Staff and Board
From left to right: (front row) Liza Behrendt, Naomi Dann, Gabi Kirk, Audrey Bruner, Susannah Nachenberg, Ilana Rossoff, Jules Cowan, Cecilie Surasky, Rebecca Vilkomerson (back row) Alana Krivo-Kaufman, Tei Okamoto, Sydney Levy, Stefanie Fox, Ari Wohfeiler, Alissa Wise, Liz Ingenthron, Jesse Yurow, Yotam Amit. Not Pictured: Ben Lorber, Tallie Ben-Daniel, Joseph Berman, Michael Deheeger, Michael Franklin, Natasha Perlis.
ALANA KRIVO-KAUFMAN, East Coast Regional Organizer
Alana has organized in queer and Jewish communities in New York over the past 6 years around issues of HIV/AIDS, gentrification and displacement, police brutality and queer youth homelessness. In addition to working for justice in Israel/Palestine with JVP's Northeast Chapters, Alana is an educator with Kolot Chayeinu's Children's Learning program, and member of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.
ALISSA WISE, Co-Director of Organizing
Rabbi Alissa Wise is the co-Director of Organizing at Jewish Voice for Peace and has been an activist for justice in Israel/Palestine for over a decade in New York City with Jews Against the Occupation, on the West Bank with the International Women's Peace Service, and as the founding co-chair of the JVP Rabbinical Council. She is the co-founder of the Nakba Education Project (NEP) which offers educational resources to an American audience about the history of the Nakba and its implications in Palestine/Israel today. Before training for the rabbinate, Alissa worked as a tenant organizer with the Fifth Avenue Committee in Brooklyn and was a participant in AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. As a rabbinical student, Alissa was the Education Director at Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) in New York City. Alissa graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia in 2009 where she received the Rabbinical Student Association's Tikkun Olam Award for her work with Palestinian communities.
Contact: 510-465-1777 alissa-at-jvp.org
ARI WOHLFEILER, Development Director
Ari joined JVP's fundraising team in 2012. Previously, he worked at Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization dedicated to ending the prison industrial complex. A native of Oakland, CA, he is active with campaigns to reduce California's prison population.
Contact: 718-514-2071 ari-at-jvp.org
AUDREY BRUNER, Development Associate
Contact: 718-514-2071 audrey-at-jvp.org
CECILIE SURASKY, Deputy Director
Cecilie joined the staff of JVP in 2003 as part of a Ford Foundation human rights fellowship following 15 years working with NGOs on advocacy communications. A videomaker, former newspaper columnist and talk radio host, Cecilie's analyses of Israel-Palestine politics have appeared in numerous media outlets around the world. Cecilie graduated from Brown University with a BA in Religious Studies with special honors for her work in Modern Culture and Media. She is the editor of Muzzlewatch, JVP's acclaimed blog documenting efforts to silence open debate about Israel-Palestine policy, and is a leader in JVP's fundraising, media and online outreach efforts.
Contact: 510-465-1777 x 303 cecilie-at-jvp.org
ELIZABETH INGENTHRON, Office Manager
Elizabeth is currently working on a Ph.D. at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, focusing on issues related to teaching about Israel/Palestine by studying race and Jewish identity. She is excited to be in the activist environment at JVP where theory and action come together to work for change on the ground.
Contact: 510-465-1777 x 301 liz-at-jvp.org
JESSE YUROW, Organizing Associate
Contact: 510-465-1777 jesseyurow-at-jvp.org
JULES COWAN, Graphic Designer
Born and raised in San Francisco, Jules joined the staff of JVP in 2014. For the past 4 years he has been using graphic design to share stories and analyses among grassroots social justice movements. Jules is inspired by the potential of design to connect people with visions of self-determination, dignity, and transformative justice.
Contact: 510-465-1777 jules-at-jvp.org
LIZA BEHRENDT, JVP-Boston Organizer
Liza has been a JVP activist since 2010 when she co-founded a JVP chapter at Brandeis University and fought for inclusion of Palestine solidarity organizing in Hillel. After graduation, she organized with Gay Men's Health Crisis as an Avodah (Jewish Service Corps) member. She is a member of the Make Shift Boston co-working co-operative.
NAOMI DANN, Media Fellow
Naomi recently came to JVP after campus organizing with Students for Justice in Palestine and other groups at Vassar College, where her interest in human rights, political geography and nonviolent theory converged in a bachelor's degree in Peace and Justice Studies. Naomi is excited to put theory into action and thrilled to be a part of a team of dedicated and like-minded activists.
Contact: 718-514-2071 naomi-at-jvp.org
NATASHA PERLIS, Program Manager
Contact: 718-514-2071 natasha-at-jvp.org
REBECCA VILKOMERSON, Executive Director
Rebecca has over fifteen years of experience in community organizing, advocacy, program development and fundraising in the United States and Israel. Rebecca has been an active member of JVP since 2002, and lived in Israel with her family from 2006-2009. In 2010, the Forward recognized her as one of the 50 most influential Jewish leaders in the U.S.
Contact: 718-514-2071 rebecca-at-jvp.org
STEFANIE FOX, Co-Director of Organizing
Stefanie has a masters in community organizing for public health from the University of Washington and more than a decade of experience in grassroots organizing for social justice. She brings well-tested enthusiasm to the task of sparking and sustaining movement leadership from her wide array of professional organizing experience--having managed electoral campaigns, organized new tenants unions, and mobilized with a broad spectrum of grassroots anti-violence organizations in the city of Seattle. Stefanie came on staff as a devoted member of the Seattle JVP chapter, and sees the position as a complete dream job and tremendous honor.
Contact: 510-465-1777 stefanie-at-jvp.org
SUSANNAH NACHENBERG, JVP-Bay Area Organizer
Susannah grew up in Southern California and went to school in Santa Cruz where she studied the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and completed a 6-month field study in Jaffa examining the effects of the Israeli education system on its non-Jewish citizens. She has been active with the Bay Area chapter since 2011 and is now the chapter's part time local organizer. She is interested in the dynamics and challenges of doing this work particularly in Jewish communal spaces and solidarity communities.
Contact: 510-465-1777 susannah-at-jvp.org
SYDNEY LEVY, Director of Advocacy
Sydney has worked for over 15 years in nonprofits advocating for LGBT human rights organizing for media justice, and assisting in the preparation of death row appeals. He is the son of Egyptian Jews who immigrated to Venezuela, where he was born. Sydney lived in Jerusalem for seven years, where he received his Masters degree in Jewish History from the Hebrew University. Sydney has been working with JVP--first as a volunteer, then as a staff member--since 2000.
Contact: 510-465-1777 x 302 sydney-at-jvp.org
Tallie Ben Daniel joined JVP in April 2015 as the Academic Advisory Council Coordinator. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley and still thinks of herself as a Los Angeleno, despite moving away in 2001. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of LGBT Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Her academic work looks at Israeli "nation branding," particularly the way the State of Israel markets itself as gay friendly. She completed her PhD in Cultural Studies at UC Davis in June of 2014, and is currently working on a book manuscript titled "Gay Capital: San Francisco, Tel Aviv and the Politics of Settler Colonialism."
Contact: 510-465-1777 tallie-at-jvp.org
TEI OKAMOTO, Administrative Associate
Tei has 20 years of experience working at the intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality. Tei is a member of the HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? collective and has two oral history projects detailing the lives and means of survival of many Communities of Color in the midst of the devastation of the AIDS epidemic in the 1990s. Tei has attended graduate programs in Human Sexuality and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Contact: 718-514-2071 tei-at-jvp.org
YOTAM AMIT, Technology Solutions Coordinator
Contact: 718-514-2071 yotam-at-jvp.org
JVP NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2014-15
KAREN ACKERMAN (Takoma Park, MD) has long been active in the movement for social and economic justice. She spent many years as a union organizer, leading organizing campaigns and contract/bargaining fights for the Hospital Workers Union, United Auto Workers, and Communications Workers of America. She was appointed the Political Director of the Public Employees Federation of NY. In 1992 she was the campaign manager for the successful campaign of Nydia Velazquez, the first Puerto Rican Woman ever elected to the US Congress and became the Congresswoman's Chief of Staff in DC. In 1996, Karen was recruited to the AFL-CIO to become its deputy Political Director and seven years later, became the first woman Political Director of the AFL-CIO where she served in that position until 2011. Karen is helping to develop JVP’s Congressional Outreach Program.
JETHRO EISENSTEIN, CHAIR (New York) is a lawyer in private practice. Since 1971 he has been involved in the longest-running civil rights case in New York, which established rules governing the NY Police Department that restrict police surveillance of peaceful political activity. Under the rules established in this lawsuit, he is currently challenging NYPD surveillance of the Muslim communities in New York. He received a Gideon Champion of Justice Award from the NY Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 2000 for overturning a wrongful murder conviction. He has secured political asylum in the U.S. for refugees from Sudan, Ghana, Haiti and other countries.
CINDY GREENBERG, VICE-CHAIR (Brooklyn, NY) is a former organizer and independent consultant. She provides strategic assistance to the progressive sector and is the co-editor of “I Still Believe Anita Hill: Three Generations Discuss the Legacies of Speaking Truth to Power.” Cindy serves as President of Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives Congregation, is a longtime leader of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, and has worked to build justice-focused, anti-racist Jewish communities, organizing and activism for over 25 years. She has served on the JVP Board since 2009, after working with JVP to support its transition from a local to national organization.
BETH HARRIS (Ithaca, NY) began her social justice activism concerning Israel and Palestine 20 years ago as chair of the Tikkun Olam committee at Congregation Eitz Or in Seattle. From 1999-2014, Beth worked as a professor in the Department of Politics at Ithaca College, where she served as co-coordinator of the Classrooms Beyond Borders Initiative and co-taught a transnational classroom with an An Najah University professor. After Beth’s first research trip to Palestine and Israel, she co-founded the Finger Lakes Interfaith Coalition for a Just Peace in August 2000. In 2010 she was a founding member of the Ithaca chapter of JVP and two years later became chairperson of the Israel-Palestine Social Justice Work Group at Ithaca’s Reform Congregation Tikkun v’Or. Beth is also a founding member of the Ithaca Committee for Justice in Palestine, which formed in 2014.
GLEN HAUER (Berkeley, CA) is working toward a society that will support everyone to thrive. Since 2000, he has helped build JVP on the theory that transforming U.S. Jews into a force for liberation would be an excellent first step. He was a founding board member of JVP and assisted the organization’s transitions from an all-volunteer to a staffed organization, and from a local to a national one. Glen wrote the article “How The System Of Anti-Semitism Can Derail Progress Towards Peace & Justice In Israel And Palestine, And What To Do About It.” He is U.S. Coordinator of International Healing from War workshops, which take place in Warsaw, Poland, and at the former death camps of Auschwitz-Birkinau. He is a leader in his San Francisco synagogue, and a retired appellate lawyer.
LEV HIRSCHHORN (Philadelphia, PA) is an organizer with the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Philadelphia. Lev grew up in the East Bay and has been a member of JVP since 2010. Lev graduated from Brandeis University in 2011, where he co-founded the Brandeis chapter of JVP. During his senior year, he co-led the JVP chapter's campaign to become a member of the Brandeis Hillel. After graduation, Lev worked as a community organizer in Chicago with SOUL - Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, an affiliate of National People's Action. He has served on the JVP board since September of 2012.
RABBI LINDA HOLTZMAN (Philadelphia, PA) is the rabbi of a newly founded Tikkun Olam Chavurah and is on the regular faculty of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC). She was the senior rabbi of Mishkan Shalom, a Reconstructionist congregation until June 2013. A native Philadelphian who was ordained by the RRC in 1979, Rabbi Holtzman has received a B.A. and M.A. in English from Temple University and a B.H.L. from Gratz College. She has served as the rabbi of Beth Israel, a Conservative congregation in Coatesville, PA, as part-time rabbi of Beth Ahavah, the LGBT congregation in Philadelphia, as director of the religious school at Mishkan Shalom, and for many years as Associate Professor and Director of Practical Rabbinics at RRC. She is the founder and organizer of the Reconstructionist Chevra Kadisha of Philadelphia, on the board of Philadelphia’s New Sanctuary Movement and a member of POWER.
GRACE LILE (Brooklyn, NY) has spent 11 years at the human rights organization WITNESS where she has served as Director of Operations and Archives since 2010. She founded the WITNESS Media Archive in 2003, and has been a leading proponent of the importance of archives and documentation to human rights advocacy and activism. She teaches in NYU’s graduate Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program. Grace traveled to Palestine in 2013 with Librarians and Archivists with Palestine, with whom she remains active. She is a longtime member of congregation Kolot Chayeinu in Brooklyn.
DONNA NEVEL (New York, NY), a community psychologist and educator, coordinates the Participatory Action Research Center for Education Organizing (PARCEO) in partnership with the Educational Leadership Program at NYU Steinhardt, where she teaches PAR. She has been involved with Palestine/Israel peace and justice work since the 1970's and is also part of groups to challenge Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism.
JAMES SCHAMUS, (New York, NY) is a producer and screenwriter known for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, and The Ice Storm. He is Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University.
REBECCA SUBAR, (Philadelphia, PA) teaches Peace and Conflict studies at West Chester University. She is a consultant with Dragonfly Partners, giving advice and support to political activists on movement strategy and organizational change.
Contact JVP's Board at board-at-jewishvoiceforpeace.org