April 6-9, 2024
Washington, DC

Luiz Aberbuji was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil and grew up in the local Jewish community. A graduate of the Habonim Dror youth movement and from the “Training Year for Instructors and Leadership Abroad/ Machon Le’Madrichim”, a program in which he also worked as an instructor. Luiz immigrated to Israel in 2014, then enlisted in the Nachshon Regiment, Kfir Brigade, served between 2014 and 2016, spending most of the service in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon Borders. After the service Luiz worked as an educational coordinator for different Israel/South America gap year programs. Luiz is currently studying Political Science at Bar Ilan University and works as Breaking the Silence’s Jewish Diaspora Educational Coordinator.

Amer Abu Arqub is the Executive Director of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus and is also one of its Palestinian graduates. In addition to his musical talents as a rapper and beatboxer and eight years of JYC experience as a chorus participant, alumni coordinator, workshop facilitator, trilingual translator, songwriting leader and video producer, Amer is a lawyer with an MBA focused on international organizational management. He has facilitated at David Yellin College and is a member of the Jerusalem Model, a network of young social entrepreneurs from East and West Jerusalem working together to address the city’s diverse challenges. He is deeply passionate about bringing his chorus and professional experiences together to lead the Jerusalem Youth Chorus into its second decade—one in which he aims to embed the chorus further in the fabric of life in Jerusalem and equip our singers to be even bolder voices to bring about a more just reality for all who live in our city and our world.

Gadi Baltiansky is heading HL. Education for Peace, known as the Geneva Initiative, an NGO that promotes the two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians through political, diplomatic, educational and public tools. Prior to his current position, Gadi served as Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, advisor to the Foreign Minister, member of the Israeli negotiating team with the Palestinians and held several positions in the Foreign Service. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the Arab – Israeli conflict and Israeli public opinion. Gadi holds a B.A. in International Relations from the Hebrew University and an M.A. in Public Administration from Harvard University.

Jeremy Ben-Ami is the 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. 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 School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Kenneth Bob is chair of Project Rozana USA and also serves as President of Ameinu. He is the Treasurer of the J Street Board of Directors and serves on the Jewish Agency for Israel Board of Governors, where he is a member of the Executive Committee. He is also a member of the Forward Association Board of Directors and speaks widely on topics of interest regarding Israel and the Jewish community. Bob is an experienced software entrepreneur and strategic business development executive. Utilizing this experience and background, he currently provides management consulting services to small and medium-sized companies.

Stacy Burdett is a public policy strategist drawing on decades of experience as a Jewish community advocate on civil and human rights issues. She has been a trusted resource to office-holders and thought leaders across the political spectrum since the 1990s. She served as the first Government and External Relations Director at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum where she worked closely with Members of Congress, administration officials, and thought leaders to explore Holocaust history and its relevance to societal and policy challenges today. She has served as a US delegate to intergovernmental forums on strategies to counter anti-Semitism and hate crime, and to promote Holocaust education and intergroup advocacy.

Rachel Burnett is a senior at UCLA majoring in psychology and Middle Eastern studies. She has been involved with J Street U since her freshman year and has been a member of J Street U’s communication team for the past two years. She is currently serving as the VP of Communications on the J Street U National Student Board.

Aharon Dardik is a student at Columbia University, where he is co-president of Columbia’s J Street U chapter. An American Israeli, his family made aliyah from Oakland, California to the West Bank, where he grew up with and grappled with the occupation firsthand. Before moving back to the US, he was involved in Israeli Pro-Peace activism through Shorashim-Roots-Judur and Mesarvot, the Israeli Refunik Network. At Columbia, he focuses on two key priorities: enhancing J Street’s engagement with the Hillel community and serving as a bridge and communicator between the campus’ Pro-Palestine and Pro-Israel groups.

Rachel Faulkner is a community organizer, social justice advocate, and anti-racist educator. She currently serves as the National Director of Campaigns and Partnerships at the National Council of Jewish Women, where she oversees issue-based campaigns including antisemitism education, abortion access, Israel, and more. Her work also includes building cross-organizational relationships that ensure those most impacted by the issues NCJW works on are centered. Additionally, Rachel served as the National Organizer for #JWOCMarching, is an alum of Bend the Arc’s Selah program, the Schusterman Foundation’s REALITY trip, and has supported several Jewish organizations in reaching their anti-racist and equity-centered goals through her consulting work. Some of her most favorite work includes serving on the Board of Directors for T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights and the Jewish Studio Project. Ultimately, Rachel is passionate about ensuring that the voices of Jewish Women of Color are centered in Judaism and in the greater world, but when she’s not busy doing that, she spends time with her 4-year-old daughter Ori Justice taking walks around the nation’s capital.

Gabriella Fine is a junior at Brandeis University. She is the president of Brandeis J Street U. She is double majoring in Journalism and Media studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies, and minoring in Near Eastern and Judaic studies. She works at the Brandeis media studios and is a contributing writer for The Saturday Evening Post. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Brian Finucane is Senior Adviser to the U.S. Program at the International Crisis Group and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Reiss Center on Law and Security at NYU School of Law. His work focuses on developing policies and institutional checks to decrease U.S. reliance on military tools in foreign affairs, including through legislative reforms of war powers and counterterrorism authorities. His writing on these subjects has been published in outlets including the New York Times, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Just Security, War on the Rocks, and Cornell Law Review. Prior to joining Crisis Group, he worked for a decade in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State where he advised the U.S. government on legal and policy issues relating to law of war, the use of military force, counterterrorism, arms sales, and partnered military operations. Brian holds a B.A. in anthropology from Cornell University, a DPhil from Oxford University and a J.D. from Yale University

Rhonda Fitzgerald is the Executive Director for the Sustained Dialogue Institute (SDI) where she works to oversee the reach of the Sustained Dialogue model to campuses, workplaces, communities, and countries. Rhonda has been with SDI since 2008 and worked alongside SD founder Dr. Harold Saunders for 8 years until his passing. Under her leadership, she grew the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network’s reach from higher education sites by engaging and providing tools for alumni seeking to bring SD to their workplaces, home country governments, and local communities.

Nidal Foqaha is the Director General of the Palestinian Peace Coalition/ Geneva Initiative, a non-profit Palestinian organization that works on promoting a peaceful settlement for the Palestinian–Israeli conflict based on the two-state solution as envisioned in the Geneva Initiative. Foqaha has contributed to several political dialogues, including on security, borders, Jerusalem, water and refugees, as well as reconciliation-related issues. Previously, Foqaha served as an advisor to the PLO Secretary General (2003-2008), and a team member of the Palestinian – Israeli Joint Economic Committee (1999-2001), a committee in charge of dealing with economic issues as part of the economic agreements between the two sides. Foqaha co-chairs the Two-State Solution Coalition “TSC”, a coalition of Palestinian and Israeli civil society organizations which promote the two-state solution vision as an end-game settlement for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Peter Frey has been a leader at J Street for over a dozen years. He was Co-chair of the NYC Chapter for four years, joined the National Board in 2016 and was elected Vice Chair in 2021. He is a retired partner of TRG Management, an emerging markets asset management company. Prior to this he spent 17 years at JP Morgan. When he left JP Morgan Chase in 2001 he was Co-Head of U.S. Fixed Income Sales. Peter is currently a member of the New Israel Fund International Council and a former board member of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Jewish Currents Magazine, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation and of Exit Art. Peter grew up in Vienna, Austria and received a BA in Economics in 1982 from Vassar College and an MBA in International Finance in 1984 from The Wharton School. He lives in Greenwich Village with his wife Carrie Shapiro.

Ron Gerlitz joined aChord – Social Psychology for Social Change, as CEO in October 2019. Under Ron’s leadership, aChord has expanded its scope of activity to additional arenas, formed new sustainable partnerships, and deepened the impact of the implementation of socio-psychological knowledge in the field. Before joining aChord, Ron served for more than ten years as Co-Executive Director of Sikkuy, a Jewish-Arab organization advancing equality and shared society between the Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel. In this position, Ron led Sikkuy’s team to advance significant policy changes in the Israeli government toward Arab citizens. Ron is a Hebrew University of Jerusalem graduate with a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Computer Science and an MA in Public Policy, both magna cum laude. He began his professional career in high tech, working six years as a software and algorithm team leader in Israel and Silicon Valley, California.

Gili Getz is an Israeli-American artist. He served as a military photographer for the Israeli army and as a news editor for Ynet. His work in recent years has been focusing on American Jewish political activism. Gili is published regularly in Jewish and Israeli press, and by Princeton University in the book “Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel” by Professor Dov Waxman. Gili performed across the country in numerous theatrical productions. His latest one-man play “The Forbidden Conversation” explores the challenges of having a conversation about Israel-Palestine in the American Jewish community. The play premiered at the Center For Jewish History in the spring of 2016 and has been touring the country since. Gili has been working for peace and against the occupation for many years and is deeply honored to support CfP, joint resistance and the struggle for freedom and dignity for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Yosef Goldman was raised in a mixed Orthodox Ashkenazi and Mizrachi home, Yosef has taught and led prayer in communities of every Jewish movement. He has served as a ba’al tefillah for some of the most spiritually vibrant and creative prayer communities in the United States and Israel, including Romemu and B’nai Jeshurun in Manhattan, the Kitchen in San Francisco, and Beit Tefila Yisraeli in Israel. For over a decade, as a consultant, Yosef has advised synagogues and prayer communities seeking to deepen the communal spiritual experience through musical prayer.

Lauren Haines is a junior at the University of Michigan studying Public Health and Political Science. Originally from Athens, Georgia, Lauren has been involved in J Street U since her freshman year and is currently the J Street U National President.

Micah Hendler is the founder and Artistic Director of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, created the Jerusalem Youth Chorus in 2012 as a synthesis of years of work in musical community-building and Israeli-Palestinian conflict transformation (including a Yale degree in music and international studies). He has founded, directed, sung with, or played with dozens of musical ensembles of varying global styles, including the Whiffenpoofs, and uses Community Singing and CircleSinging to open up the concept of what a chorus can do and who should be in it. He has been involved in Israeli-Palestinian dialogue work for 20 years and has written and presented in many local and global forums about his work with the chorus, including sharing the keynote presentation of the East-West Philosophers’ Conference with leading Palestinian intellectual and peacemaker Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, as they explored together how sound can be used as a tool to create shared spaces in Jerusalem. In addition to his work in Jerusalem, Micah builds musical bridges in the US as the Co-Director of Music for depolarization movement Braver Angels, and has written extensively for Forbes on music, society and social change in a global context.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the Executive Director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, which mobilizes 1,800 rabbis and cantors and tens of thousands of American Jews to protect human rights in North America and Israel. She is the author of Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community and There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition. Widely regarded as a leading voice on Jewish social justice, she has written about Jewish perspectives on social justice and human rights for more than two dozen publications. Rabbi Jacobs has been named three times to the Forward’s list of 50 influential American Jews, to Newsweek’s list of the 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America every year since 2009, and to the Jerusalem Post’s 2013 list of “Women to Watch.”

Libby Lenkinski is the Vice President for Public Engagement at the New Israel Fund, where she leads all aspects of NIF’s public efforts in the United States – including communications, digital, programs, events, leadership, community partnerships and engagement, New Generations and our fellowships. Prior to joining NIF, Libby lived and worked in the Israeli non-profit field for almost a decade. There she worked as Director of International Relations at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and as a strategy consultant for human rights organizations like Yesh Din and Physicians for Human Rights, for documentary films including Budrus and The Law in These Parts, new media initiatives like +972 Magazine, and for progressive campaigns. She is a founding member of Zazim-Community Action and The Whistle. Currently, Libby serves on the Executive Committee of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Arab-Israeli Issues and is a NY co-chair for the Reboot Network. Libby is based in Brooklyn and travels to Israel-Palestine frequently.

Lev Littman is co-executive director of the Tzedek Centers movement in Israel. A member of the Hashomer Hatzair urban kibbutz in the northern city of Naharia, where he lives. Lev has been an activist, educator and community organizer for over 10 years and holds an M.A. in education management. Lev is a reserve officer in the home front command and an illustrator in his free time. On October 7th, Lev was drafted to the military, in the regional home front command in Jerusalem. After two months he came back to his work to lead the shared project with the Department for Social Activism and Tikkun Olam in the WZO – turning the massive relief work into long-term social infrastructure. In a unique joint project Lev and his team are opening three new Tzedek Centers – in Ofakim, Netivot and Ashkelon to build greater resilience and strengthen democratic values.

Tarek Maassarani has a mixed Muslim, Jewish, Christian, German, Palestinian, and Lebanese family. Tarek counts restorative justice, community building, nonviolent action, and dialogue amongst his life passions, which he has years of experience applying to the Israeli-Palestinian context. He has written and made a film about the conflict. Tarek holds a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs, a J.D. from Georgetown University where he now teaches in the field of justice and peace studies.

Dror Morag is the Head of the Department for Social Activism and Tikkun Olam at the World Zionist Organization. He has been a member of the Zionist Executive, as well as an Executive and Board of Governors member of The Jewish Agency since 2010. Dror Served as Secretary-General of Meretz from 2011-2015. Served as Chairman of the Zionist Council in Israel from 2010-2011. Served as Secretary-General of the World Union of Meretz from 2006-2010. Dror holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy specializing in conflict management and mediation from Tel Aviv University and holds a certificate in mediation as well.

Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh is the Senior Envoy of The Jewish Agency for Israel to Washington, DC, began working for the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation in 2011, where she hosted a program in Arabic focusing on the social and cultural issues concerning Arab youth in Israel. In 2015, Kamal-Mreeh was selected to host the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation’s daily newscast in Arabic. And in 2017, she began anchoring its main Hebrew Saturday evening newscast, as well as a nightly newscast, becoming the first non-Jewish anchorwoman to broadcast a main evening news in Hebrew. In April 2019, Kamal-Mreeh was elected to the Knesset as a member of the Blue and White Party, making history as the first Druze woman to become a member of the Knesset. Kamal-Mreeh holds a degree with honors from Bar-Ilan University in Medical Imaging and Social Sciences, and a master’s degree with honors in International Relations from Haifa University.

Dr. Gil Murciano is the CEO of Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies. He is a leading researcher on Iranian interests, motivations and allies in the region. Murciano is also a member of the adjunct faculty of the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, where he serves as a lecturer on the international politics of the Middle East. Murciano founded the Techne Initiative which aims to turn members of the Middle-Eastern diaspora in Europe into foreign policy advisers. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from Freie Universität Berlin and served as Fox Fellow at the MacMillan Center, Yale University. Murciano has also served as a senior foreign policy analyst at the Tel Aviv-based Reut Institute for Strategic Thinking. In addition, he is a member of the Israeli-Arab forum of the London-based Atkin Foundation.

Cantor Julie Newman earned a Master of Jewish Education and received Cantorial ordination from Hebrew College in Boston in 2017. She is a member of the New Community Chevra Kadisha and the Greater Pittsburgh Jewish Clergy Association. She has been leading Jewish worship from Pittsburgh to Singapore at Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist synagogues for more than 20 years. A long-time participant of Hava Nashira, the annual Jewish music workshop, she works to combine the best of traditional nusach and what’s new and energizing in Jewish music. Passionate about Jewish prayer and heart opening Jewish contemplative practices, she has been active with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality for many years as a student and periodically as faculty. She founded Tiferet, a Jewish Spirituality Project where she has taught Jewish mindfulness meditation since 2019. She also combines the deep wisdom of Torah texts with her yoga practice and teaching, having received certification from the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teachers Training program in 2012.

Ambassador Thomas Nides (ret) is a vice chairman for strategy and client relations at Blackstone. He served as the United States’ ambassador to Israel from 2021 to 2023. Prior to his time in Israel, he spent nearly a decade at Morgan Stanley in various roles. Appointed by President Obama, Tom served as deputy secretary of state and chief operating officer of the U.S. State Department and was awarded the nation’s highest diplomatic honor by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for his service. He has also previously been a senior leader at Credit Suisse, Fannie Mae, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and on Capitol Hill. Nides currently serves on the boards of the Partnership for Public Service, the International Rescue Committee, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He formerly served as chairman of the board of the Woodrow Wilson Center appointed by President Obama.

Rabba Rori Picker Neiss serves as the Senior Vice President for Community Relations at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Prior to that she was Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St Louis– an organization committed to a vibrant and secure Jewish community in a thriving and just St Louis region– after previously serving as a member of the clergy team at Bais Abraham Congregation, a Modern Orthodox congregation in University City, MO. Rori is one of the first graduates of Yeshivat Maharat, a pioneering institution training Orthodox Jewish women to be spiritual leaders and halakhic (Jewish legal) authorities. She is a David Hartman Center fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, a CLAL Rabbis Without Borders fellow, and co-editor of “InterActive Faith: The Essential Interreligious Community-Building Handbook” and serves on the Board of Directors for HIAS and the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Shir Nosatzki is a journalist turned activist, when in 2011 she was one of the leaders of the (then) largest protest in Israel, demanding social justice. Throughout the years, she continued her work, and in 2017 she founded Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, which works to promote Jewish-Arab partnership, and strengthen the political legitimacy of the Arab community as an equal partner in the decision-making processes in Israel. During the largest protests in Israeli history, against the government’s attempted judicial overhaul, Nosatzki took on a major role in the protest leadership, incorporating Arab voices, as well as issues relevant to the Israeli Arab community, into the demonstrations and corresponding public discourse. Nosatzki won the Dror Prize for Social Change, was elected by The Marker newspaper as one of the most influential people on social media in Israel, and by Maariv newspaper as an emerging young leader, and is today the recipient of the NIF’s 2023 Guardian of Democracy prize.

Reva Price Reva is a public policy strategist, advisor, and mentor with four decades of experience working with policymakers and advocates and currently serves as a Senior Advisor for The Raben Group – a progressive policy consulting firm. From 2005 through January 2023, Reva served as director of outreach and senior advisor for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), playing a pivotal role in promoting the speaker’s agenda across the spectrum of domestic and foreign policy issues.

Dr. Lina Qassem-Hassan is the Chairperson of PHRI’s Board of Directors. She is a family medicine specialist with Clalit Health Services in the Haifa and Western Galilee District, specializing in end-of-life care. In addition to regularly volunteering with PHRI’s West Bank mobile clinic and medical delegations to Gaza, Lina volunteers with the organization’s Prisoners and Detainees department, accompanying Palestinian hunger strikers. Recently, Lina volunteered with PHRI’s emergency make-shift clinic for survivors of the October 7th massacre and has spoken out about her belief that all victims of this war deserve medical treatment.

Kevin Rachlin is the inaugural Washington Director for the Nexus Leadership Project, working on the intersection of antisemitism and Israel policy. Kevin also serves as a Senior Fellow for Israel and Palestine Policy at the Alliance for Peacebuilding. Previously, Kevin served as the Vice President of Public Affairs for J Street, leading the organization’s political and government affairs work in Washington. He also served as US Director for the Alliance for Middle East Peace, leading a coalition of advocacy organizations that passed the single-largest investment in peacebuilding in the region, the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act. He also worked for InterAction as their Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs and as Director of Government Affairs for the Basic Education Coalition, where he spearheaded the passage of the READ Act.

Representative Jamie Raskin proudly represents Maryland’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Raskin was chosen by the Democratic Caucus to be the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability in the 118th Congress. Previously Rep. Raskin served three terms on the House Judiciary Committee and the Committee on House Administration. He served two terms on the Rules Committee and the Coronavirus Select Subcommittee. During the 117th Congress, he served as Chair of the Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Chair of the Rules Subcommittee on Expedited Procedure. Rep. Raskin was the lead impeachment manager in the second impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump and served on the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Prior to his time in Congress, Raskin was a three-term State Senator in Maryland, where he also served as the Senate Majority Whip. He earned a reputation for building coalitions in Annapolis to deliver a series of landmark legislative accomplishments, including marriage equality, abolition of the death penalty, passage of the first Benefit Corporation law in America and the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. He was also a professor of constitutional law at American University’s Washington College of Law for more than 25 years.

Ayelet Razin Bet Or is an Israeli lawyer and the former CEO of Israel’s Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women. Ayelet served as the legal advisor and head of policy and public relations for the Association of the rape crisis centers of Israel for five years. Ayelet has over two decades of experience in the field of law, legislation and public action for women’s rights and the protection of victims of sexual abuse. Most recently, she led a women’s leadership delegation to New York City and initiated the advocacy events at the United Nations on the war crimes committed by Hamas against women and children on October 7th.

Rachel Rothenberg is a senior at American University majoring in International Relations and minoring in Spanish. She has been involved with J Street since her freshman year, serving as chapter and regional co-chair.

Amy Rutkin is the former Staff Director to the House Judiciary Committee and Chief of Staff to Congressman Jerrold Nadler. She is a veteran government and political leader with 25+ years of Capitol Hill and New York experience — whose expertise includes senior public sector and political management, policy development, legislative strategy, government relations, strategic communications, crisis management and political power-building. Her work has placed her at the center of some of the nation’s most consequential recent events and positioned her as a trusted advisor to Democratic Leadership and the White House.

Tal Sagi grew up in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Between the years of 2010-2012, Tal served as an Education Officer in the Israeli Defense Forces and spent part of her service as a Hasbara Officer in Hebron, which included providing tours of the city and the Tomb of the Patriarchs to other soldiers. Tal holds a B.A in gender studies and philosophy from Tel Aviv University and is currently completing an M.A. in gender studies. Tal serves as Breaking the Silence’s Israeli Education Director.

Zach Schaffer is a facilitator, educator, and organizer based in Bedstuy, Brooklyn who has dedicated his career to empowering people to nurture compassion and communicate across differences. He serves as the Co-Founder and VP of Community Engagement with Project Shema. Zach trains leaders around the world in depolarization, storytelling, allyship and having difficult conversations. He has served as a facilitator and consultant with several organizations including Ta’amod, Resetting the Table, A Wider Bridge, and Jewish Women International. He is the proud President of Friends of Roots, a grassroots coexistence and liberation movement of Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. He also serves on the North American Board of the Union for Reform Judaism where he co-chairs their Racial Equity Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and as a member of the Commission on Social Action, where he helps to set the social justice agenda of the Religious Action Center.

Elena Schneider is a national political reporter at POLITICO, where she covers the 2024 presidential campaign. Before jumping to presidential politics in 2020, Schneider reported on House, Senate and gubernatorial races during the 2018 and 2016 cycles at POLITICO. She also worked as a news assistant and a freelancer for The New York Times D.C. bureau. Her work has also appeared in The Texas Tribune and Texas Monthly. She earned a master’s and a bachelor’s in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Henry Sears is a senior at Columbia University, majoring in Middle Eastern Studies and Politics & Government. He serves as one of the co-presidents of J Street U at Columbia and has been involved with J Street for two years. Previously, Henry worked with the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation for a summer, a prominent peace-building and coexistence organization in Israel.

Barak Sella is an Israeli-American educator, activist, writer, and researcher who is one of the leading Israeli experts on US-Israel relations and World Jewry. He is a published author and op-ed contributor for leading Israeli and American media and writes about diaspora relations, American politics, and Jewish affairs. As Director of the Reut Institute, one of Israel’s foremost think tanks on strategy and leadership, he worked with NGOs and government organizations from Israel and the US on various issues: radical Islamist movements, The Ukraine war, antisemitism, The Abraham Accords, Jewish Peoplehood, and Israel-US relations. Barak is currently a Mid-Career Public Administration candidate at Harvard Kennedy School, focusing on Israeli-US relationships, Regional Middle East relations, and public diplomacy. After October 7th, Barak emerged as one of the leading voices combating antisemitism and Israel delegitimization on campus, with many appearances on International media and leading the Harvard Students for Israel group.

Shahira Shalaby is Co-Deputy CEO of Operations and Initiatives at The Abraham Initiatives, where she oversees our work in mixed cities. She is the former Deputy Mayor of Haifa, a former city councilor, and was among the founders of the Palestinian Feminist Movement in Israel. She has established several initiatives and organizations working to improve the status of Arab women in Israel and has consulted for social change organizations on issues of leadership, strategic thinking, teamwork, developing and managing resources, and community work. She is a group facilitator, specializing in dialogue, conflict resolution, and facilitator training. She holds a Master’s degree in religious studies and a Bachelor’s degree in social work.

Ambassador Wendy Sherman (ret) served as Deputy Secretary of State from 2021 to 2023. Prior to this, she was professor and director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. She was also a Senior Fellow at the School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a Senior Counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group. From 2011 – 2015, she served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, where she led the U.S. negotiating team that reached agreement on the Iran nuclear deal, for which she was awarded the National Security Medal by President Obama. She previously served at the State Department as Counselor, as Special Advisor to President Clinton and Policy Coordinator on North Korea, and as Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs. She also previously served on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, was Chair of the Board of Directors of Oxfam America, and served on the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board and Congressional Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism.

Tomer Shemesh is an environmental entrepreneur, farmer, activist, and avid DIYer. Raised in Ra’anana, he joined a group rebuilding Kibbutz Na’aran in the Jordan Valley. Tomer took responsibility for the kibbutz’s date palm grove, and turned it into a thriving business, transferring the income to educational activities in the periphery. He then combined his love of working the land with social justice at Leket, Israel’s food-rescue operation. In 2018, he founded Social Delivery, which has distributed over $30 million worth of goods to vulnerable populations, and rescued over 100 tons of goods from landfills. Tomer lives in Moshav Aviel with his wife and four children, and enjoys creating in his carpentry workshop. He is a proud recipient of an honorary doctorate from Rupin College, and on the board of several environmental organizations in Israel.

Dr. Brigadier General (res) Jonatan (Yoni) Shimshoni served for 25 years in the IDF in field command and staff positions, and continued for many years in the reserves, working on doctrine and technology policy. He earned his Ph.D. in national security policy from the public policy school at Princeton. Yoni is a Research Affiliate at the MIT Security Studies Program, has published on strategy and doctrine internationally and in Israel, and has been a Visiting Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in DC. Yoni was managing partner of PwC Consulting in Israel and established and managed a start-up company. He is currently on the leadership team of Commanders for Israel’s Security, a group of some 550 former senior leaders in Israel’s military, security, and diplomatic services that analyzes and advocates on issues of national security (e.g. the security imperative for separation from the Palestinians). He lives in Tel Aviv with Lea.

Meirav Solomon is a proud Conservative Jew and sophomore at Tufts University majoring in International Relations with a focus in the Middle East. She is currently president of the Tufts JStreet U chapter as well as a member of the JStreet U national communications committee. Meirav holds a certificate in dialogue facilitation from Essential Partners and is a 2019 alum of Seeds of Peace and an alum of the Kivunim Gap Year program. She is originally from North Carolina where both of her parents are rabbis at Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh.

Ambassador Alan D. Solomont (ret) is the Dean Emeritus of Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. He served as United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra from 2009-2013. Prior to that, he was Chairman of the bipartisan Board of Directors of the Corporation of National and Community Service. Active for many years in the Democratic Party, Amb. Solomont served as National Finance Chairman of the DNC in 1997-1998. He is a past Chairman of the Board of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston and was a Board member of the New Israel Fund for many years. He was honored by the Israel Policy Forum in 2001. Amb. Solomont’s professional career was in the field of eldercare. He is a graduate of Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He is married to Susan Lewis Solomont. They have two grown daughters and reside in Weston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Ali Vaez is Crisis Group’s Iran Project Director and Senior Adviser to the President. He led Crisis Group’s efforts in helping to bridge the gaps between Iran and the P5+1 that led to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. Previously, he served as a Senior Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and was the Iran Project Director at the Federation of American Scientists. He is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and a Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Vaez was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University from 2008 to 2010 and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Geneva and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Daniel Wittenberg is a junior at the University of Arizona majoring in Political Science and minoring in Communication. He founded the J Street chapter at the University of Arizona during his freshman year. This year, he looks forward to serving as VP of the West Coast.

Mona Yacoubian is vice president of the Middle East and North Africa Center at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Yacoubian joined USIP after serving as deputy assistant administrator in the Middle East Bureau at USAID from 2014 to 2017, where she had responsibility for Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. Prior to joining USAID, Yacoubian was a senior advisor at the Stimson Center, focusing on the Arab uprisings with an emphasis on Syria. From 1990 to 1998, she served as the North Africa analyst in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Yacoubian was a Fulbright scholar in Syria where she studied Arabic at the University of Damascus from 1985 to 1986. She earned a master’s in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s in public policy from Duke University.

Ambassador Hesham Youssef (ret) is a retired Egyptian Ambassador and a former senior official in the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. He was a career diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt. From 2014-2019, he served as Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian, Cultural and Social Affairs at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and completed his term in July 2019. From 2001-2014, he served as a senior official in the Arab League, as Official Spokesman and later the Chief of Staff to Secretary General Amr Moussa from 2003- 2011. From 2012-2014, Mr. Youssef was a Senior Advisor to the Secretary General of the Arab League, Dr. Nabil Elaraby, on issues pertaining to crisis management as well as the reform of the Arab League. Mr. Youssef worked extensively on conflict resolution in the Middle East and in particular the Arab-Israeli conflict, reconciliation in Lebanon, Iraq, and other regional conflicts and issues in the region including regional security and reform in the Arab World. He earned a master’s degree in liberal arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico (August 1983) and a master’s degree in economics from the American University in Cairo (February 1988). He wrote numerous papers and articles on conflict resolution, mediation, regional security, and other developments in the Middle East.”