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Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees

Click to learn more about each Board member. Send inquiries to questions@kolamielkinspark.org

“Kol Ami has proven to be the best choice my wife and I have ever made in joining a synagogue – an intimate place where new members are welcomed and encouraged to participate, where a real community of friends in worship and song is formed and sustained by leadership that cares about everyone and constantly demonstrates it through their kindnesses.”

When Gary and his wife Cheryl were searching for a reform synagogue, they knew they wanted to be part of a congregation that was friendly and welcoming—one that was led by a rabbi who set the tone by being inclusive and supportive of new members. In Kol Ami, they found a community that offered all those things in a beautiful setting, with meaningful worship services. Gary and Cheryl have been members since 2015.

Gary serves on the Membership and Worship Enhancement Committees, but his desire to do even more to help Kol Ami grow and thrive motivated him to join the board of trustees in 2018. As a board member, he hopes to assist the leadership in expanding the religious school and adult education programs.

Gary practiced law for twenty years, but in his heart he knew all along what he really wanted do: teach. So he left his law practice, got a Master’s degree, and spent the next fifteen year teaching social studies at the middle school in the North Penn School District. Now retired, Gary volunteers as a tour guide at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia. He is also active in the retired division of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. Gary studied piano at the Settlement Music School. He still takes piano lessons and plays chamber music with friends. In 2018, Gary became an adult B’nai Mitzvah.

Kol Ami membership is a family affair—Gary’s father, Al Turetsky is also a member of the congregation. Their daughter lives in Washington state.

Gary and Cheryl live in Elkins Park.

“Ever the problem-solver and perpetual learner, Kol Ami Board member Justin Krik’s mottos are, ‘There is a way out of every box, a solution to every puzzle; it’s just a matter of finding it.’ and ‘My only enemy is someone from whom I can learning nothing’.”

Justin, previously from Fox Chase, lives in Huntingdon Valley with his wife Julia and their daughters Sophia and Rebecca.  They have been members of Kol Ami since 2015.

Justin is an attorney specializing in real estate transactions and litigation, small business consulting, and general contract matters.  His clientele are typically private real estate investors and small business owners. Justin obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Widener University School of Law in 2006 after having earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Penn State in 2002.

Justin is a new member of the Board who is currently on the Membership Relief Committee, though he plans to be affiliated with several committees in the future.

Outside of work, Justin enjoys spending time with his family, drumming and playing music with friends, doing home improvement projects, relaxing at the shore, camping, going to Phillies games, and getting into “all things science”.

Justin and his family volunteer with and participate in several charitable organizations and events, most of which raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, specifically for the cardiac unit, research and treatment of genetic disorder trisomy 21, and dealing with infant loss in memory of their daughter Nora.

Justin brings a diverse set of interests and skill sets to our Board, as well as a personal tradition of community service.  Kol Ami is fortunate to have him in a leadership role.

Dr. Ronit Sugar shared two of her favorite quotes. The first, by Amit Ray, “Strengthen your heart muscles by removing the sufferings of others,” illustrates her natural instincts as a healer. The second, by Amelia Earhart, “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees,” highlights her ethic of making contributions to the world that multiply.

The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Ronit was born in Israel. When she was five years old Ronit’s family moved to Philadelphia while her father completed a pediatric neurology fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. They moved back to Israel for a couple of years and later returned to the US following the 6-Day War, settling in Springfield, Delaware County. Ronit did her pre-med undergraduate years at Muhlenberg College, and later graduated from Hahnemann University Medical School.

Ronit has lived in Elkins Park for the past 32 years with her husband Bert (Robert) Schiowitz. He is a general surgeon at Einstein Montgomery in East Norriton. Ronit and Bert met when they did their surgical residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, and subsequently Ronit and Bert were in practice together as surgeons for 25 years. A few years ago Ronit accepted a position as a breast surgeon at then Aria Hospital, now part of the Jefferson system. She is now the Director of the Breast Program, and a Cancer Program liaison physician. Taking tikun olam nearly as far as possible, Ronit and Bert have traveled to the Philippines on a medical/surgical mission for the past 5 years. They hope to be able to continue this work in the future when it becomes possible to travel and convene more safely again.

Ronit and Bert have 3 children: Amy Schiowitz, a therapist, who is married to Geoff Millner; Adam Schiowitz, an industrial engineer at Virtua Hospitals, who lives with his girlfriend Colleen Gallagher (“hopefully my future daughter-in-law,” Ronit writes); and Julie Schiowitz, who just graduated Nursing School. All of them live in South Philly, and Ronit is thrilled that her young adult children live close by!

Ronit and her family have been members of Kol Ami for 23 years. They joined for the religious school, and Ronit adds that they loved the warmth and intimacy of such a close-knit congregation, as well as the activism. Their connection to Kol Ami was amplified by their high regard and affection for Rabbi Holin. Ronit was previously on the Board many years ago and was very involved when her kids were in school. She served on several committees, including Social Action (serving as Chair for several years), Membership, Operations, Caring Congregants, and the Religious School. Perennially, Ronit has been a central participant during High Holy Days services, as she is an accomplished reader of Torah.

Ronit has a busy career, but she makes time for her hobbies, which include gardening, traveling, knitting, eating, and drinking good wine! Ronit emphasizes that she now wants to get re-involved and engaged in the congregation at this crucial time. Ronit’s commitment and dedication to Kol Ami make us stronger, and we are blessed to have her on the Board once again.   

Ben Long maintains a personal philosophy that emphasizes the importance of learning and growing from the challenging times and difficult decisions in life. He tries to see the positive potential in otherwise adverse situations, an outlook that is always constructive, but perhaps especially so at this moment in history.

Ben has been a member of Kol Ami practically since its inception, having attended the first High Holy Day services held at Abington Friends and joining shortly thereafter. Over the years he has been deeply committed to Kol Ami, serving as Vice President from 2000-2003 and President from 2003-2005. Ben has now formally re-joined the Board in order to be more involved once again at a critical time in the Kol Ami life cycle, a reflection of his deep and ongoing dedication to the congregation. Over the years Ben has been involved in our capital campaigns, our building search committee, numerous golf outings, our Adult Choir as a tenor and was a perennially stellar outfielder on the Kol Ami softball team.

Ben is an alumnus of the University of Michigan and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a partner in a specialized real estate firm located in Conshohocken, noting that he fell in love with the telecom tower space in the late 1990s and never left.  His career has spanned the realms of banking, accounting, finance, and running rapidly growing businesses before settling on investment real estate.

Ben lives in Blue Bell with his wife Beth, teenage son Ryan, and their dog Theo. They recently moved from their home in Narberth. Daughters Emma and Zoe – Kol Ami alums themselves — are young adults who Ben quips have “flown the coop, so to speak.” Beth, who grew up near Scranton, is a Senior Vice-President at Firstrust Bank, and she is on the Board of the Risk Management Association as well as a Philadelphia charter school. Ben notes that Beth loves the Kol Ami vibe and the friends they have there. Ryan is a sophomore at Penn Charter, and their dog Theo is a three year-old bernadoodle who loves to swim and play and “runs the house.” Daughter Emma was trained as a pastry chef at the Culinary Institute of America and had been working at Zahav prior to the interruption caused by the pandemic. Zoe will be starting nursing school at Johns Hopkins University in the fall.

 Ben is a very active, energetic person. He loves to be outdoors, playing tennis, golfing, biking, swimming, and sharing these activities with his family and friends. He is also a volunteer at MANNA, both delivering meals and working the kitchen. Overall, Ben brings valuable experience, know-how, talent, optimism, and a spirit of giving to the Board.

 

“Kol Ami is a warm and welcoming community that extends well beyond its vibrant spiritual core to fulfill our individual and family needs on many levels.”

New Zealand once had a vibrant Jewish presence, but the community had shrunk considerably when Ben Adams was growing up there. In Christchurch, where his family lived, there was a single synagogue with only fifty families.

Throughout his childhood, Ben was active in Habonim Dror, a Progressive Labor Zionist Youth movement, and in 1983 he made aliya. He lived on a kibbutz, where he met and married Gail Korostoff, who had also grown up in the Habonim Dror movement here in Philadelphia. While in Israel, Ben was the production manager for the kibbutz industry (they manufactured adhesives) and Gail worked as a welder. From 1986 to 1987, Ben served in the IDF as a member of the Nahal Brigade. They returned to the U.S. when their first child was born.

Initially members of Or Hadash in Fort Washington, Ben and Gail wanted to join a shul closer to home. They were especially interested in finding a spiritual home with a progressive commitment to Israel. They were drawn to Kol Ami not only because of its proximity and its relationship with Israel, but also because they already knew so many members of the congregation. They joined Kol Ami in 2005 and knew they had made the right choice.

As a member of the Board, Ben is eager help with the transition to the next phase of the synagogue’s life. He brings years of experience serving on the boards of a number of regional and national non-profit organizations. His most recent community volunteer experience was as a board member of CreekSide Co-op.

Ben earned his BS degree at the University of Canterbury and worked on energy efficiency for the New Zealand Ministry of Energy before making aliya. After returning to the U.S., he earned an MBA at Drexel and is now a partner at MaGrann Associates, a regional engineering company focused on green building consulting for residential construction.

Ben and Gail’s two grown children carry on their parents’ commitment to Judaism and Israel. Jonah teaches Hebrew school on Sundays at Society Hill synagogue; Sarah is a full time educator in Dror Yisrael in Israel.

When he is not working or volunteering, Ben likes to bike and travel.

Ben and Gail reside in Cheltenham.

“Be kind. Take time to enjoy. Act with integrity.”

This is the personal motto offered by Nigel Blower installed on Congregation Kol Ami’s Board. Nigel lives in Elkins Park, literally within sight of the synagogue, with his wife Julie Cohen and their 15 year-old son Aaron, who is currently in Kol Ami’s confirmation academy. Nigel has been a member of Congregation Kol Ami since 2003, having been introduced to the congregation by friends Bill Hyman and Janine Pratt, and having felt at home in the family services that were then held at the Gratz campus. Nigel cites a sense of community, shared values and ethics, and inclusiveness as being qualities central to Congregation Kol Ami and reasons for his strong connection. Previous to joining the Board, Nigel has been on Kol Ami’s finance committee, as well being past co-chair (with wife Julie) of the Interfaith Relationship Dialogue Group.

Nigel was born and raised in England, and earned his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Bradford University. He has had an active and successful career in the field of Information Technology as a consultant, expert, and executive. His current IT business focuses on strategy and project management. Nigel is vice-president of Cheltenham Sports, an Eagles season ticket holder, and a valued veteran of the Kol Ami softball team. It is safe to say that Nigel has embraced North American football and learned the ins and outs of the sport of baseball way better than most of us native locals could ever have mastered the sport of cricket.

Over the years, Nigel and Julie have hosted more Kol Ami events at their house than can readily be counted. Their home inherently has a warm, welcoming, and nurturing feel that reflects the heart and soul of the family who lives there, and that acts as a natural extension of the best of what Congregation Kol Ami represents.

“Take one step at a time” is the personal motto of William (Bill) Hyman, who is re-joining the Board of Kol Ami, and who was also a charter member of the congregation when it was founded in 1994. Indeed, Bill’s steady approach to progressing through life has resulted in meaningful and lasting personal and professional accomplishments, and he has done this with characteristic humor and humility.

Bill grew up in Freehold, NJ (hometown of Bruce Springsteen) along with his brother David, himself a longstanding Board member of Kol Ami and a former President of the congregation. Bill received a Bachelor’s degree with a dual major in Accounting and Political Science from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. He then went on to complete a Master’s degree in Higher Education from The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. In the ensuing years, Bill lived for a time in Chicago, before coming to our area.

After a successful career as a HR executive, Bill started his own Executive Leadership and HR Consulting business (www.wahhrconsultingservices.com) working with leaders and corporations in a wide range of industries.  He has worked in business, for non-profits, and in higher education. His community involvements have included being Past President of the CreekSide Co-op, which was so highly valued and made such a positive impact.

Bill is married to Janine Pratt, and they will be celebrating their 30th anniversary this May 24th (2022), their wedding having been officiated by Kol Ami’s Founding Rabbi, Elliot Holin. Bill and Janine are founding members of Kol Ami, where they wanted to continue their connection to Rabbi Holin and to become part of his new, small, intimate synagogue that had just the right feel. Bill and Janine were the first Co-Chairs of Kol Ami’s Interfaith Religious Dialogue (IRD). Bill is currently a Co-Chair of the HR Committee, is partnering with the Rabbi to help her deepen relationships with congregants with the launch of  “Schmooze with the Rabbi,” and former Co-Chair of the “Strive for 225” membership campaign.

One could say that Bill and Janine are a “power couple,” arguably mostly on the basis of Janine’s extraordinary strength and expertise in the martial arts! Bill and Janine are also fondly known as one of the most friendly, down-to-earth, fun-loving, and hospitable couples anyone could have the pleasure of knowing. And they will deservedly kvell about their daughters, Maya Hyman and Lia Hyman, both of whom grew up at Kol Ami where they each became Bat Mitzvah, and graduated from both the Kol Ami Religious School and Confirmation Academy. Maya is a graduate of the IM Wise Gratz College Program and Lia is a graduate of LAMED. Both daughters were selected and graduated from the Satell Institute for Jewish Education. Currently, Maya is a teacher in Central New Jersey and she lives at the Jersey Shore. Lia is a senior at the University of Delaware majoring in Communications, with a minor in Business.

In his spare time, Bill is an avid reader of newspapers, magazines, and primarily non-fiction books. Naturally he enjoys listening to the music of his old neighbor, Bruce Springsteen, and he is a big baseball fan. This latter interest has served Kol Ami well, as Bill has been a player on Kol Ami’s softball team (in the Delaware Valley Synagogue League) every season since the start in 1994! And it must be said that Bill is undoubtedly the best pitcher in Kol Ami’s history. It must have had something to do with those sandwiches he would characteristically scarf down just before taking the mound.

Bill Hyman literally brings decades of organizational and people skills along with his steady devotion to our congregation to the Board of Kol Ami. Welcome back to the Board!

 

 

 

“I am grateful for the opportunity to be compassionate, kind and caring to people who are in difficult circumstances.”

This quote gets to the heart of Laurie Jubelirer Langman’s approach to life, and to her life’s work as an attorney. Laurie’s independently owned law firm (Jubelirer Law, LLC) specializes in criminal defense and civil rights cases, and her clientele is comprised of underprivileged persons who otherwise might not have the benefit of expert representation to seek justice and redress in a complicated and customarily costly criminal justice system. Laurie feels that there is nothing more satisfying than advocating for her clients and bringing positive changes to their lives, particularly when they have suffered civil rights violations at the hands of police or by prison and medical personnel during their incarceration. Laurie has practiced law for 32 years, and prior to founding her own practice she was a Deputy Attorney General in the Philadelphia Office of Attorney General for 16 years, and an Assistant District Attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for 8 years. Laurie currently serves on the board of directors of Women Owned Law, a local and national organization that connects and supports female legal entrepreneurs, and she was recently spotlighted in their organizational publication. In that feature, Laurie was quoted as saying that she endeavors “to work towards reforming our criminal justice system into a vehicle for treating, educating and supporting people as opposed to punishing them via incarceration and long periods of parole and probation.”

Laurie grew up in Altoona, PA and moved to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in 1984. She then attended Temple University Beasley School of Law and earned her Juris Doctor degree in 1987. With an eye toward the future and pursuing the work that best exemplifies her personal values, Laurie took on additional graduate studies, earning an LLM (Masters) in Trial Advocacy from Temple University Beasley School of Law in 1995.

Laurie lives in Ambler with her spouse of almost 32 years, Chuck Langman, who is a doctor of podiatric medicine with Rothman Orthopedics (as well as being a talented chef and biking enthusiast). They have three children – Sam, Becca, and Andy. Sam will be a senior at Penn State University, majoring in Finance. Becca will be a junior at Tulane University, majoring in Psychology, and Andy will be a junior at Wissahickon High School in Ambler. Andy is an accomplished gymnast who already has medaled in serious competitions for many years. The family also has two adopted rescue dogs. Zip is a mixed breed and Leelu is a mini australian shepherd.

Laurie and Chuck have been members of Kol Ami since its founding in 1994, before their kids were born. Laurie notes that they were looking for an intimate community where they could have a personal relationship with the rabbi. It was important to them to form meaningful friendships with other members of the congregation and to be part of a community where they could celebrate Shabbat, holidays, and life-cycle events. Laurie has been active in Kol Ami’s Social Action Committee, in which for one week each year she leads a program via the Interfaith Housing Alliance to support homeless families staying in local religious institutions. In 2019, Laurie organized and moderated a panel presentation at Kol Ami on the phenomenon and problems of Mass Incarceration in our society, an issue that more than ever is crying out for change. Laurie has also participated in the Religious School and Worship Enhancement Committees.   

Outside of her professional work and societal commitments, Laurie enjoys tennis, yoga, hiking, and biking. She has greatly valued her travels with her family. Some of her favorite destinations have included a tour of Israel in 2013 to celebrate Becca’s becoming a Bat Mitzvah, and a trip to Alaska in 2019.

Board member Orly Maravankin, who (along with her husband Gaby) has been a member of Kol Ami since its founding in 1994, embraces the following quote by Albert Einstein – “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Orly and Gaby’s pathway to Kol Ami would seem to embody this credo. Orly was born in Israel, in a suburb of Tel Aviv (Ramat Chen). She grew up in Israel, and later served in the IDF in the Intelligence unit providing support to air force commanders for special operations. Afterward, Orly studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and consequently came to the U.S. where she earned her Ph.D. in psychology. While she was studying at Hebrew University, Orly met Gaby, who himself had come to Israel after growing up in Argentina. They got married in Jerusalem at a beautiful place overseeing the old city (one can almost picture the golden hue for a golden day). Less than a year later they moved to the States to begin their respective graduate studies.

Orly’s sons Micah (now age 33) and Danny (now age 30) were young children when the family became charter members of Kol Ami, and the boys attended our Religious School when it opened. Today, Micah and Danny live with their girlfriends in Brooklyn and Chicago, respectively. Orly views Kol Ami with great affection as a unique community with many interesting, talented, and warm-hearted members. She greatly appreciates Kol Ami’s focus on tikkun olam and she is committed to helping our community continue to thrive. Prior to her joining the Board, Orly had been on Kol Ami’s Marketing Committee and Nomination Committee, and (as a certified meditation instructor) she has taught a mindfulness meditation course at the congregation.

Orly’s professional life centers on being an Executive Coach (President of Edge Consulting), including affiliations with Forbes Coaches Council, WBECS (World Business & Executive Coaching Summit), BEACON/GPSEG (Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group), and Chopra Center University. Over the course of her career Orly has done global consulting to Fortune 100 on brand and innovation, and she has also been involved in global business development, corporate strategy and innovation, and general management. In the community, in addition to being a Coach Mentor, Orly has invested her time and energies in the Ethical Coach Project, helping non-governmental organizations build capacity and effectiveness. She has also been teaching meditation and supporting TYP (Transformation Yoga Project for prison inmates) and Hadassah (the Women’s Zionist Organization of America).

In addition to her meditation teaching, Orly loves to unwind via reading (on the quiet side) and Israeli and Latin dancing (on the active side). She has always enjoyed traveling.

Alluding to Orly’s quote from Einstein, we can say that all of her efforts and accomplishments that have brought her (and her family) to this place and time are no miracle, in that they have been mindful and chosen. On the other hand, the fact that we at Kol Ami – of all the possible landing spots — became Orly’s and her family’s congregational destination is very much a miracle.

Kol Ami is more than a synagogue. It’s a community center. It’s a place where we have met many of our greatest friends. It’s a place where people of all faiths can feel welcome and comfortable. It’s a place with people who share our values. It’s a welcoming environment where our family is happy to be.”

Growing up, Robin Shane belonged to a reform synagogue founded by her parents and 12 other families. Her husband, Jonathan Shandell, attended a secular Jewish synagogue. When the two of them moved from New York to Elkins Park in 2008, they wanted to join a congregation that would resonate with both of their religious backgrounds. Robin contacted a couple of synagogues, and Kol Ami was the only one that called her back! But after visiting, they knew they needed to look no further—Kol Ami was the perfect fit for them: intimate, warm, and supportive.

Robin grew up in Wayland, Massachusetts, outside of Boston. She majored in theater and psychology at Wesleyan University, where she intended to become be a theater performer, but after taking a technical theater class in her freshman year, she changed course. Having learned to sew at the age of seven, she gravitated to costume design. She attended NYU Tisch School of the Arts, graduating with a Master of Fine Arts in Costume Design for Theater and Film. After graduating, she worked for many years as a freelance costume designer for theaters in New York, Philadelphia, and New Jersey. Her most high-profile gig was “Brundibar,” a children’s opera that ran off-Broadway, with production design by Maurice Sendak and a libretto by Tony Kushner. She was less successful designing Halloween costumes for her children; when she made a Max (“Where the Wild Things Are”) costume, her then two-year-old daughter refused to wear it!

Robin brings a unique combination of artistic, educational, and organizational skills to the board of trustees and to Kol Ami. In addition to her work as a costume designer, Robin has served on non-profit boards for much of her adult life, recently finishing a six-year term on the board of Yes!And Collaborative Arts, an organization that works with young people to build self-confidence by working collaboratively with peers and professional artists.  She was also an adjunct professor at Arcadia, Temple, and Rider Universities and has recently begun a new phase of her career as a full-time tenure-track professor of theatre and dance at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ.

Robin was nominated to the board in 2018. She is excited to be working with the new rabbi and being part of the next phase of the synagogue’s life. She is particularly interested in working with the LGBTQ+ Inclusion Committee, which she currently co-chairs, and the Disability Committee. In the past she served on the Rare Events and the PTO Committees.

Robin and Jonathan have two daughters, Cecily, 15 and Miranda, 11, both of whom have attended the religious school since kindergarten. Their older daughter became a bat mitzvah in 2016 and is now in the Confirmation Academy; their younger daughter is currently in sixth grade, and her bat mitzvah is scheduled for March 2020.

In addition to her many professional and volunteer activities, Robin somehow finds time to knit, do crafts, run, and tap dance.

The family resides in Elkins Park.

“Respect is earned. Politeness is required.”

This concise, direct motto is at the top of new Kol Ami Board member Emily Stein’s list of personal sayings, and she has lived up to this credo. At the age of 32, only three short years after joining Kol Ami along with her husband Josh and their daughter Leah, (a student in Kol Ami’s Religious School), Emily has politely, steadfastly earned the respect of more senior, long-standing members to ascend to the Board. Emily is co-chair of the Religious School committee (along with Tamara Sniad), and she recently joined the HR committee. Emily also was co-chair of the Search Committee for the Educational Director. Emily, Josh, and Leah have lived in Cheltenham since 2015 after having resided previously in Levittown. They now also have two young cats and a German shepherd puppy. Emily wryly notes that, “Poor Josh is outnumbered by ladies, 5:1.

Growing up in West Chester and Coatesville in an interfaith family, with scarce chances to have a religious education, Emily often felt judged by others as being “too Jewish,” or “not Jewish enough,” depending on the context. Even then, Emily knew that she wanted to promote Jewish traditions in the next generation, and she is happy to say that her daughter Leah has a strong Jewish identity, nurtured greatly by Kol Ami. Emily views Kol Ami as “the place for anyone who wants to participate in Jewish life, but is concerned they don’t fit neatly in a box,” and she feels grateful that Kol Ami views her unique pathway to Jewish life as an asset. Emily feels valued by Kol Ami, and it motivates her even more to want to give back.

Emily has been a self-starter her entire life, creating opportunities for personal growth, for connectedness to a Jewish community, and for tikun olam. Dissatisfied with her educational environment growing up, Emily sought a home-schooling program (loosely managed by the private school Upattinas that is now sadly disbanded) about which she was diligent. She graduated early and began working immediately as a Kindergarten assistant at a charter school. Shortly thereafter, Emily competed in the Miss Pennsylvania USA pageant, demonstrating remarkable range and a willingness to go way outside a comfort zone. Emily met Josh in 2005, and they married in 2007. As an outgrowth of her interest in housing, design, sociology, and economics, Emily founded a non-profit organization in her early 20’s. Her goal was to use seed loans to invest in youth small business development, helping to lift teens out of disadvantaged domestic environments. With similar altruistic intent, Emily became a board member of Foyer of Philadelphia, a non-profit that facilitates LGBTQ young adults’ transition from foster care or homelessness to self-sufficiency. She also created and ran a workshop to help teach youth about small business development. Additionally, Emily led seminars for first-time homebuyers, and helped to rejuvenate a public school in Philadelphia. Emily was a member of the Philadelphia chapter of Architecture for Humanity and she was on the Housing and Finance committee of the Women’s Community Revitalization program. Further still, Emily was the co-founder of the campaign that initiated a recycling program at the largest mall in Philadelphia. During this time, Emily made good on her pledge to herself to become a competition-level ballroom dancer. Partly in jest, and partly with justifiable pride, Emily calls herself, “The Seabiscuit of the competitive ballroom scene.”

Currently, Emily is an interior designer who is freelancing and assisting established designers while she builds her own business, Design Librarian. Emily’s side goals are to become a member of the Junior League of Philadelphia, and to donate her time at the public library. This is in addition to being on Kol Ami’s Board, where she is already making valued contributions.