Staff

  • Jordanna Birnbaum Amsel

    Jordanna Birnbaum Amsel is the Major Gifts Officer for PJ Library in New York. She is passionate about community building and creating new pathways to Jewish life. Prior to this role, Jordanna served as a Program Officer for PJ Library in New York, where she managed partnerships with over 80 organizations implementing PJ Library. Her experience includes project management, organizational consulting, and workshop facilitation. Jordanna graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Public Policy & Social Justice and served as President of Hillel. Jordanna is a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar pursuing a dual masters in Nonprofit Management and Judaic Studies at New York University.

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  • Chris Barash

    Chris Barash is Director of the PJ Library Book Selection Committee. Her authorship includes PJ Library Reading Guides. Before her work at HGF, Chris taught various elementary grades in Jewish day schools for 25 years and was Head of School at Sinai Academy of the Berkshires, a Jewish day school in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Chris holds a BA in Russian Literature and History.

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  • Amy Bergman

    Amy Bergman works on the team dedicated to building a cooperative network among a cadre of more than 200 PJ Library Program Professionals while designing relevant resources to support them. She has worked in both the business and the non-profit sectors for nearly twenty years. Originally from Miami, Florida, Amy received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

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  • Wendy Blondin

    Wendy Blondin is a Data Analyst for PJ Library. She continues her work in the non-profit sector after being employed for almost 25 years as a systems analyst in the Information Services department of a local hospital. Wendy graduated cum laude from the University of Connecticut with a bachelor's degree in Health Systems Management.

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  • Lynn Bolton

    Lynn Bolton is the Customer Service Associate for PJ Library and PJ Our Way. Prior to coming to HGF, Lynn worked at Friendly’s Corporate Office for over 19 years, where she provided customer service for both the retail and restaurant sides of the business, as well as support for the Public Relations Team. She also has extensive customer service experience in the medical, dental and auto insurance fields. Lynn earned a B.A. in Spanish from Salve Regina University and also a M.B.A from Western New England University.

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  • Brian Buerkle

    Brian Buerkle is the Publisher Relations Manager for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Brian facilitates the relationship between the foundation's core program, PJ Library, and its key publishing partners. He is also the buyer for 100+ titles in six countries from over 40 publishers each year and acts as business and operations manager for content acquisitions. Prior to his work at HGF, Brian worked in marketing and sales at Penguin Books for Young Readers, Random House Children's Books, and most recently was Associate Publisher, Director of Marketing for Kingfisher, an imprint of Macmillan.

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  • Lou Cove

    Lou Cove supports the Foundation's efforts to catalyze philanthropic investment in the Jewish community by developing and implementing strategies for capacity-building and sustainability. Most recently, Lou helped launch PJ Library 2.0 a $20 million initiative funded by the PJ Alliance, a small group of national funders who have each committed a minimum of seven figures to the effort. Lou is the former executive director of Reboot and former VP of the Yiddish Book Center.

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  • Lisa Dawson

    Lisa Dawson serves as the Marketing Associate PJ Library and PJ Our Way.

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  • Nicole Dalto

    Nicole Dalto is the Development Services Coordinator for PJ Library. Nicole has a back ground in non-profit development and educational programing. Nicole holds a B.A in Communications from Roger Williams University and a M.Div from Alliance Theological Seminary.

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  • Adrian Dion

    Adrian Dion is Chief Operating Officer for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and its many programs. She is responsible for the organization's internal processes and infrastructures, including publishing, purchasing, facilities management, and partnership contracts. Adrian has a BA in psychology and an MBA.

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  • Rosalie Eisen

    Rosalie Eisen has held professional positions as a non-profit director, teacher, life coach, and financial consultant, with more than 25 years' experience in Jewish professional leadership. She co-founded and directed Basherte, an international network of workshops focusing on Jewish relationships. Rosalie holds a special smicha (ordination) as a Jewish Relationship Counselor and has an MA in Early Childhood Education.

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  • Jillian Farrell

    Jillian Farrell is the Development Communications Coordinator for PJ Library. Prior to joining HGF, Jillian spent several years working for a creative based marketing agency, and managing an independent photography studio. Jillian received a B.A. in Communications from Central Connecticut State University.

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  • Tasha Flagg

    Tasha Flagg is PJ Library's Content Associate, which entails providing support to the Book Selection Committee. She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BS in Political Science.

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  • Catriella Freedman

    Catriella Freedman was Jewish Studies Principal of the Hebrew Academy of the Capital District and is the author of the Melton curriculum, Foundations of Jewish Family Living. Prior to joining HGF she was part of the International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies at Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv, and authored the My Family Story curriculum. Catriella studied at Princeton University, Harvard University, and the Drisha Institute, and has lectured widely on subjects ranging from medieval Hebrew to Jewish peoplehood.

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  • Daniel Ginsburg

    Daniel Ginsburg is the International Program Officer for PJ Library. Daniel has supported a range of health, education, and civil society initiatives in Europe and Southeast Asia. Most recently, he represented the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) in Myanmar. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, he taught English as a second language at public schools and universities in Ukraine and Uzbekistan. He holds a BA in English from Wesleyan University and a MA in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

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  • Nora Gorenstein

    Nora Gorenstein is a PJ Library Engagement Associate. She has been working in the field of Jewish education since her beginning as a teacher's aide in 2001. Nora holds a B.A. in English & Education from Simmons College and an M.A. in English Literature from Brandeis University. Her past work includes teaching middle school English, library, and religious school; Jewish teen and family education; and coordinating educational technology. Nora’s other passions include reading, writing, knitting, sculpting, cooking, and spinning yarn.

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  • Jessica Hagen

    Jessica Hagen is the Administrative Assistant for PJ Library’s Content and Engagement Department. Prior to joining HGF, Jessica has spent the past few years working at non-profit organizations in administrative roles. Most recently, she was the office coordinator at the American Cancer Society in CT. Before that, she worked at The Moody’s Foundation as the administrative coordinator in NYC directly supporting the President of the foundation. She graduated summa cum laude from Westfield State University with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Graphic Design. Her passions include philanthropy, reading, and spending time with her family.

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  • Lauren Hamburger

    Lauren Hamburger is the Director of PJ Library in the UK. Previously, she worked for Kindred, a communications agency, overseeing government campaigns relating to education and communities including the national campaign for Holocaust Memorial Day. Lauren co-organized the inaugural JOFA conference in the UK and spends a lot of time campaigning for women in Judaism. Lauren has a degree in Economics from the University of Birmingham, UK, and spent a semester studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has three young children who are also her test subjects for PJ Library books and programming!

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  • Etan Harmelech

    Etan Harmelech is the Project Lead for PJ Library, with a focus on implementing marketing and branding initiatives. Prior to joining the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Etan worked for 10 years in sports media at ESPN, where he led the branded content team and produced studio shows such as SportsCenter and First Take. Etan holds a BS in History and MS in Journalism from Northwestern University, and an MBA from the University of Connecticut.

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  • Lauren Harvey

    Lauren Harvey is the Director of Data Management for PJ Library and began working for PJ Library when PJ was sending only 3,100 books per month. Prior to joining the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Lauren worked for a company that promoted energy efficiency and spent many summers working at a Jewish day camp in St. Louis. Lauren holds dual bachelors' degrees in Statistics and Religion from Mount Holyoke College.

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  • Sara Kibel

    Sara Kibel is the Community Manager at PJ Library in the UK. She has a First Class BA (Hons) degree in Marketing, from Bristol University of the West of England, UK. Sara’s professional background is in marketing where she previously worked for T-Mobile, the UK’s largest cell phone provider, overseeing international calling pre-pay product and services. At PJ Library she creates creative programmes and community events and focuses on the development of partnerships with schools and synagogues. Sara is often found outside of work with a paintbrush in her hand, painting anything and everything onto hundreds of kippot every year.

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  • Samara Q. Klein

    Samara Klein is the Director of International Book Selection & Publishing Projects for PJ Library. Prior to working at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Samara worked in the book publishing industry at The New Press as Director of Marketing & Rights, and at Harry N. Abrams, managing trade and rights sales of children's and young adult books. She attended Barnard College and holds a BA in Creative Writing from The New School.

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  • Ed Kline

    Ed Kline handles oversight and coordination of Sifriyat Pijama and Keren Grinspoon Israel. Prior to retiring, he served as HGF's Chief Operations Officer. Before joining HGF, Ed worked for thirty-six years at, and retired from, the MassMutual Life Insurance Company where for eleven years he served as Corporate Vice President and Treasurer. Ed holds a degree in engineering and an MBA.

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  • Adrianne Levine

    Adrianne Levine is a Data Analyst for PJ Library. Prior to her work with PJ Library, Adrianne spent three years working with JCamp 180. Before joining the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, she spent seven years working with Elms College in their Institutional Advancement office as the manager of prospect research. Adrianne holds a BA in Liberal Arts from Elms College and a master's degree in Communications and Information Management from Bay Path College.

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  • Meredith Lewis

    Meredith Lewis oversees all content and engagement initiatives for PJ Library--what PJ families encounter as part of the program. Previously she worked at 70 Faces Media (MyJewishLearning.com and Kveller.com). There she served in a variety of roles including managing editor, interim executive director and chief operating officer. Meredith holds an MPA and a MA of Hebrew and Judaic Studies from New York University, and a BS in Journalism from Northwestern University.

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  • Paul Lewis

    Paul Lewis is a Program Officer for PJ Library. He travels the country to launch the program in new communities and grow it where it already exists. Paul joined PJ Library in 2009 after more than 30 years in journalism. He was an on-air TV reporter, an investigative producer, and a news executive. Along the way, he won numerous awards for journalistic excellence, including multiple Emmys and a Peabody.

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  • Jamie Light

    Jamie Light is an Engagement Officer for PJ Our Way and is responsible for the PJ Our Way at Camp program. Prior to joining HGF, Jamie worked as a consultant specializing in program development, strategic storytelling, leadership development, customer service, strategic planning, and alumni engagement. She previously worked in student affairs and enrollment management at Baldwin Wallace University. Jamie has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and business from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University. Jamie lives in Beachwood, Ohio with her husband and daughter.

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  • Lisa Litman

    Lisa Litman is the Director of PJ Goes to School, PJ Library’s initiative to enhance the Jewish content of early childhood and complementary school classrooms. Under Lisa’s directorship PJ Goes to school has more than tripled in size. Lisa is a regular keynote speaker around the country.

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  • Adam Lombardi

    Adam Lombardi is the Office Coordinator for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s NYC office. Adam offers 13 years of nonprofit and corporate experience in all areas of administrative and office support. He is also our resident calendaring specialist in NYC. Adam has become an integral part of streamlining office coordination both in NY and across the globe. His expertise, in addition to his technical knowledge of Outlook, lies in communication. He has a wide breadth of abilities including content creation, editing, public relations and especially executive support. Adam brings innovative ideas and strategies to the table, and offers a rare combination of both technical know-how and writing/editing skills. Adam graduated with honors from St. John’s University in New York City with a B.A. in Government and Politics and holds a Master’s degree in Political Science also from SJU. In his spare time, Adam is an activist in his community serving as President of the Bayside-Whitestone Lions Club International as well as volunteering on many political campaigns

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  • Cynthia Mann

    Cynthia Mann is a PJ Library Program Officer. Before joining HGF, she was a consultant to nonprofit Jewish organizations and a longtime print journalist. She was a reporter for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, based in Jerusalem, New York and Washington, D.C., an editor for the Associated Press and the editor of the Atlanta Jewish Times. Cynthia holds an undergraduate degree in religious studies from Brown University and a master's degree in journalism from New York University.

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  • Sarah Martin

    Sarah Martin is the Evaluation Manager for PJ Library and affiliated programs. She works closely with the Engagement, Advancement and Operations teams to build upon existing and develop new evaluation tools and processes. Before joining the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Sarah managed direct marketing programs at fortune 500 companies like Liberty Mutual Insurance and Staples. She holds a BA in Business Administration from Augustana College and an MBA from Bentley University.

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  • Kevin Martone

    Kevin Martone is the Technology Program Manager for PJ Library. He helps PJ Library Communities use social media and other online tools effectively and efficiently. Kevin also helps PJ Library manage internal fundraising and constituent data. He has more than 15 years experience helping organizations utilize technology solutions to meet their goals. Kevin holds a BS in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University.

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  • Tracy Newman

    Tracy Kimball Newman, an Engagement Officer working with the new PJ Library Engagement Grants, has worked at JCCs and Jewish overnight camps throughout the country. Tracy led Jewish Experiences for Teens (JET) to become a national model on teen engagement. Tracy received her Master's Degree from the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University in Jewish Communal Service and a Bachelor's Degree in Leisure Education from Boston University.

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  • Vivian Newman

    Vivian Newman works to ensure that the books and materials produced by PJ Library remain closely aligned with principles of child development and educational theory. Vivian is a member of PJ’s Book Selection Committee. She also assists in the development of curricula and family engagement materials that encourage deeper exploration of the values and lessons contained within PJ Library books. A graduate of Bank Street College of Education, Vivian has taught and consulted in a wide variety of early childhood settings and has served as an adjunct faculty member of Hebrew College and Bank Street College of Education.

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  • Danny Paller

    Danny Paller is a Content & Engagement Officer for PJ Library. Prior to coming to PJ Library, Danny was director of the Nesiya Institute, head of production at JeMM (Jerusalem Multimedia) Productions, North America Projects director for the Mandel Leadership Institute, educational advisor to the Eli & Bessie Cohen Foundation, and script consultant for Sesame Street. He is also a professional composer/lyricist, whose musicals include The Creation (produced in 50 U.S. cities), Ah, Jerusalem! (seasonal at Jerusalem’s Tower of David outdoor theater), Purim Rock! (animated rock opera for Israel Television), and most recently, a tale of obsession and betrayal called DAnGEr. He is a graduate of Harvard and Yale Universities, and lives in Jerusalem with his wife and four children.

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  • Anna Pearson

    Anna Pearson is the Development Associate for PJ Library. Prior to joining PJ Library Anna worked in non-profit and arts administration. Anna has a BA in Music Studies from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

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  • Deborah Perkins

    Deborah Perkins is the development and Operations Associate for PJ Library in New York. Prior to joining HGF, Deborah worked at Howard University in the grants administration department. Deborah holds a BS in Sociology and MA in Applied Social Research from Howard University.

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  • Tamar Remz

    Tamar Remz is the Chief Partnerships Officer for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation where she manages strategy development and funding relationships among other responsibilities. Prior to working in the philanthropic space, Tamar worked in e-commerce in Business Development, managing partnerships, growth strategies and sales campaigns for growing companies. Tamar is involved with numerous organizations including AIPAC, UJA Federation of New York and Educational Alliance where she co-chairs the Young Professionals Board. Tamar received her Bachelors and Masters degrees from New York University where she graduated with honors.

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  • Erica Ryan

    Erica Ryan is the Operations Coordinator for PJ Library. In her role, Erica provides administrative support to communities and manages all outgoing grants for PJ Library. Prior to working at HFG, Erica served as the Office Manager and System Administrator for an Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Center in CT. Erica holds a BS in Management from Western New England University and an MBA from Bay Path College.

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  • Shiri B. Sandler

    Shiri B. Sandler is the Director of PJ Library in New York. Previously she worked at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust for a decade. She most recently was the Museum’s U.S. Director of the Auschwitz Jewish Center, a museum and education center in Oświęcim (Auschwitz), Poland. Shiri has an extensive background in experiential Holocaust, genocide, and ethics education, having designed intensive programming for college, graduate, and military students. Shiri holds an MA in History from Brown University and a BA in History from Cornell University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and PJ subscriber daughter.

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  • Tanja Sarett

    Tanja Sarett is a Program Officer for PJ Library. She is a seasoned nonprofit and fundraising professional with almost twenty years of international work and leadership experience. Tanja holds a M.A. in political science from Munich University, a Diploma in PR from the Bavarian Academy of Advertising & Marketing, a certificate in fundraising & philanthropy from NYU, and a certificate in supervision & management from the Support Center/Partnership in Philanthropy.

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  • Will Schneider

    Will Schneider helps to ensure the financial stability and sustainability of PJ Library and PJ Library communities. Will is the former Executive Director of Slingshot, which highlights and promotes innovative projects in Jewish life across North America, and works with funders in their 20s and 30s as they connect to the Jewish community. Will has also worked as a fundraising consultant for a large national consulting firm.

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  • Naomi Shulman

    Naomi Shulman is a freelance writer with a background in magazine and book publishing. As a member of the book selection committee, Naomi reads hundreds of potential PJ Library books each year, evaluating both text and art with an eye toward fulfilling PJ's mission. Naomi also writes many of the reading guides on the book flaps, helping to provide added information for parents about the traditions, holidays, and values in the books.

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  • Nili Simhai

    Nili Simhai is currently helping to launch the new PJ Library Day School Engagement and Enrollment grants. Nili previously served as the Director of Teva, a founding organization in the field of Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE) for fourteen years. In addition to working with PJ, Nili currently consults with Jewish institutions on outdoor classrooms and is Education Director for Abundance Farm, a Jewish community farm and outdoor classroom in Northampton, MA.

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  • Eva Stern

    Eva Stern is the New York Engagement Officer for PJ Library, where she is launching a new strategy for engaging families with young children in Jewish life in the New York Metro area. Prior to PJ Library, Eva served as the Senior Director of Training at Big Tent Judaism, where she spent the past almost 12 years teaching Jewish communities throughout North America strategies to find, welcome, and engage thousands of unengaged Jews and intermarried families in Jewish life each year. Eva is passionate about empowering Jewish communities to make Jewish life more welcoming, accessible, and relevant to those who have not found meaning or connection. She is a sought after speaker, leading motivating workshops that impart the critical skills to build more dynamic and inclusive Jewish communities. Eva holds a BA and MA in Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. She is a recipient of the 2010 Young Professional Award of the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America, and was recently named among the “36 under 36” by the New York Jewish Week.

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  • Lori Hoch Stiefel

    Lori Hoch Stiefel is the Engagement officer for Underserved Markets with PJ Library. Lori grew up in Montreal, QC, Canada and has a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Human Sciences specializing in Human Relations, and religion. She is the recipient of 2015 JPRO Bernard Rodkin Israel Fellowship, and has worked for many major Jewish organizations including Federation, JCC, Hillel, and BBYO. Lori currently lives in Charleston, SC with her husband and three children, all of whom are lovers of PJ Library.

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  • Alli Thresher

    Alli Thresher, Social Media Manager, joins PJL after a decade working in STEM fields. Most recently, Alli worked at a small video game studio, Harmonix, focusing on games like Rock Band and Dance Central. Alli wore many hats there - from PR to writing to designer/lead designer to social media/community manager and brand ambassador. Most recently Alli worked in Harmonix’s publishing organization, helping to coordinate the social marketing side of the launch of their 2015 flagship product, Rock Band 4. Over the years Alli has also consulted for a number of small businesses, arts organizations, and nonprofits, helping with website reviews, social media strategies, and digital marketing.

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  • Sarah Ruderman Wilensky

    Sarah develops curricular materials and facilitates professional development experiences for educators around the country who are part of our PJ Goes to School cohorts. Previous to her work at HGF she was the Jewish Educator at the JCC's of Greater Boston, and has worked in a wide variety of Jewish non-profit settings including synagogues, universities and with seniors. In addition to her work at HGF, Sarah runs JewFood where she teaches about Jewish history, culture and holidays through cooking and eating.

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  • Judi Wisch

    Judi Wisch supports more than 200 PJ Library Program Professionals to reach out and engage families with young children, both within and outside of the organized Jewish community. Previously, Judi was education director for a Reform congregation, taught Judaic Studies at the local day school, served as director of the Conference on Judaism in Rural New England, and facilitated conflict resolution workshops for Arab and Jewish Israeli teens at the Neve Shalom/Wahat al Salaam School for Peace in Israel. She received a BA from Hebrew University and an MA from the School for International Training.

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  • Alex Zablotsky

    Alex Zablotsky is Director of Operations for PJ Library, with a particular focus on PJ Library’s international programs and the PJ Our Way pilot. Alex works across departments to support program evaluation, budgeting and forecasting, and other internal processes. Prior to joining the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Alex managed JData, a project of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University. Alex holds a BA in English Literature and Psychology from Brandeis and an MBA from Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

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  • Renée Zborowski

    Prior to joining the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Renée Zborowski worked as the Parent & Community Liaison with “Pathways for Parents,” a program funded by the Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grant from the MA Department of Early Education and Care. She also spent 15 years in the South Florida advertising industry as a print buyer and project manager, after receiving a BS in Printing Management & Sciences from Rochester Institute of Technology.

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