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Chief Leadership Team
Chief Program Officer
Director, Berman Center for Applied Innovation
As chief professional leader of the Berman Center for Applied Innovation, Leora and the Center staff provide direct support to communities seeking to redesign and enhance local Jewish education opportunities in order to engage more children and families in meaningful, satisfying, and impactful Jewish learning. Prior to assuming her current responsibilities, Leora was the founding director of JESNA’s Berman Center for Research and Evaluation. As a member of JESNA’s Senior Management Team, Leora works closely with Jon Woocher, Ralia Wagner and the JESNA Board to ensure effective strategic and tactical management of the agency.
Leora began her career at JESNA in 1986 after serving as a researcher at the American Jewish Committee and on the faculties of the Trenton State University (now Rowan University), College of St. Elizabeth, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and the University of Pennsylvania. She received her B.A. in Psychology (summa cum laude) from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in Educational and Developmental Psychology from the CUNY Graduate Center.
Chief Financial Officer
Ralia Wagner serves as JESNA’s Chief Financial Officer. In addition to being a member of the Chief Management Team and working closely with members of the Board, she oversees the overall finances of the agency and office operations.
Prior to joining JESNA in 2005, Ralia served as the Chief Financial Officer for The National Conference for Community and Justice, Inc., a New York not-for-profit and oversaw the finances of over 60 regional offices across the county. Ralia is a first generation Greek-American and has earned a BA in Accounting from Queens College. She has been working in the field of not-for-profit accounting since 1994.
Chief Ideas Officer
Director, Lippman Kanfer Institute
Jonathan Woocher is JESNA's Chief Ideas Officer and directs its Lippman Kanfer Institute: An Action-Oriented Think Tank for Innovation in Jewish Learning and Engagement. Jon served as JESNA's chief professional officer for twenty years before assuming his new role this year. In addition to guiding the work of the Lippman Kanfer Institute, he is a member of the agency's senior management, working with his colleagues on JESNA's strategic direction, new project development, external relations, and financial resource development.
Prior to coming to JESNA in 1986, Jon was an Associate Professor in the Benjamin S. Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service at Brandeis University, where he taught courses in Jewish political studies and communal service and directed the program in Continuing Education for Jewish Leadership.
He received his BA from Yale University, summa cum laude, in Political Science and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Temple University in Religious Studies. He has also studied at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
Knowledge Development Manager
Jenny came to JESNA in 2009. She is responsible for the overall management, development, and improvement of JESNA's online resources, including the Sosland Online Resource Center, The InnovationXchange, and allied sites such as the WOW! Project and Digital J Learning. She is responsible for the development and ongoing production of JESNA's webinar program, and works closely with JESNA program staff and technical consultants to enhance JESNA's dissemination of learnings through the web and social media. Before joining JESNA, Jenny earned her Master's in Media Studies from The New School University, while working as an educator in her synagogue's Children's Learning Program in Brooklyn, where she is currently serving on the board. She earned her B.A. in Women's Studies from Smith College, where she served on the Hillel Board, directed the Kosher Co-op, and received the Gemillut Chassidim Award for her years of service to the Jewish community.
Jude Kramer is from Melbourne, Australia. She joined the JESNA team in January 2013 following her graduation from NYU’s dual Master’s program in Education and Jewish Studies. Jude coordinates JESNA’s Convenings on Complementary Education and staffs the Association of Directors of Central Agencies (ADCA). Prior to her graduate studies, Jude held several positions in Jewish Education. She worked for the United Jewish Education Board in Melbourne, Australia creating Hebrew School curricula and for the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn, NY, as an after school program coordinator. She has also taught Jewish Studies to junior high school students in Morristown, New Jersey, and to preschool students in Manhattan Beach, California. Jude also holds a BA from Monash University majoring in History and Jewish Studies, and a certificate in Jewish Law/Mishpatim from Hebrew University. Since moving to New York, Jude has been very involved volunteering her time and skills to organizing events for Young Jewish Professionals in New York City.
Bara came to JESNA in 2012, and manages JESNA's Lainer-Masa and Grinspoon-Steinhardt Awards programs. Prior to joining JESNA, Bara worked for two years as a fourth grade teacher in Newark, New Jersey as part of the Teach for America program. Bara has held a number of positions within the world of Jewish education, notably as a staff member at Camp Sprout Lake and Camp Tel Yehudah, both a part of the Young Judaea camping system, and as a teacher at Congregation Adath Israel in Riverdale, NY. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Columbia University and a B.A. in Jewish Women's Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Bara also holds a New Jersey State Teaching License.
Human Resources Associate
Director, Israel Office
David joined JESNA in 1983 and was the Acting Executive Vice President for two years. He has directed JESNA's Israel programs since they began in 1986. Currently, David supervises the Lainer Interns for Jewish Education program with tracks in Tel Aviv and Hebrew Universities. David is also a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the School of Education at Bar Ilan University, specializing in Jewish education.
He received his BA in psychology from UCLA; his PhD in developmental psychology from Columbia University; and his rabbinic ordination from JTS. He also worked for two years in the Manhattan market research firm, Oxtoby-Smith.