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Leadership Bios

Rebecca Blouwolff, Dorot 2000-2001. Born and raised in Western Massachusetts, Rebecca has taught middle school French for most of her adult life.  She lives in the Boston area with her husband and two children. She enjoys incorporating social justice themes into her classroom, networking with other world language teachers, swimming laps, and speaking non-native French at home with her family. She is active in the leadership of her synagogue’s Hebrew school, TBZ Brookline’s Beit Rabban.

Steven Jacobson, Raised in a Chicago suburb, Steven holds degrees from the University of Kansas and Brandeis University and was a Fellow of the Melton Center for Diaspora Jewish Education at Hebrew University where he had the privilege of being in the last class of renowned Torah educator Nechama Leibowitz, just prior to her death.  Steve has been Director of the University of Kansas Hillel Foundation, Project Director for a curricular initiative of the Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service at Brandeis University and has been at the Dorot Foundation since 1999, where he is Vice President for Strategy and Director of the Dorot Fellowship in Israel.  Steve lives in Providence with his wife and two daughters.

Louisa Kornblatt, Dorot 2014-2015, is a UC Berkeley doctoral student in Social Welfare and also works as a clinical social worker at an adolescent psychiatric hospital. Though originally from Madison and currently residing in Oakland, she considers Tel Aviv her home base after living in Israel for three years and due to the fact that her entire immediate family has relocated there as well. Louisa has served on the Hekdesh Grantmaking Committee since finishing her Dorot year.

Avery Robinson, Dorot 2016-2017, lives a peripatetic life working as an editor with the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization. He is frequently in metropolitan Detroit, but more often than not, is elsewhere in North America spending times with friends and family. His side hustles include (Jewish) culinary history, outdoor education and wilderness trip guiding, understanding America through doughnuts, and an openness to new adventures. Avery has served on the Hekdesh board since completing his Dorot year, when he lived in Tel Aviv and delved deep into food systems through a soup kitchen, bakeries, and coffee. He recently started Rye Revival, a nonprofit working to promote the ecological production of rye as a climate change mitigation strategy for temperate climates.

Julie Sissman, Dorot 1998-1999, lives in New York City with her husband, Phil, and two daughters.  She is an organization and leadership consultant who strategizes around business and organizational challenges to maximize leadership development and organizational success. Julie has extensive experience coaching, conducting needs analyses, and facilitating workshops for high-level executives – including HEKDESH board members.  From her experience with HEKDESH, Julie got hooked on the giving circle model.  She is a member of Natan, Board Member of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of NY, and Advisory Board Member of Amplifier. Julie is also Board President of Schechter Manhattan and a Mikveh Guide with ImmerseNYC.

Gabi Wachs (she/her/hers), Dorot 18-19, works as a private therapist in Jerusalem and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Holocaust Studies from the University of Haifa. She holds an MSW from Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, where she focused on clinical social work, and two Bachelor’s Degrees from the Double Degree program between Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she studied political science and Jewish history, respectively. Gabi’s clinical work includes individual therapy with gap-year students, emerging adults, and adults residing all over Israel. She focuses on trauma-informed approaches to depression and anxiety, and also has facillited group therapy for survivors of sexual assault and rape. Gabi has attended a 20-hour training on trauma-centered trauma-sensitive yoga, and is trained in nonviolent communication (NVC). She is active with All That’s Left, an anti-Occupation collective. She resides in Jerusalem with her fellow-Dorot sweetie, Yaakov Malomet.

Liz Traison Witkin, Dorot 16-17, lives outside Detroit with her husband, Ari Witkin, son, Hadar Yonah, and their three backyard chickens. She is a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified health coach, and former farmer with nearly 10 years experience as a nutrition educator.

Lynda Yankaskas, Dorot 2000-2001, is an assistant professor of history at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where her research and teaching focus on print culture, gender, and national identity in colonial, revolutionary, and 19th-century America.