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National Office

Jodi Bromberg, CEO

Jodi Bromberg has been the president of InterfaithFamily since October 1, 2013—the day that the Pew Report on Jewish Americans came out. Prior to joining InterfaithFamily, she most recently practiced corporate law, predominantly with non-profit organizations and small businesses.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University Beasley School of Law, Jodi is excited to now advocate and work on behalf of interfaith families interested in exploring Jewish life, and in the past year, has written for eJewish Philanthropy, the Jewish Journal, the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent and the Jewish Daily Forward. She has also been speaking and advocating on behalf of the inclusion of interfaith families in Jewish life, most recently at the International Lion of Judah Conference, and serves on the Advisory Boards of Honeymoon Israel and Seder2015. After growing up in northern New Jersey, and living in the Philadelphia area for the past 20 years, Jodi, her spouse and preschooler twin boys now live outside of Boston. (But she remains a diehard New York Yankees fan!)

Edmund Case, Founder

Edmund Case graduated from Yale in 1972 and from Harvard Law School in 1975. He practiced law for 22 years and was chairman of the business litigation department of Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault, a large Boston law firm. He served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of Greater Boston Legal Services, the major provider of civil legal aid to the indigent in Greater Boston. In 1997 Case enrolled in the Heller-Hornstein Program at Brandeis University, graduating in May 1999 with a Master's in Jewish Communal Service and a Master's in Management. Case's fieldwork placements at the Hornstein Program involved working at Jewish Family & Children's Service on intermarriage programming, and staffing a new services to the intermarried committee at Combined Jewish Philanthropies. In June 2000, Case completed a three-year term as president of Temple Shalom of Newton, a 1,000-family Reform synagogue. He has served as a member of the URJ (Reform Movement) Northeast Regional Outreach Committee since 1993, and he and his wife and daughter have been panelists at outreach programs at URJ conventions. Case was a member of CJP's 1996 Task Force on Intermarriage and of CJP's 1997 Strategic Planning Sub-committee on Vibrancy and Inclusiveness.

Case is co-editor of The Guide to Jewish Interfaith Family Life: An Handbook (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2001) and has written widely on intermarriage issues.

In November 2001 Case was named to The Forward 50 list of top Jewish leaders. He is a frequent speaker on outreach issues, including in November 2002 at the United Jewish Communities' General Assembly, in June 2004 at the UJC's Hadesh West conference, in June 2005 at the American Jewish Press Association conference, in April 2006 at the Jewish Funders Network conference, in January 2007 at the conference of RAVSAK (the association of Jewish community day schools) and in November 2010 at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America.

Heather Martin, Chief Operating Officer

Heather has extensive marketing and operations experience in both the for-profit and non-profit worlds and a diverse background in consulting, project management, e-business, and web development. Prior to coming to InterfaithFamily, she was Vice President at Jewish Family & Life! and the Project Director for JFL's JSkyway online learning program. Heather's positions prior to JFL include Vice President of Marketing and co-owner of, an online search community helping reunite birthparents, family members, missing persons and friends, and Executive Vice President of Custom Internet Development, an Internet consultancy where she oversaw NewVantage's efforts to rapidly design, develop and deploy world class Internet solutions for their clients. Heather gained information technology strategy and consulting experience at IBM's Consulting Group where she worked with large Fortune 100 retail and consumer packaged goods clients. She holds a Masters of Science in Industrial Administration (MBA) from Carnegie Mellon's Graduate School of Industrial Administration and a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from McGill University. Heather is intermarried and lives in Franklin, Mass., with her husband Scott and sons Ryan and Asher.

Stacie Garnett-Cook, National Director, InterfaithFamily/Your Community

Stacie joined InterfaithFamily in 2012 to support the growth of the InterfaithFamily/Your Community program. She has over 10 years of experience working in Boston's non-profits, bringing people together around issues they care about. She recently completed her master's in organization development from American University and has a passion for helping non-profits achieve their missions more effectively. Prior to coming to InterfaithFamily, Stacie worked at NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts where she managed multi-stakeholder coalitions addressing sexual and reproductive health. She also participated in the Jewish Organizing Initiative fellowship program, learning community organizing skills and working on social justice from a Jewish context, and worked as a community organizer at Massachusetts Senior Action Council, organizing senior citizens to fight for better health care. Stacie's interest in multi-faith issues began in college where she was a Jewish student representative on the Wellesley College Multi-Faith Council. When she's not in the office, Stacie enjoys yoga, folk music, and spending time with her husband, Andrew and their son, Sam. They live in Dedham, MA.

Lindsey Silken, Editorial Director

Lindsey's background is firmly rooted in magazine publishing as a digital and print editor. Her career began at JFL Media’s JVibe magazine for Jewish teens, where she was editor-in-chief and oversaw the national magazine and website, and worked closely with teens. Before returning to the Jewish non-profit sector at IFF, she held online editorial posts at Girls’ Life and SAIL magazines. Lindsey spends a great deal of her time unplugging from her 9-5 dose of social media, reading, blogging about books and writing essays and short fiction as well as sailing, skiing and traveling. She holds a master’s in creative writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and a BA in English and BFA in art from Connecticut College. She lives in Brookline, MA with her husband.

Liz Polay-Wettengel, National Director of Marketing & Communications

Liz is a veteran marketing professional with extensive experience in traditional marketing and publicity and a strong background in the online landscape. She began her professional marketing career in the music industry in the mid 1990s and in 2002 left New York City and moved to the Boston area to bring digital marketing to both the real estate and publishing markets. Since 2006, Liz has been immersed in the nonprofit world where she worked at Combined Jewish Philanthropies of greater Boston. At CJP, she introduced social marketing techniques and created the initial social media presence for the large non-profit. Once those basics were established, she co-created and served as the site's community manager.

A blogger since 1999, Liz is a well-known social media advocate and trainer. Passionate about marketing and digital communication, she is often sought after to speak about engaging communities and to teach best practices for using social media tools in both the corporate and non-profit segments. With a record of early technology adoption, she has built trusted relationships through many social media channels. When offline, Liz can be found with her family, enjoying the beauty of coastal Massachusetts. She is intermarried and lives in Salem, MA with her husband and two sons. You can find her tweeting at @LizPW.

Maurice Harris, Rabbi/Senior Educator

Rabbi Maurice grew up primarily in suburban St. Louis, and partly in a working class, Moroccan-Israeli neighborhood near Tel Aviv. His mother is a Moroccan Jew whose large family fled widespread persecution in 1956 and resettled in Israel. His father of blessed memory was a secular Ashkenazi Jew and Midwestern American. Though both his parents were Jewish, their cross-cultural marriage in the mid-1960s was looked upon as a kind of “intermarriage” by some in their Conservative synagogue in St. Louis. Navigating cultural differences in the context of marriage and family has always been a part of Maurice’s life.

In 1992 Maurice graduated with a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University. After working for several Jewish community organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, he was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2003. From 2003–11, he served as Associate Rabbi and Head of School at Temple Beth Israel in Eugene, Oregon. Maurice also teaches in the Judaic Studies department at the University of Oregon, and he is the author of two books, Moses: A Stranger among Us (Cascade Books, 2012) and Leviticus: You Have No Idea (Cascade, 2013). He and his wife, Melissa, are the parents of two children whom they adopted from Oregon’s foster care system, Clarice and Hunter Harris.

Brian Phair, Associate Director, InterfaithFamily/Your Community

Brian joined InterfaithFamily in 2014 to support the growth of the InterfaithFamily/Your Community initiative. After graduating from the University of Connecticut with a BA in Sociology, he spent 5 years at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), the Jewish federation in Boston working in both the planning and development departments. Prior to coming to InterfaithFamily, he worked at Brandeis University in both alumni relations and development, increasing alumni engagement with the University in several regional areas including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Connecticut, South Florida, and South Korea. Brian grew up in an interfaith household and has always had a passion for creating a warm and welcoming Jewish community. He lives in Waltham with his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Mira. When not at work, he enjoys photography, golf, watching sports, and spending quality time with his family.

Jennifer White Tahiraj, Development Coordinator

Jennifer has worked in the administrative service field for 20 years and started her career at the Singapore Embassy in Washington, DC. Serving in roles of increasing scope and responsibility, Jennifer worked for CEOs and presidents in various businesses around the world. She enjoyed living in such diverse cities as Kuala Lumpur, London, and New York City. Prior to joining InterfaithFamily, she lent her extensive communication and organizational skills to industries such as government, healthcare, real estate and a health data-sharing website. Jennifer attended Simmons College and The George Washington University. She currently resides in Greater Boston with her husband and daughter.

Deb Morandi, Connections Coordinator

Deb Morandi is a highly motivated and creative organizational manager with extensive communication and community building skills. Prior to coming to InterfaithFamily, she was the Leadership Resource Development Coordinator at Jewish Family Service of Metrowest where she created programs for young families looking for a Jewish connection and grew the Jewish identity in those communities by 30%. She was also responsible for planning and developing events that would raise awareness and funds to support the work of JFS of Metrowest. Previously, Deb was a senior event consultant for an upscale event planning firm in Boston where she worked closely with couples and families to plan weddings and bat/bar mitzvahs. Deb holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Kansas and is an avid Jayhawks fan! She is intermarried and lives in Franklin, MA with her husband, twin boys, and yellow lab.

Susan Edni, Administrator/Special Projects

Susan Edni was born and raised in London, where she was a medical defense legal executive for over 10 years. Susan then spent a few years in Israel where she taught English prior to meeting her Israeli husband Udi in New York on a two-night stopover. They returned to Israel for a year but since May 2002, Susan and Udi have lived very happily in Dover with their two children and dog! Susan has managed to hold on to her British accent and so too, she believes, her British sense of humor.

Phyllis Myung, Communications Associate


Phyllis is a freelance writer, content creator, consultant and speaker. She has background in education and political science with a stint in finance. Her diverse background has given her a breadth of experience in writing, social media strategy and execution, relationship management, event planning and working with children and parents.

She greatly enjoys creating new spaces for topics and issues that are not always heard about. In giving voice to her Asian American experience and growing up with immigrant parents, Phyllis blogs at her personal lifestyle blog, Her blog focuses on the Asian American and immigrant experience voice in life, but mostly from a parenting perspective. Phyllis enjoys the thrill of public speaking and recently presented as one of the Voices of the Year for 2014 at BlogHer in San Jose, CA. She also is the co-producer of the Listen To Your Mother Show in Boston and spoke at the 2013 Listen To Your Mother show in Providence, RI. She also has spoken on topics about faith in the family and organizing finances as a recent college graduate through her church in Brookline, MA.



Rabbi Malka Packer, Director, InterfaithFamily/Atlanta

Malka Packer was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Pennsylvania in 2014 and was the recipient of the Reconstructionist Student Association Prize for Spiritual Enrichment in the RRC community. Malka's passion is creating inspiring and relevant rituals and ceremonies and invigorating Jewish practices. Inclusivity is at the heart of Malka's rabbinate. She has co-founded several on-going creative prayer communities, including a monthly musical chanting and meditation Kabbalat Shabbat Friday night prayer service in Philadelphia and the first and only weekly, weekday non-Orthodox Shacharit service in Tel Aviv. Malka has served as a rabbinic advisor at both Bryn Mawr and Vassar College. Prior to rabbinical school, Malka earned a Master's degree in Elementary Education and Creative Arts in Learning from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and worked as a Jewish educator for over a decade. Malka recently moved to Virginia Highland, Atlanta with her partner, Mercy.

Laurel Snyder, Project Manager, InterfaithFamily/Atlanta

Laurel Snyder has been engaged with interfaith issues for over a decade, as a writer, editor, speaker and community member. She graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2000, and shortly after that, began working on stories of interest to intermarried families, for publications like Killing the Buddha, Jewcy, Tablet, Haaretz, NPR’s All Things Considered, CNN and the Jewish Daily Forward. In 2006 she edited an anthology, Half/Life: Jew-ish Tales from Interfaith Homes, and she is also the author of many books for children, including Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher, and The Longest Night, which was honored with the Sydney Taylor Medal in 2014. Laurel also spent several years working as a program director for Hillel, the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, where she fell in love with Jewish communal work. A Baltimore native, she now lives in Atlanta with her husband Chris and their two sons.


Rabbi Jillian Cameron, Director, InterfaithFamily/Boston


Jillian Cameron was ordained at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2012 after receiving a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education in 2008. After graduating from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, she worked at several Jewish organizations and synagogues, persuing her passion for education, Israel and Judaism. During her time at HUC-JIR, she had the opportunity to work on a variety of publications from prayer books to a collection of essays on Jewish food ethics to a guide to creating Jewish weddings. Following her ordination, Rabbi Cameron served as the Assistant Rabbi and Educator at a synagogue in Virginia where she had the privilege to work with many different types of families and individuals, helping them to find relevance in Judaism and explore an array Jewish paths. She believes in the power and importance of everyone’s story and how diversity can only strengthen the Jewish community. Jillian is a New Jersey native and the proud product of an interfaith family. She enjoys reading, writing, the many forms of human creativity and great music, and is newly a Boston resident.

Jane Maine, Project Manager, InterfaithFamily/Boston


Jane Maine has recently found renewed joy in Judaism and although her background runs the gamut from owning a coffee house (Java Jane’s), to marketing and selling a comprehensive sex education curriculum (Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts), one of her most recent endeavors is as principal of Temple Emanuel of the Merrimack Valley’s religious school. Jane is also a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a certified trainer. Other joys in Jane’s life include her four perfect grandchildren, kvelling about her two grown children (Mandi and Seth), music and dancing. She lives in Leominster with her husband, Mike, their cat Newk, and numerous dust bunnies.


Rabbi Ari Moffic, Director, InterfaithFamily/Chicago

Ari Poster Moffic was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2007. A graduate of Indiana University, she received Master's Degrees in Jewish Education and Jewish Studies from Baltimore Hebrew College. A native of Newton Massachusetts, Rabbi Moffic has an extensive background in Jewish family education -including writing for a Jewish family magazine, leading family retreats, and helping to start a family centered religious school. She has a special interest in working with interfaith couples and families. Identity formation, modern interpretations of culture and religion and making Jewish living accessible, relevant and meaningful are the areas that drive and inspire Rabbi Moffic. She believes in learning through doing and engaging the entire family in transformative Jewish experiences. She is married to Rabbi Evan Moffic, senior rabbi at Congregation Solel in Highland Park, Illinois. They are parents to Hannah born in 2007 and Tamir born in 2009.

Judy Jury, Director, Special Projects, InterfaithFamily/Chicago

Judy Jury has devoted her entire career and volunteer life to Jewish education. She has worked for over 30 years as an Education Director in Chicago area synagogue schools with 200 to 800 students and has taught Hebrew and Judaic studies to students from 3 years old to 83 years old. Judy founded and directs eJewcate Me, an Online Hebrew and Religious School, allowing access to every child, regardless of location or family religious affiliation, to receive a Jewish education. Judy works as a consultant for Ramah Day Camp in the Chicago area and is the President of the Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago where she has been a board member for over a decade. While Judy adores her three fabulous children, her three incredible grandchildren have taken over as the loves of her life!

Jennifer Falkenholm, Project Manager, InterfaithFamily/Chicago

 Jennifer joined InterfaithFamily in 2012 to support IFF’s Chicago community office. Prior to coming to InterfaithFamily, Jennifer spent over 10 years working for Accenture, a large global consulting company, in both their Marketing and Recruiting departments. She enjoys using her deep communication and organizational skills to define efficient processes and to deliver value to internal and external customers. Jennifer graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Marketing. She lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with her husband and two boys. When not at work, she enjoys going to the city with her family, jogging outdoors and reading a good book.

Susie Field, Assistant Project Manager, InterfaithFamily/Chicago

Susie Field enjoyed most of her career in finance, working for 14 years at LaSalle Bank in Chicago. After 7 years of Wealth Management and Community Development lending at LaSalle, she became part of its training team for commercial lending. Later she contracted with BMO Harris Bank’s Private Bank, aiding in its merger with M&I Bank of Wisconsin. In addition to her work at banks, she has volunteered for various programs including Contact Chicago, Thresholds Drop-In Center, Streetwise Newspaper, Ronald McDonald Youth Suicide Prevention and the Rogers Park Builders Committee. Susie and her husband, Steve, recently moved from the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago to Northbrook with their two children.


Rabbi Sarah Tasman, Director, InterfaithFamily/DC

In July 2015, Rabbi Sarah Tasman joined InterfaithFamily as the Director of IFF/DC, serving the Greater Washington (DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia) area. Most recently she served as Senior Jewish Educator at The University of Maryland Hillel, led events at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, and has taught yoga for the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington at Adas Israel. Prior to moving to Washington, DC, Sarah led an independent, young-adult community in New Haven, Connecticut, where she received awards for her innovative Rosh Chodesh programing and successful HavdalahYoga series. During rabbinical school, Sarah served as rabbi of Or HaTzafon in Fairbanks, AK, and spent many years as a mikveh guide and educator at Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Mikveh & Education Center where she created new mother-daughter educational workshops. Rabbi Sarah brings warmth, a rich knowledge of tradition, and accessibility to meet couples, families and students wherever they are in order create a meaningful experience. She was ordained by the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in 2012. She also holds a Masters in Jewish Education from The Shoolman School of Education at Hebrew College and a certificate of Non-Profit Management from the Rabbinic Management Institute at American Jewish University.

InterfaithFamily/Los Angeles

Rabbi Keara Stein, Director, InterfaithFamily/Los Angeles

Keara Stein

Keara Stein grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, and earned a BA in Religious Studies with a minor in music from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. After graduating she lived in Portland, Oregon, where she met her husband Jason whom she married in 2012. In Portland Keara worked for the Jewish Federation and at local synagogues teaching religious school and co-founding Jews Next Dor, a young adult community. Keara attended Hebrew Union College where she held internships in Amarillo, Texas, UCLA Medical Center, St. John’s Hospital and Temple Beth Hillel. After ordination in May 2014 Keara worked as the Interim Assistant Rabbi at Temple Judea in Tarzana before joining InterfaithFamily. Keara lives in Pasadena, California, with her husband Jason, her step-son Jonathon, one-year-old twins Elliot and Nora, and their dog Cosmo.

Rachael Martin, Project Manager, InterfaithFamily/Los Angeles

Rachael Martin

Rachael joined InterfaithFamily/Los Angeles in 2015. She has worked in the Los Angeles Jewish community for the past 14 years where her roles have spanned not only the length of the city, but much of the diversity of L.A.’s Judaism as well. From the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, to the Program Director at Sinai Temple, to a writer and creative strategist for Rabbi Sherre Hirsch and others, Rachael has worked to make Jewish traditions and teachings relevant to a broad audience. Her passion for fostering a welcoming and inclusive Judaism coalesced during her time as Board Chair at Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and reaches beyond the professional roles to her own interfaith household. She grew up in Florida and after six post-college years in New York, she moved to Silverlake in 2001 and hasn’t looked back.


Rabbi Robyn Frisch, Director, InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia

Robyn Frisch graduated from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1988 and New York University School of Law in 1991. After practicing as a corporate lawyer in a large Philadelphia law firm for several years, Robyn decided to follow her passion and become a rabbi. She was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2000. Since her ordination, Robyn has worked as a congregational rabbi, hospital chaplain, religious school director, family educator, adult education instructor, Rosh Hodesh group leader for teens, and Jewish day and overnight camp rabbi. She loves teaching and helping to make Judaism come alive for individuals, couples and families and empowering them to make Jewish rituals, practices and teachings a valuable part of their lives. She especially enjoys working with interfaith couples and families to create personal and meaningful life-cycle events.

Robyn grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and has lived in the area with her family since 2001. Robyn serves as the spiritual leader of Temple Menorah Keneseth Chai, the oldest synagogue in northeast Philadelphia, where she has been since 2008. Robyn loves spending time with her husband and three children. She also enjoys practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation, reading and biking.

Wendy Armon, Director, Community Relations, InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia

Wendy Ellison Armon brings over fifteen years experience in the areas of management consulting and grant writing, plus her strong communication and organizational skills, to InterfaithFamily. As the Director of InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia, she enjoys developing new projects and engaging in new collaborations throughout the Philadelphia community. With an undergraduate degree in English from Brandeis University and a master's degree in Public Management from University of Maryland, she appreciates the opportunity to apply these skills in the nonprofit community. Wendy has lived in Philadelphia for over ten years has been very active in synagogue and community life in Philadelphia. As a conservative Jew, she is delighted to work towards creating a welcoming community for interfaith families.

Wendy enjoys spending time with her husband, three kids and occasionally participates in community theater. She enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking and time at the beach.

Robin Warsaw, Project Manager, InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia

Robin Warsaw joined InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia in 2012. She began work with the interfaith community in 2011 as the project manager for InterFaithways in Philadelphia, PA. She has 18 years of experience working as an IT professional, including software development, classroom teaching, website design and development, and video and photo editing. She's excited to use both her technical skills and community outreach experience to connect interfaith couples and families with resources in the Philadelphia area. Robin is a member of the Board of Trustees at her synagogue in Elkins Park, PA, where she is active in the religious school and on the membership committee. She enjoys tennis, hiking, cooking, yoga, and spending time with her husband and two children.

InterfaithFamily/San Francisco Bay Area

Rabbi Mychal Copeland, Director, InterfaithFamily/Bay Area

Rabbi Mychal Copeland worked in two Hillels for the past 13 years, UCLA and more recently, Stanford University. In 1995, she earned a Masters in Theological Studies and Secondary Teaching Credential from Harvard Divinity School, and a rabbinical degree from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2000. Mychal is the founder of a national Rosh Hodesh (new moon) project for teens, It’s a Girl Thing, and is a certified yoga instructor who fuses Jewish spirituality with movement in her yoga teaching. She writes a monthly Torah column for the J: Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. She is passionate about opening the doors of Judaism wider and leading people toward a profound spiritual and religious life that embraces all of their disparate identities. She lives with her partner of 20 years in Mountain View, California, with their two sons.

Erica Aren, Project Manager, InterfaithFamily/Bay Area


Erica is a mid-westerner at heart, but Bay Area proud since 2003. Childhood summers at Jewish summer camp, high school weekends full of BBYO youth group events and visits to Israel set the foundation for her commitment to authentic Jewish community and meaningful learning. Erica's graduate work is in Education, where she examined experiential learning through the lens of equity and social justice. She also studied psychology at The Ohio State University, International Studies at the Anglo-American College in Prague, Czech Republic, and Jewish Service Learning at San Francisco State University. Lately she’s been interested in design thinking and just completed a fascinating class - Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design with Acumen and

Always ready to learn something new, Erica is currently investigating her interest in full-spectrum doula care. Erica previously worked as a teen educator, directing Jewish leadership, social action and cultural exchange programs, including the Bay Area Diller Teen Fellows. For the last few years she was working to engage the American Jewish community in global justice at American Jewish World Service. Today she continues to be active with The Kitchen and is a past co-chair of Hazon’s Golden Gate Bike Ride with her husband, Adam. Together, they love to be outside on a walk in San Francisco, relaxing in Dolores Park or dancing to live music. Her family, now including her daughter Nava, has a tradition of keeping bees and sharing honey, just ask for a jar!


Rabbi Lev Baesh

Rabbi Lev Baesh was ordained by the Reform Movement in 1994 in Cincinnati. He can be found in Austin, TX, as well as traveling nationally and internationally to celebrate interfaith-Jewish weddings, baby naming ceremonies, and creative and inclusive coming of age ceremonies. Baesh served as rabbi for Temple Israel of Dover, N.H., from 1994-2006 and served as interim rabbi for Congregation Beit Ahavah in Northampton, Mass., in 2006 and 2007, and Congregation B’nei Or in Newton, Mass., from 2007-2009. He currently is a full-time RN at University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin, Texas while serving as part-time rabbi of Congregation Kol HaLev in Austin. His focus throughout his congregational work is welcoming all who want “Jewish” as part of their lives. He also served as Boston’s first “Interfaith Ambassador” for Combined Jewish Philanthropies, creating and staffing workshops, community trainings, and couples programing in and around the Boston area. InterfaithFamily is a natural fit for this high-spirited, knowledgeable and welcoming rabbi.

Baesh lives with his partner Andrew, who joined the Jewish world a few years into their relationship. You can read about their early life in The Guide to Jewish Interfaith Family Life: An Handbook in the chapter about "Gay and Interfaith." Baesh has contributed several articles to our web site and has been helpful in the creation of our wedding guide for interfaith couples.

Prior to life as a rabbi, Baesh was an attorney with the Children's Aid Society in New York, and coordinated their Manhattan project of PINS Mediation with parents and teens. Baesh is a graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Class of 1994, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University class of 1987 (accepted in the New York and Connecticut Bar Associations) and Clark University class of 1984. Baesh was accepted and attended Bangor Theological Seminary's Doctor of Ministry program until he decided to leave congregational work. Rabbi Baesh is also a nursing school graduate of Regis College-Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford, Mass. and is attending Western Governors University to complete an MSN in Nursing Leadership and Management.

And for those who knew Baesh prior to 1998, when he changed his name after attending a Jewish story-teller's retreat, you will remember him as Wesley Michael Odell. Baesh is a fifth generation rabbi in the United States — of which three are Reform and two Lubavitch — on his mother's side and a second generation attorney on his father's side.

Karen Kushner, InterfaithFamily/San Francisco

In August of 2003, Karen began developing resources for synagogues in a newly funded organization known as Project Welcome. For five years, Project Welcome worked with congregations of all denominations to help them increase the warmth of their welcome to Jews, interfaith families, the LGBT community and everyone seeking a home in Judaism. Project Welcome evolved into the Jewish Welcome Network in the fall of 2008, continuing to provide training workshops and resources to the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish community. In August 2010, InterfaithFamily added the training workshops and resources of the Jewish Welcome Network to its offerings and brought Karen on as the Chief Education Officer.

Previously, Karen worked as a family educator and therapist, specializing in the self-healing power of families for 27 years, and has lectured widely. For over twenty years, she taught religious school to teenagers and primary students and designed a Hebrew curriculum for second graders learning with their parents. She has co-authored, with Anita Diamant, How to Raise a Jewish Child: No Experience Necessary. And, with her husband, Lawrence Kushner, she has written Because Nothing Looks Like God, Where is God, What Does God Look Like and How Does God Make Things Happen. She is the mother of three adult children and grandmother of three.

 Former Editors

The Jewish Sabbath, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday. Hebrew for "fit" (as in, "fit for consumption"), the Jewish dietary laws. Hebrew for "collection," referring to the "collection of water," is a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism. Today it is used as part of the traditional procedure for converting to Judaism, by Jews who follow the laws of ritual (body) purity, and sometimes for making kitchen utensils kosher.
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