Matthew Boxer Ph.D. is an Assistant Research Professor at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Steinhardt Social Research Institute, and Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program, all at Brandeis University. He earned a master’s degree in Near Eastern and Judaic studies from Brandeis and a master’s and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his doctoral dissertation focused on the effects of Jewish community size on Jewish identity. Prof. Boxer’s research includes socio-demographic research on the Jewish community in the United States, social psychological processes of Jewish identity development, Jewish young adults’ volunteer habits and preferences, Israel studies on college campuses in the United States and Canada, antisemitism in contemporary Jewish life, and the impact of formal and informal Jewish educational experiences on Jewish identity. He is a long-time board member of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry.
Susan Sarnoff Bram is a trustee of the Jewish Board of Family And Children’s Services in New York, where she serves on the Clinics and Preventative, Adult and Children’s Residential, and Governance committees. As a trustee of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, she serves on the Executive and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committees, and co-chairs the Advancement Committee. She is a past trustee of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan. Ms. Bram earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and her master’s from Teachers College, Columbia University
Cantor Shayna De Lowe has dedicated her career to Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York, where she serves as senior cantor. She has been with Rodeph since receiving her ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s School of Sacred Music in 2007. Growing up in a very small, tight-knit Jewish community in the Midwest, Shayna was immediately drawn in by the warmth and connection she found at CRS. The feeling of connection was so impactful in Shayna’s life that she has focused on helping others find connection and fulfillment, always looking for more ways to deepen spirituality in both herself and others. Shayna has made social action and social justice a focus of her work at CRS. As the clergy liaison to the Social Action committee, she partners with congregants as well as outside organizations to maintain CRS’s commitment to bettering the world. Actions include becoming a sponsor through the HIAS domestic refugee resettlement that resulted in CRS resettling five refugees to America, supporting and expanding the Backpack Buddies weekend food program, supporting the work of Days for Girls and West Side Campaign Against Hunger, and helping to run the Homeless Shelter that is at the heart of her synagogue.
Edward Finkel is Regional Director, Network of Independent Communities, at the Jewish Federations of North America. He works with small Jewish communities from Maine to Maryland, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, southeast Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He is a visionary fundraising professional who has designed and managed campaigns in Jewish philanthropy for more than 30 years, serving in senior fundraising management roles at Jewish federations and as a fundraising consultant to many Jewish organizations. The founder of EJF Associates, a campaign management and philanthropic consulting firm, he raised over $50 million for synagogues, Jewish community institutions, and organizations with key expertise in development and non-profit organization operations, strategic planning, major gifts cultivation, and special events. A trained broadcast journalist, Mr. Finkel is a graduate of Boston University College of Communications and Boston’s Hebrew College Prozdor. He serves on the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Supporting Foundation Board of Directors and is active in numerous Jewish organizations.
Rabbi Danielle Leshaw is a Campus Support Director for Hillel International. She joined the campus support team after a dual role serving as a senior educator for the Ezra Fellowship and as a consultant to solo professionals and small campuses in the Hillel network. She served as executive director for Hillel at Ohio University in Athens from 2002-2016, where she transformed Jewish life on campus by piloting the first campus engagement internship team on a solo professional campus, developing a joint Hillel/study abroad program at Tel Aviv University and reconstituting the Board of Directors to include national representation. Rabbi Leshaw has a keen understanding of how to successfully lead and build a small Hillel. She writes Torah commentary and Jewish fiction, and is the recipient of the 2012 and 2014 Ohio Arts Council Prize for Fiction, the leading state grant for writers, and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. She is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
David Pulver ’63, a long-time trustee of Colby College, is president of Cornerstone Capital, Inc., a private investment company. Prior to starting Cornerstone Capital, Mr. Pulver was chair and co-CEO of The Children’s Place, a chain of over 1,000 children’s apparel stores, which he co-founded in 1968. His non-profit service includes the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) and the Investment Committee of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest, New Jersey. He and his wife, Carol, endowed the Pulver Family Chair in Jewish Studies at Colby.
Betty Robbins has spent her legal career concentrating primarily in real estate and non-profit law and governance. In 1981, after five years in private practice, she joined the legal department of TIAA and served as TIAA’s chief real estate counsel from 1989 to 2004. Following her retirement from TIAA, she became general counsel of the Anti-Defamation League and subsequently special counsel to the American Jewish Committee. Ms. Robbins is a graduate of Williams College and earned her J.D. from Emory University School of Law. She has been a member of many non-profit boards and is an active member of Central Synagogue. She and her husband, Moses Silverman, live in New York City.
Jim Shane ’67 serves on the Emeritus Board and Board of Governors of Hillel International and supports Hillels around the world. He is the board chair of Boston University Hillel, and serves on the P2G international steering committee of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and on the Moishe House board. Mr. Shane and his wife, Rosalie, are fellows of Brandeis University. In addition to his Jewish service, Mr. Shane is active in several non-profits serving Boston and Martha’s Vineyard.
Bethany Weitzman ’14 first met Rabbi Rachel Isaacs at Colby Hillel as a student in 2011. She soon became an active Hillel participant, joining weekly Shabbat dinners, attending High Holiday services, traveling to Washington, DC for an AIPAC conference, and, after graduation, participating in a Birthright trip led by Rabbi Issacs. The cumulative effect of these experiences deepened her understanding of Judaism and reinforced her devotion to Jewish values and traditions. Bethany is passionate about preserving and celebrating Jewish culture, particularly in small communities lacking formal Jewish organizations. She looks forward to working with the board to further the mission of the Center for Small Town Jewish Life and to support vibrant Jewish communities throughout Maine.
Ben Zurkow ’15 is a software engineer for PromoteIQ/Microsoft. He helped build the team and company from a startup to a preeminent retail media solution for enterprise e-commerce businesses. Prior to PromoteIQ, Mr. Zurkow worked in business development for Oracle and attended Fullstack Academy. A physics and Jewish studies major at Colby, Mr. Zurkow served as co-president of Hillel and was a member of the football and track and field teams. He serves as co-chair of the NYC chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Emerging Leaders board.
Rabbi David Ellenson Ph.D. is Chancellor Emeritus and the I.H. and Anna Grancell Professor Emeritus of Jewish Religious Thought at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He served as director of the Schusterman Center of Israel Studies at Brandeis University from 2015-2018 and is currently Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern and Judaic studies at Brandeis. From 2001-2013 Rabbi Ellenson was president of HUC-JIR, and in 2018-2019, he was called upon to serve as interim president. Rabbi Ellenson received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and was ordained by HUC-JIR. A member of HUC-JIR’s faculty since 1979, he also held the post of director of the Jerome H. Louchheim School of Judaic Studies at HUC-JIR’s Los Angeles campus, which provides the undergraduate Judaic studies program for USC. Rabbi Ellenson is internationally recognized for his extensive publications and research in the areas of Jewish religious thought, ethics, and modern Jewish history. His works include Tradition in Transition: Orthodoxy, Halakhah and the Boundaries of Modern Jewish History (1989), Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer and the Creation of a Modern Jewish Orthodoxy (1990); and After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity, which won the National Jewish Book Council’s Award as the outstanding book in Jewish thought in 2005. His newest book, American Jewish Thought Since 1934, co-authored with Michael Marmur, was published by Brandeis University Press in 2020.
Rabbi David Fine is a Director of Consulting and Transition Management, which is part of the Union of Reform Judaism’s Strengthening Congregations team. Since joining the staff of the URJ in 1996 he has worked extensively with smaller congregations, their rabbis, lay leaders, and boards. He has advised congregations on mergers and alternatives to mergers, using design thinking and appreciative ways of creating a stronger, collaborative future. Rabbi Fine was part of the core team that brought URJ Camp Kalsman to fruition and has been an active member of the camp commission and faculty since its inception. He was ordained in 1989 at the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati.
Idit Klein is a national leader for social justice with more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Since 2001, she has served as the leader of Keshet, the national organization for LGBTQ equality in Jewish life. She built Keshet from a local organization with an annual budget of $42,000 to a national organization with an annual budget of nearly $4 million. Under her leadership, Keshet has supported tens of thousands of rabbis, educators, and other Jewish leaders to make LGBTQ equality a communal value and imperative. Ms. Klein spearheaded the creation of leadership development programs for queer Jewish teens and mobilized Jewish communities to help defeat a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and advance transgender rights in Massachusetts. She served as the executive producer of Keshet’s documentary film, “Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School.” Prior to leading Keshet, Ms. Klein worked in Jerusalem for Israeli-Palestinian peace and helped envision the Jerusalem Open House as a leader in the Israeli LGBTQ rights movement. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale University, she earned her master’s in education from the University of Massachusetts with a focus on social justice and anti-oppression education. She serves on the advisory board of the Safety Respect Equity Coalition and the leadership team of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable to strengthen the national Jewish social justice movement. Ms. Klein was honored by the Jewish Women’s Archive with a Women Who Dared award as well as by Jewish Women International with a Women to Watch award, and selected for the Forward 50, a list of American Jews who have made enduring contributions to public life. She lives in Boston with her wife and their son.
Rabbi Bill Lebeau serves as Senior Consultant for Rabbinic and Institutional Leadership at the Rabbinical Assembly. Following his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1964, Rabbi Lebeau served for two years as a chaplain in the United States Navy and Marine Corps in San Diego. He was senior rabbi at the North Shore Jewish Center in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., for 13 years and at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, Illinois, for 10 years. He joined the administration of the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1988 and during 21 years at JTS he served as vice-chancellor and dean of the Rabbinical School.