Oshman Family JCC Blog

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Ed BancroftEd Bancroft

Edward Bancroft is the Director of Sales and Event Services at the OFJCC. Prior to working at the OFJCC he worked in the fitness industry for 15 years, and still enjoys running and staying active. Edward was recently married and lives in Santa Cruz with his wife Meghan and dog Magnus. When not in traffic between home and the OFJCC, Edward can be found at the beach, at a concert or hiking in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Gali BeckGali Beck

Gali Beck is the head of Libi, The Center for Your Growing Family at the ICC@JCC. She is a group therapist and social worker (MSW) and passionate about community building through empowerment groups. Israeli born, Gali has lived in the Bay Area since 2008 with her husband and their three kids.

Nathaniel Bergson-MichelsonNathaniel Bergson-Michelson

Nathaniel Bergson-Michelson is the Chief Marketing Officer at the OFJCC. A Bay Area native, his career began in Tokyo with PR for Japanese Government clients. He is passionate about data visualization, honey collecting, and puzzles. When not at the OFJCC, he can be found either singing with Peninsula Cantare or at home, losing strategy games to his wife and two sons.

Tal BinyaminTal Binyamin

​​Tal Binyamin is the former Digital Marketing Specialist at the OFJCC and a yoga instructor. When she’s not editing emails, creating online ads, or busting moves at the yoga studio, she can be found running around after her children (great cardio), hiking around the Bay Area and FaceTiming with her family in Israel. Contact her at talyoga.com.

Tova BirnbaumTova Birnbaum

Tova Birnbaum is the Director of Jewish content at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, was one of the founders of the secular Yeshiva in Tel Aviv and the Central Shlicha (emissary) to North America of the World Zionist Organization. Her Husband Yishay and baby daughter Arya share her enthusiasm for contemporary Judaism but don’t quite get how a Talmud class could possibly be better than going out for ice cream.

Zack BodnerZack Bodner

Zack Bodner spends his days as the CEO of the OFJCC and his late nights waxing poetic on the Live Fully Blog. During the in-between hours, he and his wife ro-sham-bo for who does the dishes and who puts each of their three kids to sleep. On the weekends, Zack schleps his brood from soccer to baseball to drama to dance and then back to soccer. He can often be found asleep in one of his kids' beds after reading bedtime stories to them.

Mykenzie BusserMykenzie Busser

Mykenzie Busser, the Assistant Director of Curriculum at the OFJCC Leslie Family Early Childhood Education Center, has been a teacher for over 20 years. When she is not developing curricula or professional development for and with teachers, you can usually find Mykenzie at the baseball field with her husband cheering for their two children, both OFJCC preschool graduates. If she’s lucky, you can sometimes find her in the sun with a good book.

Jorge ContrerasJorge Contreras

Jorge Contreras, DC is a former Master Trainer at the OFJCC. A doctor of chiropractic and a certified personal trainer, Jorge believes that training should first prevent injury and second, enhance performance.

Yuval F.Yuval F.

Originally from Israel, Yuval F. is an eight-year-old impresario, student, actor and big brother in Silicon Valley.

Zoe FertikZoe Fertik

Zoe Fertik is Associate Director of Jewish Content at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto. There, she is building a partnership between the OFJCC and BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change, in an effort to expand opportunities for American Jews to experience Jewish learning in the style of BINA's Secular Yeshiva. Zoe is grateful to be an alumna of amazing Jewish programming, including: the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, the Schusterman ROI community, Yeshivat Hadar, Pardes, Kivunim, and EIE.

Tzachi FlatTzachi Flat

Tzachi Flat is the former Teen Program Manager at the OFJCC. He has been involved with the JCC since he was two years old, and has worked for the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto’s Youth and Teen department for the last four years. He enjoys carpentry and building with OFJCC kids, gardening and environmental education, traveling, snowboarding, ice hockey, pickup football and basketball, biking, scuba diving, and loves to barbeque with friends.

Sally FlinchbaughSally Flinchbaugh

Sally has been the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at the Oshman Family JCC since 2014. Prior to coming to Palo Alto, she was the Executive Director of the JCC of the East Bay. She has served as Executive Director of JustAct (formerly the Overseas Development Network), Community Development Program Manager for the American Refugee Committee in Uganda and the Volunteer Coordinator for Rainforest Action Network in San Francisco. Earlier, she worked in marketing at Clif Bar, Inc. Sally earned an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA and an MA in Anthropology and her BA in Human Biology from Stanford University. Sally and her husband have three children and live in Palo Alto.

Amitai FraimanAmitai Fraiman

Israeli/American. Husband. Abba. Rabbi. MPA. MA. Entrepreneur. Jewish Peoplehood enthusiast. Founder of Interwoven. Director of the Z3 Project at the Oshman Family JCC.

Melissa GaraiMelissa Garai

Melissa Garai is the former Director of Major Gifts at the OFJCC. When she was not raising money for Development, Melissa could be found hiking the Palo Alto foothills, biking along the Golden Gate Bridge, traveling to exotic (and not-so-exotic) locales with her husband, sneaking extra samples of fruit at local weekend Farmers' Markets or binge-watching her favorite shows on Netflix.

Nicole GesherNicole Gesher

Nicole Gesher is an avid amateur gardener and foodie. She lives with her husband and two adorable children in Menlo Park. On occasion, she uses her law degree as a mediator. You can find her cooking and gardening blog here: goodthingsgrowingblog.wordpress.com.

M GoodmanM Goodman

M Goodman is the former Family Engagement Manager at the OFJCC. In addition to helping families make meaningful connections at the OFJCC, she is passionate about sustainability, environmental policy and social action. Her fondest wish is to SCUBA dive with the majestic Ocean Sunfish.

Barbara GottesmanBarbara Gottesman

Barbara Gottesman is a trained executive and leadership coach, communications trainer, former attorney, published author, motivational speaker, and a graduate of the Mussar Institute’s Manchim facilitation program. Originally Canadian, she lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two teenage children.

Julie GrabscheidJulie Grabscheid

Julie lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two daughters. She has a background in communications and psychology and has traveled internationally to study pace of life and life satisfaction. Julie is currently an au pair consultant and has worked for the past 10 years in cultural exchange. She is the creator of the MommyMate philosophy, which focuses on raising a generation with an understanding of their connection to others and an awareness of their impact to the things around them. To learn more about Julie, you can visit her webpage at jgrabscheid.aupairnews.com

Anna GukasianAnna Gukasian

Anna Gukasian plays the vital role of HR/Payroll/Benefits Manager at the Oshman Family JCC, keeping everyone paid, "benefited" and happy. Outside work she loves to play chess, kayak, watch Warriors basketball and hang out at the beach with her daughter. When she retires from the OFJCC she wants to move to Hawaii and work with dolphins, who at least do not need to get paid and have benefits.

Alicia H.Alicia H.

Alicia H. served as part of the OFJCC's Development Department. She enjoys cooking and spending time with her family. Alicia’s dirty little secret is that she’s an avid fan of reality TV, especially "Survivor," which she and her husband have a weekly date night to watch.

Rose HaganRose Hagan

Rose Hagan is an artist who works in fused glass, painting, and digital art. She teaches fused glass at her studio in Sunnyvale. Her glass art is exhibited at Gallery House in Palo Alto and her paintings, digital art, and glass are exhibited at Serendipity Gallery in St. Louis, MO. You can see her work online at www.rosamoderna.com (glass) and www.rosehagan.com (painting and digital art).

Megan HasenauerMegan Hasenauer

Megan Hasenauer works for Event Services in the setups department at the OFJCC. A transplant to San Jose from Rochester NY, Megan is a full time student who likes to ride bikes to stay in shape and soak up the sunshine.

Oshman Family JCCOshman Family JCC

The OFJCC is a Jewish Community Center and a vibrant neighborhood in the heart of Silicon Valley where all are welcome. The OFJCC provides a common ground for Jewish institutions, other local groups, organizations and individuals to work, learn and play together for the betterment of the whole community. For more information, visit www.paloaltojcc.org.

Lyndsey JonesLyndsey Jones

Lyndsey Jones is a Personal Trainer at the Oshman Family JCC. She spends her days working with clients, studying at school and daydreaming of traveling the world. She loves to exercise and go on local hikes when she has a chance to breathe from her busy life.

Rebecca KatzRebecca Katz

Rebecca Katz was formerly the OFJCC’s Teen Program Manager, connecting teens with events and programs happening on the OFJCC campus and beyond. She also served as Associate Regional Director of Central Regional West BBYO and the Delegation Head for OFJCC athletes traveling to the JCC Maccabi Games. In her free time, Rebecca is usually found singing somewhere, training in martial arts, or eating ice cream, in that order.

Joe KelsoJoe Kelso

Joe Kelso is a former Specialized Trainer at the OFJCC. He believes that nature intended for us to move and sees his mission to enhance his clients movement practices with simple, concise and passionate instruction. Basketball, football, wrestling, Taekwondo, Ultra Marathon Running, Bikram, power and Vinyasa Flow Yoga have molded his journey to study and teach human movement with an emphasis in sports injury reduction.

Carlene KemmererCarlene Kemmerer

Carlene Kemmerer manages our Group Exercise classes. Her career in fitness was originally inspired by some of the amazing instructors here at the OFJCC! An avid traveler, Carlene’s favorite travel companions are her husband John and twin adult daughters Anna and Clare. In her spare time, Carlene enjoys cycling, hiking, kayaking and cross-country skiing.

Sheryl KleinSheryl Klein

Sheryl Klein lives in Palo Alto with her husband, Tony and two sons. She is a former board member of the OFJCC and currently sits on the board of Palo Alto Housing. She is COO of Crescent Management Company, a real estate investment company.

Martha KokesMartha Kokes

Martha Kokes loves her job as Director of Marketing Communications at the OFJCC. When she’s not collaborating with the most amazing team and colleagues ever, she lives in Burlingame with her husband/resident IT guy, her two talented and patient daughters (not normally but they are sheltering at home at the moment and there are random shoes ALL over her house…) and the Best Dogs Ever, Leo and Max.

Michelle KracoffMichelle Kracoff

Michelle Kracoff is the OFJCC’s Director of Major Gifts. She and her husband Evan moved to San Francisco about a year and a half ago from Chicago, and haven’t missed the winter since! When she’s not exploring all the Bay Area has to offer, you can find her on the StairMaster at the JCC gym or inundating friends and coworkers with real-time photos of her new nephew.

Lori KrolikLori Krolik

Lori Krolik is an OFJCC community member and the Owner of More Time For You, a full-service professional organizing company that works with residential and small business clients to create systems out of their most serious clutter challenges. Her 20+ years in the organizing field has resulted in thousands of clients who are more organized and productive as a result of working with her. When she’s not helping people get organized, she loves to exercise, spend time in the outdoors and hang out with friends and family. Lori and her husband Rob have been Palo Alto residents since 2002 and have two adult children Hayley and Jack.

Michal LapedeMichal Lapede

Michal is the former program manager of Israel for REEL at the ICC. She is also a certified yoga instructor and teaches various classes around the Bay Area. Michal moved from Israel and lives in Los Altos with her husband and three daughters.

Seth LeslieSeth Leslie

Seth Leslie woke up one morning to discover that he had been hired as the Chief Development Officer at the OFJCC and is absolutely elated that he can get paid to ask people for money. He loves the OFJCC because the OFJCC is full of wonderful people who build his community, enrich his life and inspire his Jewish journey. When he’s not schmoozing his way through a work day, he’s with his amazing family, just grateful to be in their presence. When he’s not being grateful for family, he’s playing board games or sharing single origin bean-to-bar dark chocolate, and most likely doing both at the same time.

Rabbi Yosef LevinRabbi Yosef Levin

Rabbi Yosef and Dena Levin are the Directors of Chabad of Greater South Bay in Palo Alto. Rabbi Levin manages Jewish programming and outreach activities with seven Rabbinic couples, multiple Chabad centers and adult and children’s education and social services. He loves to spend as much time as possible schmoozing with people from all backgrounds and observance levels. He also enjoys biking, and recently started “Bike Mitzvah” – inviting people to join him for biking and exercise. His beard may look forbidding, but he is friendly and open to all. The Levins have 13 children and “we stopped counting” grandchildren.

Andrea LonginiAndrea Longini

Andrea Longini calls herself the Communications Manager at the OFJCC. She also calls her family long distance in Pittsburgh and her in-laws even longer distance in Belgium. She believes part of living fully is staying in touch with people you care about. An example of how this can be done is by sending them links to meaningful blog posts. Now that's what she calls communicating!

Adam LowyAdam Lowy

When not reading stories to his two children, Adam served as the Assistant Director for Jewish Studies at the OFJCC Leslie Family Preschool. In his spare time, he loves talking, watching and—when his body is cooperating—playing basketball. Adam is the lead singer in the group the Mazel Tov Cocktails.

Glenn MartinsonGlenn Martinson

Glenn joined the Member Services department in 2014 supporting the needs of current OFJCC members in the Goldman Sports and Wellness Complex. He also supports the management teams with membership database reporting and data auditing. Glenn is a Bay Area native and received a degree in information systems management from Cal State East Bay. His prior work background includes technical writing, software support and software testing. Glenn’s favorite weekend activity is chasing his wife Ellen around the local running trails in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Lev MassLev Mass

Lev Mass is a Board member at the Oshman Family JCC and also serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at XSeed Capital, advising portfolio companies on cloud computing, mobile, and business development. Lev is active in the local Bay Area and national Jewish and philanthropic causes and currently serves as an advisor to Birthright on youth outreach.

Maya, Age 10Maya, Age 10

Maya is a volunteer with the Mitzvah Corps and an active member of the OFJCC community. This is her first time writing as a guest-blogger.

Scott MurrayScott Murray

Scott Murray is the former Digital Marketing Manager at the OFJCC, lending his filmmaking skills to the JCC’s video segments and strengthening its presence on the web. A self-proclaimed fitness and music junkie, outside the office he could be found serving up some beach volleyball, running by the bay or strumming his guitar.


Stephanie N. us the former OFCC Membership/Corporate Account Manager. You can always find her outdoors hiking, or on the beach. She believes that “Life is too short to not have fun! Live Fully every day!”

Tara PipiaTara Pipia

Tara Pipia took a leap of faith by moving cross country from New York to California to make personal training and Spartan Obstacle coaching a full-time job. She fell in love with the JCC Community and became a Specialized Trainer and Small Group Instructor. When not teaching kids and adults to conquer their fears and brave obstacles, Tara can be found traveling the country to compete in Spartan Races. She is currently ranked #1 female Spartan in the world for age group 45-49.

Kyla ReznikKyla Reznik

Kyla Reznik is the designer/developer of Live Fully Blog and Senior Graphic Designer at the Oshman Family JCC. She enjoys photography, gardening, corgi conventions and traveling. On weekends, you'll find her flying around the Bay Area with her husband in one of their private planes. Watch out below!

Dave RosenfeldDave Rosenfeld

Dave Rosenfeld has been the Youth and Teen Program Director at the OFJCC since 2010. He has over 20 years of experience working with children and has more than eighteen years’ experience running programs for children 0-12 years of age. Dave lives in Campbell with his wife and two teenage sons and has a daughter that lives in Southern California. Dave loves to be active and then, after being active, really loves being inactive.

Lawrence SeeffLawrence Seeff

Lawrence Seeff moved to Palo Alto in 2009 to join electric vehicle infrastructure startup Better Place. His passion for growing new companies has led him to roles as Director and Financier of numerous companies including Cannonball Winery, Asian Box Restaurants and Origin Home Financial Services. He currently serves on the Executive Board of the Oshman Family JCC as Member-at-Large.

Mimi SellsMimi Sells

Mimi is the former OFJCC Chief Marketing Officer and subsequently Senior Advisor for Special Projects, which means she worked on top secret activities which included spearheading the creation of the Oasis Play Space. She believes a healthy life includes walking 10,000 steps a day and eating the four basic food groups: chocolate, cookies, ice cream and candy.

Michelle ShabtaiMichelle Shabtai

Michelle Shabtai is the Cultural Arts Manager at the Oshman Family JCC. With a diverse background spanning England, Israel and California, and an appreciation for the power of the arts to foster community and belonging, she curates evening programs that showcase local and international performers, musicians, speakers and artists. In her free time, she enjoys dog cuddles, visiting her grown boys in Seattle, devouring fine food, honing coffee snobbery, meditating under trees, and traveling anywhere on planet Earth.

Amy ShulmanAmy Shulman

Amy Shulman is the Web Services Manager at the Oshman Family JCC. An empty nester, she lives with her cats Tuna & Mya. She loves traveling, paint nights, dancing and listening to music. She also loves her job, but not her commute.


Sialia likes to cook, write, draw and paint in her free time and enjoys exploring the outdoors. Sometimes she manages to get in a workout at the OFJCC or the APJCC (network membership is the best) in between her job and carpooling children up and down the Peninsula.

Nicole SivanNicole Sivan

Nicole Sivan is the Communications Director at Bullis Charter School. In her former existence she has been the Web Specialist at the OFJCC and a tour guide in Israel. She now spends most of her time laughing at the endless shenanigans performed by her 5-year old. Nicole is a history buff and enjoys perfect weather and good food as well as soaking endlessly in any available body of water.

Jack SmithJack Smith

Jack is the former administrative assistant for the Marketing department at the OFJCC. He enjoys woodworking, dogs, writing music and crisp high fives.

Amy SnellAmy Snell

Amy Snell was formerly the OFJCC's Senior Communications Manager. When not engaged in social media blitzing, Amy enjoys spending time exhorting her two teenage sons to do their chores, shower and study. She also noodles about in sailboat races (motto: Don't break the boat), pretends to play the ukulele, and wants to be a karaoke star when she grows up.

Joel StanleyJoel Stanley

Joel is the Oshman Family JCC’s former Director of Jewish Innovation. It was his job to infuse programs with Jewish values and content while helping create new forms of Jewish expression. Originally from London, UK, he doubles as an actor, director, and theatre-maker. Joel's other passions include Burning Man, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, and Scrabble.

Charlene SternCharlene Stern

Charlene Y. Stern, Producer/Director of “Near Normal Man” is an accomplished businesswoman. After successful careers at Levi Strauss & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank, she founded her own company and led multiple strategy and creative teams for hundreds of businesses worldwide, to achieve exceptional results.

Betty StrainBetty Strain

Born of Portuguese parents in Mountain View, CA, Betty grew upon her parents' dairy farm loving the great outdoors. She trained in the Iyengar method of yoga in India under the tutelage of B.K.S. Iyengar. She is passionate about travel, meeting people and changing lives with yoga.

Judith StubbsJudith Stubbs

Judith Stubbs is a retired educational therapist who is active in the arts and in giving back to the community. A Palo Alto native, her life journey took her near and far in the world until fate brought her back home to Palo Alto, and “things began falling into place.”

Nathan SzajnbergNathan Szajnberg

Nathan Szajnberg, MD is a former Freud Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has written a book on Israeli soldiers in elite units entitled Reluctant Warriors and completed a study and a book about Ethiopian children in Kiryat Malachi. He has most recently authored JerusaLand: An Insignificant Death.

Adam and Christine TachnerAdam and Christine Tachner

Adam and Christine Tachner have been OFJCC members since its founding, although they admit to almost never using the gym. Their three kids, Allegra, Sam and Avra attend Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School; their dogs, Brenda and Herschel Barkowitz, are home-schooled.

Debbie TogliattiDebbie Togliatti

Debbie Togliatti has been a preschool teacher at the OFJCC for 36 years. A former classroom teacher, Debbie left the confines of the classroom to become the Garden Pedagogista. All children, from 18 months to 5 years old, get to experience the wonders of the garden with Debbie’s guidance. She serves as a caretaker on a small farm in Los Altos Hills with 16 chickens, two goats and one rabbit and organically grows fruits and vegetables.

In 2013, Debbie self-published her book, Growing Jewish Values: Cultivating Your Jewish Roots in Your Own Backyard.

Liz TorczynerLiz Torczyner

Liz was the Director of Marketing at the Oshman Family JCC. She loves great food, spending time with family and friends, and singing shamelessly in the car. An avid carnivorous plant collector, Liz has about 50 merciless bug-eaters in her yard.

Jackie VanacekJackie Vanacek

Jackie Vanacek is a new member of OFJCC’s Fitness Center. You’ll find her “in the clouds” both for fun and as a Cloud Computing Evangelist in the software industry. When not sweating it out at the gym, she’s on another great travel adventure or writing about ancient wisdom practices.

Robin VasilakosRobin Vasilakos

Robin Vasilakos is the Manager of the Center for Social Impact at the Oshman Family JCC. . The OFJCC's Center for Social Impact is dedicated to the Jewish principle of helping to heal and repair the world (tikkun olam). Through community-building initiatives and partnerships with local organizations, the Center for Social Impact at the OFJCC creates opportunities for individuals to make an impact and for families to help their children learn the value of acts of kindness and justice. Its volunteer programs address issues of poverty, hunger, homelessness, aging, the environment, disaster relief and more.

Tennishia VinesTennishia Vines

Tennishia Vines is the former Group Fitness Manager at the OFJCC.

Mai WagnerMai Wagner

Mai holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology from Indiana University and a Master's Degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology from University of Florida. She also served as a former fitness manager for the last 16 years in the Bay Area and as a regional fitness director at the Bay Clubs and most recently, at EXOS. Her passion for nutrition and lifestyle medicine led her to complete a nine-month Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program in June 2020 and become a Wellcoaches Health & Wellness | Lifestyle Medicine coach in June 2021. Mai is excited to share her passion for nutrition and health coaching with the wonderful members at the Oshman Family JCC!

James WardJames Ward

James Ward is former Master Trainer at the Oshman Family JCC. A former Marine with a background in Sports Science, James is dedicated to motivating people to achieve their goals. While an accomplished collegiate athlete, James recently discovered a passion for surfing up and down the Pacific Coast.

Hilary WeisfeldHilary Weisfeld

Hilary Weisfeld is a member of the OFJCC Board of Directors and a marketing professional in media and the arts. She spends her free time volunteering for a variety of education, human rights and Jewish community organizations, her children’s schools and the OFJCC.

Ronit Widmann-LevyRonit Widmann-Levy

Ronit Widmann-Levy is the former Director of Arts and Culture at the Oshman Family JCC. Ronit spent years as a soprano opera vocalist and has sung in opera houses and festivals in San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, Tanglewood, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Berlin, Munich, London, Bangkok, New York, Munich, London and Jerusalem. She lives in the South Bay with her family.

Esther YoungEsther Young

Esther is a frequent contributor to Content Magazine, which profiles outstanding people who shape our Bay Area communities.

Yana ZavgorodnyayaYana Zavgorodnyaya

Yana Zavgorodnyaya is the former social media specialist at the OFJCC. Nicknamed “The Jill of All Trades,” Yana has more hobbies than she can count including modern hand lettering, making amazing charcuterie boards and dead lifting over 300 pounds. She can be found “living her best life” at the beach, up in the mountains and everywhere in between, just as long as she has her favorite music playing and the temperature is at a perfect 78 degrees.