Idit Klein has been an activist for equality and social justice for the past 20 years. Since 2001, she has served as Executive Director of Keshet. During this time, Klein has built Keshet from a one-person, local organization with an annual budget of $42,000 to an 18-person, national organization with an annual budget of nearly two million. Under her leadership, Keshet developed a comprehensive training curriculum for LGBT inclusion and trained educators in hundreds of Jewish communities around the country. In Massachusetts, Klein helped mobilize Massachusetts rabbis and synagogue members to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Klein also served as the Executive Producer of Keshet’s award-winning documentary film Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School.
Prior to leading Keshet, Klein was an activist in the LGBT community in Israel and played a role in early organizing efforts to create the Jerusalem Open House. She has worked for social justice organizations in Jerusalem and in Boston including SHATIL, the Israel/Palestine Center for Research & Information, and Community Work Services. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale University, Klein received her Master’s in Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a focus on social justice and anti-oppression education. She is also a certified facilitator of the Center for Leadership Initiatives.
Klein was among eight recipients of the 2003-2005 Joshua Venture Fellowship for young Jewish social entrepreneurs and was a plenary speaker at the 2007 Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly. A board member of JOIN for Justice and a past fellow, Klein was honored by the Jewish Women’s Archive with a Women Who Dared award and named to the Forward 50.
Catherine Bell has been working for justice since college, when she found her feminist voice and realized that she had to use it. Catherine comes to Keshet from JOIN for Justice, where she served for 6 years as the Director of the Jewish Organizing Fellowship. Under Catherine’s leadership, the Fellowship grew into a highly competitive, nationally acclaimed program for recruiting and training talented emerging Jewish organizers. Catherine’s work at JOIN focused on training, coaching, and facilitating communities of practice, as well as consulting with Jewish organizations on how to use the framework of community organizing to build stronger, values-driven institutions and communities.
Catherine has over a dozen years of experience organizing and educating in a Jewish context. Since her own participation in the JOIN Fellowship after college, she has worked as a youth educator and organizer within the Boston Jewish community and with immigrant youth in Brockton, MA. She has also worked as an organizer of progressive Jewish adults in the Boston area and in New York City, and as an organizer at Temple Israel in Boston. Catherine spent time in Ghana as an HIV educator with the Volunteer Corps of American Jewish World Service, and has a background in performance and Theater of the Oppressed popular education techniques. Catherine graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College, and holds an M.A. in Sociology of Education from NYU.
Maya joins Keshet with a passion for queer and Jewish life. Originally from the Bay Area, she attended The Evergreen State College and earned a degree in American Studies—specifically, the construction and evolution of group identities. She has a strong interest in queer community building, and has spent time studying, organizing, and living in queer communities in Olympia, WA, central Tennessee, and southern Oregon, among other places.
Maya approaches both her Judaism and her queerness with an anti-oppression framework: whether talking to her bubbeh and zayde about gender politics, building a garden with high school students, doing street outreach with LGBTQ homeless youth, or discussing intersectional feminism over Shabbat dinner, she’s always seeking to shake things up.
While not nerding out over queer theory or urban farming, Maya can be found romping with her dogs in the Oakland hills.
James Cohen grew up in the Boston area and is happy to be back in his hometown and working with Keshet and the LBGT Jewish community. During his 15 years in South Florida, his career focused primarily on the restaurant and food supply industries, but it was a personal experience that led him to a career in Jewish communal service. At a time when it was not legal for openly gay people to adopt in Florida, James became a licensed foster parent, and when the law changed in 2010, he began the process to adopt his son, Jason. Raising Jason and sharing Jewish values with him inspired James to reconsider many aspects of his life. He was fortunate to be able to combine his passions for social justice and Judaism into a position at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, where he served as Donor Relationship Manager and worked closely with attorneys, financial professionals, and other donors to deepen their involvement in the organization and the local Jewish community. At the same time, James served on the Board of Directors of Next@19th, a nonprofit promoting Jewish culture in South Florida. He and Jason were active volunteers at Temple Israel of Greater Miami, a synagogue with a commitment to inclusiveness and to social justice. James received a BA in Communications from the University of Miami.
Rafi Daugherty was born in Colorado and raised in Missouri. He moved to New York in 2003, came out as queer in 2004, and trans in 2007. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelors from Hunter College with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology. He received a masters from Tel Aviv University in Crisis and Trauma Studies. While in school, Rafi worked with individuals with development disabilities and homeless New York City youth. He has been a teacher for Limmud NY and Nehirim about transgender issues. He is happy to be part of Keshet’s Denver office and to help strengthen LGBTQ Jewish life in Colorado.
Lauren is excited to bring a passion for social justice, political change, and community involvement to Keshet. A graduate of SUNY Purchase College, Lauren earned her B.A. in Political Science with minors in Economics and Gender Studies in May 2012. Before completing her undergraduate degree, Lauren completed a thesis critiquing the prosecution of hate crimes against transgender people, worked to improved gender neutral housing on campus as President of the Queer Student Union and as a Resident Assistant, and mentored first-generation college students at a high school just outside New York City. Before joining Keshet, Lauren worked for the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers as a Political Organizer in the 2012 elections.
Rich brings a wealth of knowledge to Keshet, with more than 25 years of management experience in a broad range of businesses. Most recently, as Chief Operating Officer at Hebrew College, Rich led a series of restructuring efforts. Prior to that appointment Rich ran the College’s Me’ah Adult education program guiding its national growth into new regions.
Previously as Managing Director at Hammer and Company, a research and consulting firm, he was responsible for all internal processes including finance, technology, product development and market research. Earlier in his career, Rich built worldwide training organizations at a number of high-technology companies.
Rich has a B.S. in Chemistry from City College of New York and pursued studies in the masters program in Computer Science there as well. Rich is a founding member of his congregation, Shaarei Tefillah in Newton, where he has served in numerous capacities including president.
Myla attended Illinois Wesleyan University, where she pushed the boundaries for LGBTQ inclusivity through her work in the university Pride Alliance. She studied abroad for her junior year at Pembroke College, Oxford, and earned her B.A. in Women’s Studies in May 2007. Before joining Keshet, she worked at a women’s resource center in India through an American Jewish World Service fellowship and at a domestic violence intake center in Washington D.C. through AVODAH, led domestic and international Jewish service-learning trips for high school and college students, and volunteered as a crisis hotline operator and outreach volunteer for sex workers at HIPS in Washington DC.
Chasiah Haberman is a Jewish educator, spiritual counselor, and community-builder. She has been a teacher and curriculum developer at Temple Israel of Boston, a chaplain intern and member of the pastoral care team at Hebrew Senior Life, and a congregational educator at Temple Beth Shalom in Cambridge. Chasiah is the founder of Tirtzah, a small grassroots organization that supports Frum queer women in living a fully integrated and joyful Jewish life. She earned her certificate in Jewish Education, Leadership and Scholarship from the Drisha Institute and her BA from Washington University in St. Louis. Chasiah lives in Cambridge with her wife.
Jodi is a Massachusetts native who spent time living in Vermont, Washington DC , and Israel before returning to Boston, where she currently resides. Prior to joining Keshet, Jodi worked at the Greater Boston Jewish Community Relations Council as the Executive Assistant, where she discovered an unexpected passion and talent for data management. She is excited to contribute her knowledge and energy towards furthering Keshet’s mission from behind-the-scenes.
Jodi cares deeply about social justice issues and has focused much of her professional work on at-risk youth. Most recently, Jodi managed a career exploration program for high school students at Youth Enrichment Services (YES) in Boston. She has also volunteered with a variety of populations, including immigrants, adult GED students, and homeless children. As a volunteer for ReachOut!, a service-learning program for young professional Jews in the Boston area, Jodi had the opportunity to serve as a Site Captain at several local service sites.
Jodi holds B.A. in Political Science & Spanish from Marlboro College. When not working or volunteering, Jodi can be found outside—most likely rock climbing, biking, or hiking—or in the kitchen trying out a new recipe.
Bonnie has worked in the nonprofit and media sector since graduating from Tufts University in 1995 with a dual degree in International Relations and Women’s Studies. She received a certificate in non-fiction writing from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and a masters in Media and Nonprofit Management from Suffolk University where she received the Waterston Fellowship, sponsored by actor Sam Waterston. Prior to Keshet, Bonnie served as the editorial coordinator for outreach campaigns for PBS series including The College Track: America’s Sorting Machine, Local News, School: The Story of American Public Education, and Senior Year. As a freelancer, Bonnie worked as a researcher, associate producer, and sound recorder on a series of environmental films including, Renewal. She is on the program advisory committee for the elder services organization, FriendshipWorks and was a writing coach for high school students at the Posse Foundation. Bonnie joined Keshet in 2005 as the Associate Producer of Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School. In her spare time, she hangs out at the dog park with her Mississippi Lab-mix and office mate, Hannah.
Jordyn completed her undergraduate studies at Smith College and her graduate work at Brandeis University, earning a master’s degree in Public Policy, as well as a degree from the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. With a passion for community building and an eye for social justice, Jordyn has worked at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies, and the Jewish Women’s Archive. She lives, with her cat, her camera, and her partner, in Salem, Massachusetts.
A Jewish activist for LGBTQ issues since she was a teenager, Joanna joined Keshet in 2009 as a member of the JOIN for Justice Community Organizing Fellowship. In her time at Keshet, Joanna has built powerful communities of LGBTQ Jews and allies across Greater Boston, Massachusetts, and the country working in support of full justice and equality for LGBTQ people, including organizing the Jewish community in support of the successful passage of the Massachusetts Trans Equal Rights Bill in 2011. As Associate Director of National Programs, she directs the Keshet Parent & Family Connection and Keshet’s work with Jewish youth movements. Joanna’s academic background is in gender studies, Middle East studies, and politics, and she brings to Keshet professional experience in Jewish youth work and informal education, anti-violence and anti-sexism education and prevention, policy advocacy, and community organizing.
Originally from San Diego, Joanna is an alumna of Antioch College and has spent time living, learning, and working at the intersections of gender, sexuality, faith, and politics in Israel and Western Europe. She currently lives in Jamaica Plain, MA, with Ginny, a tiny orange cat. On the critical question of whether she’d choose flight or invisibility as her super power, she always chooses to fly.
Rebecca Weiner, MA has been working in the Jewish community for the past twenty-five years. She has worked as an educator, consultant, and program manager. She is currently the education director at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav. Rebecca was an interculturalist and trainer for the high tech industry with a focus on helping Israelis become thriving members of global teams. Rebecca brings to her position at Keshet her expertise in education and training as well as her passion towards LGBT inclusion in the Jewish world.
Beatrice is a recent graduate from Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa, soon to become an International Relations/Public Policy student at Mills College. During her high school career, she became president of the MCHS GSA, where she organized the implementation of an anti-hate speech and bullying policy into the school’s safety code and led staff trainings for its execution. The PTA was won over with delicious baked goods and thorough knowledge of state legislation. She also worked as a madricha at Congregation Beth Ami’s religious school for four years, mostly with B’nei Mitzvah-preparatory students. Beatrice hopes to maintain her connection with Keshet and the Bay Area queer Jewish community after her internship and during her time Mills.
Jessica is starting her second year at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, PA. Born and raised in that very same Philadelphia suburb and a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, she is re-planting roots in Philly after five years in Minneapolis, MN. There Jessica worked as the Community Director of the Bancroft Neighborhood Association and coordinated the Leadership Year May Term trip for the University of Minnesota GLBTA Programs Office. She was a trainer, curriculum developer, and organizer with the Minnesota GLBTA Campus Alliance and Trans Youth Support Network.
Since starting at RRC, Jessica is proud of her work teaching racial justice and gender justice in Congregation Rodeph Shalom’s Confirmation Academy and leading Torah Queeries study sessions at Congregation Beth Ahava. She is active in RRC’s Trans and Genderqueer Working Group and on the Rabbinical Council of Jewish Voice for Peace. Jessica pursued rabbinical school because of her love of history and ritual as tools for organizing for justice and for building our resistance to and healing from oppression. At Keshet, Jessica will be organizing the LGBTQ and Allies Teen Shabbaton.