HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management Alumni Newsletter
August 2013
Elul 5773
In This Issue
Director's Report
New Student Spotlight
Upcoming SJNM Events
Milestones and Mazel Tovs
Shanah Tova!


Shanah tovah to all of our alumni and extended family. We wish you a sweet, happy, and healthy year! 



Stay Connected on Social Media


Facebook and Twitter 

Are you on Facebook? Like our page to 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 SJNM on Twitter at @sjnm_la to experience Lunch and Learns and other events in real time.


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!


Alumni E-Learning 

You can explore online alumni resources and learning opportunities at the HUC-JIR 

E-Learning site:  




SJNM Alumni Association Executive Committee  



Stephanie Bressler 



Vice Chair
Naomi Abelson
Past Chair
Andi Milens 


Alumni Council Representatives 

Shaina Wasserman (MAJCS/MAJE '06) and Naomi Abelson (MAJCS/MPA '07)    


Alumni Engagement Co-Chairs  

Jenna Fields (MAJNM/MSW '10) and Bailey London (MAJCS/MSW '07) 
Campaign Co-Chairs
Julia Malkin
(MAJNM/MPA '11) and Anna Shabtay (MAJCS/MPA '09)


Recruitment Co-Chairs 

Miriam Friedman (MAJCS/MPA '06) and Rachel Slaton (MAJNM/MPA '11)


Communications Chair

Missy Bell



Joy Wasserman

National Director of Alumni Engagement
Richard Siegel

SJNM Director
Mandi Richardson

SJNM Associate Director 

Jessica Ingram

Coordinator, Alumni Association


Thank you to everyone who served on the Alumni Association Leadership Team during this past year - your hard work and passion for our school and community is greatly appreciated! 

We're excited to share with you what's going on in the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management! Read on for a report from the Director, information on our new students, upcoming events, and more!
Director's Report 
Richard Siegel

2013 Culmination
The 2013 Culminating Class
On August 6th, we celebrated the 44th Culmination Ceremonies of the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, the longest running program of Jewish professional leadership development... anywhere... ever. It is remarkable that this program, conceived and launched in the late 1960s during a time of turbulent change, both in the Jewish and general American society, remains as relevant and as important as when it was founded.

We were all enthralled with this summer's Rabbi Louis Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence, Rabbi Joy Levitt, the dynamic and courageous Executive Director of the JCC in Manhattan, which she has catapulted into one of the most innovative and successful JCCs in the country. Joy's Culmination Address was entitled "The Times They Are A-Changin'," both an evocation of the counter-culture of the late 60s (Joy was worried that the students might not know the reference) and a challenge to the students... and all of us working on behalf of the Jewish people... that the landscape we face requires new thinking from our professionals if non-Orthodox Jewish life in America is going to survive.


Rabbi Joy Levitt speaking at Culmination


As Joy put it: "You, today's graduates, have not been trained to be caretakers of dying or atrophied institutions. You have been trained to serve the Jewish people. And we are not well served by institutions or professionals that think a little tinkering here and a little tweaking there, or better graphics, logos, or websites will do the trick."


I think her talk should be required reading for all students and Jewish professionals... and I encourage you to visit our website next week (b'li neder),, where you will be able to download the paper or watch the video. While there, you might want to check out the D'var Torah by Arielle Branitsky and the Student Reflection by Michelle Westmiller on behalf of the six culminating students. Both are impressive and moving statements of purpose and passion for Jewish life.


Our ten first-year students are an exceptional cohort (with one FEREP, one Wexner, and one PresenTense LA Fellow), representing all of our programs - single Masters, Joint Masters and dual Masters in MBA, MPA, MSW and MCM. For the first time in several years, however, we do not have any Rabbinic students studying for the Certificate or Masters (although we have large numbers taking individual courses).

A couple of other items relevant to our alumni:

  1. This summer we tested out live streaming of the Lunch & Learn Encounter Seminars and the Culmination Ceremony. Response to the test has been positive, and we now intend to live stream more of our programs. We are doing this particularly for the benefit of our alumni, who can virtually "sit-in" on SJNM learning opportunities. All of this summer's programs will soon be available for viewing on our website.
  2. Prior to the May graduation, we had a very successful inaugural Alumni Reception sponsored by the SJNM Advisory Board in honor of our Honorary Degree recipient, Deborah Burg-Schnirman. Plans have already begun for next year's Alumni Reception, where we will also be honoring Steven Windmueller, who will be retiring at the end of the academic year. More on this to come.
  3. Two alumni have recently been appointed to the SJNM Advisory Board: Rachel Slaton ('11) and Rebecca Garrison ('06). They are already serving as liaisons with the SJNM Alumni Association in regard to the Alumni Reception and coordinated fundraising.

All in all, we're in very good shape heading into 5774. Best wishes to all of you for a healthy, joyous, and sweet New Year.



New Student Spotlight

Over the next few months, you'll find profiles of SJNM's newest students in this section. Enjoy getting to know our new class!











Name: Sarah Magida

2nd Degree: MARE

Hometown: Weston, CT

Undergraduate College/Degree: Skidmore College, American Studies and Religious Studies

Favorite Spot in LA (so far): Tanners Coffee Shop

Favorite Wacky Wednesday: JBBBS

What Jewish experience/organization has led you to where you are today and why? I spent 11 summers as a camper and counselor at Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, MA. I was also very involved as a congregant (as a child and in my teens) and as a staff member (after college) at Temple Israel in Westport, CT, and these two organizations probably shaped my Jewish journey the most.













Name: Emily St. Lifer

2nd Degree: MCM

Hometown: Colts Neck, NJ

Undergraduate College/Degree: Syracuse University, Religion and Society

Favorite Spot in LA (so far): the Greek Theater and Caf´┐Ż Gratitude

Favorite Wacky Wednesday: UCLA Hillel, Skirball, Wilshire Boulevard Temple, BJE, Cedars-Sinai

What Jewish experience/organization has led you to where you are today and why? The most recent organization and experience that has led me to where I am today is The Jewish Education Project in NYC which is where I worked prior to starting this degree. The organization brought me here because of its connection to the New York Jewish community and Jewish community as a whole. It creates innovations in the Jewish education field. I found inspiring, helpful and fun colleagues, including one SJNM alumna, who cared about me & my future and taught me about Jewish nonprofits as a whole.

Upcoming Events

JFNA General Assembly, November 10-12, Israel
Are you going to be there? Let us know by emailing and we'll put together an alumni gathering!

Milestones and Mazel Tovs    

Have you moved, changed jobs, been honored, gotten engaged or married, or had children? Please share your personal and professional milestones as they happen so that our SJNM community can celebrate with you! Send your milestones to


Mazel Tov!


Jenna Fields (MAJNM/MSW '10) became engaged to Adam Johnson. Adam proposed in front of the restaurant where they met on their first date nearly five years ago.


Matt Kahn(MAJCS/MAJE '09) and Rabbi Samantha (Orshan) Kahn (MAJNM '10/Ord. '11) welcomed their first child, a son named Roey Oren, on August 18.


Professional Milestones


Lori Lander Goodman (MAJCS/MSW '91) has been working at CALM, Santa Barbara County's sole agency devoted to preventing and treating child abuse. They have been nominated by Montecito Bank & Trust as a possible recipient of the Santa Barbara Triathlon. Please support this incredible organization by voting for it at (You only have to vote once!)


Samantha Pohl (MAJNM/MPA '10) is the new Fundraising Manager at Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City. She will serve as the lead professional overseeing the synagogue's efforts including their annual gala, annual campaign, and other events.

Rachel Slaton (MAJNM/MPA '11) was recently promoted to Associate Director for the Los Angeles BJE's Center for Excellence in Day School Education.