Christina Richards

Development Operations Manager

she/her/hers

Christina comes to Keshet from the worlds of education and publishing. Whether it was classroom teaching, editing textbooks, or educational consulting, she has always approached her work through a lens of equity, inclusion, and belonging and is now eager to lean into Keshet’s commitment to LGBTQ equality in Jewish life.

Christina went to the University of St Andrews to major in medieval history where she found, much to her dismay, that the study of history is suspiciously similar to the sciences. She switched concentrations and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English before going on to earn an MAT in Secondary English Education from Boston University.

After living in Japan for five years, Christina returned to the US in April 2020. And while she would not recommend making an international move during a global pandemic, she now enjoys living west of Boston amongst her books, fake plants, and alphabetized tea collection.

Rakhel Silverman

New York Education & Training Manager

they/them/theirs

Rakhel (pronounced ruh-ḣel) is a proud fat trans Disabled Jew who is passionate about social justice and radical inclusion.

Rakhel double majored in Religious Studies and Sociology at Bryn Mawr College. While there, they worked for several nonprofits. They were trained in community organizing through the Religious Action Center’s Machon Kaplan fellowship in DC, where they interned at the Center for Responsible Lending and advocated for people of color, women, and low-income borrowers. They then served as an Advocacy intern and then Associate at Keshet, where they mobilized the Jewish community to defend transgender rights in Massachusetts. Rakhel also acted as a field organizer for IfNotNow, where they supported chapter development. Upon graduating, Rakhel served in the Avodah Jewish Service Corps in DC, working as a Community Organizer and Program Assistant at Jews United for Justice (JUFJ). At JUFJ, they worked on local racial and economic justice campaigns and supported leadership development. Rakhel has also served on the Board of Directors and acted as National Organizer of Judaism On Our Own Terms (JOOOT), where they supported the creation of radically inclusive campus communities. They were most recently a Chapter Engagement Coordinator for PFLAG National, where they supported PFLAG chapters in the Western region. Rakhel has written about their experiences and identities for several publications, including Medium, MyJewishLearning, the Jewish Women’s Archives, and HeyAlma.

Rakhel lives with their partner, Sy, and their perfect Jewish cat, Babka.

Jay Smith

Director of Content

they/them/theirs

Jay is an artist, program manager, and clinician with a passion for creative learning and storytelling. Prior to joining Keshet, Jay worked in the mental health field as a clinical social worker, most recently as the Director of Community Services at the Brookline Center for Community Mental Health where they had the pleasure of leading and growing community-focused programming. They bring experience managing teams under pressure, advocating for social change, building adaptive programming, and cultivating a compassionate and trauma-informed work environment. They hold a BA in Sociology from Bryn Mawr College and a Masters in Social Work from Simmons University.

Jay is also an illustrator whose work explores ancestry, queerness, gender, and longing. In 2015, they were the recipient of the Arts and Healing Network Award for Arts and Social Change. Their work was also displayed in 2016 in partnership with the Amplifier Foundation and the Women’s March on Washington at the Center for Contemporary Art in Seattle and has been featured in Lilith Magazine. They have collaborated with and designed work for Nishmat Shoom, the Jewish Women’s Archive, T4Torah, Positive Women’s Network, Abortion Care Network, Siddur Davar Hadash, Boston Workmen’s Circle for Jewish Culture and Social Justice, the Radical Jewish Calendar, and many others. In 2021 they were a Scholar-Artisan Fellow in the Atiq Maker Kollel, and they are currently a fellow in the Artist Beit Midrash in partnership with the Jewish Arts Collaborative and Hebrew College.

In their spare time they enjoy watching survival reality television, slowly learning biblical Hebrew, queering Torah, and picking up insects and amphibians while hiking. They currently reside on occupied Nipmuc/Pocomtuc land/so-called Florence, MA with their partner, Clare and two cats, Gene and Charlie.

Emily Solomon

Grants Manager

she/her/hers

Emily brings more than 20 years of experience as a consultant for nonprofits and in leadership roles at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the Center for Collaborative Education to her role as Grants Manager.

A specialist in direct service, program development, evaluation planning, fundraising, and academic research, outside of her work at Keshet, Emily has helped launch several initiatives and programs at various public schools, and serves on the alumni committee for Cornell, where she interviews prospective students. She earned her B.A. in government and an M.S. in program planning and evaluation from Cornell University.

EJ Tench

Education Program Associate

they/them/theirs

EJ brings their background of operational efficiency, love for academic research, and passion for social equity to Keshet as the Education Program Associate.

Starting their professional journey as both a martial arts instructor and natural museum educator, EJ guided students through stages of learning and emphasized a commitment to enriching one’s community. In their corporate career, EJ utilized a detailed eye to operate multiple e-commerce projects and national teams.

They graduated from Old Dominion University and hold a Bachelor of Science in Sociology, with a degree concentration in Social Welfare.

EJ lives in Virginia with their two life partners and a menagerie of pets. They love anything Tolkien-related and help run a fantasy combat-oriented live-action role play club. They somehow find time to garden, bake, cross-stitch, and run!

Issac Young

Midwest Youth Engagement Manager

he/him/his

Issac is a Midwestern gamer who spends a lot of time thinking about queer characters in media. He spent a lot of his time during high school in Indiana doing youth advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights and for LGBTQ+ youth’s rights in schools. Since then, that passion has not gone anywhere and he is excited to bring those experiences to his work with Keshet as their Midwest Youth Engagement Manager.

Prior to working with Keshet, Issac worked for Repair the World as a Service Corps member, partnering with Jane Addams Senior Caucus, a nonprofit organization in Chicago that works directly with seniors. Before that, he worked with the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, a Chicago-based organization that works on various issues, including economic justice, which was the campaign he worked on.

Issac graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Game Art and double minored in Women, Gender and Sex Studies & Animation. He lives in Chicago with his partner and likes to spend his free time playing games with friends. He hopes to write and publish his own comic book series one day.

Keshet

National Office - Boston

284 Amory Street
Boston, MA 02130
Phone: 617.524.9227

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