Episode 011: Mark Gurvis, The Jewish Federations of North America – June 25th, 2017

Mark_Gurvis-0010Mark Gurvis joined The Jewish Federations of North America as its Executive Vice President in September 2013.

Mark has spent much of his life serving the Jewish people, leading initiatives in key communities across North America. In nearly 12 years as CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, he spurred major growth in the Federation’s annual fundraising, from $4.2 million to $7.6 million, despite challenging economic times. During his tenure, the community’s endowment fund also climbed steeply, from $13 million to $34 million. At the same time, Gurvis modernized the Federation’s communications, broadened outreach to young Jews and families and raised Vancouver’s profile in Canada. The Federation’s ties to Israel and the global Jewish community also deepened under Gurvis, strengthening its partnership with the Upper Galilee Panhandle.

Before leading the Vancouver community, Mark was vice president/assistant director of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. He directed their strategic planning process that resulted in a redesign of social planning and research. He also initiated the planning for a multi-project capital campaign for the Federation’s centennial.

Previously, as managing director of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland, Gurvis coordinated a merger that created the new agency, and spearheaded a funding campaign that raised a $10 million Fund for the Jewish Future.

Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Albany, a Master of Arts degree in Jewish Community Service from Hebrew Union College and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California.

Contact Mark:


Podcast Episode:

Episode 010: Abby Saloma, Schusterman Family Foundation – June 11th, 2017

Abby Saloma HeadshotAbby Saloma is the Senior Program Officer for the Schusterman Family Foundation. Abby believes that individual change drives organizational change and that leaders are at their best when they are leading from “the inside out.” As a Senior Program Officer, Abby oversees the Schusterman Family Foundation’s leadership initiatives – including its flagship Schusterman Fellowship program – designed to develop and support leaders who are leading change in the Jewish sector and beyond.

Abby brings to the Foundation a breadth and depth of experience from the for-profit, non-profit, Jewish and secular sectors. Abby was the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for BBYO, the world’s leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement, aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. During Abby’s five-year tenure with BBYO, she led an effort to re-brand the 85-year-old organization, making it relevant to today’s teens and resulting in a near doubling of teen involvement.

Following BBYO, Abby assumed the Executive Director role at Street Sense, a DC-based non-profit organization which works to empower the homeless through a newspaper that educates the public about issues of homelessness and poverty.

Abby holds a bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in Media and Public Affairs from The George Washington University. Abby received her Leadership Coaching certification from Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. Abby lives in DC with her husband and their two sons. In her free time, Abby enjoys teaching and practicing yoga.

Contact Abby:

asaloma [at] schusterman.org
Developing Leaders from the Inside Out

Podcast Episode:

Podcast Partner:

Timeless Ketbuah.png

This episode is made possible through a partnership with Timeless Ketubah, rich tradition for the modern era.





Episode 009: Rabbi Sid Schwarz, Kenissa – May 28th, 2017

Rabbi Sid Schwarz

Rabbi Sid Schwarz is a social entrepreneur, author and teacher. He created and directs the Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI), a program that trains rabbis to be visionary spiritual leaders. He also created and directs the Kenissa: Communities of Meaning Network which is building the capacity of emerging spiritual communities across the country.

Sid founded and led PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values for 21 years. He is also the founding rabbi of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, MD where he continues to teach and lead services. Dr. Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in Jewish history and is the author of two groundbreaking books–Finding a Spiritual Home: How a New Generation of Jews Can Transform the American Synagogue (Jewish Lights, 2000) and Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World (Jewish Lights, 2006).

Sid was awarded the prestigious Covenant Award for his pioneering work in the field of Jewish education and was named by Newsweek as one of the 50 most influential rabbis in North America. Sid’s latest book is Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future (Jewish Lights, 2013).

Contact Rabbi Sid Schwarz:


Podcast Episode:

In this episode we discuss Sid’s new project- the Kenissa Network, connecting individuals who are leading contemporary efforts to re-define Jewish life. He discusses this new endeavor in his recent article in E-Jewish Philanthropy Introducing the Kenissa Network: A 21st Century Pathway into Jewish Life.

Podcast Partner:

Timeless Ketbuah.png

This episode is made possible through a partnership with Timeless Ketubah, rich tradition for the modern era.


Episode 008: Gali Cooks, Leading Edge – May 14th, 2017

Gali Cooks is the inaugural Executive Director of Leading Edge, Alliance for Excellence in Jewish leadership, 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. Most recently, Gali was Director of Business Operations in the Youth Division of URJ.

Gali serves on the Boards of Keshet and the Joshua Venture Group, and 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.

Contact Gali:

Leadership Pipelines Initiative: Cultivating the Next Generation of Leaders for Jewish Nonprofits- Findings from Interviews and Research (2014)

Podcast Episode:

Podcast Partner:

Timeless Ketbuah.png

This episode is made possible through a partnership with Timeless Ketubah, rich tradition for the modern era.


Bonus Episode 2: David Master, Timeless Ketubah– May 14th, 2017

David MasterTimeless Ketubah was founded in 2015 after years of developing a new way of approaching Ketubot/Ketubahs.  It all started when my wife, Elana, and I were planning our own wedding.  With her keen eye for style and color and my background in fine art and design, we worked together to create original elements for our wedding.  Throughout the busy planning process, there were three main areas of focus that we came to realize were most important.  They included (1) infusing rich, meaningful traditions and rituals (2) in a unique way (3) that would highlight our individual and collective personalities.

I love to challenge myself and turn the seemingly impossible into reality.  I was told that invitations were supposed to be flat, so I designed a 3-D pop-out wedding invitation that Elana and I hand-made (over a hundred of them).  I was also told that a ketubah should either be something that gets hung on a wall or gets rolled up and put in a safe place.  We chose to go in a different direction.

It was at this time that I developed and created the first sculptural ketubah (the image on this site’s homepage), which was able to perfectly capture the above three elements.  Although it took a long time to complete, it was truly a labor of love; I created the sculptural elements and Elana wrote a beautiful English interpretation for our ketubah’s text.  It became one of the focal points of our wedding, and is now one of the focal points of our home in Brooklyn, N.Y., that we have created together.
We want you and your soulmate to have a meaningful, unique, and special ketubah of your own; One that speaks to your relationship and your love for each other.
We invite you to explore our website at the various styles of sculptural ketubot/ketubahs that I have created and various texts crafted by Elana that you can customize to fit your needs and wants.  Your ketubah should capture your essence, and we will customize anything to your liking so that it is truly an expression of you and your soulmate.
Your wedding day is one of a kind; your ketubah should be too.

Contact David:


Podcast Episode:

Timeless Ketbuah

Episode 007: Drew Kugler, Communication & Leadership Counselor – April 30th, 2017

Drew KuglerAs Founder of the Kugler Company, LLC, Drew Kugler advises senior executives and professionals around the world on the always-challenging issue of change-creating conversations. For over thirty years, Drew has been retained by dozens of organizations looking to learn to lead and collaborate in ways that genuinely work over time.

In addition to his advising experience, Drew has held management positions with Nordstrom and Marriott Corporation.  He received his Master’s Degree from San Diego State University in Communication Studies, where he was recognized and awarded as an Outstanding Lecturer.  He has been published in the American Lawyer, appeared on CBS, ABC, and NPR, and has been a guest lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford Law School, NYU’s Stern School of Business and the Freeman School of Business at Tulane University.

Drew is also honored to have coached and spoken on Leadership and Communication in many Jewish communities including Synagogues, Agencies, and he is now in his eighth year as a faculty member of the Zelikow School of Non Profit Management at Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion.

Contact Drew:

dk [at] drewkugler.com
DrewTube – Constructive Candor Videos
TEDxConejo Drew Kugler – 3/27/10

Podcast Episode:

Episode 006: Dara Klarfeld, DRG – April 16th, 2017

Dara KlarfeldDara Z. Klarfeld is the Managing Director for DRG- Executive Search Consultants for the Non-profit Sector. Dara joined DRG in 2011 as a Consultant, with an eye to building the firm’s practice in education administration. With more than fifteen years of experience working in both the formal and informal Jewish education communities, Dara has a wealth of experience working with camps, Jewish Day Schools, and a variety of other education nonprofits. Most recently, Dara worked to identify and cultivate the next generation of leadership as Director of the Shapiro Family Fellowship at UJA-Federation of New York and as a consultant for a number of philanthropic community start-ups.

In her current work, Dara heads up executive search assignments for Heads of School and Principals of Jewish day schools, Jewish Community Centers, and a variety of other education-focused organizations. Dara also works closely with boards in helping them to strategize and manage their executive transitions. Her vast networks are central to her success in all the work that she does. Dara is also focused on and passionate about the field’s future: developing talent pools of next generation senior leadership in the nonprofit sector.

When she’s not working with clients, Dara enjoys rooting for (some) New York sports teams, reading interior design magazines, trying out new recipes for her family to taste, and wishing she was a professional folk guitar players/singer/songwriter. Dara received her B.A. from the University of Maryland. She also holds a master’s degree and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Contact Dara:

dklarfeld [at] drgnyc.com

The Podcast:

Episode 005: Rabbi Cherie Koller-Fox, NewCAJE – April 2nd, 2017


Rabbi Cherie Koller-Fox is the President and Founder of NewCAJE: Re-Imaging Jewish Education for the 21st Century. She is well known in the Boston area and beyond. She was ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York which is a pluralistic Jewish seminary. She has served as rabbi at Congregation Eitz Chayim in Cambridge, Temple Emanuel of Marlborough, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, and Beth Israel Hospital. She was also the Interim President of the Academy for Jewish Religion and is a founder and national chair of the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education. Rabbi Cherie served as the chair of the NewCAJE conferences in 2010 – 2016.

Contact Rabbi Koller-Fox:

shual [at] comcast.net 

The Podcast Episode:

Episode 004: Rabbi Joshua Rabin, USCJ – March 19th, 2017

rabbi-joshua-rabinRabbi Joshua Rabin is Director of Innovation at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, where he is also the Program Director of the USCJ Convention. Prior to coming to USCJ, Josh served as the Rav Beit Sefer (Rabbi-in-Residence) of the Schechter School of Long Island from 2011-2014. Josh received his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2011, where he served two terms as student body president.

Josh received a Certificate from The Principals’ Center at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 2014, and was an inaugural fellow at the Ruskay Institute for Jewish Professional Leadership at the UJA-Federation of New York. Josh lives on the Upper West Side with his wife, Rabbi Yael Hammerman, and their children Hannah and Shai. You can read more of Josh’s writings by visiting www.joshuarabin.com.

Contact Rabbi Joshua Rabin:

joshua.rabin [at] gmail.com

Podcast Episode:

In this episode we discuss Rabbi Rabin’s popular article “Will Your Synagogue be a Club or a Cause?” as it pertains to the changing climate of synagogue affiliation and participation.