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Shanah Tovah from the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management!
Wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and sweet new year!
Fall 2011 - 5772

Letter from the Director: Richard A. Siegel

Inspired Communities, Inspiring Professionals
John Ruskay was this year’s Rabbi Louis Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence at the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management.  As those of you who know John can probably guess, he “knocked their socks off.”  Meeting with the students for six hours of seminars over two days, in addition to his Culmination Address and a public conversation with Jay Sanderson that I moderated, John developed one over-arching theme… his professional mantra… that in order to insure a vibrant non-Orthodox Jewish community in the future, we need to create “inspired communities” now.

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To read more about John Ruskay’s words of inspiration and Richard’s reflections on this year, click here.

Comings and Goings: The Students of 2011
We are thrilled to welcome a new cohort of students to the SJNM community.  This summer, the following students started on their journey with the SJNM:

Certificate in Jewish Nonprofit Management: Yoni Regev, Andrew Terkel, Adam Wright

MAJNM (Single Masters): Natalia Angel-Levi and Aaron Gorodzinsky

MAJNM/MBA: Daniel Tarle and Sarah Craemer
MAJNM/MPA: Natalie Farahan
MAJNM/MSW: Ben Schwartzman
MAJNM/MAJS: Orly Barad
MAJNM/MAJE: Rachel (Rae) Antonoff and Brian Avner

In addition, fourteen students gathered at this summer’s Culmination Ceremony on August 2 to receive their Graduate Certificates in Jewish Nonprofit Management. We extend a hearty Mazal Tov to the following students:
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Certificate in Jewish Nonprofit Management: Lisa Berney (Rabbinical student)

MAJNM (Single Masters): Igor Khokhlov, NYSOE ‘10 and Lauren Trexler
MAJNM/MAJE Joint Masters: Natalie Davidowitz,
Amanda Greene, Jessica Lebovits, Rachel Levin, Hannah Rubin-Schlansky, Mindy Sherry

MAJNM/MBA: Matthew Lipton-Schwartz
MAJNM/MPA: Makenzie Means
MAJNM/MCM: Leah Guskin
MAJNM/MSW: Elenna King and Samira Setareh

To read the remarks made by student speaker Jessica Lebovits at Culmination, click here.

In our next newsletter, we look forward to sharing updates on our most recent graduates, the SJNM Class of 2011. 

SJNM Alumni Committees are starting back up…  And we’d love to hear from you!
With the start of the academic year, we’re getting our working groups back up and running!  Last year we started a number of new initiatives, which we hope will grow this year with your support and involvement.

Last year we launched our SJNM Alumni Applicant Mentoring Program, developed by the National Office of Recruitment and Admissions.  We matched potential applicants with an alumni mentor based on academic and professional interests, as well as other relevant factors like geography or undergraduate university. Through this process, we hope to provide applicants a more personal experience as they navigate the application and interview process, encouraging them to ultimately choose our program, as well as ensuring that we continue to accept the best candidates.

Are you interested in serving as an alumni mentor? Do you know college students or recent grads who are thinking about a career as a Jewish professional and who might be a great fit for the SJNM? Let us know. Email    

Annual Campaign
The School of Jewish Nonprofit Management continues to attract a large number of incredibly smart and talented students, and we hope to encourage them to attend HUC-JIR by offering generous scholarship opportunities to all students.  This year, we will continue to develop an annual alumni campaign, focusing primarily on raising student scholarship funds. If you are interested in serving on this incredibly important committee, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

OR, show your support this year by making your tax-deductible contribution online at our new website: and click “Donate Now” 

Alumni Continuing/Professional Education
Stay tuned throughout the year for opportunities to learn from esteemed SJNM faculty and experts in the field on issues that are interesting and relevant to you!  And if you are curious about a particular issue or heard a really great speaker, let us know- other alumni may also be interested in the same topics!    

If you want more information or have any questions about any of our committees, or want to get involved in ANY way, email!

Stay Connected to Colleagues and HUC-JIR

Facebook and Twitter
Are you on Facebook? Please a few minutes to check out our new page so you can stay connected to the SJNM. By "liking" the page, you'll get updates on what's happening on campus, be linked to interesting articles about our field, learn about job opportunities and stay in touch with other alumni.

You can also follow us on Twitter at sjnm_la… to experience Lunch and Learns and other presentations in real time… See you online! 

HUC-JIR Online Alumni Directory
Looking for an old friend or classmate? Just go to The directory is password-protected, but contact for access.  And don’t forget to let us know if your own information needs to be updated!

The Berman Jewish Policy Archives
The Berman Jewish Policy Archive ( has made HUC-JIR masters theses/projects available online.  If your thesis/project is available in
electronic format and you would like it to be posted,
please send it to Professor Sarah Benor at

HUC-JIR Alumni E-Learning
You can explore Online Alumni resources and
Learning Opportunities at the HUC-JIR E-Learning site:

You can also write for the alumni e-learning blog!
If you are working on an interesting project, or feel that

you have an interesting point of view to share, the Department of E-Learning would love to hear from you!

SJNM Alumni Association Leadership

 From Andi Milens, Chair
I am so excited to be the new chair of the SJNM Alumni Association. The school had, and continues to have, a profound impact on me; I hope it does for you as well. As many of us are aware, the school has faced its share of challenges in recent years, and our alumni have come out in force to show their support. Now, more than ever, it is our time to give back -- in whatever way we can. I hope you will join me in supporting the school -- by getting engaged in our activities and, if you are able, by maintaining a financial commitment to the school.

I look forward to working with you and being in touch!

Andi (MAJCS/MPA ’95) currently serves as Vice President at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and has previously held various positions at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. She is originally from Overland Park, KS, but now lives in New York City. 

Upcoming Conferences and Events
Will you be attending the upcoming Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly (November 6-8, Denver)?  Lori Klein, our Associate Director, will be there representing the SJNM and HUC-JIR.  Stop by our booth to talk with her, send prospective students to meet with her, and join her for an alumni reception (tbd).  Or perhaps you’re headed to the Union for Reform Judaism’s Biennial (December 14-18, Washington DC) or a different conference this year… either way, let us know!  SJNM alumni represent many different professional fields and participate in a wide variety of events.  We want to create opportunities at these events for alumni to be able to come together, meet with SJNM faculty and staff who often attend or speak, and connect with other attendees who may be interested in learning more about the numerous academic programs we offer!  If you’ll be heading to a conference or event (or even a visit to a college or camp) email us as and let us know! 

Milestones and Mazal Tovs
Have you moved, changed jobs, been honored, gotten engaged or married, or had children? Please share your personal and professional milestones so our SJNM community can celebrate with you.  Email

Marriages and Anniversaries
Laura Siegel (MAJCS/MAJE ’09) married Avi Perpinayl on April 10, 2011 in her hometown of Chicago. The couple just returned to live there after spending the last two years in Johannesburg, S. Africa, where Avi is originally from.

Anna Shabtay (MAJCS/MPA ’09) and her husband Erez welcomed a baby boy, Eytan Yariv Shabtay, on February 15, 2011. 

Andrea Fleekop, R.J.E. (MAJCS/MAJE ‘03) and her husband Rabbi Joel, along with big sister Yael welcomed Maya Sivan Fleekop to the world on May 21, 2011. Maya weighed 6 lbs. 8oz. and was 18.25” long.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your families at this time. May you and your families be comforted among the mourners of Zion, and may the memories of your loved ones be a blessing.  


Abby Fleishman Leviss (MAJCS/MPA ’03) and her husband Ted suffered the loss of their son Max Leviss (z”l) on July 21, 2011.

Gosia Szymanska Weiss (MAJCS/MPA ’06), suffered the loss of her father, Jerzy Szymanski (z”l), on August 6.  Gosia traveled to Poland to be with her family during this difficult time.

Employment Updates
Lori Klein (MAJCS/MSW ‘91) has been promoted to Associate Director of the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management as of July. Richard Siegel, Director of the school, describes Klein as its “heart,” serving as the students' fieldwork supervisor and professional advisor.

Gwynneth Q. Russler (MAJCS/MAJE ’78) has been
serving as Executive Assistant to the Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel of New Rochelle since November 2010, while continuing her duties as an educator and Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor at neighboring Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, New York.

Anna Shabtay (MAJCS/MPA ’09) was promoted to Donor Relations Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Long Beach and West Orange County, CA. 

Dr. Javier Simonovich (MAJCS/MSW ’85) was promoted to be Dean of Students at the Emek Yezreel Valley College, Israel as of September 1st.

Adynna Swarz (CJCS, MBA from UCLA ’09) was promoted to Director, Caring for Jews in Need at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. 

Shaina Wasserman (MAJE/MAJCS ‘06) moved to NYC this summer to work as the Project Manager for Innovating Congregations at The Jewish Education Project.

Professional Accomplishments
Mary Baron, LCSW (MAJCS/MSW ‘94) who serves as the Program Manager of Special Clinical Services at
Tri-City Mental Health Center in Pomona, CA recently had her first novel, But This Is Different, published by Steel Cut Press.  It has been well received and can be purchased at

Sarah Bassin (CJCS/Ordained ‘11) was featured as a civic leader in online magazine Splashlife’s series, "30 under 30" about young professional movers and shakers in various realms. 
Michelle (Landau) Brooks (MSW/MAJCS ’97) was recently installed as the new President of JProStl, an association dedicated to supporting professionals working at Jewish organizations in St. Louis. To learn more, visit

SJNM Alumni Association Executive Committee, 2011-2012

Chair: Andi Milens (MAJCS/MPA ‘95)
Immediate Past Chair: Esther Cohen (MAJCS/MPA ‘94)
Alumni Council Representatives: Alan Ronkin (MAJCS/MPA ‘91) and Lee Rosenfield (MAJCS/MPA ‘95)
Recruitment Chair: Alan Ronkin (MAJCS/MPA ‘91)
Campaign Co-Chairs: Daniel Blain (MAJCS/MSW ’89)
and Anna Schwarz Shabtay (MAJCS/MPA ’09)
Continuing Education Co-Chairs: Naomi Abelson (MAJCS/MPA ’07) and Marsha Rothpan (MAJCS/MSW ‘94)

Joy Wasserman, National Director of Alumni Engagement
Richard Siegel, SJNM Director
Lori Klein, SJNM Associate Director 

Jessica Ingram, Coordinator, Alumni Association