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.
Alan Cohen has worked for more than 25 years in the international and domestic non-profit, foundation, and corporate social responsibility sectors. Alan currently serves as the chief program officer at JASA. In the past, Alan served as the chief of staff at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC); the director of global corporate social responsibility at Henry Schein, Inc., a Fortune 500® company; as the senior director for strategic planning and organizational resources at UJA-Federation of New York; and as a program officer for JDC’s Former Soviet Union Team. Alan is also on the board of Plaza Jewish Community Chapel. Alan graduated from Brandeis University Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, having studied politics and Russian language and literature. After graduating, Alan was awarded the Dorot Fellowship in Israel and spent five years living in Jerusalem. He received a Master of Public Policy and Administration from Columbia University. Alan participated in the Selah Leadership Program for a national cohort of social justice leaders and received AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps’s Partner in Justice Award. Alan lives in New York City with his husband, Robert Bank.
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.
Bennett Decker is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a student at the Joint Program between the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University where he received dual BAs Political Science and Talmud. Bennett currently combines his desire to make the world a more just place and Judaism during his day job at T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.
Bennett got involved with Keshet for the first time as a participant on the Keshet Teen Shabbaton during his senior year in High School. Since then, Keshet has helped him to find queer Jews to be thought partners, teachers, justice-seekers, and friends together in unique community with. He has also fallen in love with the work that Keshet does, particularly for teens and youth; helping Queer Jews unite those two parts of their identity that Bennett feels are the two most essential parts of his.
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.