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Leadership Bios

Rachel Berger, Dorot 2011-2012, lives in New York City with her husband, Josh Frankel. She holds a Master’s in Social Enterprise Administration from Columbia University. She is currently the Director of Community Engagement at Footsteps. Previously, Rachel served as the Director of Grantmaking at Bend the Arc. During her Dorot year, Rachel taught English to Sudanese migrants in south Tel Aviv, studied sofrut stam in Jerusalem and wrote a Megillat Esther, and learned the art of cheese-making on Kibbutz Gaash.

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, camping (9 summers as a tripper for Camp Ramah in Canada), 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

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.

Max Socol lives in Raleigh, NC with his wife, Allison (Dorot 2008-2009), where he is the principal of religious school at Temple Beth Or, a Reform congregation. Previously, Max has worked as a youth director at Temple Sinai in Washington, DC, a fundraiser for the Marijuana Policy Project, and a reporter and freelancer for various Israeli publications, including the Jerusalem Post and PresenTense. Max holds a degree in liberal arts from St. John’s College.

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 rising 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.