Rabbi Laura Abrasley joined the Temple Shalom clergy team in July 2015. She grew up in Houston and graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in psychology. Her path to becoming a rabbi began with many summers spent as a camper and then counselor at the URJ Greene Family Camp in Texas. After college, Rabbi Abrasley worked in education and technology sectors in Boston, most recently serving as Youth Educator at Temple Israel.
In 2007, Rabbi Abrasley began her rabbinic studies in Jerusalem and continued at the HUC-JIR campus in Los Angeles. She served as a student rabbi at several congregations in California – Visalia, Culver City and Tarzana – as well as Boston. She also was the rabbinic intern at the Jewish Home of San Francisco and for the HUC DeLeT Summer Institute. With a strong commitment to Jewish learning, she earned an additional Masters in Jewish Education and was an education intern at Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles. Upon ordination in 2013, Rabbi Abrasley served for 2 years as the Director of Lifelong Learning at Congregation Beth Or in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
In her role as one of the rabbis at Temple Shalom, Rabbi Abrasley is committed to inspiring and implementing active, engaged opportunities for connection and community. She believes deeply in partnering together to pursue the work of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, and providing rich moments for Talmud Torah, the pursuit of lifelong Jewish learning.
She and her wife, Julie Childers, recently celebrated their 12-year wedding anniversary and have an adorable 10-year old son, Noah. They are thrilled to be back in Boston where wearing Red Sox hats is the norm!
Dana is a retired eye surgeon who, after seven years on the board of Equality Maryland, served for eight years as Executive Director of Gender Rights Maryland, the state’s trans political organization, which worked the Maryland gender identity bill to passage in 2014. She served a term as a senior adviser for Councilmember Trachtenberg on the Montgomery County Council. She was chair of the national advisory board of Freedom to Work and wrote a weekly column for the Huffington Post from 2012-18. She has served on the Rules Committee of the national Democratic Party, and has twice run for state delegate and twice for state Senate in Maryland’s District 18. She was inducted into the Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame in 2014, and served on the county’s Committee on Hate/Violence from 2015-18. She is a recipient of the University of Pennsylvania Women in Medicine Award for 2020. Dana is a proud mother of two sons and grandmother of two very cute granddaughters.
Jeremy Burton is the CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC). Through advocacy, organizing, service and partnerships JCRC defines and advances the values, interests and priorities of the organized Jewish community of Greater Boston in the public square. Previously he was the Senior Vice President of Programs at the Jewish Funds for Justice, and Vice President of Programs at the Jewish Funders Network. Jeremy also served as a board member of Keshet, working for the full inclusion of LGBT Jews in Jewish life. Jeremy came to the Jewish community from a career in political strategy and public communications, having worked for New York Mayor David N. Dinkins, Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, the 1996 Clinton/Gore Re-Election Campaign, and the New York State Assembly & Attorney General, among others.
Jeremy writes and speaks widely about challenges and opportunities facing the Jewish community. He has been published widely, including in the New York Jewish Week, the Jewish Forward, Zeek, Sh’ma, and the Washington Post: On Faith. The JTA included him in their 2010 “Twitter 100” list of the most influential Jewish voices on Twitter. You can follow him @BurtonJM. Jeremy has a B.A. in political science from Queens College of the City University of New York.
Gali Cooks is the President & CEO of Leading Edge, an organization formed in 2014 by foundations and federations to influence, inspire and enable dramatic change in attracting, developing and retaining top talent for Jewish organizations. Gali’s professional experience spans the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
Her career began as a speechwriter at the Embassy of Israel and a Legislative Assistant at AIPAC. She then joined the Harold Grinspoon Foundation as Founding Director of the PJ Library. From 2007-2013, Gali was Executive Director of the Rita & Stanley Kaplan Family Foundation. In the private sector, Gali was VP of Operations at an education technology startup.
Gali holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.B.A. from the NYU Stern School of Business. In 2016, she was named one of the Forward 50, an annual list of the top 50 Jews influencing American life, for her efforts to build the next generation of leaders. She lives with her wife and daughter in Brooklyn, NY.
Forty-one years ago, Ann moved from Manhattan to Newton, Massachusetts to share her life with her husband, Myron. Their family grew to include three incredible daughters who gifted them with four grandchildren. During the years, Ann served on the boards of the Solomon Schecter Day School, Temple Mishkan Tefila, Jewish Family and Children Service and Keshet.
Ann participated in raising funds for Mass Equality and was present when Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill for marriage equality. Her goal is to leave this world a safer and equal place for all.
S. Asher Gelman is a director, choreographer, actor, dancer, playwright, and producer. Through his production company, Midnight Theatricals, he produced and directed his first original play, Afterglow, which ran for 14 months Off-Broadway at the Davenport Theater. In 2019, Gelman’s second play, safeword., opened Off-Broadway in April, and he also produced the Off-Broadway musical, We Are The Tigers by Preston Max Allen. Most recently, Gelman directed, choreographed, and produced the short dance for film The Greatest City in the World. Originally from Chevy Chase, MD, Asher received his Bachelors Degree in Dance and Theater from Bard College in New York in 2006 and his Masters in Fine Arts in Dance from The George Washington University in Washington DC in 2012. From 2006 to 2016, Asher lived in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he became one of the founders of The Stage, Tel Aviv’s premier English language performing arts organization, serving as its first Artistic Director from 2013 to 2016. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. Asher lives in New York City with his husband, Mati.
Carson Gleberman’s career has spanned health care administration, international conference planning, strategy consulting and banking. A Tony-winning producer, she is Board President of Page 73 Productions, a company dedicated to launching early-career playwrights. Past board experience includes education and international student exchange. Gleberman created “Umm, About That…” a blog with advice for parents to guide conversations about sexual orientation, gender identity, and more. She holds an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia, and BA in Economics from Yale. An ally, mother of three, Jew by choice, and member of Congregation Rodeph Sholom, she lives with her husband Joe in New York City. You can often find her hiking or in local yarn stores.
Karla Goldman is Sol Drachler Professor of Social Work and Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan where she directs the Jewish Communal Leadership Program. She is a scholar whose work focuses on the history of American Jewish communities and the experience of American Jewish women. She served on the Keshet board from 2008-2017. She is currently a member of the Jewish Women’s Archive Board of Directors, which she co-chaired from 2016-2019. She is the author of “Beyond the Gallery: Finding a Place for Women in American Judaism,” (Harvard University Press, 2000).
Daniel is VP of Finance & Operations for Social Construct, a San Francisco-based construction technology startup that radically reduces construction costs to help the market provide high-quality urban apartments for the middle class. Prior to Social Construct, Daniel founded The Welcoming Committee, a venture-backed LGBTQ events and travel company. He has a background in product management (Amazon.com), strategy consulting (Infosys Consulting), and LGBTQ rights (Human Rights Campaign, Friendfactor). He is originally from Washington, DC, and has an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and a B.A. in economics from Wesleyan University.
Debbie Heller, a native of New York, is a graduate of Lehman College and holds graduate degrees from Michigan State University and Johns Hopkins University. She has worked as coordinator of student activities at the University of Detroit, director of student activities at Georgetown University and assistant director of the middle school at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day, but she considers her greatest and proudest job to be that of stay-at-home mom to her three sons, Adam, Daniel and Jacob. All of Heller’s jobs have involved creating inclusive and safe communities for students. At Smith Jewish Day School, she focused her efforts on combating bullying, which served as a segue to her advocacy work on behalf of the LGBTQ community. Heller was part of the volunteer team that created the Keshet Parent and Family Connection, which she continues to spearhead in the Washington, D.C., Metro area. She is on the board of directors of Kol Shalom, in Rockville, Md., where she focuses on programming. She also volunteers with Project Knitwell, a group that teaches knitting to children and adults who are in stressful situations. Heller and her husband, Jamie, live in Chevy Chase, Md.