Summit 2022 Presenters and Participants

Rabbi Marc Baker

President and CEO, Combined Jewish Philanthropies

Rabbi Marc Baker is an organizational leader and educator who has spent most of his life in Greater Boston’s Jewish community. He also lived in Jerusalem for four years, studying at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and The Hebrew University. Rabbi Baker regularly speaks, writes, and teaches about Judaism, the Jewish community, and leadership. For the past several years he served as scholar-in-residence for CJP’s Cynthia and Leon Shulman Acharai Leadership Program.

Siona Benjamin

Transcultural Artist

Originally from Bombay, Siona Benjamin now lives in the US. Her work reflects her background of being brought up Jewish in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim India. In her vibrant paintings, she combines the imagery of her past with the role she plays in America today, making a mosaic inspired by both Indian miniature paintings and illuminated manuscripts. Her awards include two Fulbright fellowships, and her work has been featured in several international outlets, including The New York Times, Art in America, The Times of India, and The Jerusalem Post.

Laura Conrad Mandel

Executive Director, Boston’s Jewish Arts Collaborative

Laura Conrad Mandel is a public art advocate and social entrepreneur. As an artist, she taught art and craft classes in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Boston. She was also the lead costume designer for LA-based Ovation Group Productions and has sold her papercut work online. She is currently Chair of the Board of the Council of American Jewish Museums, co-chair of the Boston Lyric Stage Advisory Committee, is a member of the MASSCreative Advisory Council, and the JCRC Boston Council.

Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Executive Director, Jewish Book Council

Naomi Firestone-Teeter is a tireless supporter for national and international Jewish writing and writers. Prior to her role as executive director of JBC, she served as the founding editor of the JBC website and blog and managing editor of Jewish Book World. In addition, Firestone-Teeter has overseen JBC’s digital initiatives, and also developed the JBC’s Visiting Scribe series and Unpacking the Book: Jewish Writers in Conversation.

Roberta Grossman

Producing Director, Jewish Story Partners

Roberta Grossman co-founded the non-profit production company Katahdin Productions and is a member of both the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the Writers Guild of America. She has written, directed, and produced more than 40 hours of film and television. Her recent work includes Who Will Write Our History (2018) as well as co-directing and producing the Netflix Original Documentary Seeing Allred, about women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, which premiered in competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Grossman received the Taube Jewish Peoplehood Award in 2020.

Rebecca Guber

Founding Director of Asylum Arts and The Neighborhood: An Urban Center for Jewish Life

Rebecca Guber worked with artists for 20 years and was the Founding Director of the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists. Over the past 10 years, Guber has built a community of artists exploring Jewish ideas and identity through fellowship commissions for new work, international retreats, and professional development. Asylum Arts and the Six Points Fellowship have been the most significant direct supporters of emerging Jewish artists in this generation. 

Ben Gundersheimer

GRAMMY award-winning musician, author, and activist

Ben Gundersheimer, aka MISTER G, is a Latin GRAMMY Award-winning artist, author, activist, and educator. His dynamic, interactive, bilingual performances dissolve borders and foster cross-cultural connections. He has released 12 albums and received numerous accolades, including a Latin GRAMMY Award and five Parents’ Choice Gold Awards. He tours internationally, performing in both English and Spanish. Gundersheimer has also published two picture books, Señorita Mariposa and Lilah Tov Good Night.

Eva Heinstein

Senior Research Fellow at the Mandel Institute for Nonprofit Leadership

Prior to joining the Mandel Foundation, Eva Heinstein worked at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. Heinstein also developed a range of creative initiatives over the course of her career, such as the Entrepreneurial Musicianship Department at New England Conservatory, which empowers young musicians to chart new paths in the field, and Piyut North America, which is revitalizing the global Jewish music of piyut

Rachel Kadish

Author

Rachel Kadish wrote the novels The Weight of Ink, which won the National Jewish Book Award, From a Sealed Room, and Tolstoy Lied: a Love Story, as well as the novella I Was Here. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times, Ploughshares, Paris Review, Slate, Salon, and Tin House. She has been a fiction fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, has received the Association of Jewish Libraries Fiction Award and the John Gardner Fiction Award, and was the Koret Writer-in-Residence at Stanford University.

David Katznelson

CEO, Reboot

In his 30+ years in the music industry, Katznelson worked in high school for Bill Graham Presents, as a college radio DJ, as vice president of A&R at Warner Bros., as the head of the independent label group, The Birdman Recording Group, Inc, and as a Grammy-nominated producer. Katznelson served as the chair of Reboot’s board of directors since 2012, and he is also one of the first members of the Reboot network. He is a co-founder of two of Reboot’s most successful initiatives: The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation and the Dawn Festival, a Shavuot celebration in San Francisco.

Sophie Krentzman

Director, Arts and Culture at Combined Jewish Philanthropies

Sophie is the first person to hold the title of Director, Arts and Culture at CJP. Her work involves building out a new strategic focus area for CJP, strengthening partners in the Greater Boston Jewish arts and culture sector, building relationships with individual artists and supporters, and collaborating with colleagues to ensure that greater Boston has a vibrant and engaging Jewish life.

Aaron Lansky

President and Founder, Yiddish Book Center

Aaron Lansky and his colleagues have collected more than a million Yiddish volumes, which has been described as “one of the greatest cultural rescue efforts in Jewish history.” He received a so-called “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation in 1989. His bestselling book, Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books, won the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction in 2005.

Caroline Libresco

Artistic Director, Jewish Story Partners

Caroline Libresco is a film curator, creative producer, and program designer. For nearly 20 years, she was a head programmer for the Sundance Film Festival and director of Sundance’s Women’s Program. As founding director of Sundance Catalyst, she built a community of 100+ financiers, raising $31+ million for 89 films. As a producer, her credits include Tribeca Prize-winner Sunset Story, Peabody-winner American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, and the Netflix original Disclosure. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Melissa Martens Yaverbaum

Melissa Martens Yaverbaum is Executive Director of the Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM) and has worked with museums for 25 years. Previously, she served as Director of Collections and Exhibitions of the Museum of Jewish Heritage; Curator of the Jewish Museum of Maryland; and Curator of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. Yaverbaum has curated many exhibitions about Jewish culture and history and has authored related publications. Her work for CAJM concentrates on the areas of next practice, strategic alliances, and museums as change agents.

Adam W. McKinney

Co-Founder/Co-Director, DNAWORKS

Adam W. McKinney is a dancer, choreographer, and community activist. He has danced with preeminent companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Béjart Ballet Lausanne (Switzerland), and Alonzo King LINES Ballet. McKinney’s many awards include recognition from Asylum Arts, New York University’s President’s Service Award, and a Jerome Foundation Emerging Choreographers grant. He is an Assistant Professor of Dance in the School for Classical & Contemporary Dance at Texas Christian University.

Ronit Muszkatblit

Global LABA Director, Senior Director of 14th Street Y Arts + Culture

Ronit Muszkatblit was born in Germany and raised in Israel. In addition to her senior artistic and managerial positions, Muszkatblit curates and directs with a focus on opera, theater, and multidisciplinary events. Her recent directing credits include LABALive events, the children’s play The Magic Letter, (Best Play, Haifa Theater festival), Name Game by Yehuda Hyman and Sara Felder (Zoom theater play), and Hanna and the Moonlit Dress (Theater Row NYC). 

Shayna Rose Triebwasser

Executive Director, Righteous Persons Foundation

Shayna Rose Triebwasser spent the first twelve years of her career in journalism. Her work as Executive Director for the Righteous Persons Foundation (RPF) focuses on bridging the divide between people of different backgrounds and galvanizing the power of the arts, media, and Jewish storytelling for social change. She is the 2020 recipient of the JJ Greenberg Award presented to professionals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in Jewish philanthropy.

Winnie Sandler Grinspoon

President, Harold Grinspoon Foundation

Winnie Sandler Grinspoon is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Esther Award for Leadership and Philanthropy from Hebrew College, the Norman B. Leventhal Community Leadership Award from the JCC Greater Boston, and the Bernard Reisman Award for Professional Excellence from the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University. She has been named to both the Forward 50 and the Algemeiner 100 lists of people positively influencing the Jewish community.

Julie Weitz

Visual and Performance Artist

Julie Weitz is a Los Angeles-based visual artist whose performance art practice responds to local surroundings with an attuned sensory awareness of ecological and historical context. Since 2017, Weitz has been focused on a multipart performance series that centers on a feminist embodiment of a mystical creature drawn from Yiddish folklore. That project, My Golem, reimagines the golem as a sacred clown who guides humanity toward reparative ways of relating to one another and to the more-than-human world.

Jane Weitzman

Philanthropist

Jane Weitzman was the executive vice president of Stuart Weitzman and the founding vice president of Stuart Weitzman Retail. Her philanthropic work supported breast and ovarian cancer research and awareness. In addition to serving on several boards, Weitzman is president of the Jewish Book Council and is a vice president of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Society. Weitzman is also on the Chairman’s Council of Boston Children’s Hospital. 

CANVAS Team

Sarah Burford

Sarah Burford is C.O.O. of CANVAS and a D.C.-based arts professional with a passion for creating an equitable future for the arts. After seven years at the National Endowment for the Arts, where she served artists and cultural organizations nationwide as a Program Specialist in Media Arts, she joins CANVAS with a vision to help us better serve our grantees and elevate the Jewish arts and culture community. She has held previous roles in grantmaking and curatorial work at the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and The Jewish Museum. Sarah is also an artist in her own right, working in mixed media and collage. 

Lou Cove

CANVAS was founded by Lou Cove, senior advisor to the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, where he co-created the PJ Alliance – a cohort of mega-supporters dedicated to PJ Library’s national and global growth. He served as executive director of Reboot, where he oversaw numerous Jewish cultural projects, including Sukkah City, 10Q, the National Day of Unplugging, and the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation. Cove was also vice president of the National Yiddish Book Center where he helped build an endowment, a new building, and a sustainable platform. He is also the author of the acclaimed memoir Man of the Year (Flatiron Books, 2017). 

Tzivia Schwartz Getzug

Jewish Funders Network (JFN) support and coordination is led by Tzivia Schwartz Getzug, Director of the West Coast office of JFN, where she creates opportunities for network members to connect, to engage and to strengthen and leverage their philanthropic work. In addition to her work with CANVAS, Getzug is the Executive Director of the Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund and the U.S. Program Director of the Social Venture Fund for Jewish-Arab Equality and Shared Society in Israel.

Gordon Haber

Gordon Haber edits the CANVAS COMPENDIUM, a weekly newsletter about the best of Jewish arts and culture. His short fiction has appeared in a number of journals and as three best-selling Kindle Singles. His nonfiction writing on religion and culture has appeared in newspapers and magazines like The Forward, Tablet, Jewish Chronicle, Religion Dispatches, and Religion and Politics

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