SJNM students will be calling alumni next Tuesday, June 26, in the afternoon, as we close this years Alumni Scholarship Fund Campaign. Make sure to ask them how the summer session is going.
HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management Almuni Newsletter
Summer Edition
June 2012
In This Issue
From the Director
Master's Theses & Capstone Projects
Alumni Spotlight: Rabbi Stephen Fuchs
Stay Connected
SJNM Alumni Association
Chair's Message
SJNM New Associate Director
Upcoming SJNM Events
New Opportunity for Alumni
Milestones & Mazel Tovs
Letter from the Director:  
Richard Siegel










Teaching with Technology


Those of you who have been out of school for a while would probably be surprised to walk into a classroom today. Arrayed before you would be a bank of laptops with the students perched behind them. John Ruskay, last summer's Rabbi Louis Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence, was disconcerted by this and told the students how odd he felt trying to connect with them when they were virtually hidden by their computers. This led to an interesting discussion with the end result being everyone closing their computers except for one person who acted as the "scribe," taking notes and distributing them afterwards.


Congratulations to our Graduates 
Graduating Class of 2012
Top (L-R): Richard Siegel, President David Ellenson, Matthew Lipton Schwartz, Igor Khokhlov, Dean Joshua Holo, Bruce Phillips, 
Middle (L-R): LuAnne Tyzzer, Amanda Greene, Hannah Rubin-Schlansky,  Lauren Trexler, Rachel Levin, Makenzie Means, 
Bottom (L-R): Sarah Benor, Gerald Bubis, Elenna King, Leah Guskin, Jessica Lebovits, Lori Klein


Masters' Thesis and Capstone Projects

Sarah BenorSarah Bunin Benor, Ph.D.


Associate Professor of 

Contemporary Jewish Studies



We are pleased to report that the masters thesis/capstone project requirement continues to play an important role in our program and continues to yield exciting and useful research. This year our students conducted research on Orthodox women's prayer groups, the membership model of Jewish women's organizations, Jewish nonprofits' revenue sources, Jewish startups that stop, how nonprofits communicate change, and the importance of Jewish history for Jewish communal professionals.



2012 Graduation
(L-R) Makenzie Means, Matthew Lipton-Schwartz, Jessica Lebovits, Rachel Levin, Igor Khokhlov, Elenna King, Leah Guskin




Alumni Spotlight: Rabbi Stephen Fuchs 

President, World Union for Progressive Judaism 

Certificate in Jewish Communal Service '73, Rabbinic Ordination '74 


My two summers at the School of Jewish Communal Service were very important to me.  In addition to the wonderful supplement the courses provided to my rabbinical studies, I met my future wife there, Victoria Steinberg, who was visiting her girlfriend Lynne Coleman (now Kinsey). Vickie and I celebrated our 38th anniversary on June 9. If all that derived from my time at the school was meeting Vickie, DAYENU!  It would have been more than worth it. But there was much more! (READ MORE)



Stay Connected on Social Media


Facebook and Twitter 

Are you on Facebook? Please take 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.  

Like SJNM on Facebook 


You can also Follow SJNM 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!


HUC-JIR Alumni 


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 Executive Committee 



Andi Milens 



Immediate Past Chair
Esther Cohen 


Alumni Council Representatives 

Alan Ronkin 

(MAJCS/MPA '91) 

Shaina Wasserman (MAJCS/MAJE '06) 

Recruitment Chair 

Bailey London 



Alumni Advisor Program

Alan Ronkin 

(MAJCS/MPA '91) 


Campaign Co-Chairs
Daniel Blain 
(MAJCS/MSW '89) 
Anna Schwarz Shabtay (MAJCS/MPA '09)


Continuing Education 


Naomi Abelson 

(MAJCS/MPA '07) 

Marsha Rothpan (MAJCS/MSW '94)


Joy Wasserman

National Director of Alumni Engagement
Richard Siegel

SJNM Director
Mandi Richardson

SJNM Associate Director 

Jessica Ingram

Coordinator, Alumni Association

Quick Links

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Join Our Mailing List
(213) 765-2117

We're pleased to send you our latest electronic newsletter!   

Stay tuned for our Fall edition! 


Message from the ChairAndi


Dear Alumni,


Thank you for taking the time to check in with the Alumni Association. We're working hard to support the School and to connect better with you. Last February, the leadership of the Alumni Association held its first ever retreat and confirmed a new mission statement: 


The mission of the Alumni Association of the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (formerly the School of Jewish Communal Service) is to engage alumni to meet the following objectives:

  1. To support the School through the Alumni Fundraising Campaign and recruitment of potential students.
  2. To advocate for the School and the field of Jewish Communal Service by serving as ambassadors within the College-Institute and the greater Jewish community.
  3. To connect alumni to each other, to the school, to students and to the College-Institute.

We have put significant focus this year on fundraising, and we're close to accomplishing our goal of $30,000 to support scholarships for students. We need your help to reach our goal by June 30. If you haven't yet made a gift, or you are able to increase your generosity, please go to

During our retreat we met with the leaders of the School's Advisory Board, comprised of lay leaders in the community who are committed to ensuring the success of the School.  We discussed ways in which we can work together to advocate for the School.  We are confident that because of our consistently strong representation, our voice is heard at the HUC-JIR Council of Alumni Associations.


And, we're looking for ways to better connect with you, our Alumni, to help you better connect to each other and to the School. For starters, we're working on making this newsletter more succinct and useful to you.

We want to hear from you. What are you looking for from the Alumni Association? What kinds of professional development opportunities would you find of interest? Do you have fundraising or communications ideas or skills to share? Are you looking to reconnect and give back to the School?


I would love to hear from you...please drop me a line if you're interested in getting involved -- you can reach me at Or feel free to contact Jessica Ingram, Coordinator of our Alumni Association at


Looking forward to being in touch and building a strong alumni association, together.



Introducing the new SJNM
Associate Director


I graduated with my dual degree in Jewish Communal Service and Social Work in 1997.  Over the past fifteen years, the world has changed tremendously.  When I was in school my computer was not portable and there were no such things as smart boards or video conferences.  I couldn't read my email from my cell phone or access information from the internet while sitting on the 405 (I know it is dangerous and against the law to read your emails while on the freeway, but if you have sat in traffic on the torturous 405 recently, you will understand the temptation!)  In 1997, Bill Clinton was President, Yassar Arafat was still alive, the movie, "Titanic" was in theaters and believe it or not, Steve Jobs became interim CEO of the then troubled Apple Company.  In 1997, I also transitioned from being a full time student to a Jewish Communal Professional.


Over the past 15 years I have worked at the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles and New Community Jewish High School.  I have created programs for various populations and constituencies; I worked with political, religious and community leaders, helped family foundations direct their philanthropic giving, run successful annual campaigns, raised funds for endowment and capital campaigns, and planned large upscale galas.  Through it all, I have worked side by side with fellow Communal Service alumni and have drawn from the foundation and knowledge gained as a student here at HUC.  (READ MORE)

Upcoming SJNM Events


The summer is always an exciting time for our program and the LA campus, and this year is no exception!  We have a great lineup of programs, including our annual Lunch and Learn Seminar, Scholar-in-Residence and Culmination exercises.     


"Jewish Community Relations: Where Self-Interest Meets Community Interest"


June 19: Gary Greenebaum. "An Introduction to Jewish Community Relations"


June 26: Bud Jacobs, Founding Director, Communities in Schools, Los Angeles; former principal of Venice High School and assistant superintendent, LAUSD.  "What the Jewish Community Can Learn About Advocacy"


July 3: Fr. Alexei Smith, Director of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. "The Pushes and Pulls of Jewish-Catholic Relations"


July 10: Stewart Kwoh, Esq., President and Executive Director, Asian Pacific American Legal Center.  "Changing Demographics: New Issues, New Alliances"


July 17: Matthew Ball, Public Affairs Director, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LA. "A Common Agenda: Overcoming Fear, Suspicion and Misunderstanding"


July 24: Najeeba Syeed-Miller, Assistant Prof. of Interreligious Education, Claremont School of Theology

"Working to Dispel Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia"


July 31: Arturo Vargas, Executive Director, National Assoc. of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.  

"Where Community Relations and Electoral Politics Intersect"


All Lunch and Learn programs are held on the campus of HUC-JIR LA (3077 University Avenue). The sessions begin at 12:00 and conclude by 1:30. Bring your own lunch; beverages and dessert will be provided.  Sessions are open to members of the SJNM Advisory Board, the LA Board of Overseers, alumni, and friends of the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management. Please let us know which session(s) you are planning to attend by contacting Mikaela Bender, SJNM Administrative Assistant,, 213-765-2117.



Rabbi Louis Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence:

Larry S. Moses 

Monday, August 6 - Tuesday, August 7

Larry Moses is in his 25th year of service to The Wexner Foundation, which is devoted to the strengthening of Jewish leaders.  He spent thirteen years as its President and, prior to that, was Foundation Vice President and the Founding Director of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program.  He now serves as Senior Philanthropic Advisor and President Emeritus of the Wexner Foundation.



Culmination Ceremonies 

Tuesday, August 7, 5:00 - 7:00 pm

The SJNM Culmination is a special graduation ceremony at which the Certificate in Jewish Nonprofit Management is conferred on students who have completed the two summer curriculum (22 credit units). The Culmination Ceremonies provide an opportunity to recognize the completion of a significant course of studies in preparation for a career as a Jewish communal professional. This year's Culmination Speaker is Larry Moses of the Wexner Foundation.

New Opportunity for Alumni to Connect and Give Back to Students  

Alan Ronkin (MAJCS/MPA '91) Chair, Alumni Advisor Program 


Do you remember being confused about the "next steps" after graduation?  Maybe you knew someone who had graduated before you or you were recruited to the college by an inspiring Jewish communal professional in your town. But if you weren't one of those lucky people, the prospect of choosing a specialty, moving to a new community, working in a "real job" and the other transitions brought on by finishing your degree were likely pretty daunting.


Today's newly minted young professionals can really use your help.  If you have some time and wisdom, we would like to connect you with a second year student who would like to benefit from your advice and counsel. (READ MORE)

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 so our SJNM community can celebrate with you. Email


Engagements and Weddings 

Rebecca Garrison (MAJCS/MPA '06) became engaged to Edo Israely, Ph.d on May 26 and plan to marry in the spring of 2013.

Rebecca Goldberg (MAJNM/MSW '11) is finishing her first year as Director of Hillel at the University of California, Irvine and just got married on June 10!



Rachel Margolis (MAJNM/MAJE '07), her husband Ari (RAB '10/MAJE '08) and big sister Laila are thrilled to announce the birth of Adaya Paz on Thursday, May 3, at 9:23am, weighing in at 7lbs 7oz and measuring 20.5 inches. 


Other Simchas

Amy Bryman (MAJCS/MSW '95) celebrated her son, Daniel, becoming a Bar Mitzvah on June, 9th.


Lauren Chizner (MAJCS/MAJE '97) and Todd Chizner (RAB '99) celebrated the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Jacob Myles, in Israel on December 26, 2011 and then at home on Long Island on January 14th, 2012. 


Career Updates

Sarah Blitzstein (MAJCS/ '07) was appointed to director of special needs programs at Jewish Family Service.


Ruthie Cassuto (MAJCS/MSW '05) recently moved back to Haifa, and works at the Technion in the Beatrice Weston Center for the Advancement of Students, as a counselor.


Ruth Reaven Cislowski (MAJCS/MSW '96) recently joined the USC School of Social Work as a Clinical Associate Professor responsible for coordinating field placements for social work students for the Southern California region of the new Virtual Academic Program.


Esther Morchy Cohen (MPA/MAJCS '04) is now Associate Director of Development at the Anti-Defamation League in Los Angeles. 


Lisa (Freed) Cohen (MAJCS/MSW '97) graduated from the ARC Program - Alternate Route to Certification, in Art Pre K -12, in Hartford, Connecticut.


Dan Ginis (MAJCS/MSW '90) has assumed the position of Director of Development, University of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy as of May 1.


David Harris (MAJCS/MPA '09) assumed a new position in August at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, working as their Campus Activities Coordinator.


Jessica Ingram (MAJCS '09/MARE '10) accepted the position of Assistant Director of Recruitment and Admissions at HUC-JIR last fall, and is based on the NY campus. She also maintains her role as Coordinator of the SJCS/SJNM Alumni Association. 


Lori Klein (MAJCS/MSW '91) has left her role of Associate Director of the HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management and accepted a position at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.  She now serves as Senior Vice President, Caring for Jews in Need.


Rick Meyer (MAJCS/MSW '79), following a successful tenure first as Campaign Director and then for 22 years as Executive Vice President of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, has formed Meyer Strategic Consulting, LLC designed to assist non profits in their strategic planning, organizational development and fundraising activities.


Luisa Moss (MAJCS/MAJE '09) has been serving as the Education Director at Congregation Adat Reyim in Springfield, VA since July 2011. 


Larry Nathan (MAJCS/MSW '96) is pleased to share that he has joined UJA-Federation of New York's regional office in Westchester as campaign director. This is a great opportunity for him professionally and, in addition, it's a wonderful chance to work closer to home in Mamaroneck and near his wife and children.


Alan Ronkin (MAJCS/MPA '91) is now serving as Policy Adviser and Constituent Manager for the Joe Kennedy III for Congress campaign.


Hannah Rubin-Shlanksy (MAJNM/MAJE '12) will be starting as the Director of Informal Education at Temple Isaiah in West Los Angeles on July 1. She will also be getting married in September. 


Rabbi Sandy Rubenstein (MAJCS/MSW '80) has a new position as a chaplain at Montgomery Hospice in Rockville, MD. 


Anna Schwarz Shabtay (MAJCS/MPA '09) and her family moved back to her hometown of Memphis, TN, where she has accepted the position of Director of Marketing at the Memphis JCC.


Esther Shapiro (MAJCS/MSW '76) retired from her encore career as Director, Zimmer Children's Museum leaving more time for family, friends and her art.


Dr. Javier Simonovich (MAJCS/MSW GWB '85) was appointed Dean of Students at the Emek Yezreel Academic College in Israel in January 2011. In January of this year, he was promoted to Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Human Services, also of the Emek Yezreel Academic College.


Michelle K. Wolf (MAJCS/MPA '85) began a new consulting position with Bet Tzedek Legal Services as Transitions Project Coordinator. This is the first project of its kind to build a community-based coalition of families, service providers and governmental agencies to provide holistic, coordinated services for adults with developmental disabilities and their aging family caregivers. She is also co-chairing the first ever Special Needs Study and Exchange Mission to Israel this summer for professionals and relatives of young adults with developmental disabilities to meet with Israeli experts in the field and to visit innovative residential and vocational programs. You can follow her on Twitter: @SpecialneedsIma or follow her blog at


Professional Accomplishments

Mary Walker Baron (MAJCS/MSW '94) would like to share that her novel But This Is Different is available through Amazon in both print and on Kindle and directly through the publisher at It's receiving excellent reviews. She invites us all to read the book and live the dream. 


Jeff Bernhardt (MAJCS/MSW '94) is proud to announce the upcoming publication of his first book, On Sacred Ground:  Jewish and Christian Clergy Reflect on Transformative Passages from the Five Books of Moses.  It will be available from Blackbird Books and Amazon.


Alison (Abby) Goldbaum (JCS Certificate '71) is proud to report that she will be honored by the Columbus Jewish Historical Society for her interviews of several Past Presidents and one World War II Veteran for the Archives at Congregation Beth Tikvah in Worthington, Ohio. The congregation just celebrated its 50th year anniversary in October, 2011 and the interviews will become a part of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society's archives.


Leah Kitz (MAJCS/MSW '04) will be receiving the Shining Star Award through Jewish Family Service's Chaverim program. She is proud to share that her involvement with Chaverim began during her first year at HUC-JIR in 2002 as part of her graduate internship.


Joy Sisisky (MAJCS/MPA '00) was elected to serve a second term as the Co-chair of JDC's Entwine Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is the national lay team working with the Next Generation & Service Initiatives department at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. She still works as Executive Director of the Jewish Women's Foundation of New York and recently launched a new giving circle which funds Jewish women social entrepreneurs who have founded and lead organizations that help the world's most vulnerable women and children.