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 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.
Daniel brings experience with in program development, community building, and social justice education to Keshet. Originally from Southwest Ohio, Daniel quickly formed a connection between his Jewish identity and the importance of inclusion and working towards a more socially just society. Daniel dived further into social justice and Jewish thought in his undergraduate experiences at Lehigh University in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Studying classics and religion studies, he learned the importance of reflecting upon the past but at the same time finding meaning for the present. At the same time, Daniel began to become involved in many social justice education groups, winning multiple campus awards for his involvement. His passion for social justice and education continued in his graduate studies at New York University, where he received his masters in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs.
Daniel joins Keshet spending three years working at a small liberal arts college as Assistant Director of Residence Life. There, Daniel trained students on building inclusive residential communities as well as assisting students whenever they had concerns about their community environment. Daniel was highly involved with campus inclusion projects, presenting at conferences, putting together programs, sitting on committees, managing educational processes. For his work, he was awarded a major regional award for “Commitment to Social Justice.” Daniel is excited to be working with communities across the country and helping to facilitate a larger conversation about inclusion and equity!
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 15 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.
Eva is thrilled to be back in Boston, contributing to Keshet’s powerful and innovative work. She earned her B.S. in Political Communication from Emerson College, where she began her social justice career as the Founder of a student activist group, which spread awareness of the genocide in Darfur. Upon graduating in 2011, she moved to New York, where she wrote about feminism, sexual assault, and gender roles in the Jewish community for various online magazines. Her passion for gender studies and activism led her to pursue her role at Keshet. Outside of work, Eva is a House Manager at a theater in Cambridge. She can also be found writing short stories, and teaching herself piano remarkably slowly.
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.
Rachel moved from the humidity of North Carolina to Boston, where she’ll finally experience a real winter. She was born and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and graduated from the University of North Carolina Asheville, where she studied Political Science and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Rachel’s brother, who has cerebral palsy and is deaf, inspired her to be an advocate and ally. In high school Rachel was active in NFTY, serving as a Social Action Vice President locally and regionally. She engaged in a variety of social justice work, but began to focus on feminist issues in college. Rachel has been actively involved in projects related to political engagement, reproductive rights, sexual assault, and LGBTQIA inclusion. Her research at UNC Asheville focused on how Jewish women’s intersectional identities influence their social justice involvement, how oral history help sustain Jewish community, and how The Daily Show with Jon Stewart influences young people’s political participation.
Rachel is excited to work with Keshet to share stories and bring communities together to make all spaces inclusive and welcoming. She enjoys listening to bluegrass music, cooking vegetarian creations, and attempting do-it-yourself projects.
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.
Talya Husbands-Hankin is a nice jewish girl with a passion for justice. Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Talya brings over 15 years of experience in community organizing, leadership development, training and facilitation, and grassroots social change work. Talya has lived in Boston, New York, and Oakland, where she has worked for leading Jewish social justice organizations including, AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and The Welcoming Synagogues Project, founded by The Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation at Hebrew Union College. She currently lives in Oakland, California where she works with several local Jewish groups as an art educator and young adult program organizer in addition to her role at Keshet.
Jacob Klein has been steadily moving up the California coast. Originally from San Diego,Jacob attended UCLA, where they studied English literature with an emphasis in creative writing. They also studied at Trinity College in Dublin, where their participation in queer communities took off. While in Dublin, Jacob attended Pink Training, a series of leadership workshops on LGBTQ-related matters, became involved in campaigns ranging from an internationally visible trans informational campaign to the staging of a mock wedding demonstration fighting for marriage equality in Ireland.
Jacob was asked to write a piece to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Q Soc (Trinity’s LGBTQ Society) that was published in Ne Plus Ultra*: Celebrating 30 Years of TCD LGBT, LGBTQ in Ireland, and Beyond. Jacob has since made their way to the Bay Area for an internship at Tikkun magazine, and they are excited to be joining the Keshet team.
Jacob spends their free time writing and lounging with cats.
Kathryn Macías (Muh-SEE-us) is a queer with chutzpah. She came to Keshet as a JOIN for Justice Fellow all the way from Athens, GA. While in Athens, she earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication Studies, minor in Religion, and Certificate in Leadership and Service from the University of Georgia.
It was during her time in college that she discovered and cultivated her passion for social justice work at the intersection of religious and queer identity. Kathryn served as the Executive Director of the LGBT Resource Center’s Programming Board, co-led the University’s first LGBTQ Awareness alternative break trip, and served as the lead organizer in the Gender Advocacy Campaign. She describes her work through the Gender Advocacy Campaign as one of her proudest achievements as it resulted in the addition of “gender identity” to the University’s Non-Discrimination Anti-Harassment policy. While in college, Kathryn also interned with SOJOURN, the Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity, where she developed LGBTQ inclusion Train-the-Trainer curricula and secured a grant for youth suicide prevention. Kathryn brings her experience, commitment to justice, and chutzpah to the work at Keshet as the Boston Community Organizer.
Originally from NYC, Kaden moved to the Boston area in 2010 to attend Wellesley College. There he studied Women’s and Gender Studies and Education Studies. During his time at Wellesley, Kaden was able to begin exploring and understanding his interests in social justice and anti-oppressive work which in turn helped him understand and be comfortable with his own gender identity as a part of the trans community. Prior to joining Keshet, most of his advocacy and activism was expressed through participation in educational panels, various media outlets as an interviewee, and participation in different community movements for social change and equity.
Kaden is excited to work with Keshet and expand his participation in striving for a more inclusive society for all LGBTQ identified people. He is currently living in a collective in Allston, MA with eight other people, three cats, and six bikes. In his spare time he can be found working at a cafe as a barista and biking around Boston.
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.
Deborah’s career as a Jewish leader spans 33 years including 26 years as Director of Camp Tawonga, a nationally recognized Jewish resident summer camp located just outside Yosemite National Park, where 18 years ago, Deborah founded the first Jewish LGBT Family Weekend in the country. Thousands of queer families have participated in the years since its founding. She served four years as Hazon Director in the Bay Area and has worked as Associate Director of two local JCCs.
Deborah has served on the faculty of multiple Jewish leadership fellowships including Pathways, Keshet’s young adult leadership program co-led by the Jewish Community Federation. Deborah co-authored Spirit In Nature/Teaching Judaism and Ecology on the Trail. Most recently, Deborah founded Get Set Go Community Adventures, and developed and conducted a national Jewish Outdoor Leadership Training: JOLT, as well as helped to create the first multi day retreats for: SVARA, a traditionally Radical Yeshiva in Chicago, and The Kitchen, an indie synagogue in San Francisco.
Justin is excited to join Keshet as National Director of Youth Programs, a new senior position focused on creating inclusive, visible, and celebratory spaces for LGBTQ Jewish teens throughout the country. Representing the Keshet team in New York, he will cultivate partnerships with organizations to develop trainings on LGBTQ issues for professionals as well as leadership-building opportunities for LGBTQ teens across organizations and movements. Justin brings a passion for social entrepreneurship, leadership development, and experiential education to his work.
Previously, Justin served as the Associate Director of the National Incubator for Community-Based Jewish Teen Education Initiatives at The Jewish Education Project, where he consulted to a collaborative of 14 national and local funders developing new strategies and initiatives for working with teens, and as Director of Programs & Strategy at PresenTense, where he oversaw accelerator programs for social innovators in cities throughout North America. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, Justin received his MPA in nonprofit management and MA in Jewish studies from NYU. He also directed the Collegiate Leadership Internship Program at NYU’s Bronfman Center. Prior to graduate school, Justin was a fellow in Insight: The Schusterman Fellowship for Jewish community. As an undergraduate, Justin attended the dual-degree program between Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he received bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and Jewish thought.
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. As Keshet’s Boston Regional Director, Joanna oversees Keshet’s community building, education, and advocacy work in the Greater Boston region. While at Keshet, Joanna has built powerful communities of LGBTQ Jews and allies across Massachusetts and the country working in support of full justice and equality for LGBTQ people, including leading Keshet’s work in support of the successful passage of the Massachusetts Trans Equal Rights Bill in 2011. 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 her partner and a clutter of cats, including Ginny. On the critical question of whether she’d choose flight or invisibility as her super power, she always chooses to fly.