A Wider Bridge: Staff

Staff

Sheridan Bahar
Programs and Development Coordinator

Roni Belenki
Israel Communities Manager

Ronit Bezalel
Communications Director

Tyler Gregory
Executive Director

Quentin Hill
Eastern States Manager of Programs and Development

Jeroen Vahrmeijer
Western and Midwest States Director

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.

Alan Schwartz, Board Vice Chair, 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.”

Barry Blecher, Treasurer  is a retired actuary who lives in New York City and has served as the chairperson of A Wider Bridge’s New York Metro Council. Barry participated on the 2014 and 2015 A Wider Bridge Israel Missions, and has hosted multiple AWB programs in his home. Barry is a member of CBST, where he serves in the synagogue choir.

James Moon, Secretary, 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.

Arthur Slepian, Founder, 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.

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.”
@DanaBeyerMD

Carmella Ettinger is currently the managing partner of her family’s residential real estate company. Previously she practiced law in the Portland area including being a member of a feminist law collective serving low income women. She has participated in Jewish education her entire life including serving on the boards of her son’s Jewish daycare and his Jewish day school. Currently she is the chair of the Overseas Special Projects committee of the Portland Federation. Additionally, Carmella has been very active in the Portland LGBTQ community including serving on the Board of Portland’s Pride celebration for six years with three years as the chair of that organization. Carmella has a lifelong commitment to the State of Israel with all its uniqueness, strengths and weaknesses. She has been traveling to Israel regularly since she was 10 months old. Her father was the 7th generation of her family born in Jerusalem and he is buried on the Mt. of Olives along with several generations of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

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 @citizenjones76

Ron Lezell  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.

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.
@Persitz

Gil Steinlauf is the Senior Rabbinic Advisor at Congregation Adas Israel, the largest conservative congregation in Washington, DC. Since stepping down from his pulpit earlier this year, Rabbi Steinlauf has consulted for the Conservative Movement and focused on writing. Gil has been involved with the work of A Wider Bridge in Washington for several years.

Dylan Tatz 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.