Bay Area/National Cohort – old

 Camp Living Wonders

CLWNoah Pawliger, Director & Chanie Pawliger, Edu. Director
Camp Living Wonders
Camp Living Wonders is the Southeast’s only Jewish residential Summer camp built to empower and inspire people with special needs towards independence and increased participation in their respective Jewish communities. By utilizing a camp environment and the tools therein, CLW has successfully transitioned campers and adults with special needs towards more inclusive opportunities through the skills and achievements gained at camp. Ultimately, by teaching campers and adult staff how to replicate, share, and engage through what they learn, Camp Living Wonders has created inroads back to increased engagement in Jewish life for the families of our campers and staff alike.

Noah Pawliger founded Camp Living Wonders following 25 years as a camper, staff, specialist, and program director.  He uses camp as a vehicle to inspire young Jewish people to overcome limitations and labels. Noah studied recreation management and therapeutic recreation at Georgia State University, attended Yeshiva Tiferis Bochurim Rabbinic College of America in Morristown, NJ and Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, Israel.

Chanie Pawliger is the co-founder of Camp Living Wonders and holds a Masters Degree in special education and literacy. During the school year, she works as a special educator for young children at Chaya Mushka Children’s House.  

Fuente Latina

FLLeah Soibel, Founder and Executive Director, Fuente Latina

Fuente Latina (FL) removes geographic and linguistic barriers for global Spanish language media covering stories about Israel and the Mideast. With offices in Jerusalem, Madrid, and Miami (opening soon), FL is the only organization of its kind engaging international Latino media in their language and in real time.

Leah Soibel, a Hispanic American and Israeli, has a decade of experience on the ground in Israel, the U.S, Latin America and beyond working with hundreds of global Latino journalists. She launched Fuente Latina in 2012 after seven years at The Israel Project. The Algemeiner named her a 2014 “Jewish100”.  



Jewish Kids Groups

JKGAna Robbins, Founder and Executive Director, Jewish Kids GroupJewish Kids Groups is an independent network of Sunday schools that educates and inspires children with a fresh, experiential Jewish education that feels a lot like summer camp, and engenders positive Jewish feelings, friendships, and learning. Our unique model, piloting in Atlanta, is designed to serve unaffiliated and interfaith families.

Ana Robbins is an energetic social entrepreneur and a pioneer in the field of alternative Jewish supplemental experiences Ana has a MS in Education Instructional Design and Technology from Georgia State University and BA in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies and a minor in Hebrew from Emory University.



Jewish Studio Project

JSP1Jeff Kasowitz, Co-founder and Executive Director, Jewish Studio Project

JSP2Rabbi Adina Allen, Co-founder and Creative Director, Jewish Studio Project The Jewish Studio Project curates creative experiences using art-making as a tool for Jewish learning, self discovery and social change. Offering a dynamic blend of the traditional beit midrash (house of learning) and a multi-modal creative arts studio, The JSP empowers learners of all levels of Jewish knowledge and arts experience to activate their creativity, gain new insights and shift challenging communal issues.

Jeff Kasowitz is a social innovator, musician and community builder. He was Vice President of Strategy and Growth for City Year. A guitarist and singer, Jeff writes and performs original music inspired by Jewish text. Jeff was a PresenTense Fellow and has MBA and MPH degrees from UC Berkeley.

Rabbi Adina Allen is a spiritual leader, writer and curator of creative learning experiences. Adina has spent the last decade teaching text through creative modalities at Jewish organizations across the country. Her research on generating contemporary midrash was published in the CCAR Journal. Adina was ordained by Hebrew College where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow.


Continuing UpStarters

Embodied Jewish Learning

JulieJulie Emden, Co-founder, Embodied Jewish LearningMara - website
Mara Kassoff, Co-founder, Embodied Jewish Learning
Jewish Learning Works- Embodied Jewish Learning offers an alternative point of connection to Jewish life through classes, workshops and teacher trainings in experiential body-based text study. With a bold, holistic approach, we provide educators and teachers with best practices for integrating Jewish wisdom into their classes, and we provide spiritual seekers, yogis, dancers and learners with access to Jewish wisdom that is meaningful and relevant to their everyday lives. Embodied Jewish Learning offers Jews and non-Jews alike the chance to experience Jewish wisdom through wellness practices that nourish their minds, bodies, hearts and souls. 

Julie Emden, 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 eighteen 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. 

Mara Kassoff has been with Jewish LearningWorks for over five years, and is currently the COO. She previously served as an Associate Director and the Director of Jewish Service Learning.  Mara holds an MBA in nonprofit management from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles and a BA from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Jewish Plays Project

David CompressedDavid Winitsky, Founder, Jewish Plays ProjectJewish Plays Project transforms the Jewish communal structure into an incubator and accelerator for marketable new Jewish theater projects destined for mainstream theaters and commercial producers. By investing in emerging artists in their Jewish identity; engaging Jewish communities in the vetting, selecting and championing of new voices; and securing mainstream production opportunities for the best new plays, the JPP will put bold, progressive Jewish conversations on world stages.

David Winitsky is the Founder and director of the Jewish Plays Project, a collaborator with StorahTelling, and a PresenTense New York City Fellow. He has directed or assisted on Broadway, off-Broadway, and regionally at Papermill Playhouse, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, California Shakespeare Festival and Philadelphia Theatre Company. He received an MFA in Directing from Northwestern and a BA in Mathematics from Cornell. He is also a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and Emerging Artists Theatre.  



Julie HJulie Hammerman, Founder, JLensJLens is developing a Jewish investment lens, defined a a focus on social justice and environmental preservation, with a special emphasis on impactful Israeli innovation.  Through research, education, customized consulting, shareholder activism, and Jewish values-aligned funds, JLens aims to put the Jewish community’s capital to work bettering society and the environment, and proudly supporting Israeli advancements that improve the world.

Julie Hammerman started JLens in 2012 after completing the two-year Wexner Foundation leadership program.  She was seeking a way to combine her newly enhanced knowledge of Jewish teachings with her extensive experience in traditional finance, impact investing and social enterprise.  JLens focuses on investment opportunities that align with Jewish values and positively impact the world in the following categories: environmental preservation, poverty alleviation, healthcare, education, equality, women/girls, economic development in low income areas, and place-based investments in a variety of regions including Israel.  JLens currently provides impact investment guidance to over $1 Billion of Jewish communal capital in order to maximize positive social and environmental impact.  JLens also serves as a voice for the Jewish community in the rapidly growing socially responsible/impact investment field.  

Paradigm Project

AnnaAnna Hartman, Co-founder, The Paradigm ProjectEllenEllen Dietrick, Co-founder, The Paradigm Projectpeter profilePeter Blair, Co-founder, The Paradigm ProjectThe Paradigm Project is a grassroots change initiative focused on multiplying and nurturing the seeds of excellence in Jewish early childhood education. The Paradigm Project is a group of current and aspiring leaders in the field of early childhood education who engage in professional development together with a goal of revolutionizing the field via communities of practice that are delivered through social media and year-long fellowships at the intersection of Judaism, leadership, and the most current research in early childhood education. Unique to the Paradigm Project’s approach to professional development is its commitment to learning that is ongoing, social, inspirational, and focused on the application of learning.

Representing The Paradigm Project are leadership team members Anna Hartman, Ellen Dietrick and Peter Blair. All three have been recipients of the JECEI-Covenant Fellowship (2007-2010). Anna Hartman received the Pomegranate Prize from the Covenant Foundation (2011), Ellen Dietrick received the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education (2005), was a Jim Joseph Foundation Leading Educators Online Fellow (2009 – present), and won the URJ Techie Award for Best Use of Technology in Early Childhood Education (2010). Peter Blair was also a recipient of a Fellowship from the PIRG’s for their Green Corps program (1997).


Project Beyond

bradley cookBradley Caro Cook, Founder, Project BeyondProject Beyond makes Israel and being Jewish relevant by advancing the careers of millennials. Our 5-7 day immersive experience, designed to immediately follow a Birthright trip in Israel, are designed anchor professional aspirations with Jewish life. These  “get a foot in the door” affinity extensions offer pathways into the fields of entrepreneurship, high tech, venture capital, real estate, engineering, arts, entertainment, education, medicine, and healthcare to name a few. Site visits with individuals who set the standards for success in Israel, and the world today, offer participants the ability to discover insider knowledge and skills, as well as to form the right relationships needed to advance a lucrative career path, dedication to Israel, and develop the tools necessary to lead a purposeful life.

Bradley Caro Cook, Ed.D. was born in Georgia, he is a University of Georgia alumnus. His background is in Special Education and Data Administration. He and his wife made Aliyah in 2013 and now live in Jerusalem. Shortly after, concerned about the future of the Jewish people and realizing the power of an Israel experience, he formed Project Beyond.


Rosh Pina

Rosh_Pina_photo_smallElana Naftalin-Kelman, Founder, Rosh Pina

Rosh Pina supports Jewish institutions to become special needs certified by leading them through a year-long journey during which the institution engages in deep study on the board, clergy, lay leader and teacher level. The process includes aspects of community building, program evaluation and modification, assessment of PR and website design as well as professional development for employees. Rosh Pina is a national home for organizations and institutions to turn to while learning how to become more inclusive of all of our communities’ members.

Elana Naftalin-Kelman has been working at the intersection of special education and Jewish education for over 15 years. She directs the Tikvah program for kids with special needs at Camp Ramah in California, which includes a camper program, a vocational program for young adults, and a camp for families that have children with special needs. Elana has consulted with multiple Jewish institutions to aid them in thinking about how to be more inclusive of Jews of all abilities. She has taught professional development courses in differentiated instruction, behavior management and teaching Hebrew. She was the co-founder of Edah, a Jewish after school program located in Berkeley, California, and lives there with her husband and three boys, Yair, Nevo and Etai.