Born in Washington DC and raised in Virginia, Rabbi Lauren Ben-Shoshan holds her undergraduate degrees in Religion and History from The College of William and Mary. She was ordained as a rabbi at Hebrew Union College - Institute of Religion, where she also received her Masters in Religious Education through the Mandel Fellowship. She currently attempts to achieve spiritual peace while her four small children zoom around her knees.
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 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.
Tzachi Flat is the 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.
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.
Marla Goodman is the 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.
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 Herrera has been part of the OFJCC's Development Department since 2014. When Alicia isn’t busy processing donations and organizing donor events 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.
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 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.
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.
Michal is the 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 eight years ago and lives in Los Altos with her husband and three daughters.
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 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!
When not reading stories to his two children, Adam is 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.
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 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 Murray works as a Digital Marketing Specialist 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 can be found serving up some beach volleyball, running by the bay or strumming his guitar.
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!
Jed channels his passion for Judaism, ethics, and global social justice as ENGAJ manager for the Oshman JCC and Hillel at Stanford. An avid fan of Sam Cooke and Mel Brooks, he can recite “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” verbatim. He is the only known living person to have completed the Counter Burger Challenge.
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 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 is the OFJCC’s Senior Advisor for Special Projects, which means she works 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.
Amy Shulman is the Web/Marketing Specialist at the Oshman Family JCC. An empty nester, she lives with her cats Tuna & Mya. She always wanted to work for a Jewish organization, but her kids got there first! Her older daughter Shayna, currently in school to get her MBA, used to work at the Peninsula JCC. Her younger daughter Alli works for Repair the World, a Jewish nonprofit in NYC.
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 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.
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 is the Oshman Family JCC’s Director of Jewish Innovation. It is 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.
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.
Liz is 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 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.
Tennishia Vines is the Assistant Group Fitness Manager at the OFJCC. She spends her days and evenings dancing with members, an imaginary wind in their hair as if they were auditioning for a spot on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ In between time she’s piecing together the Group Exercise schedule and creating future events for the Goldman Sports & Wellness Complex. With a baby on the way, one headed to college, and a happy husband, a smile helps her realize how well life is treating her.
James Ward is a Specialized Trainer at the Oshman Family JCC Goldman Sports & Wellness Complex. 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 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-Levy is the Director of Arts and Culture at the Oshman Family JCC, where she puts together artistic programming and brings performers from the around the world to perform at the OFJCC. 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.
Yana Zavgorodnyaya is the marketing assistant at the OFJCC. Being the youngest child in her family, Yana is a natural-born prankster and comedian. When she isn’t Snapchatting, Instagramming or Facebooking, she utilizes her professional makeup certification by giving her friends and clients makeovers for events. A recent graduate from San Jose State, she hopes not to hear the word “school” ever again.