JRPO San Diego is an initiative of The Hive at Leichtag Commons and the Jewish Federation of San Diego County
What is JPRO? JPRO is a professional network for individuals who work for a Jewish communal organization in San Diego. The goal of JPRO San Diego is to increase the sense of pride for working in the San Diego Jewish Community and support the growth of the talent in our field. We will offer training, meaningful networking experiences through our cohort model and resources to our local professionals.
Below are the descriptions of the cohorts and bios for our facilitators. There are groups for specific position types as well as groups open to all based on life stage or interest. Please sign up for as many as you’d like!
Communications with Jessica Kort
This cohort is for professionals at any level working in communications, marketing, PR, and social media. This is a space to exchange ideas, unpack trends, brainstorm, collaborate and troubleshoot communication challenges.
Development with Sharyn Goodson
This cohort is for professionals working in any aspect of nonprofit resource development. All experience levels are welcome. Join us to ask questions, share ideas, address challenges, learn new techniques, and recharge!
Finance with Bradley Blose
This cohort is for professionals at all levels in finance.
HR (Human Resources) with Heidi Kvilti
This cohort is for all professionals working in HR.
Jewish Life with Jonah Rothstein
This cohort is for any professionals who are involved in programming including formal and informal education, arts and culture, Jewish holiday celebration, etc. This is a forum where we can explore meaningful collaborations or learn from each other’s experiences.
Facilities and Property Management with Michelle Poliner
This cohort is for all professionals who are involved in maintaining the physical spaces of our work environments.
Admin and Operations with Rachel Stabile
This cohort is for all professionals who work in administration and operations at all levels. Topics might include: Database management systems, project management tools, office culture, and more!
Community and Volunteer Engagement with Carole Yellen
This cohort is for all professionals responsible for outreach, engagement, and/or volunteers management for their organizations. The purpose of this group is to learn from one another as we share strategies, successes, and challenges. We will also examine differences in reaching the Jewish and secular community.
Intersectional Identities with Jordan Daniels
This cohort is for any professional working within the Jewish community with intersectional identities (person of color, lgbtq+, etc.). The purpose of this group will be to create connections between people with diverse identities working in Jewish organizations, share experiences and learn from each other.
Parent and Caregiving with Jenny Camhi
This cohort is for anyone working for a Jewish organization who identifies as a parent/caregiver. The purpose of the group is to provide support for each other as we juggle caregiving and working, especially during the pandemic.
Career Path Exploration with Carly Lobenstein
This cohort is for professionals who are in the early stages of their career (5-6 years of work experience–both inside and outside of the Jewish community). This group will be a warm welcome to life as a Jewish professional in San Diego.
Equitable, Positive Organizations with Nicole Nevarez
This cohort is for any professional, regardless of position, who wants to engage in conversation and learn tools toward making Jewish organizations safe, equitable and accountable, care-centered environments.
Religious School Principals with Rabbi Matt Earne
This cohort is for professionals responsible for supplimental formal Jewish education for grades k-12 within their organization.
Preschool Directors with Cathy Goldberg
This cohort is for Directors and Assistant Directors of Jewish Early Childhood Education and daycare centers.
Security Council with Matt Brown
This group is for professionals who are responsible for security at their organization.
Synagogue Executives with Gilad Hoffman
This cohort is for professionals holding Executive Directors or Adminstrative Director positions at synagogues and congregations.
Teen Professionals with Molly Okun
The San Diego Jewish Teen Initiative convenes a monthly collaborative meeting for professionals working with Jewish teens, known as the Teen Educators Coalition (TEC). The purpose of this group is for professionals to continue to grow in their practice and to create a culture of community and collective impact.
Social Services with Darren Schwartz
This group for professionals working for organizations specifically providing social services
Jessica Kort is Leichtag Foundation’s Director of Communications and Strategy, overseeing communications about the Foundation and its initiatives, developing giving opportunities for community members, and designing ways for the Foundation to increase its impact and leverage across funding areas. Jessica most recently served as Managing Director of Foothold Foundation, an initiative dedicated to supporting collaborative efforts in San Diego’s social sector. Prior to that, she served as Communications Officer at the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego and Program Coordinator at Temple Emanu-El of San Diego. Jessica is a former advisory board member of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network San Diego, former steering committee member of the San Diego Chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, and was a 2012 San Diego Leadership Alliance Institute Fellow. Jessica holds a BA in International Studies from UC San Diego, a MA in International Conflict Studies from King’s College London, and a MBA from the University of San Diego.
Sharyn Goodson has over 25 years of experience in philanthropy, program design and delivery, organizational development, and nonprofit fundraising. She currently serves as Vice President of Philanthropy for both Impact Cubed and Leichtag Foundation where she manages grantmaking, leads funder partnerships, and trains and counsels nonprofits on revenue generation, board and organizational development, as well as program design and evaluation. Sharyn holds the Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) credential.
In April 2010, Sharyn joined the Leichtag Foundation as its first Program Officer. Beginning in 2012, she also began managing the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego’s philanthropy programs and served as the lead contact for major family funds and foundations as well as the Jewish Women’s Foundation. Her most recent role at the Jewish Community Foundation was as its Vice President of Philanthropy.
Previously, Sharyn was Director of Grants of Jewish Family Service of San Diego and Program Director of the Aspen Community Foundation in Aspen, CO. Sharyn also served on the board of San Diego Grantmakers.
Brad is currently the Chief Financial Officer for San Diego Hebrew Homes (dba Seacrest Village) and Jewish Home Care Services, Inc. (dba Seacrest at Home, Seacrest Home Health). Brad joined the Hebrew Homes team in 1996 and has experienced the ever-changing senior living industry. Brad has been involved with the sale and acquisition of facilities; management of an consulting to other senior living providers; and tax exempt debt financing. Brad holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and is an active California CPA. Prior to joining the Hebrew Homes, Brad worked in the Arthur Andersen accounting firm offices located in Pittsburgh and San Diego. Brad is currently the Treasurer of San Diego Tennis Federation and has served as Treasurer for Explorer Elementary Charter School, Fern Street Community Arts and San Diego Performing Arts League. When Brad is helping seniors, he may be found on the tennis courts.
In 2019, Heidi joined the Seacrest Village family. She has 20+ years working in the San Diego health care market spending time in hospitals, clinics, home care operations, and, for the last seven years, continuing care retirement communities. Heidi holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. She is a native San Diegan and lives in Escondido with her husband, Bill, who is a teacher, and their two children.
Jonah Rothstein (he/him) is the Associate Director of Jewish Education Retreats for Moishe House where he leads the Immersive Jewish Learning Retreats Program. Originally from Minneapolis, Jonah attended the University of Hartford where he graduated with a BA in Judaic Studies, International Studies and History. He came to Moishe House from Ithaca, New York where he worked as the Reform Engagement Associate and Springboard Fellow: Jewish Education Specialist for Cornell University Hillel. Jonah has lived in San Diego for 2 1/2 years and is excited to continue to grow his network and empower others to do the same.
Michelle is the Events and Data Manager for the Hive at Leichtag Commons, where she manages all on-site logistics for event space rentals & catering and provides event support for Hive programs. She also manages the Leichtag Foundation’s CRM system, responding to issue and enhancement requests, providing technical support, and handling data maintenance, strategy, and documentation. Michelle is also a member of the property-wide Green team, which works towards creating a more eco-friendly environment at Leichtag Commons.
Rachel currently is the Executive Assistant to Betzy Lynch, CEO of the Lawrence Family JCC, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS. She had supported 3 prior CEOs at Harte Hanks, a global marketing firm in both Baltimore, Maryland and San Diego, California. She worked at Harte Hanks for close to 7 years, changing positions from Associate Product Marketing Manager in August of 2013. Her prior experience was in marketing and coordinator roles at Wolters Kluwer a medical publishing firm and with a Washington DC organization, Industrial Research Institute.
She received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Besides finding joy in her work, she finds joy in her family, husband, Jon , an IT Manager and a NCAA Collegiate Football Official and their 2 children, Evelyn, grade 7 and Olivia, grade 11. Rachel grew up in New York, and had lived in Richmond, Virginia, Baltimore and Annapolis, Maryland and in August of 2013, relocated to San Diego where she resides with her family now. She enjoys following sports, especially Evelyn’s softball teams and watching Olivia’s talents grow in art. She is learning how to bake Challah, and loves to hike and read historical fiction.
Carole Yellen serves as the Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at Jewish Family Service of San Diego where she has worked for more than 11 years. Among her duties, Carole leads the JFS Community and Volunteer Engagement department which serves as a home for tikkun olam welcoming more than 1600 volunteers annually to make a meaningful impact in our community. Carole also oversees the JFS Center for Jewish Care with a bold vision to end Jewish poverty and strengthen community. During her tenure at JFS, Carole has also been a key leader in JFS’s crisis responses, including the 2018-2019 Government Shutdown, 2019 Chabad Poway shooting, and most recently COVID-19.
Carole’s coordination of the JFS on-the-ground crisis support with law enforcement and faith partners in the aftermath of the Chabad Poway shooting earned JFS the 2020 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award. As a JFS community liaison, Carole cultivates strong, trusted relationships with local synagogues and rabbis, Jewish and secular organizations, as well as other service providers to educate on JFS services and volunteer opportunities, and identify opportunities for collaboration. Carole is a lifelong learner who welcomes new professional challenges as opportunities for growth. She truly enjoys building and maximizing her connections as means to address the most pressing issues facing our community whether poverty, aging, homelessness, immigration, or unexpected crises.
Jordan Daniels (He/Him) is a Fat Queer Afro-Jew writer and photographer who focuses on Queer experiences, anti-racism, belonging for JoCs, and Fat activism. Jordan believes in collective liberation and is striving to find pathways to it that explore joy. He is an alumni of Bend the Arc’s Selah JOC Cohort and Upstart’s Change Accelerator. He seeks to support intersectional identities to gain tools to unlock their own freedom personally and professionally.
Jenny is the Foundation’s Chief Talent Officer where she is responsible leveraging Leichtag Commons as a physical platform to enhance collaboration, creativity, and connection. Jenny oversees the foundation’s organizational development strategy as well as Hive programming including: coworking, professional development, and arts and culture.
Prior to joining Leichtag, Jenny worked for Jewish Family Service of San Diego as the North County Outreach Social Worker where she worked to reduce the barriers to accessing both local Jewish life and community resources.
Jenny holds a M.S.W. from San Diego State University and a B.A. in Human Development from Connecticut College. She started her social work career at the Community Resource Center in Encinitas where she provided individual, couples and group therapy for community members as well as residents of the agency’s domestic violence shelter. She is a proud Encinitas resident where she lives with her husband and two children.
Carly Ezell Lobenstein has been at the Jewish Federation of San Diego County for over 9 years in a variety of roles. She is currently the Director of Community Engagement, leading Federation’s leadership and professional development initiatives. Prior to joining the Federation team, Carly worked for The Lawrence Family JCC, The Hillel Foundation at the University of Arizona and BBYO. She has a Bachelor of Science in Regional and Community Development from The University of Arizona and a Masters of Business Administration from San Diego State. Carly grew up in San Diego and enjoys spending time with her husband, Jason and 2 year old daughter, Madison.
Nicole Nevarez knows that when we take the time to reflect, we have the power to create deep systemic change. As the inaugural director of Ta’amod: Stand Up!, Nicole brings expertise, wisdom, and passion from a diverse background of work in the Jewish non-profit realm.
Nicole also provides independent coaching and consultation to support both individuals and organizations in their efforts to steward accountability. Nicole lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and two children.
Rabbi Matt Earne
Religious School Principals
Meet Rabbi Matt
Rabbi Matt Earne
Rabbi Earne joined the San Diego community in 2006 as Assistant Rabbi, bringing tremendous energy and ruach to Beth Am. He earned his BA in Human Development and Family Bond at Cornell University, MA in Education from the University of Judaism. Rabbi Earne’s rabbinic ordination was from New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Earne has been with our community for 15 years. Through this time he has been promoted to Associate Rabbi and now has earned the title as our Rabbi. Rabbi Earne focuses primarily on our educational programs with love and passion and has overseen their growth. One of his successes has been the creation of our own Hebrew High Program called Sabra.
“It is clear that teaching our children is one of the most important roles we have as Jewish leaders and parents. Our commitment to the Jewish people is to educate and engage our youth, building their Jewish identities for our future community. It’s a joy to help our children become more involved and grow – while they are making friends and having fun.”
Rabbi Earne lives in Carmel Valley with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two children, Jonah and Gabriella. They feel very fortunate to raise their family in the kind and nurturing community of Congregation Beth Am.
Cathy Goldberg is the Early Childhood Education Director at Congregation Beth Israel’s Bill and Sid Rubin Preschool in San Diego. Cathy has spent 39 years as a professional educator in private preschool and in synagogue-based preschools. Cathy was the owner/director of the Learning Tree Preschool for 21 years and has been a director of Jewish preschools for 18 years. Her areas of expertise include family and parent education, staff development, and inclusion.
Early childhood education is Cathy’s life work and passion. Cathy is dedicated and committed to creating a school environment that inspires the teaching staff to provide the best possible preschool experience for young children. She has grown and developed the Infant-Toddler Program at Beth Israel and continues to develop new and exciting programming for preschool families. Cathy loves to meet and welcome new families, helping them to find a home in the Jewish community.
Cathy lives in Ocean Beach and has two children Jarred and Carly. In her free time, she enjoys walks with her dogs and spending time with family.
Matthew Brown is the Associate Director for Law Enforcement Initiatives and Community Security for the San Diego Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In this role he works with State, Local, and Federal law enforcement partners and other non-profit and civil rights organization countering hate, anti-Semitism, and extremism, and ensuring security for the Jewish community and institutions throughout San Diego County.
Prior to work with the ADL, Mr. Brown was the Homeland Security Manager for the Port of San Diego, and prior to the Port, he served a 24-year career with the FBI, the first half working violent crime, during which he was trained in Behavioral Profiling, and the second half in the National Security Program overseeing counterterrorism investigations on the San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force. In Matthew’s FBI career he served under several Directors, the last of which was Robert Mueller, for whom Matthew served on the Director’s Management Advisory Committee Executive Board.
Gilad joined the Beth Am team as the Executive Director in 2019. Prior to that Gilad was the Religious School Director at Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego. He previously was Congregation Beth Israel’s Youth and Camp Director, and the Sports Director and Assistant Camp Director at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center. Gilad grew up at Congregation Beth Am, and this is where he joined the Jewish Community as a Bar Mitzvah. Gilad is a huge soccer fan and has been playing and coaching for many years. Gilad was born in South Africa but spent most of his childhood here in San Diego. He earned both his B.S. in Psychology and MBA from the University of La Verne. Gilad and his family; his wife Shiri, and his kids, Maya and Liam live in the Carmel Valley Community.
Molly Okun joined the Jewish Federation of San Diego County in the fall of 2019 and currently serves as the Community Engagement Manager. Molly is originally from Tampa, Florida and holds a BS in Sociology from Florida State University. Prior to joining the Federation team she was the Director of Teen Learning and Engagement at Temple Sinai in Atlanta, GA and the Program Director at San Diego’s Camp Mountain Chai. She has 9 years of teen engagement experience and has spent 16 summers at 5 different Jewish camps across North America. Molly enjoys traveling, hanging out by campfires (aka eating s’mores), and all things Harry Potter.
Darren Schwartz is an innovative, collaborative leader with expertise in public policy, philanthropy, and Jewish engagement. He currently serves as the Chief Planning and Strategy Officer at the Jewish Federation of San Diego County to deploy strategies and resources for the betterment of the Jewish community.
Darren has been a Jewish Communal Professional for 15 years, serving in various capacities at the San Francisco JCC, Jewish Federation of San Diego County, Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego and the Lawrence Family JCC.
In 2017, Darren was named Consensus Organizer of the Year by San Diego State University’s Consensus Organizing Center (COC). The COC recognized his efforts to create innovative partnerships between San Diego, local youth, and the Jewish community.
As Chief Planning and Strategy Officer, Darren focuses on systemic change in addressing the needs of the San Diego Jewish Community. One of the key initiatives that Darren has developed over the last three years addresses the critical needs of Holocaust Survivors and ensuring that their legacies will not be forgotten. The San Diego Holocaust Survivor Coalition is new Federation effort to raise awareness, mobilize volunteers, stimulate educational opportunities, and secure resources necessary to support all Survivors in living their remaining days in dignity and comfort.
Darren graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from University of California, Davis. He is a San Diego native and enjoys life with his wife Dara and 3 crazy children.
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