Arthur Slepian, Founder and Executive Director (San Francisco), comes to A Wider Bridge with several decades of experience as a leader in the Jewish community along with a successful career as a leader in the business world. Arthur serves on the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Community Federation of the San Francisco Bay Area, is the Chair of the LGBT Alliance of the Federation and serves on the San Francisco area Jewish Community Relations Council. Arthur has been a leader for more than 15 years at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco, one of the nation’s oldest and largest synagogues serving primarily LGBT Jews, where he served as President from 2003 to 2006, and continues to serve in a variety of leadership roles.
Tyler Gregory, Deputy Director (New York), envisions a progressive movement in the U.S. that sees no contradiction between a love for Israel and a commitment to social justice and equality. Tye serves as the Deputy Director of A Wider Bridge, the LGBTQ organization advancing equality in Israel, and equality for Israel. In his capacity at AWB, Tye manages national leadership development efforts, community programming, and LGBTQ leadership missions to Israel. Previously, Tye spent several years working for AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), America’s pro-Israel lobby, most recently as the Regional Deputy Political Director for the Pacific Northwest. Tye is a native of San Diego, California, and a graduate of the University of California, Davis. He recently moved to Manhattan, New York, where he is discovering that much of the world lives through not one, but four seasons.
Laurie Grauer, Midwest Manager (Chicago), oversees A Wider Bridge programming and leadership development for AWB’s Midwest region. Laurie joined A Wider Bridge after serving for the past five years as the Executive Director of Gesher Chicago, an organization she co-founded to connect LGBTQ Jews and allies to the greater Chicagoland Jewish community. Laurie was one of the first recipients to receive Oy Chicago Magazine’s “36 under 36” award, in recognition of her outreach within the Jewish LGBTQ community. In 2010, she co-founded the Illinois Interfaith Civil Union Coalition, a state-wide task force of religious institutions who successful mobilized their congregants to lobby on behalf of Civil Unions. She has also served on the board of Congregation Or Chadash, Chicago’s LGBTQ congregation. Professionally, Laurie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Jewish Educator. She has taught at Temple Sholom of Chicago for the past seven years, and most recently she was a case manager for Ezra MSC, a Jewish social service agency based in Chicago.
Quentin Hill, Northeast Manager, oversees A Wider Bridge programming and leadership development for AWB’s Northeast region. Quentin has been working in LGBT, pro-Israel, and progressive advocacy since coming out in high school. Most recently, he served as the Political Engagement Director on the National Board of the Campus Democrats for a Secure Israel. Quentin is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa, where he served in multiple leadership positions, including with several prominent campus LGBTQ groups, the Iowa Hillel Board, and Hawkeyes for Israel. Quentin graduated from Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Religious Studies minor.
Yanir Dekel, Media Outreach Coordinator (Los Angeles) oversees A Wider Bridge’s online magazine, awiderbridge.org and social media channels on Facebook, twitter, instagram, and youtube. Yanir Dekel has a decade of experience in entertainment, journalism, and digital media in Israel and the U.S. He headed PR for Helicon Records – one of the top two Record Labels in Israel – for several years before moving to LA in April of 2009. Since then he’s been a busy entertainment Journalist supporting Israeli entertainment and news outlets from Hollywood. His many talents allow him to be a “one stop shop,” writing, filming, editing and producing content himself.
A Wider Bridge • Office address: 560 Mission Street, Suite 1364 San Francisco, CA 94105 • Mailing address: 2912 Diamond Street – #348, San Francisco, CA 94131 • email@example.com• (866) 288-5774
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Bruce Maxwell, Board Chair is a Principal at Arroyo Insurance Services, a commercial insurance agency in the Greater Los Angeles area. Bruce has been a long-time leader in the Los Angeles Jewish and LGBT communities, including serving as President of Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), the nation’s oldest LGBT synagogue and on the Board of the Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing in which he helped to build and open the first ever low-income affordable housing for LGBT seniors in Hollywood, California. Bruce is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, attended a year of his studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has an MBA from the USC Marshall School of Business.
Dylan Tatz, Secretary, is Executive Director of Z Sharp, a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit that provides comprehensive, in-school music education to over 4,000 low-income children in Bay Area elementary schools who would otherwise have no formal music education. His prior positions included serving as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and as Assistant Director of Strategic Planning at the American Jewish Committee. Dylan earned his M.B.A. from Wharton and his A.B. from Princeton University.
Ron Lezell, Treasurer, is a Senior Director with Accretive Solutions, a national financial consulting firm, where he has provided clients with Interim Controller, CFO and finance project work for over 15 years. Ron is a former CPA with Big Four public accounting experience. Ron has a BBA (Accounting) from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Golden Gate University.
Dr. Dana Beyer is a retired eye surgeon who was a candidate for the Maryland state Senate in 2014. She is currently Executive Director of Gender Rights Maryland, the state’s trans political organization which successfully worked the gender identity bill to passage in 2014. She served a term as a senior adviser for Council Member Trachtenberg on the Montgomery County Council. She is chair of the national advisory board of Freedom to Work, and writes a weekly column for the Huffington Post. She recently served on the Rules Committee of the national Democratic Party, and has twice run for state Delegate in District 18. Dana has been a member of the Advisory Board of A Wider Bridge for the past year, has served on the Board of Keshet for the past nine years. In June 2015, she spoke on a panel at “40 Years of Pride.”
Vincent Jones is an innovative connector with a passion for finding creative solutions and a lifelong commitment to progressive social change. His career spans the worlds of philanthropy, non-profits, politics, and new media. Vincent leads Reinvent Communications, a Los-Angeles-based social impact firm he founded in 2012. Prior to his current role, Vincent led LGBT grantmaking, training, and convening strategy at the Liberty Hill Foundation as Deputy Director of Campaigns and Senior Program Officer, was Executive Director of a non-profit working at the intersection of HIV/AIDS and incarceration, led a youth civic engagement project for California Common Cause, served as LA County Field Representative for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and worked in senior positions in her 2004 and 2010 campaigns as well as those of other statewide, federal, and local campaigns. He is a Mayoral appointee to the City of Los Angeles’ Innovation & Performance Commission and is an active member of a few non-profit Boards. Vincent has a B.A. in history from Swarthmore College, where he was a Eugene M. Lang Scholar for Social Action and a Public Policy & International Affairs Fellow. He was also awarded a Dean’s Award at graduation for his contributions to the campus community. Vincent lives in Los Angeles and would be grateful if you followed him on Twitter and Instagram where he is @
Alan Schwartz is a strategic management and finance professional with over 25 years of experience in the private, governmental and nonprofit sectors. He is currently the principal of AGS Associates, which advises clients on strategic development, restructuring and financing. In addition, Alan serves as a trustee of private trusts and foundations. He previously served as Executive Director of the Architectural Conservation Trust and Historic Massachusetts Incorporated. Alan has also held leadership positions in numerous local, state, and national entities including Commissioner of the Public Facilities Commission and Chairman of the Boston Landmark Commission. Alan has long been active in the Jewish and LGBT communities of both Boston and New York City. Among his many awards and distinctions, the City of Boston designated Alan a “Special Boston Landmark.”
James Moon is a partner with the law firm Meland Russin & Budwick, P.A. James is as passionate about Israel as he is about progressive and LGBTQ issues. Although he is not Jewish, James makes the case that progressives and LGBTQ in particular can and should support Israel – the only country in the middle east where LGBTQ can find hope for a valued and respected life. James has recognized Israel’s special place in the world since he first learned about it as a boy, and has always found ways to support it, including encouraging his friends and family to buy Israeli goods from Israeli companies to show their support, especially during times when Israel finds itself under attack. James is also currently the chair of the Inclusion Mentoring and Fellowship Committee of the Business Law Section of the Florida Bar which is tasked with diversity outreach to the Florida legal community. James also serves on the board of the MiFo International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which encourages a sense of community through international and culturally diverse cinema that offers historical and contemporary perspectives on the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience. James has been active on boards of various nonprofit organizations over the years, and is also a leader in progressive and LGBTQ outreach as a recognized leader within AIPAC. Prior to his legal career, James served for approximately 10 years in the United States Navy aboard both ballistic missile and fast attack submarines as communications and cryptographic specialist and is a Gulf War veteran.
Jay Geller — Member of the Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC) since 2008, where he chairs the Advisory Council of the Zelikow School of Jewish Non-Profit Management. He has been a member of the Los Angeles HUC campus Board of Overseers since 1997. Jay is a past chair of the Board’s Communications Committee and serves on several standing Board Committees including Governance and Academic and Faculty Affairs. From 1989 to 2012, he served on the Board of the Union for Reform Judaism where he served as the president of the Pacific Southwest Council, a Vice Chair of the Board, and chaired various Board committees including the New Congregations Committee, the President’s Message Committee and as the chair of the 2007 San Diego Biennial. From 2008-2011 he served on the Board of Keshet, a national grassroots organization that works for the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Jews in Jewish life. He is actively involved in the Los Angeles region of the New Israel Fund and Encounter, a non-partisan educational organization cultivating informed and constructive Jewish leadership on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jay is a member of Temple Solel, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California.
Sarah Persitz — is Co-Founder & COO of Bubby, a tech enabled matchmaking company. She is a master community builder and connector, incubating and nurturing communities around young adult engagement, pro-Israel advocacy and philanthropy. She has spent the last decade at the forefront of pro-Israel advocacy, having worked for AIPAC as the San Francisco Director where she spearheaded advocacy and community building efforts and most recently as the Regional Director of AJC engaged in global diplomacy. Sarah is currently the President of the Young Adult Division of the Jewish Community Federation in San Francisco where she is focused on building a conversation around a reimagined community for young adults. She is also a member of Schusterman’s ROI Community. Sarah is an experienced public speaker, community organizer and strategist around leadership development, fundraising and all aspects of community building. She is a graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in Comparative History of Ideas and holds a Certificate in Non-Profit Management.
Arthur Slepian, Founder and Executive Director. See Staff above for Arthur’s bio.
The current members of our Advisory Board are listed below:
Dr. Joel Kushner – Director, Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Dr. Kushner consults with a variety of Jewish organizations, locally and nationally and frequently lectures across the country on LGBT inclusion and Judaism, homosexuality and the Bible, marriage equality, the needs of LGBT families in the Jewish community and other related topics. He sits on the National Religious Leadership Roundtable of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Advisory Board of the Human Rights Campaign’s Faith and Religion Program, the Board of the LGBT Religious Archives Network and the Board of California Faith for Equality. He is the senior editor of Kulanu: A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Inclusion Guide for Congregations published by the URJ Press.
Rebecca Weiner – Education Director, Congregation Sha’ar Zahav. Rebecca Weiner has been a Jewish educator for more than 20 years, and previously served as the Director of Education at Temple Israel in Alameda. She has an MA in Drama Therapy, also works as a consultant and curriculum writer.
David Katznelson – Director of Engagement and Outreach, Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties. David is also one of the co-founders and leaders of the acclaimed non-profit organization, The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation. David also serves on the Board of The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.
Susan Bluer — Susan is a founding member of the LGBT Alliance of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties, and one of its Chairs for several years. She was a fellow of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, and has served on several other Boards, including BALIF–an LGBT Bar Association in the Bar Area, and the ACLU Lawyers’ Committee for Northern California. She founded a law firm with her cousin in San Francisco specializing in Employment Law.
Nicole Fix — Nicole Fix currently serves as the Director of Finance at Young Audiences Arts for Learning. As principal of Fix Strategies LLC, Nicole has provided fiscal and strategic consultation services to numerous non-profit and cultural organizations in New York. Prior to founding Fix Strategies, Nicole co-founded the award-winning New York theater company, Page 73 Productions, where she served as executive producer. Nicole’s fiction and essays have appeared in publications such as Post Road Magazine and Go! Magazine. She is a recipient of the Elizabeth George Foundation Grant and was an Arts Fellow at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Learning.
Christopher McCannell — Chris McCannell is a leading legislative and political strategist with over 15 years of experience on Capitol Hill and in advocacy helping to promote policy change. McCannell served for 8 years as chief of staff to Rep. Joe Crowley the fourth ranking Democrat in the House Leadership and currently chairs the financial services practice at the global communications firm APCO Worldwide. Chris works with clients developing communications and advocacy plans targeting Capitol Hill and the Obama Administration. At APCO, Chris has led his company’s involvement in supporting the Congressional Equality Caucus, a bi-partisan caucus to promote GLBT equality. Chris has been recognized for his leadership on Israel advocacy and commitment to diversity and community by being selected as a board member of Washington Hebrew Congregation, one of America’s largest reform congregations as well as co-chair of their 30’s/40’s affinity group.