David Waksberg is the CEO of Jewish LearningWorks, the central agency for Jewish education in the Bay Area. Before joining Jewish LearningWorks in 2007, David worked as a software executive and, prior to that, was a leader in the movement to rescue Soviet Jews, serving as executive director of the Bay Area Council for Soviet Jews, Vice President of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, and founder of the Center for Jewish Renewal in the USSR. David is the current President of the Association of Directors of Central Agencies. Under his direction, Jewish LearningWorks foci include: strengthening schools, creating inclusive community, connecting families and youth to Jewish learning, deepening connections to Israel, and building Jewish literacy.
Dana Sheanin focuses on educator support, professional development, and strategic initiatives. She has spent more than twenty years working in the areas of informal Jewish education, professional development, strategic planning, and organizational capacity building. Dana is fortunate to have served two Federations – UJA Federation of New York and the Jewish Federation of the East Bay – as well as the Union for Reform Judaism and several family service agencies over the course of her career.
Dana is the co-author of a chapter on social emotional learning in Reform Jewish education included in Growing Jewish Minds, Growing Jewish Souls. Her writing on mentorship, recruitment and retention of Jewish professionals and on integrating Jewish values in clinical social work has been published in the Journal of Jewish Communal Service. Dana holds graduate degrees from the Hebrew Union College School of Jewish Communal Service (now School of Non-Profit Management) and the University of Southern California School of Social Work.
In addition to marketing, Rachel specializes in community engagement, leadership training and strategic planning. She has consulted for numerous Jewish non-profits and Bay Area entrepreneurs. Rachel is the former Director of Birthright Israel NEXT, Bay Area, has served on the board of the J. Jewish News Weekly of Northern California and is the executive producer of Bone+Gold a full service film production company.
Jenni Mangel believes passionately that Jewish education positively impacts the Jewish identity of children and their families. Her work reflects a commitment to connecting learning, community involvement, and leadership with personal and spiritual development. She has worked with youth, teens, and adults in professional, academic, and extracurricular settings since 1993.
Jenni holds a MA in Educational Leadership from Mills College in Oakland, CA where she focused on service learning as a tool for identity formation of college students. Jenni earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in History with a Minor in Education where her work centered around immigrant rights in France and multi-cultural education.
Jenni is an active leader and volunteer at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley and at Harding Elementary School in El Cerrito. When there are moments in the day to spare, Jenni loves to be outside in her garden with her husband, two children and dog; to make greeting cards; and to connect with family and friends.
Howard writes the monthly Off the Shelf column about Jewish books for the J Weekly. He has worked at Jewish LearningWorks in a variety of capacities since 1992. He is a lover of music, and plays mandolin, guitar, banjo, and harmonica.
With a Master's of Ed. in Counseling, extensive advanced Jewish study, and 18 years of experience in a wide variety of Jewish educational environments, Deb is passionate about engaging families in a way that is relevant, experiential and meaningful while deepening their connections to community. As the mother of two children, Deb understands the powerful impact of families sharing Jewish experiences together.
David has been with Jewish LearningWorks since November 2010, and holds a Ph.D. in Special Education from UC Berkeley. In addition to his work here, he is an educational and developmental consultant in private practice working with children with autism, ADHD, and other disabilities in a variety of social and educational settings, including drama-based social skills groups. Prior to starting a private practice and joining Jewish LearningWorks, David was a Jewish educator in the community for 7 years. He lives in Berkeley with his wife and daughters, who he likes a whole lot. He also likes ice cream.
Vavi was raised in Tel Aviv by a theatrical and artistic family and studied English Literature and Art History at the Hebrew University, and Painting and Drawing at the Bezalel Art Institute in Jerusalem. Vavi's professional path includes design in its many forms, such as graphic design, furniture design, calligraphy and handmade ketubot. Her artwork was displayed in the Jewish Museum of San Francisco as part of the exhibition “Illumination” and is sold among others at the Jewish Museum in New York. Vavi writes and speaks on Israeli arts, culture and education.
Deb is a Bay Area native, who has been engaged in Jewish education for over twenty five years. Her experience includes serving as the Associate Director at URJ Camp Newman, the Program Director at The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Cleveland, the Director of Education at Congregation Beth El in Berkeley and the Head of School at Tehiyah Day School. Deb is an alumni of Hebrew Union College's Joint Master's Program in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Service.
Magna joined the Jewish LearningWorks team in 2014 in the role of Development Associate. Her interest in fundraising began when she was hired to manage events for the largest provider of homeless services in San Francisco. She is excited to bring her talents and expertise to help support the important work of her dedicated colleagues. In her spare time, you will find Magna in downward dog, having a lively conversation or urban hiking with her tiny pooch.
With over seven years experience in nonprofit organizations in development and operations roles, Amanda joined our team in August 2017. She has worked in natural history and art museums; a retirement community doing development, events, and volunteer coordination work; in a children’s bookstore; and most recently at San Francisco SAFE, a public safety awareness organization, where she developed a strong interest in Salesforce. She developed a passion for making nonprofit organizations more financially sustainable while working at the Harvard Museum of Natural History and studying business and English at Harvard University Extension School. She also studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Massachusetts College of Art. Amanda is excited to be on the Jewish LearningWorks team using her Salesforce, Development, and writing skills! Outside of work, she enjoys writing and trail running, and also loves going to art museums and reading great books.
Deborah has worked in the Marin Jewish community for over 20 years. Under her direction, the Early Childhood Education program at the Osher Marin JCC, became the first to achieve national accreditation. She was part of the seven member council that created the new Sheva early learning framework to establish a dynamic vision of excellence for JCC preschools across North America. Besides working with Kesher, Deborah is a consultant to Jewish nonprofit organizations and is completing her hours towards becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Deborah holds a Masters in Social Work and an elementary teaching credential with early childhood emphasis. She was recently awarded an honorary doctorate in Jewish nonprofit management.
Deborah enjoys cooking from her organic garden, traveling, reading and hiking. She lives in Petaluma, with her husband and twin sons when they are home from college. She has 4 chickens to carry on her responsibility to preserve the Jewish chicken farmer heritage of her community.
Program Coordinator, Jewish Community Library 415.567.3327x703 email@example.com
A lifelong lover of books and people, Noa is thrilled to be working as the Program Coordinator for the Jewish Community Library, a program of Jewish LearningWorks. When she's not planning library events or doing crossword puzzles on BART, you can find her at home in Berkeley with her husband, five guitars, two drums, bass, trumpet and cello. And their own burgeoning library!
Leah Strauss is Library Pushcart Coordinator at the Palo Alto JCC. For almost two decades she's taught families in Jewish programs throughout the South Bay, including at the Palo Alto JCC, Addison-Penzak JCC,Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, and Congregation Beth Am. She recently completed the master’s certificate in Jewish early childhood education from Gratz College. Earlier, she earned a BA in political science and Russian history, and an MA in journalism. When her children entered preschool, Leah left her Silicon Valley public relations career to focus on Jewish education. This fall, she's returned to school to obtain a master’s degree in library and information science, where she's focusing on children's services and marketing leadership for special libraries. In her “spare time,” Leah chairs Beth Am’s library committee and co-chairs the INCLUDE Beth Am task force, which seeks to embrace, support and connect families who have children with special needs to the larger Beth Am community.
Sherry holds a BS from the University of Michigan and MEd. from Temple University and an MSJS from Spertus College of Jewish Studies. She is a local and national award winning veteran family educator, having taught and led workshops all over the Bay Area. Sherry continues to bring new learning and creative insights to her teaching and coordinating.