Executive Committee

Sharon Weinberg, a retired Cosmetics Executive began her career in New York and later moved to San Francisco working for Sephora and Bare Escentuals. A graduate of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Maryland, Sharon is passionate about Jewish education and building Jewish community in the Bay Area. She joined the Jewish Learning Works board in 2016 and was previously chair of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation Scholarship Committee as well as a member of the Federation Executive Grant Making Committee. Prior to that she served on the board and executive committee of Camp Tawonga. Over the past nine years, Sharon has held numerous volunteer positions at the Brandeis School. Sharon currently lives with her husband and two sons and their new puppy in Burlingame and is a member of PTBE.

Irina Kovriga is passionate about Jewish education. She currently serves on the Executive Grant Making Committee and Teen Initiative Advisory Committee of the Jewish Community Federation. Irina also serves on the Helen Diller Education Award Committee and was its past chair. Her prior work included a term on the board of Kevah, now part of Hamaqom. She is interested in organizational sustainability and non-profit finance and is currently taking accounting and nonprofit finance related courses at the Harvard Business School.

Irina immigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union at the age of sixteen. She has spent her professional career working with hearing impaired children and adults in the greater Boston area. Irina holds a BA in Biology from University of Illinois, and a Doctorate in Audiology from A.T. Still School of Health Sciences.

Irina lives in Mill Valley with her husband Sasha and their two youngest daughters, 15 and 8. Her eldest daughter is a college junior. In her free time Irina enjoys using her training as a professional chef to create elaborate dinners for family and friends.

Emily Simons is a passionate Jewish leader, known for her authenticity, who inspires others to engage with Jewish values through philanthropy. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Emily moved to San Francisco in 2016 after graduating from Temple University with a bachelor’s in social work. She started and has continued her career with SF Hillel, first serving as the Immersive Experiences Associate, connecting students to experiences, and rituals. She now works as the Community Engagement Manager, using her engagement skills and organizational knowledge to cultivate new donors and steward supporters, manage marketing & communications, grant writing, board leadership, and capital campaign fundraising.

In her off-time, Emily serves on the board of Jewish LearningWorks as Secretary and has participated in local fellowships like Federation Fellows, Jeremiah Fellows, Birthright-Israel Fellows, Brandeis Collegiate Institute, and Leadership 365. Through Hillel International, Emily has completed Hillel’s Fundraising Intensive, Major Gifts Cohort, and Supervisory Course. And currently, Emily is pursuing her Masters in Organizational Leadership & Innovation through HUC’s Zelikow School of Nonprofit Management. When she’s not working, she is taking her 3-legged pup, Pumpkin, to the local dog park or exploring the breathtaking views of the Northern California coast.

Adam Jakubowitz is a Bay Area native currently living in San Francisco. Adam works in wealth management at JPMorgan, working with families and foundations. Growing up in the East Bay, he was an active member of Temple Isaiah in Lafayette and is excited to continue to deepen his engagement with the Bay Area Jewish community as part of the Federation Fellowship 2021 cohort. Adam went to the University of Miami and is a CFA charter holder. When he is not working, Adam enjoys hiking and playing golf.

Joel Abramovitz is the Senior Family Educator at The Kitchen in San Francisco, where he oversees three educational communities: Kitchen Playground (for families with kids 0-5), Freedom School (for families with kids 6-13) and Freedom City (for teens 13+). Joel previously served as Judaic Studies Principal and the Middle School Principal at the Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School in Foster City, where he also taught Judaic Studies. Joel loves to teach and learn Bible, analyze Jewish comedy, and think about how his work as a Jew and Jewish educator intersects with social change. He is also deeply involved in the local organizing work of Bend the Arc, focusing on criminal justice reform. Joel is a graduate of the DeLeT (Day School Leadership through Teaching) Program at Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, and received his Master’s degree in Jewish Education from HUC-LA. Despite receiving much of his education in Southern California, Joel is a proud third-generation Bay Area native and lives in Berkeley. When not working, Joel can be found in his kitchen, baking or studying cookbooks as if they were sacred texts.

Ron Roth has served as a board member and officer of Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, Congregation Kol Emeth, Hillel at Stanford, and Jewish LearningWorks, as well as a board member of Kehillah Jewish High School. He has also been a volunteer classroom reader in a local public school for the Jewish Coalition for Literacy. Prior to his retirement, Ron was a partner with the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where was a chair of the tax department. Ron and his wife Sheree have two marvelous sons and daughters-in-law. Both their sons are alumni of Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School. They also have four perfect grandchildren from whom they shep unimaginable nachas. Ron was born and raised a practicing Philadelphia Phillies fan, although he has been a devout San Francisco Giants supporter for more than forty-five years. He occasionally dabbles in stand-up comedy. Ron received his B.A. from Lehigh University, his J.D. degree from Stanford University and his L.L.M. in taxation from N.Y.U.

Julie Dorsey is in her sixth term of service for Jewish LearningWorks, where she currently serves as Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors. She has served in many capacities for the organization, including Secretary and chair of Governance, and Development.  She is a Past President of the Board of Directors of Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, where she was instrumental in the development and completion of their four-acre campus and has been heavily involved in board recruiting and leadership development.  She is an active member of Congregation Beth Jacob where she chaired the NESS Committee and the Religious School Advisory Board. She currently serves on the Building and Design committee. A sixth generation Californian, she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of California at Irvine.  After performing with several dance companies in Southern California, she returned to the Bay Area to teach ballet at the University of California at Santa Cruz and choreograph a variety of local productions.  She and her husband Daniel Leemon have three children and live in Atherton.

Members at Large

Martha Adler is an independent consultant with over 20 years of corporate finance experience, primarily in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and high-technology industries. Her areas of expertise include senior management, functional, operational and SEC reporting, corporate governance enhancements, business processes and analysis, project management and systems planning and implementation. Prior to opening her consulting firm, she spent 10 years in the real estate and construction industry, including five years as the VP Finance at Carlson Design/Construct Corp. in San Francisco.  Martha has served on the Religious School Committee and as President of Beth El Women at Temple Beth El, in addition to participating in the Development Committee. She has also served as the President of the SF Bay Area Chapter of the Construction Financial Management Association. She received her MBA from Golden Gate University and her BA from the University of Oregon. She lives in Half Moon Bay, CA with her husband, Michael. Her daughter, Sarah, is a recent NYU graduate residing in NYC, and her daughter, Hannah, is currently attending Georgetown University.

Nicole Cruz is a Southern California native currently residing in the Bay Area. She currently works as the Salesforce Administrator/Developer at Elation Health in San Francisco. She has previously worked and volunteered with Peninsula Jewish Community Center, Peninsula Temple Beth El, and Jewish Family & Children Services. Nicole received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Italian from the University of Southern California, and her graduate degree from Vanderbilt University. She’s participated in several Jewish professional development opportunities including Hazon’s Jewish Outdoor Food Farm Environmental Education (JOFEE) Fellowship and the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation’s Fed Fellows program. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, outdoor activities, and participating in Jewish community events in the Bay Area.

Daniella Forney is currently the Assistant Director of Education and Teen/Youth Programs at Temple Isaiah, where she helps oversee the preschool-7th grade religious school (JQuest), 8-12th grade teen programming (Noar Night), and is the coordinator of the teacher assistant program (Avodah). Daniella graduated from Clark University with a degree in Economics and Business Management. After spending time traveling abroad and teaching high school English in China, Daniella worked as a Senior Business Consultant with a specialty in organizational efficiency. Daniella has been an active volunteer in her local community, for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Berkeley Food Network, Winter Nights, and has held board positions at East Bay public and private schools. A native of Moraga, Daniella currently resides in Berkeley with her husband and 3 teens. In her free time, Daniella can likely be found painting, cake decorating, or scrapbooking.

Donald E. Heller is the retired Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of San Francisco, where he was responsible for the university’s five schools, libraries, academic affairs, student life, enrollment management, online programs, branch campuses, and international relations for its 11,000 students.  Prior to USF, he served as Dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University and also held faculty positions at the University of Michigan and Penn State University.  He currently is working as a consultant in the areas of higher education economics, finance, policy, and governance.  He has served as a Trustee of DePaul University, the nation’s largest Catholic university, since 2012.  Don earned an Ed.D. in higher education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and holds an Ed.M. in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard and a B.A. in economics and political science from Tufts University.  He and his wife Anne Simon are members of The Kitchen.

Sasha Joseph is the Project Coordinator for The Jewish Women of Color Resilience Circle, at Dimensions Educational Consulting. Sasha is passionate about creating radically welcoming spaces. In her seven years as a Jewish professional, she has been dedicated to promoting the diversity of Jewish life in all the programming and experiences she creates. Living as an immigrant and a Jewish Woman of Color in Oklahoma sparked her passion for social justice, and living in the Bay Area transformed the way she approached her activism. She brings her experience as a Jewish Educator and trained facilitator to her work. As a fellow with Voices for Good, Sasha is excited to keep helping Jewish Learning Works support the broader Bay Area community. When not creating the next cool Jewish project, you can find Sasha podcasting about her favorite tv shows and on the hunt for her next travel adventure.

Cindy Schlesinger has spent the last 30+ years devoted to Jewish education. From teaching, to being an administrator, to supporting students as a learning specialist, she has seen the value of providing a Jewish education. Most recently, Cindy was the Head of School at Yavneh Day School where she helped the school navigate the many challenges of COVID. Prior to that, she spent 18 years at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School where she taught in the math and science programs, bolstered the school’s capacity to address individual needs for both gifted students and those with learning challenges, and was the Head of Middle School. Cindy is a Bay Area native and met her husband, Jon, working as a camp counselor at the Palo Alto JCC. Their son is a graduate of Hausner and Kehillah and is currently in graduate school at UCSD. Cindy served on the Board of Directors at Congregation Beth Am as well as on their senior rabbi search committee.

Robert Terrell Smith holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Asian Studies and Latin American studies, and he pursued doctoral work at Stanford University in religious studies, with a specialization in modern and contemporary Jewish thought. In 1999, he was a Fulbright Scholar in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he studied at the Marshall Meyer Latin American Rabbinical Seminary and conducted research on religious and cultural identity within the Argentinian Jewish community. Over nearly two decades, Robert has taught students throughout the US, Latin America, and China as a college instructor, classroom teacher, and tutor. Robert is the Director of Admissions at Kehillah Jewish High School.

Stephanie Snyder has a Bachelor of Science in economics/finance, holds a multiple subject K-8 teaching credential, is a graduate of Temple Isaiah’s Leading with a Jewish Heart program and is a certified holistic nutrition consultant. Stephanie works with her clients to help them achieve their health goals and teaches courses on topics ranging from; the foundations of nutrition, women’s health, senior health, and youth health. Stephanie is an educator at Contra Costa Jewish Day school and teaches middle school science. She brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership experience to the roles she holds through her work experience and extensive volunteer experience at her children’s schools, in Lafayette Juniors, and at Temple Isaiah where she chaired several programs and committees: Kulanu Family Programming Co-Chair, Membership Co-chair, Values in Action social action Co-chair, Sisterhood President, and a member of Temple Isaiah Board for over six years.  She currently chairs the Temple Isaiah’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee and is the philanthropy chair of the sisterhood. In her free time, Stephanie takes time to read for pleasure and enjoys hikes in the Bay Area with her dog, Murphy. Stephanie loves to harvest local produce from her backyard garden in Lafayette, California and prepare home cooked meals for her three children and husband.

Jeff Weitzman is an entrepreneur and corporate executive. He has been a leader or founder of a number of tech startups, most recently in the areas of AI, IoT, and blockchain-based identity management. Earlier he held executive positions at non-profit Common Sense Media,  Coupons.com (now Quotient Technology), and Yahoo. He currently sits on the board of Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto and has been a board member at J. Weekly and the Hausner Jewish Day School, including a term as the school’s board president.

Past Presidents

Julie Bannerman
Dr. Ellyn J. Cohen
Dr. Evan S. Dobelle
Julie Dorsey
Dr. Susan Folkman
Nanette Freedland
Douglas E. Goldman, M.D.
Gary Hammer
Sandra Kurland
Robert Lauter z”l
Nadine Levin-Abrams
William J. Lowenberg z”l
Laurence E. Myers z”l
Dr. Raquel Newman z”l
Sora Lei Newman
Michael R. Perman
Janis Sherman Popp
Kathy Reback
Dr. Barbara Rosenberg
James Sammet
Jane Springwater
David J. Steirman
Marlene Sturm
Arthur Zimmerman z”l