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 recently joined Jewish LearningWorks as Chief Learning Officer where she will focus 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. She is also a Yoga teacher who combines her passion for the physical practice with her growing understanding of Jewish ritual, tradition and philosophy. Rachel is the former Director of Birthright Israel NEXT, Bay Area and is on the board of the J. Jewish News Weekly of Northern California.
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 have find Magna in downward dog, having a lively conversation or urban hiking with her tiny pooch.
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.
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.
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 Bernal Heights with his wife and daughter, who he likes a whole lot. He also likes ice cream.
With a background in theatre, therapy, and education, Merav enjoys integrating her passions with her work as a Jewish educator. After 15 years in Israel, she recently moved back to California with her two teenagers. A single mother, she appreciates the value of family and connection. Bringing people together and creating a strong sense of community while promoting Jewish identity are strengths that Merav will draw on in her role as the Shalom Explorers Program Coordinator.
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.
Julie, RYT-500, served as an educator in the Jewish community for nine years before joining Jewish LearningWorks in 2007. She is a graduate of five fellowship and teaching certification programs related to her work as a Jewish educator, Iyengar-based yoga instructor and movement/expressive artist. Julie has seventeen years of experience guiding others in a variety of settings and has a passion for bringing Jewish text, wisdom, and practice alive via movement, dance, yoga and the expressive arts.
Adrianis the director of TCI, a program designed to increase understanding of Judaism and Jewish culture among Jewish teens, their non-Jewish peers and their educators by providing training, resources and support. Prior to her work for TCI, Adrian was the Director of Education at the Holocaust Center of Northern California. She is a graduate of SUNY Albany and received her Master’s in feminist psychohistory from Wesleyan University.
Meet Ronit Sharir, your Kesher Concierge in the South Peninsula. Originally from Israel, Ronit and her family lived for many years in the Seattle area and in 2012 moved to the south Peninsula. Ronit holds a B.A. in Sociology and South East Asia studies from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, an MA in Labor Studies from Tel Aviv University and an MA in Managerial Leadership from City University Seattle WA. Ronit has strong background in organizational consulting, group facilitation and coaching in the business world, as well as in the Non-Profit world. Ronit is an active board member of MaagalimICC@OFJCC and a dedicated volunteer in various other Israeli/Jewish community activities. For many years Ronit held various positions in CISV.org, an International non profit educational organization that promotes global citizenship and friendship for children and youth. Ronit lives in Sunnyvale, she is married, has three children and 3 large fury dogs. Ronit is a natural networker who loves to meet and get to know new people and help them connect to one another. In her free time, she enjoys reading, pilates, mix media art and traveling to new exotic places.
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.
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.
Stacy has been a member of the Jewish LearningWorks team since 2010. She recently earned her Master’s degree in Art History and Visual Culture from San Jose State University. Stacy has presented at local and national conferences, including the 2013 Annual College Art Association Conference in New York and the 27th Annual Art History Graduate Student Conference at Florida State University, and has also received awards for her scholarship.
Ilan Vitemberg graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of the District of Columbia, with a degree in Theatre Arts focusing on the use of drama in Informal Education. For the past 20 years he has been working with children, teens, and adults both as a formal and informal teacher. In 1999 he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he immersed himself in finding new, creative ways to teach Judaism and Hebrew to people of all ages. From 2002 to 2006 he was the director of the Diller Teen Fellows program and a Teen Program Consultant at the Bureau of Jewish Education in San Francisco. He lives in Oakland with his husband Peter.
Originally from Southern California, Sinead moved to San Francisco to pursue degrees in sociology and business at University of San Francisco. With a background in marketing and social media, she is delighted to bring those skills to the team as marketing assistant at Jewish LearningWorks. In her role, Sinead is responsible for maintaining and updating our website and event calendar, promoting events through our community calendars and social media, and creating and compiling newsletters.