Federation Fellows


Have a seat, gain a voice

Originally created in 1990 and re-launched in August of 2010, Fed Fellows educates participants in nonprofit decision-making, cultivates relationships, and promotes a sense of belonging for up to 20 individuals to be the next leaders of the Jewish community.

Gain a lifetime of leadership skills in our signature 15-month fellowship

Applications will open in Spring 2020

Components Include:

  • Get a front-row seat to communal decision-making with the board of a partnering agency, or a committee of the Federation.
  • Connect with fellow participants to expand your network and understand your potential as a leader in the Bay Area Jewish community.
  • Workshops and site visits give access to leaders and professionals in the field, while simultaneously building leadership skills.
Throughout the program, you’ll be exposed to professionals, executives, and experts in the philanthropic environment, viewing first-hand all aspects of leadership roles in nonprofit organizations. From finance to history to community impact, you’ll get an understanding of how a board works to advance issues, determine solutions, and move a mission forward. Dive headfirst into Fed Fellows workshops, field trips, and networking.

After completing the program, participants will gain:

  • new recognition of your personal leadership style
  • strategies on how to build consensus
  • confidence in your public speaking ability
  • insight into nonprofit finances
  • understanding of the impact of your personal philanthropy
  • best practices in community building

Organizations will benefit from hosting a Fed Fellow by:

  • gaining fresh perspectives from emerging leaders
  • increasing diversity* on your board and committees
  • finding the skills and expertise your board is seeking
  • cultivating committed ambassadors
  • creating a secured leadership pipeline
  • receiving tools and support for on-boarding

*Diversity includes race, ethnicity, denomination, religion, socio-economic status, physical and cognitive ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation, among other identities.


    With leadership comes collaboration and learning. Get a glimpse of our partners.

    Graduates of the program serve on the committees/boards of:

    Past speakers include:

    • Associate Director of Jewish Community Relations Council, Hallie Baron
    • Berkeley Hillel Associate Director, Jenni Mangel
    • Diller Teen Fellows Director, Adam Weisberg
    • Executive Director of Shalom Bayit, Naomi Tucker
    • San Francisco Hillel Director, Seth Brysk
    • San Francisco State University Professor, Marc Dollinger
    • Unpacking the Box Leadership Coaching, Tracy Akresh Stone
    • Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund Speakers: CEO, Danny Grossman; Board Chair, Richard Fiedotin; Board Member, Arthur Slepian; CFIO, Holden Lee; Director of Community Impact, Julie Golde; Chief Philanthropy Officer, Joy Sisisky; Director of Leadership Development, Katherine Tick

    Topics discussed:

    Your Leadership Styles, Nonprofit Finances 101, History of Californian Jews, Telling Your Story, Money Matters, Community Impact, Your Vision - Your Legacy, Personal Leadership Development


    Who is eligible?

    The program is open to participants of all backgrounds who display an interest in the Jewish community and a desire to make an impact. We envision a community with a safe and secure Jewish ecosystem, vibrant, diverse leadership, and a sense of shared responsibility for our future. Within this context, the Federation Fellows is a program that helps to build diverse*, equitable, and inclusive Jewish communities throughout the Bay Area.

    No past board experience is necessary.

    *When we mention diversity, we are referring to race, ethnicity, denomination, religion, socio-economic status, gender, sexual identity, among other diversity.

    Federation Fellows 2018-2020 Cohort

    Nicole Cruz
    Nicole CruzNicole Cruz is a Southern California native currently residing in the Bay Area. She works at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center assisting with the implementation of their Salesforce-based database. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, outdoor activities, and participating in Jewish community events in the Bay Area. She is excited to participate in the Fed Fellows program and give back to the local community in a meaningful way.

    Marina Eybelman
    Marina EybelmanMarina grew up in Moscow, Russia and moved to the States in 2002. In college, she studied Jewish Literature and the Eastern European Jewish oral tradition. For the last 4 years, Marina has been working on Speak Memory Project and had multiple exhibits in New York City and San Francisco. She is a photographer working in a documentary photography style with a strong emphasis on storytelling; each photo tells a story (and sometimes a multitude of stories) that play out in the imagination of the viewer. Marina lives in San Francisco with her husband and two daughters. Her work can be found at www.marinaeybelman.com.

    Noah Figdor
    Noah FigdorNoah is a CPA who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area after graduating college in 2014. Noah holds a longstanding commitment to the Jewish community, and has a history of getting involved, in various capacities, in local causes in the cities he has lived in — from participating in local Jewish youth groups, raising money for various cultural causes, to spending weekends volunteering with Jewish families with brave children who navigate life with disabilities. Noah is excited about the opportunity to join the 2018-2020 Federation Fellowship cohort, and is looking forward to becoming more involved within the local Bay Area Jewish community, and to learn from the community at large.

    Sami Greenberg
    Marina EybelmanBorn and raised in Chicago, Sami moved to San Francisco in 2013 to pursue her career in digital health. She cares deeply about providing more affordable and accessible healthcare solutions. Sami is actively involved with Congregation Emanu-El's Jewish community and is joining the Federation to expand her Jewish involvement in the Bay Area. She lived and/or worked in New York, Washington, DC, and London, and holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a BS from Cornell University. In her spare time, she enjoys hosting Shabbat dinners, participating in her Cookbook Club, and hiking with her puppy and husband.

    Laiah Idelson
    Laiah IdelsonLaiah Idelson was born and raised in the Bay Area and has lived and worked in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and sub-Saharan Africa. She currently is the Strategic Partnerships and Innovation Lead at YTH, an Oakland-based nonprofit using technology to develop solutions to youth health and wellness. Laiah lives in Oakland with her husband. She enjoys spicy food, traveling to new cities, and a good book.

    Michelle Peleg
    Michelle PelegMichelle Peleg is excited to join the cohort of Federation Fellows. Originally from Los Angeles, Michelle spent her first stint in the Bay at Berkeley Law, and has recently moved back to San Francisco. She is corporate attorney at Cooley, working with emerging companies and venture capital firms. Michelle is thrilled to be back in Northern California, and looking forward to diving into the Jewish community here.

    Sari Bourne Kaplan
    Sari Bourne KaplanSari is a rare native San Franciscan! She was born and raised in West Portal, and attended Brandeis Hillel Day School. She moved to Short Hills, NJ in 7th grade, and returned back to the Bay Area to go to Stanford. After graduating, Sari spent a year working on the Hillary Clinton Campaign, working in various Jewish organizations, and went to law school. Most recently, she worked at two law firms, and just moved back to the Bay Area in January to work as an attorney at Genentech. Sari just got married to her wonderful husband, Matt, who works on the Public Policy team at Lyft, and they're very excited to be back home! She enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing Jewish geography (and meeting people generally), and traveling.

    Robert Kaufman
    Robert KaufmanRobert Kaufman grew up in Manhattan Beach, CA and studied political science and business administration at the University of California, Berkeley. Robert currently works for FTV Capital, a growth equity firm in San Francisco. Prior to joining FTV, Robert worked for The JBG Companies in Washington, D.C., Hellman & Friedman, and Hall Capital Partners in San Francisco. Robert is president of the board of Berkeley Hillel, a member of AIPAC's National Council, and a Birthright Fellow. Robert enjoys playing basketball, snowboarding, hiking, and traveling the world.   

    Jessica Kocen
    Jessica KocenJessica Kocen was born and raised in Virginia, went to the University of Virginia, and made the big move out west to San Francisco in 2016. All of her life she has been passionate about social impact, volunteerism, and philanthropy and has been involved in leadership positions with a variety of Jewish organizations including BBYO, Hillel, Joint Distribution Committee, and most recently the Jewish Federation. Jessica works for Airbnb and helps drive hotel supply growth on both the HotelTonight and Airbnb platform. As a side project at work, Jessica serves as a Social Impact Champion for the Airbnb SF Campus.

    Shijia Bobby Lu
    Shijia Bobby LuShijia Bobby Lu is a regional planner with the Bay Area’s metropolitan planning organization. His current work emphasizes understanding regional economic trends and coordinating local and regional economic development efforts. He is also a liaison to Marin and Napa Counties, and manages grants that fund local planning projects in these counties. Bobby grew up in central China, and majored in Sociology at Renmin University of China in Beijing. He came to the United States in 2012, and received his Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He believes strongly in the power of people’s relationships with each other, as well as with the cities and communities to transform them into thriving places where people live, work, play, and feel happy and proud. Bobby moved to San Francisco in 2014, and has been enjoying cycling and swimming in this beautiful city.   

    Josh Mitrani
    Josh MitraniOriginally from Miami Beach, Florida, Josh is a second-year MBA candidate at Stanford. Before business school, Josh worked at Long Ridge, a NYC-based private equity firm, where he invested in and worked with high-growth companies. Prior to Long Ridge, he started his career as a strategy consultant. Josh graduated from Cornell University with a double major in English and Economics and wrote his thesis on Shakespeare’s sonnets. Josh enjoys lifting weights, reading nonfiction books on Shabbat, and cooking (and eating) spicy food with his wife Ariel.    

    Danielle Nemzer
    Danielle Nemzer Danielle Nemzer is so thrilled to be joining this cohort of Federation Fellows. She's lived in San Francisco for a little over three years now, but is originally from Santa Monica. Danielle has worked in management consulting ever since graduating from Johns Hopkins. When not at work, you can find her teaching spinning classes, cooking, or spending time with family and friends!

    Rachel Nilson Ralston
    Rachel Nilson RalstonRachel is a Bay Area native who is thrilled to join Federation Fellows! By day, she serves as San Francisco Hillel's Assistant Director, empowering students across the city to create meaningful Jewish communities. She's passionate about inclusion and innovation, which is why she's especially excited to learn to better serve our diverse and cutting edge corner of the Jewish world. In her spare time, Rachel can be found exploring coastal hiking trails, museums, or trying out new recipes.    

    Yelena Ostrovsky
    Yelena TrubinOriginally from the Former Soviet Union, Yelena immigrated to the US with her family in 1989. Since then, she received a DDS degree from the UOP School of Dentistry in SF and now lives in San Francisco with her husband and 2 children. 

    Irad Ratmansky
    Irad RatmanskyIrad grew up in Israel and came to the Bay Area to work at Facebook. He has a baby daughter, and therefore asks himself what kind of Jewish community and values he would like her to grow up in. That drove him to look for community involvement opportunities, such as signing up for the Fed Fellows program and being an ENGAJ fellow last cohort.  His hobbies include programming video games, books, sports (running, swimming, etc) and coffee (roasting beans and drinking it fresh).

    Hannah Schlacter
    Hannah SchlacterHannah moved to San Francisco in August of 2017. Originally from Chicago, she moved to the Bay because of her passion for tech and love of the outdoors. Growing up, she was active in the Chicago Federation, so it was important for her to become active in the SF Jewish community—including the Federation. During the day, she spends her time working in management consulting, advising different clients across industries. In her free time, she likes to build her community blog, Life Hacks for Women. She also enjoys skiing, running, hiking, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

    Donna Solen
    Donna SolenOriginally from Miami, Florida, Donna eventually moved to Washington, D.C., where she met her now husband. They had both always dreamed of living in the Bay Area and made those dreams come true about 5 years ago. After [too] many years as a lawyer, she made a career change a couple years ago and is now loving her new life as a real estate agent in SF. Donna and her husband live in the Excelsior neighborhood with their daughter Lois, a 3-year-old Shih Tzu. 

    Adina Wollner
    Adina WollnerAdina grew up in San Diego and graduated from UCSD. She has been involved in the Jewish community in San Diego both on and off campus through Hillel, the JCC, and the SD Jewish Federation. However, before college she spent two years in Israel serving in the IDF and living on a kibbutz. Adina moved to San Francisco a year ago and currently works as a security engineer. She lives with her two cats and enjoys biking around the city, Israeli folk dancing, and going to see musicals in the theater.

    Greg Zale
    Greg ZaleGreg Zale grew up in a big, active Jewish family in Dallas and has been looking to join an organization like this, where he can make a positive difference in the Bay Area. Greg speaks German and has traveled independently through over 60 countries on 6 continents. He also loves taking advantage of living in Northern California, whether it's tubing down Russian River or skiing around Lake Tahoe. Greg recently had his first child and is looking forward to introducing her to the community!

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    Dona Standel
    Senior Program Manager, Leadership Development