Partnership:

Our greatest priority and pride lies in fostering trusting and creative partnerships among our professional team and lay leaders. Only by working together in close collaboration will we respond vigorously and wisely to the shared challenges and opportunities before us. We aspire to exemplify this “secret sauce” found within the culture of the greater Baltimore Jewish community. Please meet our professional team as of July 1, 2021, the board of Na’aleh, and the many volunteers serving on our councils, committees, and task forces.

Board Members

Debs Weinberg, Chair

Debs sees herself as a community builder. She has successfully been able to serve as a lay-leader and a professional in the Jewish community. Debs served as the Chair of the Board of the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore when Covid-19 hit our community. It was a strong reminder that one does not lead alone. There is nothing more important than the lay-professional relationship and surrounding yourself with people who bring diverse qualities to the table. The community is stronger for it.

Ned Himmelrich, Treasurer

Ned is immediate past president of ACHARAI: The Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish Leadership Institute, a part of Na’aleh and is on the Na’aleh Executive Committee. His involvement began in 2006 when he was among the people who helped found ACHARAI. He has previously been the president of The Center for Jewish Education, on the Board of DFI, and head of the teen commission that led to the creation of 4Front, among other board and committees in the Baltimore Jewish community. He has been involved in leadership of the Red Cross Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center, Maryland State Bar Association Intellectual Property Committee, and Baltimore City Bar Library. Ned is an attorney and Chair of the Technology and Intellectual Property group at Gordon Feinblatt. He is married to Eileen Diener, a reading specialist, and father of Abby, Molly and Drew.

Katie Applefeld

Melissa Cordish

Melissa has served in numerous leadership roles in the Jewish community since moving to Baltimore in 1997. She was co-chair of the task force that led to the establishment of the Center for Leadership, now Na’aleh, and now chairs its Strategic Alignment Committee and sits on the Executive Committee and Governance Committee. Melissa co-chaired the Associated’s Strategic Framing process, an effort to restructure the organization’s decision-making and goal-setting processes as it approached its centennial year. Melissa is currently working on a Master’s in Social Work at University of Maryland, Baltimore and also holds a J.D. from UCLA School of Law. She is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage and ACHARAI Fellows Programs and lives in Baltimore City.

Emily Gaines Demsky

Emily is an artist whose work focuses on perspective, gratitude, light and wonder. She is the creator of f/LIGHT DECK, a tangible tool designed to help curious people shift their perspective and in doing so, shift their lives. Emily has served in a variety of volunteer roles in the Baltimore community, and currently sits on The Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences. She currently chairs the DFI Advisory Council and thus is on the Na’aleh Executive Committee. Emily has a professional background in arts administration, strategic planning, development, and nonprofit management.

Alyson Friedman

As a community activist for over 20 years, Alyson has held several leadership positions throughout the Associated system including Women’s Campaign Chair, CHANA President, Jewish Women’s Giving Foundation Chair, and National Women’s Philanthropy Board Member, and as the inaugural co-chair of the Na’aleh Marketing Committee, to name a few. Alyson is looking forward to her role engaging a diverse array of leaders community-wide to learn, grow and thrive together under the new Na’aleh umbrella.

Jonah Geller

Jonah is CEO of the JCC in York, PA, previously spending 21 years directing Jewish camp and retreat center organizations. Originally from Pittsburgh, Jonah earned degrees in Journalism, Jewish Studies and Hebrew from the University of Wisconsin and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is a current participant in Leadership York’s Non-Profit Leadership Academy and a graduate of the Wexner Foundation’s Field Fellowship, Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership, and JCC Association of North America’s Executive Director Leadership Program. Jonah is a Board member of My New Summer, providing assistance to aspiring Jewish camp leaders through professional development opportunities. He is married to Jennifer Noparstak and has three children, Ari, Ezra, and Lea.

Joanne Gold

Joanne is chair of the Na’aleh Governance Committee and a member of the Executive Committee, on the Board of The Contemporary Museum, The Park School of Baltimore, President of the Baltimore Society for Psychoanalytic Studies, a past president of DFI and a 2016-2017 ACHARAI Fellow. Joanne has a special interest in governance and leadership development within work and community organizations, creativity, as well as the complex relationship between the intrapsychic and interpersonal within groups. She is currently writing about character development and intergenerational relations within the Book of Genesis.

Amy Gross

Amy has worked in philanthropy for 15 years, currently as the Executive Director of the France-Merrick Foundation and formerly as Program Director at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Prior to these roles, Amy trained and worked as a Jewish communal service professional, serving as the Director of Community Initiatives at The ASSOCIATED, and the Director of Community Relations and Director of Leadership Development at the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island. Amy has a masters in social work and a certificate in Jewish Communal Service from the University of Michigan, is a graduate of both the GBC Leadership program and Leadership Maryland, and has served on the boards of the Pearlstone Center, Maryland Philanthropy Network and Art with a Heart. She serves Na’aleh as vice chair of the Governance Committee.

Shelly Hettleman

Maryland State Senator Shelly Hettleman was appointed to represent District 11 on February 3, 2020, after having first been elected in 2014 to represent her District in the House of Delegates. During her tenure in the House, she served on the Appropriations Committee where she served as Vice Chair of the Education and Economic Development Subcommittee and the Personnel Oversight Subcommittee. She was the lead sponsor of a number of bills that have become law on a variety of important issues: helping college students seek transparency in their student loan debt, expanding tax credit availability for loan debt to graduate students, protecting older adults from abuse, requiring for-profit educational institutions to be more transparent and accountable, broadening the access and availability of contraceptives, and creating a statewide standard for the preservation and testing of rape kits, to name a few.

Fred Heyman

Fred is the current Chair of the ACHARAI Advisory Council and as such, sits on the Na’aleh Executive Committee. He is a proud member of Cohort V of the ACHARAI Fellows Program (AFP) and a graduate of the Baltimore Jewish Council’s leadership development program. Fred’s involvement with Jewish leadership and philanthropy began many years ago as the initial Chair of The Associated’s Connections Committee. Since that time, Fred has been a sustained and committed volunteer serving as Co-Chair (with his wife Tammy) of the Blum Seminar, Super Sunday (again with Tammy), and has served as Board Chair of Johns Hopkins Hillel and Capital Camps and Retreat Center. Fred is also currently a board member of the JCC, where he Co-Chairs the Camp Committee and its DEIJ task force. He is a past recipient of the Harry S. Greenstein Young Leadership Award and the Exemplar of Excellence for Thoughtful and Strategic Leadership Award from Hillel International. Fred is an attorney and partner at Bennett & Heyman. P.A.  Fred and Tammy are the proud parents of sons Adam and Ethan.

Linda A. Hurwitz

Linda has served nationally and locally in almost every campaign position including National Campaign Chair of JFNA, The Associated and Beth Tfiloh. She has also served as Chair of the Board of The Associated, National Women’s Philanthropy and Beth Tfiloh Day School and served as the inaugural co-chair of the first Na’aleh board. In essence, Linda loves to give, loves to learn and loves to love.

Corinne Janet

Corinne is a California native who now enjoys living in Baltimore with her two-year-old daughter. Corinne’s professional interests center on higher education and leadership development. She previously served as Maryland Hillel’s Engagement Associate. Following her time at Hillel, she received her M.Ed. in Student Affairs from University of Maryland where she worked as the Graduate Coordinator for the Maryland LEAD Program. Corinne also served as the Coordinator for Leadership Development at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Corinne feels deeply connected to the Baltimore Jewish community that began with her involvement with The Associated’s Young Leadership Council and JVC’s Mitzvah Day Committee.

Ellen Lightman

Ellen has served as past president of ACHARAI and as past chair of AIPAC Baltimore Leadership Council, Congregation Shomrei Emunah Sisterhood, and NCSY Atlantic Seaboard. She also was founder and coordinator of The Twain Shall Meet: A Program for Jewish Interaction and was a board member of the Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish High School. “Hinei Ma tov U Manaayim Shevet Achim Gam Yachad, How good and how pleasant it is that brothers dwell together.” Psalm 133

Diana Morris

Diana is an independent consultant for philanthropic and nonprofit organizations, focusing on strategic planning, organizational development, and executive searches. She was the founding director of the Open Society Institute-Baltimore and Open Places Initiative and a member of the senior management team of U.S. Programs of the Open Society Foundations (1997-2019). Previously, she served as the first executive director of the Blaustein Philanthropic Group (1991-97) and as a program officer at the Ford Foundation (1982-91), launching its global refugee and migrants rights program and subsequently addressing social justice issues in Eastern and Southern Africa. A member of the NY State Bar, Diana current serves on the boards of Health Care for the Homeless in Maryland and the Salt Bay Chamberfest in Maine.

Pamela Platt

Pam proudly served as the inaugural co-chair of the first Na’aleh board. Prior to this, Pam has held various positions across many different Jewish agencies throughout Baltimore. She served as the President of ACHARAI: The Shoshana S. Cardin Leadership Institute, President of UMBC Hillel, President of the Sinai Hospital Auxiliary, Secretary of the Board of Chizuk Amuno Congregation, Corresponding Secretary of National Council of Jewish Women, and served on a variety of committees for the Associated, Krieger Schechter Day School and Chizuk Amuno Congregation, among others. Strengthening Jewish leadership for the future, elevating fundraising efforts to sustain organizations, and bringing the community together are core to Pam’s values as she dedicates her time to the community. As a proud Baltimorean, Pam’s work with Na’aleh is her way of making sure that the Baltimore Jewish community always has exceptional leadership that enables it to remain a vibrant, passionate and strong community.

Berry Sachs

Berry is the immediate past chair of the Darrell Friedman Institute for Professional Development at Na’aleh. Prior to a multi-dimensional career, she retired as the Executive Director of The Jewish Center for Business Development. Currently, she is a docent at the Baltimore Museum of Art and an active member of the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle. A member of Har Sinai- Oheb Shalom Congregation, she is a former president of Har Sinai Sisterhood.

David Sachs

As Executive Director of The Leadership, an organization dedicated to strengthening civic leadership in Baltimore, David feels extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue his professional passion: creating transformational leadership learning experiences for individuals and groups. Having joined The Leadership in 2013, he is excited by The Leadership community’s potential to continue to contribute to Baltimore’s growth and vitality. Spending his career in the field of leadership development, David has served in strategic management, teaching, and program design roles at Harvard Business School, UMBC, Johns Hopkins, MICA, and T. Rowe Price. He serves Na’aleh as vice chair of the Strategic Alignment Committee.

Lee Sherman

Lee is currently Executive Director of Chizuk Amuno Congregation & Schools. Previously, Lee was president and CEO of the National Human Services Assembly, the national network of many of the nation’s largest human service providers. Prior to that, Lee was president and CEO of the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies, a network of over 125 human service providers in the U.S. and Canada. He has served in various leadership roles in the community, locally for The Associated, Jewish Community Services, Jewish Family Services, the Center for Jewish Education, the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies, and Chizuk Amuno, nationally for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance and 501C Trust, and internationally for Yahel, a service-learning program in Israel.

Shlomo Spetner

Shlomo Spetner’s volunteer work has been focused on Jewish education. At the present time, he is the chair of the Talmudical Academy board of education. In the late ‘90s, he participated in the founding of the Women’s Institute of Torah Seminary and College and now serves as its chairman. Shlomo is a past president of the Bais Yaakov School and has served on its board of directors and board of education for over thirty years.

Hillel Tendler

Hillel is an attorney specializing in corporate and securities law. For over 30 years, Hillel has been involved with Jewish education in Baltimore and has held volunteer lay leadership positions with local schools, synagogues, LifeBridge Health, and Sinai Hospital. He has served on a number of Associated committees and task forces and was a member of the founding Board of Trustees of ACHARAI: The Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish Leadership Institute.

Ilene Vogelstein

Ilene has extensive professional and volunteer experience in Jewish education. She served as President of the Board of Jewish Education and the Pearlstone Retreat Center. Ilene’s primary focus is in early childhood Jewish education. She is the author of several publications including Untapped Potential: The Status of Jewish Early Childhood Education in America (2002), Early Childhood Jewish Education “If not now, When?” (2008) and a co-author of “Early Childhood Jewish Education” in The International Handbook of Jewish Education.

Louise Zirretta

Louise has more than 45 years of community service on national and international boards of 501c3 organizations in the Jewish and secular communities. She is a past president of ACHARAI: The Shoshana S. Cardin Leadership Institute and is a past president of Har Sinai Congregation, the oldest continuously Reform congregation in America. Currently, Louise chairs the Na’aleh Marketing Committee, is VP of Strategic Planning for the National Council of Jewish Women-AZ Section, serves Har Sinai – Oheb Shalom Congregation on the Marketing Committee and is a member and past chair of the Funding Committee of C.A.R.E.- Cancer Awareness through Research and Education, an organization that raises seed funding for innovative cancer research at Mayo Clinic of AZ and the HonorHealth Research Institute.

Professional Team

Dr. Bill Robinson

Executive Director, Na’aleh

Prior to becoming the Executive Director of Na’aleh, Dr. Bill Robinson was the dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he created the Leadership Commons, which cultivated educational leadership and offered practical wisdom to support Jewish communities throughout North America. During his previous seven-year tenure as chief strategy officer at The Jewish Education Project, Bill was integral to the transformation of the 100-year-old organization (formerly known as the Board of Jewish Education) into its current, vibrant form. In 2011, The Jewish Education Project became the first legacy organization to be named to the Slingshot list of top 50 innovative Jewish nonprofits in North America. Bill received an interdisciplinary PhD in Social Theory from Rutgers University. He is the proud father of Jessica Shaye and Juliette Eliana, and the adoring husband of Tia Zlotnikoff.

Beth Gansky

Director of Leadership Innovation

Beth is the Director of Leadership Innovation at Na’aleh, previously filling the Executive Director of ACHARAI: Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish Leadership Institute role. Before becoming Executive Director of ACHARAI in June 2015, Beth had been serving as a leadership coach for both the ACHARAI Fellows Program and Presidents’ Circle. She holds a Leadership Coaching Certification from Georgetown University, a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration from Columbia University, and a B.A. from Binghamton University. Beth is an experienced facilitator and a member of the faculty team of Accelerate, a year-long national program for high potential Hillel professionals who aspire to become directors.

Beth helps people bring their best selves to their professional and personal lives. Over the last twenty years, Beth has trained, consulted and coached both volunteer and professional leaders for local and national organizations. In 2012, she launched The Gansky Group, LLC, a consulting practice that specializes in coaching and training, particularly with non-profit organizations. Beth was with Hillel of Greater Baltimore for fourteen years until 2009, as the Executive Director for the last five. She led the decentralization of that regional operation to four self-sustaining Hillel campus foundations and played a significant role in the opening of The Smokler Center at Johns Hopkins University. Beth is also a board member at Camp Ramah in the Poconos where she is chairing strategic planning process. She is a past board member at Beth Israel Congregation, University of Maryland Hillel, and Beth Tfiloh Congregation and is a facilitator for the Darrell D. Friedman Institute for Professional Development.

Outside of her professional life, Beth finds great fulfillment as a traveler, cook, reader, theatre patron, and mother.

Cindy Goldstein

Director of Talent Development

Cindy started working with the Darrell D. Friedman Institute (DFI) in 1998, recruiting and training graduate students to prepare them to enter the field of Jewish communal service. In 2007, she led DFI’s transformation into its current scope of service providing continuing education and leadership training to current Jewish Communal professionals serving at all levels and in diverse Jewish agencies, organizations, and synagogues in order to help them succeed in their jobs and advance in their careers.

Cindy has a dual Master’s degree in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary and in Social Work from Columbia University. Prior to moving to Baltimore in 1996, she was awarded a FEREP for grad school and worked as a Campaign Associate in Connecticut at the Hartford Jewish Federation, followed by positions at the Hartford JCC in Senior Adult Programming, and as Executive Director of the Connecticut Valley Region of United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism. She has volunteered in a number of capacities in the community, including the University of Maryland Hillel Board, Hadassah, and Beth Israel Congregation. Cindy participated in the Jewish Coaching Academy and holds a training certificate from the American Society for Training and Development.

Aviva Cohen

Communications Associate

Aviva is an experienced writer, designer, and creator. Driven by her passion for clean, effectively communicated design, she takes pride in providing the best internal marketing support possible for her team. As the Na’aleh Communications Associate, she is responsible for managing all external communications for Na’aleh with the goals of establishing and growing recognition of the leadership development Na’aleh provides to both professionals and lay leaders in the greater Baltimore community.

Aviva first began working with DFI as the social media manager in 2016 and has been a vital participant of the leadership journey that conceptualized Na’aleh: The Hub for Leadership Learning.

She holds a Master’s in Integrated Design from University of Baltimore and was the 2018 Seminar Award winner.

Naami Schorr

Program Director

Naami is the Program Director for ACHARAI: The Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish Leadership Institute, a division of Na’aleh: The Hub for Leadership Learning. Naami received her Bachelor’s degree in psychology, a Master’s degree in Leadership studies and most recently became certified as a Leadership Coach through Georgetown University.

Naami’s passion for Jewish communal work was inspired by her parent’s involvement in her hometown Jewish community of Los Angeles. She has worked for nonprofit organizations in California, New York and Israel. In New York, Naami and her husband built a Jewish community at SUNY Albany engaging over 1,000 Jewish college students in meaningful Jewish experiences. In Israel she planned and led multiple Israel activism trips. After more than a decade of nonprofit work, Naami set her roots in Baltimore with her husband Yanky and three daughters. She began working at ACHARAI as program director. In this role, Naami has been involved in the development of three ACHARAI Fellows Program cohorts and oversees the alumni program of over 165 ACHARAI alumni. Naami is most looking forward to furthering the goals of Na’aleh through leadership coaching and creating more learning opportunities and experiences for the lay leaders in the Baltimore Jewish community.

Elayna Tell

Operations Manager

Elayna is new to the Na’aleh professional team, joining as Operations Manager. Elayna graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, with concentrations in political science, history, and Jewish studies. While at Pitt, Elayna cultivated a desire to work in the Jewish community, serving as a student leader at Hillel Jewish University Center and as the Community Relations Council Fellow at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. She also spent time living and working in Ashdod, Israel as a participant on the Masa Israel Journey Community Involvement program. Elayna was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and moved to Maryland five years ago to pursue a career in Jewish communal work. Elayna spent years as a dog walker and dog sitter and is an avid dog lover. She also loves collecting books, nail polish, and shoes. Her favorite hobby is baking and her chocolate chip cookies and hamantaschen have been shipped to friends and family nationwide.

Mariana Antoniuk

Consultant, Adaptive Leadership

Mariana is from São Paulo, Brazil. She spent six years in the Catholic University, São Paulo, one of the largest and most prestigious universities of Brazil, where she became bachelor in pedagogy and master in education. She specializes in leadership development and critical thinking-humanistic education.

She has different experiences as a teachers trainer and leadership expert in Brazil, Mozambique, Israel and USA. In her career she worked mainly with Jewish communities and at-risk populations, especially with African refugees.

In the last years Mariana developed extensive experience as an Adaptive Leadership facilitator. Since 2016 she is an associate trainer in the Masa Leadership Center faculty.

Advisory Council and Committee Members

Chavi Abramson

ACHARAI Advisory Council

Katie Applefeld

Finance Committee, Governance Committee

Robin Belsky

Marketing Committee

Randi Benesch

DFI Advisory Council

Wendy Berman

DFI Advisory Council

Melissa Halpern Brill

Marketing Committee

Randi Buergenthal

Strategic Alignment Committee, ACHARAI Advisory Council

Carla Cooper

Marketing Committee

Melissa Cordish

Strategic Alignment Committee Chair, Executive Committee, Governance Committee

Maureen David

ACHARAI Advisory Council

Emily Gaines Demsky

Executive Committee, DFI Advisory Council Chair

Estee Fader

Strategic Alignment Committee

Justin Fair

Marketing Committee

Denise Franz

Marketing Committee

Alyson Friedman

Marketing Committee

Mike Fuld

DFI Advisory Council

Jonah Geller

DFI Advisory Council

Joanne Gold

Governance Committee Chair, Executive Committee

Larry Gordon

ACHARAI Advisory Council

Elizabeth Green

ACHARAI Advisory Council

Amy Gross

Governance Committee Vice Chair, Strategic Alignment Committee

Jody Harburger

Marketing Committee Vice Chair, DFI Advisory Council

Shelly Hettleman

Strategic Alignment Committee

Fred Heyman

Executive Committee, ACHARAI Advisory Council Chair

Rebecca Hiller

Marketing Committee

Ned Himmelrich

Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair, Governance Committee, Executive Committee, ACHARAI Advisory Council

Daniel (Dan) Hirschhorn

Finance Committee, ACHARAI Advisory Council

Corinne Janet

DFI Advisory Council

Helene Kahn

Strategic Alignment Committee

Loryn Lesser

Strategic Alignment Committee

Andrea Lieber

DFI Advisory Council

Ellen Lightman

Governance Committee

Joshua Mauer

ACHARAI Advisory Council

Jennifer Mendelsohn Millman

DFI Advisory Council

Rachel Moses

Marketing Committee

Diana Morris

Strategic Alignment Committee

Jonathan Oleisky

Marketing Committee

Roberta (Bobbi) Perlman

ACHARAI Advisory Council

Pamela Platt

ACHARAI Advisory Council

Rachel Plotkin

DFI Advisory Council

Fran Pruce

ACHARAI Advisory Council Vice Chair, Strategic Alignment Committee

Nancy Kohn Rabin

Strategic Alignment Committee, ACHARAI Advisory Council

Howard Reznick

DFI Advisory Council

Joanna Rombro

Finance Committee

Berry Sachs

Finance Committee

David Sachs

Strategic Alignment Committee Vice Chair

Michael Saxon

Strategic Alignment Committee

Dena Schaffer

Strategic Alignment Committee

Erika Pardes Schon

ACHARAI Advisory Council

Beth Sellman

ACHARAI Advisory Council

Evan Serpick

Marketing Committee

Lee Sherman

Finance Committee, DFI Advisory Council

David Speer

DFI Advisory Council

Hillel Tendler

Finance Committee

Ilene Vogelstein

DFI Advisory Council

Mina Wender

ACHARAI Advisory Council

Harriette Wimms

DFI Advisory Council

Louise Zirretta

Marketing Committee Chair, Executive Committee, ACHARAI Advisory Council