship, Elsner spent a year in Romania in 2007 teaching journalism to students and professionals and strengthening the values of a free media. Contact Alan
Josh Friedes, Director of Rabbinic and Synagogue Engagement. After two years of directing the J Street’s advocacy staff in the field, Josh has been tapped to engage rabbis and congregants in J Street’s advocacy efforts. Josh has over 20 years of experience as an organizer and strategist. After a stint in the Peace Corps, Josh got his law degree from the University of Colorado and then went to work for Common Cause Massachusetts, serving as its Executive Director. From there Josh worked for the AARP leaving that organization in 2000 to become the senior staff person at the Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts. Josh helped found, and for nearly a decade advised the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry, an association of 1,000 ordained clergy in Massachusetts. Josh spent the next 12 years of his life advocating successfully for marriage equality, first in Massachusetts and then in Washington State where he became the Executive Director of Equal Rights Washington. In 2009 Josh served as the campaign manager of the Approve 71 campaign, the first successful campaign to secure comprehensive legal protection of LGBT families through the ballot. Josh lives in Seattle and attends Kol HaNeshamah. Contact Josh
Daniel Kalik, Chief of Staff. Kalik oversees the day-to-day operations and coordination across J Street's departments. Previously, Kalik served at the J Street's National Political Director building out all of the orginaztions' political activities including JStreetPAC, the largest pro-Israel PAC in the United States. Kalik’s political career began at an early age as he grew up in the ‘first in the nation’ primary state of New Hampshire where he was lucky enough to meet every presidential candidate who ran for office in the 80s and 90s. In 2003-4, Kalik worked in Vermont at the national headquarters of Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. Kalik holds a law degree from The George Washington University, is a member of the Massachusetts Bar and has a degree in Economics from Tufts University. Contact Daniel
Rachel A. Lerner, Senior Vice President for Community Relations. Rachel joins J Street after working for the Jewish community for close to ten years. Most recently, she was Director of Strategic Community Planning Initiatives at the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto. Prior to that, Rachel was Director of the Israel Advocacy Initiative at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs in New York. Rachel graduated with a BA in Literature from SUNY Binghamton and a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, where she focused her studies on the role of religion in public life. Rachel has been deeply passionate about Israel and social and political justice since she can remember. She spent her freshman undergraduate year in Israel at Bar Ilan University, a summer at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, and countless trips traveling the country. Rachel is a native New Yorker. She lives in Washington, DC. Contact Rachel
Nan MacNamara, Vice President of Finance and Administration. Nan comes to J Street having spent more than 20 years in non-profit financial management. As a CPA, Nan spent six years in public accounting with a large regional firm in Maryland, specializing in governments and not-for-profit organizations, followed by 15 years as the Director of Finance with Interfaith Housing Alliance, Inc, a non-profit organization based in Frederick, Maryland. A native of Pittsburgh, Nan is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and has degrees in both Accounting and English. She has served for six years as the treasurer of Advocates for Homeless Families, Inc., in Frederick and has also served on the Corporate Development Committee for the Presidential Leadership Scholarship Fund at Hood College. She is a past member of the Non Profit Committee of the Maryland Association of CPAs. She currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Contact Nan
Yael Patir, Israel Director. Yael joined J Street in 2012 following six years at the Shimon Peres Center for Peace where she served as Director of the Civil Leadership Department. In that capacity, she oversaw cross-border peace-building programs that engaged a wide range of civil society figures, including Palestinian and Israeli young political leaders. Yael helped establish the Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum, a network of some 100 Palestinian and Israeli peace and dialogue organizations, and has served as the Israeli Director since the Forum’s inception in January 2006. Yael graduated from Tel Aviv University’s School of Social Sciences where she also worked as a teaching assistant and a research assistant in the Political Science Faculty. Yael is a certified mediator and a group facilitator specializing in dialogue between groups in conflict. In the spring of 2011, Yael joined the International Center for the Study of Radicalization in King’s College London as an Atkin Research Fellow. Yael was born, raised, and is currently based in Tel Aviv, Israel. Contact Yael
Jessica Rosenblum, Vice President of Communications. Jessica comes to J Street from Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications, where, as a vice-president, she worked to raise the profile of a number highly successful advocacy campaigns including the Great Schlep and the campaign by retired senior military leaders to end US-sanctioned torture. There she also worked to establish and grow J Street’s presence from its inception in 2008. Prior to joining Rabinowitz/Dorf, Rosenblum was the Director of Media and Communications for Brit Tzedek v’Shalom–then the largest American Jewish grassroots peace movement. An accomplished media trainer, she pioneered the organization’s highly effective media training strategy–now a model for other emerging grassroots movements–to integrate the communications and media goals of both the national organization and its local chapters. Rosenblum also has served as a communications consultant for a various non-profit organizations and political campaigns, including then-State Senator Barack Obama’s first run for the United States Congress. Contact Jessica
Ben Shnider, National Political Director. Ben Shnider began his career in politics as a field organizer for President Obama's 2008 campaign. He went on to manage Delegate Saqib Ali's campaign for Maryland state Senate in 2010 and worked at J Street as PAC Manager during the 2014 election cycle before launching Bend the Arc Jewish Action's PAC in 2015. As National Political Director he oversees JStreetPAC, the largest pro-Israel PAC in the country, and J Street's polling and candidate outreach. Ben lives in Rockville, MD. He received his bachelors degree in political science from Emory University and is currently enrolled in University of Maryland's Executive Master in Public Management program.
Sarah Turbow, Director, J Street U. Sarah has previously served as the DC Metro & South Campus Organizer for J Street U, and the Executive Assistant to Jeremy Ben-Ami. She joins J Street after graduating from Yale University with a BA in Political Science. In college, Sarah was the President of the Yale College Democrats, helped found the J Street U chapter on campus and worked to increase conversation about Israel among Jewish students. In 2007 she traveled to the region for the first time with the Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace internship program, and she returned there in 2009 to conduct senior research on integrated education in Northern Ireland and Israel. Sarah recently returned to her hometown of Brooklyn, New York. Contact Sarah
Dylan J. Williams, Vice President of Government Affairs. Dylan joins J Street after serving as Counsel for Foreign Relations, Trade and Immigration to US Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Dylan brings more than 15 years of experience advising US government officials and private clients on international affairs and law. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Dylan is a member of the New York Bar and holds a law degree and Bachelors in Government from Cornell University. Contact Dylan
Kevin Rachlin, Deputy Chief of Staff. Kevin joined J Street in 2010, previously serving as the Deputy Director of Government Affairs. Prior to this, Kevin worked as the Legislative Assistant for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago’s Washington Office, where he worked on a number of Federation priorities, including US-Israeli relations, Iran, combating global anti-Semitism, and healthcare reform. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Kevin received his Bachelor's degrees in Political Science and International Studies from The Ohio State University and his masters in Global Medical Policy from George Mason University. Kevin currently lives in Arlington, VA with his wife, Jennifer. Contact Kevin
Communications and Digital
Logan Bayroff, Senior Communications Associate. Logan joins J Street after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in History. After founding Penn's J Street U chapter, he served as President of the J Street U National Board for 2011-2012. During the 2012-2013 year he served as National Communications Co-chair for J Street U. He has interned with the Fellows Program at the New America Foundation, and with the communications team on Bill de Blasio's 2013 New York City mayoral campaign. Contact Logan
Nir Oz-Ari, Digital Associate. Nir joined J Street in 2015. Prior to this, he was working in Israel for the communications department in the Prime Minister's Office, where he worked on issues related to conflict. During his service in the IDF as a medic in the West Bank, Nir treated dozens of Israeli civilians, soldiers and Palestinians. He witnessed the enormous toll the occupation takes on Israeli and Palestinian societies and has a deep notion that the conflict's continuation endangers Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state. Nir received his Bachelor’s degree in History and International Relations from the Open University in Jerusalem. Nir currently lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Maayan. Contact Nir
Melanie Fineman, Digital Assistant. Melanie joins J Street after a range of experiences in the progressive political and Jewish communities. She most recently worked as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the RAC). Melanie holds a BA in History from Brown University, where she was a four-year varsity cross country/track and field runner and started Brown RISD Hillel's Jewish Athletes Group. When she's not on Twitter, Melanie can be found running, biking or drinking coffee. Melanie is a native of Newton, Massachusetts and lives in Washington, DC. Contact Melanie.
Government & Political Affairs
Jackie Blank, Government Affairs Associate. Jackie joins J Street after working as a Community Liaison for Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) where she handled community issues in the Upper West Side and Lower Manhattan. Jackie graduated from Colgate University with a BA in Religion and Middle Eastern and Islamic Civilization Studies and earned her MSc in International Relations from the University of Glasgow. A New Jersey native, Jackie currently resides in Washington, DC. Contact Jackie.
Davis Bates, Government Affairs Associate. Davis joins J Street with over 3 years of federal campaign and legislative experience. Graduating from the College of Wooster with a BA in International Relations, Davis went on to play an important role in Rep. Ben Chandler’s (KY-06) close re-election in 2010. After starting as Executive Assistant on Rep. Chandler’s DC staff, Davis was named to the dual role of Legislative Correspondent and Press Assistant, where he was responsible for the Congressman’s constituent correspondence apparatus and legislative research. During his time on the Hill, Davis assisted Rep. Chandler and his staff on his Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committee work in the 112th Congress, and was named a Truman National Security Scholar in 2012. At Wooster, Davis was a 4 year collegiate athlete and wrote an extensive thesis where he analyzed why parts of the Arab-Israeli conflict stalled while others endured. A native of Frankfort, KY, Davis now resides in Washington, DC. Contact Davis
Ilya Braverman, PAC Manager. Ilya joined J Street in 2013, previously serving as Development Associate. Prior to this, Ilya spent almost two years working in development at the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. After receiving his BA in History and Religious Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2010, Ilya went on to complete his MA in History at Kent State University. As a graduate student, Ilya’s work focused on the rise of extreme right-wing groups and fascist ideology in Weimar Germany. While at Kent State University, Ilya spent a month in Berlin, Germany studying German and conducting primary source research at the Federal Archives. Born in Russia, and raised in Israel and Wisconsin, Ilya now resides in Washington, DC. Contact Ilya
Ben Sheridan, Political Associate. Before joining J Street's Political team, Ben Sheridan was an intern on FleishmanHillard DC’s public affairs team. At FH, Ben supported consumer products, professional sports, domestic energy, transportation, technology, public health and foreign government clients to help build and protect their Capitol Hill and CSR identities through strategic message development, international policy, and issues monitoring and stakeholder engagement. In 2014, Ben worked for the New York State Democratic Party on Domenic Recchia’s field team in Staten Island. Prior to the Recchia campaign, Ben lived in Moore, Oklahoma, managing volunteers on disaster recovery sites with the Jewish Disaster Response Corps. Ben’s diverse experience include roles in political communications and strategy, advocacy, fundraising, virtual diplomacy and non-profit development. He brings first-hand knowledge of the Jewish communal world, having spent time working with AJC, Encounter, Birthright, Hillel, MASA and JFNA. Ben graduated with honors from Binghamton University and studied political science and international affairs. Before Binghamton, Ben studied Hebrew, Arabic, Jewish Diaspora studies and Middle East political history on Kivunim in Jerusalem. After work you can find him watching New York professional sports teams, teaching at Hebrew School or trying a DC food truck.
J Street Education Fund
Sarah Beller, Director of Education and Programs. Sarah joins J Street after earning her Masters degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University. Previously, she taught in public schools and directed the Music and Literary Festivals at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, after graduating from Harvard University with a degree in Social Anthropology. Trained in experiential education, facilitation, evaluation, and trauma response, Sarah has conducted research for Encounter and designed a training program for the Jewish Dialogue Group. A recipient of the US Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship, Sarah studied Arabic in Cairo, Egypt and has traveled throughout Israel and the West Bank. Ever since growing up in New Haven, CT, Sarah has been deeply involved in Jewish communities across the religious spectrum. She lives in Washington, DC. Contact Sarah
Madeleine Cereghino, Programming Associate and Congressional Liaison. Madeleine comes to J Street from the lobbying firm Peck Madigan Jones, where she worked as an assistant for two years. In this capacity she planned and staffed the firm’s events for members of Congress. She also planned and prepared clients for meetings with Congress, tracked legislation, and covered Congressional hearings for the firm. Prior to joining Peck Madigan Jones, Madeleine worked as a paralegal, handling complex litigation and settlements for the law firm Steptoe and Johnson. Madeleine is a graduate of Whittier College, with a degree in Political Science and French. During undergrad, Madeleine got her start planning events for the student body as a member of the college’s Programming Board. Madeleine is native of the San Francisco Bay Area and currently lives in Washington, D.C. Contact Madeleine
Ben Elkind, New England Campus Organizer. Ben joins J Street after two years of organizing with the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation. Prior to his work there, Ben attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where he co-founded a J Street U chapter and later served on J Street U's national student board. Ben spent the summer before his senior year in Jerusalem, working for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and participating in J Street U's first "Engage with Israel" summer trip. At UNC, he studied philosophy and cultural studies, and wrote a thesis about leftist activism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ben is from Washington, DC, and now lives in Cambridge, MA. Contact Ben
Elyssa Feder, Senior Southeast Campus Organizer, Director of J Street U Israel Programs. Elyssa joins J Street after completing an organizing fellowship with the Obama campaign in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She holds an MSc in Comparative Politics and Conflict Studies from the London School of Economics and a B.A. in International Affairs and Women’s Studies from George Washington University. Elyssa's interest in gender in ethnonational conflict led her to internships with the Women’s Foreign Policy Group and the National Endowment for Democracy. She also has experience working on Capitol Hill for Senator Frank Lautenberg. Born and raised in New Jersey, Elyssa currently lives in Washington, DC. Contact Elyssa
Emily Koppel, Office Manager. Emily joins J Street after working as a Field Organizer on President Obama’s reelection campaign in Clermont County, Ohio. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in Political Science and minored in Middle Eastern Studies. While there, Emily was an active member of Cal Berkeley Democrats, serving as Events Director her senior year. At Berkeley, she was also involved in Kesher Enoshi: Progressives for Activism in Israel and served as the campaign manager on a student body Senate race. Emily’s involvement with J Street extends back to 2010, when she interned at New American Foundation’s Middle East Task Force through J Street U’s inaugural Congressional Internship Program. In 2011, Emily was fortunate enough to be part of J Street U’s first trip to Israel and the West Bank. A Southern California native, Emily now lives in Washington D.C. Contact Emily
Katelyn McNelis, Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff. Katelyn joins J Street after graduating from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, where she majored in Middle Eastern Studies and minored in Jewish Civilization. Katelyn served as co-president for J Street U Georgetown and the South East Communications co-chair for J Street U. During the summers of 2014 and 2015, she volunteered at Project Harmony Israel, an integrated Arab-Jewish summer camp in Jerusalem affiliated with Hand in Hand schools. Previously, she has interned for the J Street Education Fund and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Contact Katelyn
Jacob Plitman, Deputy Director, J Street U. Jacob joins J Street U after a year spent as the President of J Street U's National Student Board and as a full-time Organizing Fellow for Define American. With Define American, Jacob helped to coordinate a media and political strategy centered around the organization's film, Documented. On the day of its CNN release, the plan paid off; the film's hashtag trended nationally on Twitter. At school, Jacob spent much of his time organizing various Progressive initiatives, including a student body president race that garnered press attention from the New York Times, Huffington Post, and elsewhere. Jacob spent a gap year after high school on Young Judaea's Year Course program and has spent several months there in other capacities as well. He holds a BA in Peace, War, and Defense from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and kinda speaks Hebrew.Contact Jacob
Courtney Rohrbach, Associate Director for National Events. Courtney joins J Street with over ten years of development and event experience. Most recently with the Alzheimer’s Association, Courtney has a diverse background in the arts, Jewish community and health care. A native of Chicago, Courtney spent four years at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago specializing in event production, branding and marketing. Prior to that, Courtney worked with corporate and individual giving development at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. As a teen and through her college years, Courtney worked at Camp Chi starting as a camper and working through the ranks to Program Director. A graduate of University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, Courtney is a native Chicagoan that has recently relocated to Washington, DC. Contact Courtney
Alyson Samach, Programming Assistant. Alyson joins J Street after graduating from the University of Florida with a BA in Economics and Political Science. In her final semester at UF, she co-founded a J Street U chapter and conducted research on the effects of petroleum production on interstate conflict in the Middle East. After college, she moved to Washington, DC to intern with her member of Congress and became involved with Lean In DC as a programming coordinator. Previously, she interned with Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC through the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism's Machon Kaplan program. Contact Alyson
Adina Vogel-Ayalon, J Street Israel Deputy Director. Adina joined J Street after working at the Shimon Peres Center for Peace in the Development and External Relations Department, where she gained extensive experience in developing and initiating Israeli-Palestinian people-to-people, peacebuilding programs in a variety of sectors, including peace education, healthcare, business, and environment. Adina is a graduate of Boston University with a Bachelor's degree in International Relations. During undergrad, Adina served as the Vice President and President of the Palestinian-Israeli Peace Alliance, a pivotal experience that led her to pursue a career in the promotion of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Since making Aliyah in 2009, Adina has completed a Master's in Conflict Resolution and Mediation at Tel Aviv University, and worked and volunteered for several Israeli peacebuilding non-profits, including the Arab-Jewish Community Center, the Citizens' Accord Forum between Jews and Arabs in Israel, and OneVoice Israel. In addition to her involvement in the Israeli peace industry, Adina, the daughter of a cantor and product of Jewish day schools and camps, feels deeply connected to the American Jewish community. Adina grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and currently lives on Kibbutz Givat Brenner in Israel. Contact Adina.
Rabbi Alison Abrams, Midwest Regional Director. Alison joins J Street after working at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs in Chicago as the Director of Organizing. Prior to that, she served as Assistant Rabbi at Temple Chai in Long Grove, IL. During her time in rabbinical school, Alison trained as a community organizer on economic justice issues and became the Director of Faith Community Outreach for Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. Alison decided early on she wanted to be a rabbi and weave together her commitment to Jewish life and her passion for creating meaningful change in the world. She has been a member of the Rabbinic Cabinet of J Street for several years and is excited to continue her work in the pro-Israel, pro-peace community. Alison was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and received her B.A. at Smith College. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two children. Contact Alison
Timna Axel, Midwest Field Organizer. Timna graduated from Northwestern University in 2012 with undergraduate degrees in Journalism and History. She was born in Israel and spent her early childhood on kibbutz, and later spent many summers participating in the Habonim Dror progressive labor Zionist youth movement. In college she spent 10 months on an NIF fellowship working with various progressive NGOs in Tel Aviv and Akko. She joins J Street after several years of organizing for J Street U in college and doing elections work for J Street during the 2012 congressional cycle. Timna lives in Chicago, Illinois. Contact Timna
Sam Berkman, Deputy Regional Director, Midwest. Sam joined J Street in 2011, previously serving as the Assistant Director of Government Affairs. Prior to this, Sam gained experience with both the Assistant Majority Leader of the Senate and the Senate Committee on Appropriations. He also served as a Team Leader in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, where he worked directly with FEMA and led a disaster response team in Tennessee in 2010. Sam holds a Master of Public Administration degree from The George Washington University and a bachelor's degree in writing and sociology from Northland College. Sam currently resides in the Chicagoland area. Contact Sam
Amos Buhai, Deputy National Political Director and Southwest Regional Director. Amos joins J Street with a strong and varied background in the political, public and private sectors. Amos has served as a field organizer for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign in Wisconsin, worked as a Field/GOTV Director and Legislative Director for New York City Council Member Jessica Lappin, and he managed Steve Warnstadt’s successful 2006 campaign for the Iowa State Senate. Amos honed his fundraising and communication skills during Obama’s primary campaign for president, serving as a high-donor fundraiser and the New York State Director for DraftObama, a grassroots organization promoting an Obama presidential candidacy. Amos was the Director of Business Development for the LA-based start up Saysme.tv, which created an online platform for self-serve TV ad placements. He most recently worked as a consultant for the Personal Democracy Forum, an organization that studies how technology is changing politics, government, and civic engagement. He holds a BA in History from The George Washington University, and is a fifth-generation Los Angeles native and a staunch supporter of the LA Clippers. Contact Amos
Rachel Eisner, Northwest Regional Director. Rachel joined J Street in 2010, with 15 years of experience in community outreach, leadership development and fundraising in the Bay Area and New York Jewish communities. She previously served as the Director of Development for the 14th Street Y in New York City, a vibrant JCC. She also served in senior development roles at flagship PBS station Thirteen/WNET, and at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. In the late 1990s she devoted several years to expanding the San Francisco chapter of the New Israel Fund. Rachel holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration on the modern Middle East from U.C. Berkeley, which included a year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is a certified mediator. A Manhattan native, Rachel lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and 3 children. Contact Rachel
Yael Maizel, Southwest Field Director. Yael joins J Street after five years in Israel where she worked with a number of social justice and human rights organizations. Most recently she served as the Senior Development Associate at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). As a recipient of the Shatil Social Justice Fellowship in Israel, Yael worked at YEDID,The Association for Community Empowerment, where she coordinated several grassroots organizing projects for YEDID’s Haifa Center. Yael has extensive experience in progressive Israel advocacy, through her involvement with organizations such as UPZ, Brit Tzedek V’Shalom, Shatil and ACRI. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.A. in the same field from Tel Aviv University. Contact Yael
Gal Peleg Laniado, Deputy Regional Director, New York and Southern Connecticut. Gal has joined J Street with over a decade of nonprofit expertise from his extensive work in conflict resolution, leadership development, and community outreach and empowerment in both Israel and the United States. Most recently, Gal served simultaneously as the Central Shaliach of Hashomer Hatzair Youth Movement in North America, as well as the Israel Representative for the Givat Haviva Educational Foundation in the United States. Hashomer Hatzair is a progressive Zionist youth movement that specializes in youth-led experiential Jewish Education, and Givat Haviva is the authority on and birthplace of Shared Society in Israel. Previously in Israel, Gal held the position of International Development Manager for Mifalot, an Israeli nonprofit that aims to create social change through educational projects targeting young people. Gal was also the Director of the Sports Department at the Peres Center for Peace in Israel, which promotes regional and national peacebuilding efforts. Gal holds an MA in Conflict Resolution and Mediation from the Tel Aviv University, and a BA with honors in Communications and International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is also a graduate of the Columbia Business School’s Senior Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals. Born on Kibbutz Sdot-Yam, Gal now lives in New York City with his husband Moshe.
Rebecca Polivy, Deputy Regional Director of Development, Southwest Region. Rebecca has spent the last decade working in non-profit organizations dedicated to addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including seven years working on the ground in Jerusalem. Rebecca joins J Street after 6 years at Encounter where she led hundreds of Jewish leaders to Palestinian areas of the West Bank and facilitated difficult intra-communal conversations on Israel and the conflict. Prior to Encounter she held positions at The Abraham Fund Initiatives, Search for Common Ground, Breaking the Silence and Ultimate Peace. In these positions she contributed to the design and implementation of a number of programs that emphasized sports, social entrepreneurship, print and television media, as well as face to face interactions as tools for transforming conflict. Out of a passion for the game, and recognition of its unique contribution to the field of peace building, Rebecca helped establish the sport of Ultimate Frisbee in Israel and the West Bank by forming and leading a group of volunteer trainers and coaching youth teams herself. Rebecca was a PresenTense Fellow in 2009, holds an MA in Conflict Transformation and Intercultural Organizational Leadership from the School for International Training in Vermont, and a BA in Comparative Religion and Economics from the University of Rochester.
Kate Press, Deputy Director of Regional Operations and Strategy. Kate comes to J Street from the world of international development. Prior to joining the organization, Kate worked in Freetown Sierra Leone on a World Bank funded project and for the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada. Kate first joined J street in August 2009 as the first campus organizer for J Street U. Following that and prior to this position Kate served as J Street's New York Regional Director for over 5 years. Kate is a proud Zionist who has lived in Israel and traveled both Israel and the West Bank extensively. Born in Toronto, Canada, Kate now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son. Contact Kate
Jodie Rubenstein, Capitol Region Regional Director. Jodie joins J Street after working as a children’s therapist for witnesses and survivors of domestic violence at Sanctuary for Families in New York. Born and raised in the DC Metro area, Jodie received a BA in Psychology from Wesleyan University. In the summer of 2008, Jodie worked as an intern at Health Unlimited Peru in Lima, providing sexual health education to indigenous women and girls in the Andes region of Peru. Jodie received a Masters degree from Columbia University School of Social Work in 2011, specializing in contemporary social issues and trauma-focused treatment for children. After completing her Masters degree, Jodie spent five months living in South Tel Aviv and working with the African Refugee Development Center at a shelter for single mothers and pregnant women from Eritrea and Sudan. Since returning to the states in 2012, Jodie has led several Birthright trips and worked to create meaningful conversations about the future of a democratic state in Israel, most recently as the co-chair of the J Street Young Professionals Network in New York. Jodie is from Alexandria, VA and lives in Washington D.C. Contact Jodie
Skyler Scoggan, Mountain West Regional Lead Organizer. Skyler joins J Street after completing basic training with the IDF and working for TAM-C Solutions, a private intelligence company in Jerusalem. He has a degree in International Relations and Sports Management from Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL and studied abroad in Geneva, Switzerland. He also partook in the University of Virginia's Semester at Sea program which visited and studied 14 countries in four months while circumnavigating the globe. Upon completing his undergraduate education, he went to work as an international observer and report writer for the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL), a Phnom Penh-based NGO that monitored the not-so-free and fair 2013 national elections. After his time in Israel in 2014 and early 2015, he returned with a new zeal to work for an organization that would proactively secure Israel's just future alongside a sovereign Palestinian state. He aims to make Aliyah eventually and sees J Street's work as directly connected to his future. Skyler is a native of Park CIty, UT and is thus an avid skier, runner, hiker and pick up basketball player. His four rescue dogs accompany him on the running and hiking.
Dan Siegel, Deputy Regional Director, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.Dan Siegel comes to J Street from the world of electoral politics and advocacy. Dan got his start in field work in 2010 when he served as first a field organizer for Connecticut Gubernatorial Candidate Ned Lamont, and later a Regional Field Director for now Senator Chris Coons. In 2011, Dan joined the Obama Reelection Campaign in served as Regional Field Director. Dan devised and implemented strategy for the Philadelphia suburbs, which Politico described as “the nation’s bellwether” and earned him a spot on PoliticsPa’s “30 under 30” list. In addition, he served as the Jewish Outreach Director for Southeastern Pennsylvania, organizing dozens of events across the region. Since then, Dan has managed or consulted for over a dozen races, including citywide races in Philadelphia, legislative seats in New Jersey, Senate races in Pennsylvania and Assembly seats in New York. Dan holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Rochester, and is a Fellow of the New Leaders Council – Philadelphia. A native Philadelphian, Dan currently resides in South Philly.
Shaina Wasserman, New England Regional Director. Shaina Wasserman came to J Street from the world of Jewish education. Most recently, Shaina was the Project Manager for Congregational Learning at The Jewish Education Project (formerly the BJE) in New York. She oversaw the organizational change process for over 50 congregations. Previously, Shaina served as an Education Director and Community Organizer at Congregation Beth Am in Northern California, worked the Progressive Jewish Alliance, and at the Jewish Federation in Chicago. She has professional and volunteer experience in faith based community organizing, Israel advocacy, and fundraising. Shaina wrote a curriculum for teens and adults entitled: My Israel: A Non-Traditional Approach to Israel Advocacy. She holds a Joint Masters Degree in Jewish Non-Profit Management and Jewish Education and from HUC-JIR in Los Angeles. She received her B.A. in History and in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. Shaina grew up in Habonim Dror and has been a long time supporter of a two-state solution. A.D. Gordon is her favorite early Zionist thinker. Contact Shaina
Alex Willick, Northwest Regional Field Director. Alex is a recent graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City and holds a master’s degree in Jewish Experiential Education with a focus in Israel education and Jewish communal leadership. Prior to JTS, he attended Colgate University where he studied music and philosophy, both of which continue to be passionate areas of study. Over the past few years, Alex has lived in Israel as an Otzma fellow as well as a participant of the Kesher Hadash program under the advisement of Dr. Alex Sinclair. By joining J Street, he is truly fulfilling his dream of working toward a more just, more peaceful State of Israel. Alex lives in Oakland, California. Contact Alex
Mendel Zecher, Field Assistant. Mendel joins J Street after spending the last year working in local New York City politics. As a member of the field teams for both Julie Menin and David Menegon’s campaigns, Mendel worked to educate voters and encourage voter turnout. Mendel graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.A. in Political Science and Finance, where he was extremely involved in the Student Government and the Jewish community at large. A New Jersey native, he currently resides in Manhattan. Contact Mendel
Zach Cooperstein, Development Assistant. Zach comes to J Street after over a year and a half of consulting with campaigns and non-profits. Hailing from New Jersey, and currently residing in Silver Spring, Zach has managed field programs, developed organizational strategy and organized communities all in the effort of promoting progressive politics. He graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2014 earning a B.A. in Government & Politics, specifically focusing on international relations and political philosophy. After working on domestic issues for the past year and a half, Zach is glad to be working on an international issue which he fervently cares about.Contact Zach
Shira Barchilon Frank, Deputy Director of Development and Mountain West Regional Director. Shira brings over a decade of work in women’s philanthropy and Jewish non-profit fundraising with her to J Street. In 2000, Shira began her involvement with women’s philanthropy in San Francisco at the Women’s Foundation of California. Shira then worked for the Women and Financial Independence Center in Northampton, MA, developing new initiatives in young women’s entrepreneurship and leadership, and directing the launch of SmiThrift, a philanthropic retail business. While living in Israel, Shira partnered with the municipality of B’nei Brak, seeking international foundation support for the Women’s Health and Information Center serving urban ultra-orthodox communities throughout Israel. Immediately prior to joining J Street, Shira worked as the Associate Director of Institutional Advancement for the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital, successfully transitioning the school from event-based fundraising to a donor-centered campaign model. Shira has been an active member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Outreach and Engagement Committee as well as the Stuart S. Kurlander Program for Gay and Lesbian Outreach and Engagement. Shira holds a Bachelors degree in Government from Smith College. She hails from the Redwood Coast of Arcata, CA and after spending eight years out east in our nation's capital she recently found her heart back in the wild west where she is currently living with her fiance and adopted niece in Salt Lake City, UT. Contact Shira
Kyle Fradkin, Northwest Regional Political and Community Associate. Kyle is a recent graduate of Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles and prior attended the University of California, Davis where he received a B.A. in Political Science with an emphasis in Comparative Politics. Kyle’s passion for politics, the Jewish Community, and Israel comes from spending his formative years engaging in social justice action through NFTY and at his home congregation, where he served as president of his temple youth group and sat on the temple’s board of directors. He is also a veteran of political campaign work, including most recently as a member of the field team for Julia Brownley for Congress in 2012. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Kyle now lives in the East Bay.Contact Kyle
Ilissa Gold, Southwest Assistant Finance Director. Ilissa rejoins J Street after previously interning for J Street in the summer of 2010. That year, she also assisted in launching J Street Nashville in her hometown. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2011, Ilissa has been involved in a wide variety of progressive and Jewish causes. She is the president and founder of the Miracle Mile Democratic Club, one of the most active Democratic clubs in Los Angeles. She was also a Jeremiah Fellow with Bend the Arc Southern California in 2014, and serves on the board of the Jewish Women's Conference of Southern California and the Advocacy Training Project of National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles. Ilissa received her B.A. in Government from Cornell University and her J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. Contact Ilissa
Barbara Lahav, Pacific Northwest Finance Director. Barbara joins J Street with over two decades of political activism in pursuit of Middle East peace. Barbara is a founding member of the interfaith group Find Common Ground. A graduate of Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, Barbara lived in Israel for more than 16 years, working in design for the Israel Museum as well as administration for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Before moving back to the Seattle, Barbara was the managing editor of the local Jerusalem newspaper Kol Ha’Ir. In the Seattle area, Barbara worked for the Jewish Federation and for ten years as the program director for the largest Conservative congregation in the area. For the past eight years, Barbara worked as an administrator and consultant for a variety of non-profit organizations. Barbara now lives on Mercer Island with her husband Eli, a native of Tel Aviv. Contact Barbara
Alon Mazor, Associate Director of Development Operations. Alon has worked at J Street for over 2 years. He comes straight after receiving his undergraduate degree in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley. While at Berkeley, Alon was heavily involved in J Street U, serving on the national student board as the West Coast Representative in 2010-11. He also helped found the J Street U chapter at Berkeley in the Fall of 2011. Alon was a leader in interfaith work on campus and developed bridges between the progressive community and the Jewish community. He intends to pursue policy and social justice work further with aspirations for a dual degree in Public Health and Public Policy. Born in Jerusalem, raised in Sunnyvale, CA, Alon currently resides in Washington, DC. Contact Alon
Jordan Schreiber, Development Associate. Jordan joins J Street with over two years of both non-profit and political fundraising experience. She received her BA in Political Science from University of the Pacific, where her studies included a year in Cairo, Egypt conducting research on the Muslim Brotherhood and their role in the Arab Spring. After graduating she began working in nonprofit development and campaign management in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jordan spent the months leading up to joining J Street doing fundraising work with NGOs in the Palestinian Territory. She currently resides in Washington, DC. Contact Jordan
Hannah Morris, Associate Regional Director for the South. Hannah joins J Street after earning a M.A. in German and European Studies from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. There, she focused on German-Israeli relations and wrote a thesis comparing the special relationships Israel shares with the U.S. and Germany. She also served as a graduate intern at the U.S. Department of State in the Office of Central European Affairs and as an AJC Goldman Fellow in Warsaw, Poland. Prior to moving to D.C., Hannah worked in New York City at Big Tent Judaism, writing curriculum and developing programs to make the Jewish communal world more welcoming to the less-engaged. In her extra-curricular time, Hannah serves on the AJC ACCESS DC board, participates in a book club and speaks with Germans who will let her practice. Hannah is native of Houston, TX and now lives in Washington, D.C. Contact Hannah
Rachel Schreiber, Northeast Deputy Regional Director. Rachel comes to J Street with a background in leadership development, fundraising, and politics. Most recently, she worked on development efforts at Sexual Assault Support Services and Arts in Reach in New Hampshire. As a Program Officer at World Learning, she worked with people from around the globe, empowering them to develop their professional connections and skills. Rachel started her career in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill, working for her home state representatives from New Jersey. After her first trip to Israel in 2007/08, she was thrilled to come home and discover J Street’s new voice building momentum in US politics. Rachel received her B.A. in Government from Wesleyan University. She now lives in New Hampshire and is determined to meet all the candidates before each presidential primary. Contact Rachel
Jessica Simon, Deputy Regional Director for the Capital Region. joins J Street after working for nearly two years at the New Israel Fund as the DC Regional Development Associate. At NIF, Jessica coordinated community outreach and development programs to bolster NIF's regional support. Jessica graduated Summa Cum Laude from Syracuse University with a BA in English and Textual Studies and Policy Studies. Upon graduation, Jessica taught high school English for three years at an all-girls public high school in North Philadelphia as part of Teach For America and concurrently earned a MS in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. She then spent a year in Jerusalem, Israel studying as part of the Social Justice Track at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies, volunteering at the Jerusalem Open House and various Jerusalem-based NGOs. She returned to her hometown in Maryland, and as a Jeremiah Fellow with Jews United for Justice, worked on the leadership teams to successfully pass marriage equality and the DREAM act in Maryland as well as an increase in the Maryland minimum wage. She earned a Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults from the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, where she studied and developed curricula related to Israel Education and Engagement. Contact Jessica
Adee Telem, New York Regional Director. Adee joins J Street with a decade of experience in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution space. She previously served as the West Coast Director for the OneVoice Movement, helping to double the organization’s funding over eighteen months and driving area network, foundation and corporate partnerships. She has worked in development, policy and research positions at Israel Policy Forum, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the US Institute of Peace. Adee is the Co-Founder and Director of The Social Investment Consultancy, an international corporate engagement, philanthropy and fundraising services firm. She has been named one of 65 American-Jewish Leaders by the Center for Leadership Initiatives and was recently selected as one of 25 Emerging Leaders in Conflict Resolution by the U.S. Department of State and the Washington-Ireland Program. Adee was born in Israel and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Contact Adee