Claire Landers, Co-Chair
Tracie Guy-Decker, Co-Chair
Rabbi Daniel Burg
Rebecca Barson, Co-Chair
Jayme Epstein, Co-Chair
Anita Lampel, Co-Chair
Carol Stern, Co-Chair
JUFJ is made up of thousands of Jews and allies who work for change in the DC-Maryland region. We are governed by Leadership Councils from each of our jurisdictions, as well as by our Board of Directors.
Thanks to all of our fantastic former staff:
Katie Ashmore, 2012-14
Sarah Brammer-Shlay, 2012-16*
Ariana Brenig, 2018-2019
Lizzie Busch, 2010-11*
Emmanuel Cantor, 2018-19*
Isaac Deitz-Green, 2017-18*
Nathaniel Eisen, 2013-14*
Eliana Golding, 2014-16
Elizabeth Heyman, 2016-2019*
Sam Jewler, 2014-15
Monica Kamen, 2011-14, 2019*
Melanie Kesner, 2015-16*
Andrew Kirschner, 2015-16
Lori Leibowitz, 2006-07
Holli Levinson, 2014-17
Darya Mattes, 2007-09
Liat Melnick, 2015-16
Ashley Morse, 2019-2020
Aimée Pohl, 2018-19
Roberta Ritvo, 2015-16
Avi Rosenblit, 2004-06
Liz Simon-Higgs, 2016-17
Jevera Temsky, 1999-2004
Anya van Wagtendonk, 2015-17
Hannah Weilbacher, 2014-17*
Allison Wessells, 2014-15*
Bennet Wilcox, 2017-18
* denotes Avodah Corps Member
Thanks also to all of our former part-time and temporary staff, who are just as fantastic:
Rabbi Laura Bellows
Rabbi Shahar Colt
Rabbi Brent Spodek
Thanks to all of our fantastic former Board members:
Rabbi Erica Asch, 2013
Jim Auerbach, 2001-04
Maude Bauschard, 2004
Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein, 2011-15
Rabbi Daniel Cotzin Burg, 2015-18
Jill Cohen, 2000
Emily DeVoto, 2000-02
Lee Diamond, 1999-2000
Jacob Feinspan, 2006-07
Anna Levine Fink, 2016-18
Elissa Froman, z”l, 2006-13
Rabbi Josh Ginsberg, 2004
Alisa Glassman, 2002
Dan Gordon, 2014
Simon Greer, 1999-2001
Roberta Hantgan, 2004-07
Rabbi Doug Heifetz, 2006-07
Carolivia Herron, 2004-05
Evin Isaacson, 2006-07
Rabbi Marc Israel, 2003-04
Stephen Jascourt, 2000-01
Robin Katcher, 1999-2001
Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, 2006-09
Rabbi Jessica Kirschner, 2014
Sharlene Kranz, 2008-10
Deena Feinstein Krulewitz, 2014-18
Laureen Lazarovici, 2002-04
Revital Levi, 1999
Abigail Levine, 2011-15
Ilana Lipsett, 2006
Danielle Lutterman, 1999
David Mackoff, 2008-14
Sarah McKenzie, 1999
Rabbi Sarah Meytin, 2009
Minna Morse, 1999-2001
Shelley Moskowitz, 2001-13
Brianne Nadeau, 2011-14
Joelle Novey, 2003
Rabbi Jessica Oleon, 2010-13
Rachel Pentlarge, 2000
Carrie Port, 2004-05
Ed Rehfeld, 2002-06
Harvey Reiter, 2013-17
Roberta Ritvo, 2010-17
Adina Rosenbaum, 2006-17
Michael Rubin, 2009-18
Rabbi Bob Saks, 2008-14
Lenny Sapozhnikov, 2004-6
Erin Scharff, 2007
Susanna Shapiro, 2004-06
Rabbi David Shneyer, 1999-2000
Marilyn Sneiderman, 2002-03
Sy Sokatch, 2006-09
Eli Staub, 2004-07
Rabbi Alana Suskin, 2004-06
Jevera Temsky, 2007-10
Jon Wheeler, 2008-10
Eric Wiesner, 2000
Baltimore Leadership Council
Claire Landers (she/her/hers) has been an active member of JUFJ-Baltimore since its first community meeting in early 2015. She has been Co-Chair of JUFJ’s Police Accountability Campaign Team and currently serves as the Co-Chair of JUFJ-Baltimore’s Leadership Council. After working in Washington, DC for AIPAC and the Women’s Legal Defense Fund, she earned her M.A. in Jewish History from Baltimore Hebrew University and an M.S.W. from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She helped establish CHANA, Baltimore’s domestic violence program for Jewish women, as its first Assistant Director and has been an active community volunteer as a board member for agencies of The Associated, including the JCC, CJE and DFI. Claire serves as a Legislative Aide for Baltimore County Councilwoman Vicki Almond. Originally from Boston, MA, Claire received a B.A. in Government from Harvard. With her husband, Steven Falk, and her daughter, Felice, Claire is an active congregant at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.
Tracie Guy-Decker (she/her/hers) is the co-chair of both the Baltimore Fundraising Team and the Baltimore Leadership Council. Tracie has been engaged in JUFJ’s Baltimore work since the protests that emerged after Freddie Gray’s murder in 2015. Born and raised in Baltimore County, Tracie moved back to the city of her birth in 2013. She lives on the city’s west side with her Navy Chief husband, their elementary-aged daughter, a petite cat, and 2 poorly-behaved dogs.
Samantha Blau (she/her/hers) a resident of Baltimore’s Patterson Park neighborhood, a former science educator, and current social justice organizer. She has volunteered with JUFJ since 2016, in that time giving testimony in Baltimore City Hall and Maryland State committee hearings, completing a Jeremiah Fellowship, and currently serving as the co-chair of the Maryland Equal Justice Under the Law team. When she’s not organizing, Samantha can be found pursuing the perfect scoop of ice cream.
Rabbi Daniel Cotzin Burg (he/him/his) has been rabbi of Beth Am Synagogue since July of 2010. Prior to his position at Beth Am, he served at Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago. Ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles (now American Jewish University), he holds an M.A. in Rabbinic Studies and another in Jewish Education from there and a B.A. in Hebrew Studies and Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin.
Rabbi Burg has helped to articulate a congregational mission and vision for Beth Am’s community engagement initiative (See New Jewish Neighborhood Project) and “In, For Of, Inc.” a 501(c)3 organization affiliated with Beth Am. He serves on the board of the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies (ICJS) and IFO, and on the Baltimore Advisory Board of Jews United for Justice. He has been a vocal supporter in Annapolis and Baltimore of marriage equality, police reform, legislation to curtail gun violence and other important social and societal issues affecting Beth Am’s city and state.
Rav Daniel is a senior fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a member of the Maryland Task Force on Reconciliation and Equity. His writing has appeared in eJewish Philanthropy, the Jewish Review of Books, The Forward, The Times of Israel, the Baltimore Jewish Times and the Chicago Sun-Times. He was featured in the Cover Story for Conservative/Masorti Judaism’s international publication and in Baltimore Magazine and has appeared in The Atlantic, the Baltimore Sun and on MSNBC and several local Baltimore media outlets. He is a contributing author to Keeping Faith in Rabbis: A Community Conversation about Rabbinical Education (Ed. Herring and Roscher) and Celebrating the Jewish Year: The Spring and Summer Holidays (Ed. Steinberg). He blogs at www.theUrbanRabbi.org.
Rav Daniel lives near Beth Am in the historic Reservoir Hill neighborhood with his wife Rabbi Miriam Cotzin Burg and their two children, Eliyah and Shamir.
Ruth Crystal (she/her/hers) is a transplanted New Yorker who has lived in Baltimore for 45+ years. Prior to retiring, Ruth worked in the fields of affordable housing, alternative education, and workforce development. She has directed two housing mobility programs and served as Executive Director of Maryland Low Income Housing Coalition and government liaison for the Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development.
Ruth has an MBA in Information systems from the University of Maryland, an MA in teaching from Antioch College, and a BA in urban studies from Hunter College.
Her community work has included serving on the boards of National Low Income Housing Coalition, Coalition for Low Income Community Development, Maryland Alliance for the Poor, Maryland Affordable Housing Trust, Maryland Alliance for Responsible Investment, Baltimore League of Women Voters, Maryland League of Women Voters and Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. She currently is editor of LWVMD Report from State Circle; serves on the Leadership Council of Baltimore Jews United for Justice; is a volunteer tutor with the Dyslexia Tutoring Project and a mentor with the International Rescue Committee.
She is happily married to David Cramer (the Cramer in CramerCrystal) and has a daughter Lissaivy who is an expressive arts therapist in San Francis.
Jeremy Gombin-Sperling (he/him/his) is co-chair of the Community Building and Education Team for JUFJ-Baltimore and joined the JUFJ Leadership Board in early 2019. He became involved with JUFJ starting in summer 2018 and has truly enjoyed and learned so much from his experiences being part of the organization. As a White Jewish man, Jeremy comes to this work with a desire to utilize local issues and systemic struggles in Baltimore to enter discussions of power and oppression within larger global historical contexts. Outside of JUFJ, Jeremy is a Ph.D. Candidate in the International Education Policy (IEP) program at the University of Maryland-College Park where he focuses his research at the intersection of initiatives for inclusion and social justice, and work on international education and exchange programs. Jeremy’s passion is food and whenever he can you can find him in his kitchen cooking up a storm!
Jody Harburger I am retired from a 50 year career in Jewish Communal Service primarily as an Executive Director for several Jewish Federations, Israel Bonds, and the American Jewish Committee. I am a graduate of UCLA in Hebrew Literature and graduate of the Hebrew Union College Graduate School of Jewish Comminal Service. 48 years ago I married Sheila, my life partner. We have 5 grandchildren here in Baltimore. Their parents are involved with JUFJ as well. In addition to serving as Vice Chair of The Baltimore JUFJ fundraising Committee, I serve on boards of The Good People Fund, The Darrell Friedman Institute, and Chizuk Amuno Congregation where I chair the Stuhlman Adult Education program and serve on the Social Justice Advocacy Committee. I serve on the Marketing Committee of The Associated’s new Center For Leadership. I have recently completed a term on the Board of Hillel at Goucher College, and actively support JPride Baltimore. ACLU, Southern Poverty Law and Jewish Volunteer Center.
Stuart Katzenberg (he/him/his) joined the Leadership Council in 2017 and lends support to variety of JUFJ initiatives. A lifelong organizer, Stuart is the Director of Collective Bargaining and Growth at AFSCME Council 3 which represents State, University, and private sector workers. Born and raised in Baltimore City Stuart enjoys spending time with his extended family locally and then getting away to explore new places through traveling.
Michele Levy (she/her/hers) was captivated by possibility she felt at JUFJ’s first Baltimore community meeting and is grateful to have since found her organizing home. She is a member of Baltimore’s Leadership Council and former co-chair of the Rent Court campaign team. Michele works as an organizational consultant, serves as president of Hinenu: The Baltimore Justice Shtiebl, and is constantly dreaming of her next cycling adventure.
Laura Menyuk (she/her/hers) graduated with her BA in French and Hearing and Speech Science with a focus on linguistic anthropology from the University of Maryland in 2005. Following graduation, she spent a year in DC’s Avodah: The Jewish service corps, an entrée into non-profit leadership and a study of Judaism, community building, and urban anti-poverty work. Since then Laura has studied and taught literacy, Chesapeake Bay ecology, civic engagement, team building facilitation, disaster relief, early American studies and Indigenous-Jewish farming practice to students from age 3 to adults. Laura is a facilitator and experiential educator. Raised bilingual in one of the most diverse regions of our nation, she has always sought to uplift the rich diversity which makes up the fabric of a thriving, resilient, and just global society. Laura is currently a farm to school specialist for Baltimore City Public Schools, and volunteers as chair of Baltimore Jews United for Justice’s education and community building team.
Dan Richman (he/him/his) started volunteering with JUFJ in the 2017 legislative session, originally around criminal justice issues, and joined the Maryland Economic Justice team as co-chair in advance of the 2020 session. He is also active with the Reconstructionist movement and served as co-president of Kol HaLev Synagogue from 2017 to 2019. Dan is an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and investigates the structures and mechanisms of action of enzymes. Dan has lived in Baltimore since 2008 and loves exploring the city by foot and bus.
Gabriel Stuart-Sikowitz (he/him/his) Originally from Gaithersburg, Gabriel grew up at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase. After graduating Thomas Wootton High School, he then attended, and graduated from, Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. After graduating with a degree in history in 2013, he interned for two different Congressmen, interned at the Center for Responsive Politics, and worked on several campaigns culminating on Councilwoman Shannon Sneed’s successful election in 2016. He now serves as her Chief of Staff. In his spare time Gabriel likes watching the Orioles and Capitals as well as reading about history, Steinbeck, and Roth.
Matan Zeimer (he/him/his) currently serves as the Associate Director of Health Policy for Cure Violence, an international violence prevention NGO that stops the spread of violence by addressing it as a health issue. Since joining Cure Violence in 2015, Matan has worked on local, state, and federal program and policy initiatives to support evidencebased violence prevention. Outside of this work, Matan is passionate about supporting youth-focused initiatives and a longterm volunteer at the Baltimore Youth Kinetic Energy Collective (BYKE), a youth empowerment after-school program centered on personal and professional development through bicycle mechanics and community building.
DC Leadership Council
Rachel Anderson (she/her/hers) joined the Leadership Council in 2019 after serving on a variety of JUFJ core teams over the last year and a half. She currently co-chairs JUFJ’s Campaign Fund core team. Rachel has lived in DC for almost 10 years and currently loves living in Eastern Market. Outside of JUFJ, Rachel works in education policy and enjoys traveling, reading, and hiking.
Rebecca Barson (she/her/hers) is a self-employed health policy and advocacy strategist. She first became involved with JUFJ after attending a house party during the summer of 2016 and quickly joined JUFJ’s advocacy efforts for paid family leave, affordable housing, and an equitable DC budget. She is currently a member of the Birth to Three and Racial Equity Core Teams and has been a part of the DC Leadership Council since it began in the summer of 2017. Rebecca is a resident of Woodley Park and loves reading, Sunday crossword puzzles, and being an aunt.
Alana Eichner (she/hers) joined the DC Leadership Council in 2019 when she became a co-chair of JUFJ’s Birth to Three campaign. Alana lives in Mt. Pleasant and has followed the work of JUFJ from a distance during her six years in DC but is excited to have this opportunity to deepen her involvement. Outside of JUFJ, Alana is a labor policy activist and enjoys arguing about politics and feminism.
Jayme Epstein (she/her/hers) is a member of the Racial Equity team. She originally became active in 2017 with JUFJ in Montgomery County, where she served as co-chair of the Maryland Equal Justice Under the Law team and as a member of the Racial Justice core team for Montgomery County and the Campaign Fund. Jayme moved to DC in late 2018 and joined the DC Leadership Council in the summer of 2019. Outside of JUFJ, Jayme volunteers in a variety of forums to support education about and advocate for racial equity.
Shira Markoff (she/her) is co-chair of the DC Campaign Fund core team. She first became active with JUFJ in 2018 and joined the DC Leadership Council in July 2019. Shira has lived in DC for more than six years and works for Prosperity Now. She enjoys reading, travel, and spending time with her nieces and nephews.
Emma Rafaelof (she/her) is co-chair of the DC Racial Equity Team. She became regularly active in JUFJ after being a member of the Campaign Selection team in 2018, and has been passionate about affordable housing and racial justice in DC since coming to DC 2015. Emma also serves as co-lead for the New Synagogue Project’s People of Color, Indigenous, Sephardic, and Mizrahi (POCISM) Space. She lives in Columbia Heights and enjoys running, cooking, baking, and biking.
Annie Rosenthal (she/her/hers) is a former JUFJ DC Jeremiah Fellow and current co-chair of the Birth To Three core team. Annie has lived in DC for ten years and loves learning, listening, and advocating for the city. While she has attended JUFJ events sporadically for the past few years, she became active in JUFJ in 2018 and joined the DC Leadership Council in July 2019. Annie works in communications for the United Nations Foundation, writes long Twitter threads on articles and books that interest her (check her out at @anniero2727), and searches for local food that reminds her of her childhood in California.
Lauren Jacobson Spokane (she/her) serves on the Board of Directors as well as the DC Leadership Council of JUFJ. She got involved in JUFJ as a member of the affordable housing core team in fall 2015, worked on the budget core team in spring 2017, served on JUFJ’s strategic planning team in 2017, and was a member of the DC field building research team in 2018. Lauren works in the DC office of Faith in Action as Director of Development and is the Lead Instigator and Board Chair of the New Synagogue Project. She began her career in Boston as a community organizer with the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and the Union for Reform Judaism.
Evan Traylor (he/him/his) is co-chair of the DC Racial Equity Team. He recently got involved with JUFJ, and is passionate about racial justice work within the Jewish community. Evan is originally from Oklahoma City, and currently lives in Columbia Heights. He currently works for the Union for Reform Judaism overseeing college student engagement and leadership.
Hannah Weilbacher (she/her/hers) joined the DC Leadership Council in the summer of 2019, and it’s a great way for her to continue her commitment to JUFJ’s community after working at JUFJ from 2014-2016 and then serving on the Campaign Fund Core Team. She works at American Jewish World Service and has a podcast about pop music + politics.
Montgomery County Leadership Council
Anita Lampel, Co-Chair (she/her/hers): Anita has been part of the Leadership Council since its founding in November of 2018 and is the co-chair of the Community Building and Education team. She is a psychologist whose practice has included managing a major child-adolescent mental health program and providing court-ordered evaluations in criminal and civil cases. She volunteers in the Jewish community, serving in the past as an officer in her synagogue and now as a member of the JxJ (formerly Washington Jewish Film Festival) Council.
Carol Stern, Co-Chair (she/her/hers):Carol has been part of the Leadership Council since its founding in November of 2018. Carol is the co-chair of the Maryland Equal Justice under the Law Team, has testified in Annapolis, and built solid relationships with District 16 state legislators. She was co-chair of the Marriage Equality effort at Adat Shalom that brought together 100 members to canvass, phone bank, and advocate in Annapolis for the passage of the law. After the successful fight for marriage equality, Carol married her longtime partner, Miriam Eisenstein. When not working with JUFJ, being a Bubbi to her grandkids is one of her favorite activities.
Debbie Amster (she/her/hers): Debbie became active with JUFJ in 2014, and has been part of the Leadership Council since its founding in November of 2018. She is the co-chair of the Community Building and Education team. Retired from a career in Jewish Communal Service, she is currently a culinary coach providing healthy cooking demos in the workplace. Debbie’s daughter, Molly Amster, is the Baltimore Director of JUFJ.
Bob Barkin (he/him/his): Bob has been part of the Leadership Council since its founding in November of 2018. He has been a leader in Jewish non-profit organizations for 25 years and is currently a Board member and Treasurer for Jews United for Justice. He is also a board member for JCRC and a former president of Adat Shalom. Professionally, he was Vice President, Corporate Communications, for ICMA-RC, a financial services corporation, based in Washington, DC that provides retirement plans for public sector employees.
Melissa Goemann (she/her/hers): Melissa has been part of the Leadership Council since the spring of 2019, and is the Racial Equity and Policing Reform co-chair. Melissa Goemann is the Senior Policy Counsel for the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN), a membership-led organization that works to demand change in youth justice systems both locally and nationally. Melissa previously worked as the legislative director for the ACLU of Maryland, where she was responsible for advancing a broad range of civil liberties issues. Melissa is an active member of her synagogue, where she helped to organize a series of racial justice films and discussions together with JUFJ last year.
Jerry Kickenson (he/him/his): Jerry has been active in JUFJ since 2017 and part of the Leadership Council since its founding in November of 2018, and is the Migrant Justice chair. He is also the cluster leader of the Montgomery County chapter of the Congregation Action Network, which is an organizing network of congregations in the DC/MD/VA region that provide support and solidarity to neighbors, friends, and family who fear being detained, deported or profiled. Jerry also helps organize the annual Sukkot in Spring project for his synagogue’s social action committee. When not working, Jerry enjoys listening to blues and classical music, hiking, kayaking, and walking with his dog Eko.
Anna Levy (she/her/hers): bio coming soon.
Jeffrey Rubin (he/him/his): Jeff became active with JUFJ in 2014, and has been part of the Leadership Council since its founding in November of 2018. He is the Leadership Council secretary and co-chair of the Maryland Economic Justice for Working Marylanders team. When not working on JUFJ activities, Jeff serves as Scientific Advisor for a cancer drug development company (Paradigm Shift Therapeutics) and enjoys exercise (jogging, swimming, hiking), photography, reading and time with his family.
Jo Shifrin (she/her/hers): bio coming soon.
Bruce Turnbull (he/him/his): Bruce has been part of the Leadership Council since its founding in November of 2018 and serves on the Board of the Jews United for Justice Campaign Fund. He is a lawyer in private practice, representing major technology companies and multi-company consortia in the negotiation and deployment of licensing regimes for cutting edge technologies that deliver entertainment content to consumers, before opening his own practice. Bruce is a co-founder of, and pro bono counsel to, the Bolechow Jewish Heritage Society, an organization founded by Jewish descendants of a town in what is now Ukraine. He also serves on the Lawyers’ Committee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Bruce is married to Susan Wolf Turnbull, and they reside in Bethesda, Maryland. They are the parents of two adult sons (and their wives) and the incredibly proud grandparents of three grandsons.
Mark Wolff (he/him/his): Mark became active with JUFJ approximately five years ago and has been part of the Leadership Council since its founding in November 2018 as an at-large member. He is an active member of Congregation Adat Shalom. Mark is a retired biostatistician, having worked mostly on vaccine clinical trials. In addition to JUFJ, he spends his time doing pottery and photography.
Fran Zamore (she/her/hers): Fran became active with JUFJ in Fall of 2016, and has been part of the Leadership Council since its founding in November of 2018 and is the co-chair of the Racial Equity & Policing Reform team. When not involved with JUFJ she is involved with her Jewish spiritual journey through study with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. She is an active member of her synagogue, co-chairing their committee that promotes and facilitates contemplative practices (Makom) and the racial justice sub-committee of the Social Action committee. Fran also hikes, plays bridge, knits, and bakes.