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Elana Rivel

Executive Director

Elana Rivel

Executive Director

Elana Rivel is an experienced leader of nonprofit Jewish educational organizations. Rivel previously worked at JLV for over 12 years, last serving as its Associate Director.

Rivel has served as a leader in Jewish nonprofit organizations ranging from Camp Ramah in the Poconos, Penn State Hillel, Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas, TX, and most recently as Director of Ramah Day Camp, Philadelphia. In her tenure at JLV, Rivel helped to develop and manage numerous innovative initiatives that became national models, such as One Book, One Jewish Community, jkidphilly and LeV: Getting to the Heart of Jewish Education.

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Chief Program Officer

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Chief Program Officer

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer and her husband Fred live in Elkins Park and have two children, George and June, and a black rescue Saluki, Odin. She loves to cook, take nature walks and play on Pinterest! She and her family are part of the Mishkan Shalom community.

Lisa Litman

Director, jkidphilly

Lisa Litman

Director, jkidphilly

Lisa has worked with Jewish educators across North America to bring Jewish values alive through reading and play. Over the past 8 years as Director of PJ Goes to School, an initiative of PJ Library, she worked with over 500 schools and 1500 classrooms to develop materials and workshops to help educators reflect and focus on creating environments that inspire the entire family’s interest in living Jewishly.

Lisa previously worked with JCC Association as co-creator of An Ethical Start, a program to excite children, family, and staff about learning Jewish values via classical Jewish text.

Lisa is also a composer and director of musical theatre. She has a BA/BS from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.Ed. from Gratz College.

Robyn Cohen

Director, PJ Library in Philadelphia

Robyn Cohen

Director, PJ Library in Philadelphia

Dr. Robyn Cohen is the Director of PJ Library Philadelphia and jteenphilly. She and her husband are the proud parents of four wonderful jkids!

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Charlie Hersh

Director, Administration

Charlie Hersh

Director, Administration

Charlie brings more than 6 years of experience working within informal Jewish education, with a focus on connecting with Jewish history and engaging in cross-cultural learning. Previously, they were a museum educator at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. They hold an M.A. in Public History and a B.A. in Religion from Temple University.

Robin Matthews

Director, LGBTQ+ Engagement

Robin Matthews

Director, LGBTQ+ Engagement

After spending over 15 years as an English Professor, Robin joined Jewish Learning Venture so that she could contribute to enriching the lives of families in the Philadelphia Jewish community. Originally from Boston and having earned a B.A. from Wheelock College and an M.F.A. from Emerson College, Robin is a jkidphilly parent who also teaches the K-1 Bonim class at Temple Sholom in Broomall. She lives in Media with her wife and their 12-year-old son.

Alanna Raffel

Whole Community Inclusion Specialist

Alanna Raffel

Whole Community Inclusion Specialist

Alanna is an occupational therapist and accessibility consultant. She graduated from the University of Maryland with dual degrees in Psychology and Dance and from Thomas Jefferson University with a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. Alanna has worked as an occupational therapist in acute rehab, early intervention ages 3 to 5, outpatient, and school-based settings. Alanna has facilitated accessibility in a variety of ways including autism-friendly Broadway performances in New York City, open captioning at People’s Light in Malvern, and organizing mapping events to collect data on physical accessibility. Her company, Access Point, strives to increase inclusion in Philadelphia and beyond by advocating for access, creating solutions, and promoting awareness of accessible opportunities for people with disabilities and their friends and family.

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Julia Weekes

Director jkidphilly, POC Engagement

Julia Weekes

Director jkidphilly, POC Engagement

Julia Weekes is an educational management leader, educator, and artist. Julia has over thirty years of experience in leadership and management, professional development, arts education, integrated curriculum development, early childhood education, project-based learning, cooperative learning, and progressive education practices. She also has decades of experience in family engagement through her various roles in school, institutional, and community-based education.

Julia is a Philadelphia-area native and resides in the Mt. Airy section. She is the mother of two Black biracial teenage sons, Judah and Isaiah. Julia has been a congregational school teacher at Mishkan Shalom for over ten years. She has integrated her secular education knowledge and training into her congregational education role, creating classroom communities that focus on kindness, creativity, and collaboration.

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Ash Fisher-Tannenbaum

PJ Our Way Program Associate

Ash Fisher-Tannenbaum

PJ Our Way Program Associate

Ash is a spirited play arts educator born and raised just outside Philadelphia, where they earned a B.A. in Theater from Temple University (2016). They spent the last few years building community and making avant-garde art, theater, and film in Western Massachusetts, but are overjoyed to return home to the Philly Jewish community! Ash has spent the last nine happy summers teaching and playing at Ramah Day Camp, where they have done many jobs, most recently as Rosh Drama and Rikud (Israeli dance). They teach after-school Jewish Enrichment at Makom Community, Sundays at BTBJ religious school, and love to work with The Bible Players to bring theater and improv education to a large variety of Jewish spaces. Ash is so excited to play and learn with the PJ Our Way community!

Bari Jacobson

Parent Ambassador, Lower Bucks County Area and Coordinator, Get Together Grants

Bari Jacobson

Parent Ambassador, Lower Bucks County Area and Coordinator, Get Together Grants

Bari is excited to be a Parent Ambassador for the Lower Bucks County area! She and her husband have two wonderful children. Bari has a Masters Degree in Elementary Education and a bachelors degree in Sports and Recreation Management. Bari loves planning events and can’t wait to connect with jkid families!

Dawn Haaz

Parent Ambassador, Doylestown

Dawn Haaz

Parent Ambassador, Doylestown

Dawn Haaz is excited to serve as a Parent Ambassador for the Doylestown area. She and her husband are natives to Doylestown and have a toddler, Noah. Dawn is also a licensed psychologist and Founder and CEO of Girls Empowered.

Donna Palmieri

Parent Ambassador, Plymouth Meeting Area

Donna Palmieri

Parent Ambassador, Plymouth Meeting Area

Donna received her undergraduate degree from Penn State University. As a travel agent that sends many families and groups to Israel, she loves traveling. She also love the outdoors, yoga, and biking. She has 2 young boys and they are excited to become more involved in the Jewish community and to meet other Jewish families in the area.

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Jessica Tropea

Parent Ambassador, Center City

Jessica Tropea

Parent Ambassador, Center City

Jessica Tropea is excited to join as the new parent ambassador for Center City, Philadelphia. As a mom of two young kids who has moved around often, she knows what it’s like to look for commonality and inclusion. About 6 years ago, she settled in Philadelphia and is thrilled to welcome other parents to the area and bring families together.

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Nadine Barskiy

Parent Ambassador, Chester County

Nadine Barskiy

Parent Ambassador, Chester County

Nadine is our parent ambassador in Chester County. Originally from Germany, she lives in Devon with her husband, whom she met while volunteering at Limmud Germany, and their little son.

Nadine studied Media and Communication Management and is very excited about working for the jkidphilly families to meet, connect, learn and have fun together.

Stephanie Butler

Parent Ambassador, Delaware County & Lower Merion

Stephanie Butler

Parent Ambassador, Delaware County & Lower Merion

Stephanie is excited to be a parent ambassador in Delaware County and Lower Merion! She and her husband have a toddler son and baby daughter and she works as a pediatric physical therapist. Stephanie is looking forward to meeting and connecting young families in the area.