We strive to build community and belonging among Jewish young professionals (20s and 30s) in the East Bay. We partner with local organizations and JCCs to offer programs throughout the year. In 2021-2022, we offered a successful pilot year-long fellowship. Whereas we do not currently have plans for the next cohort, we welcome community feedback and thoughts at any time.
In 2021-2022, the JCC East Bay’s inaugural Leadership Development Fellowship for Young Professionals was an extraordinary opportunity to enhance our fellows’ skills and explore their passions as a future leader in the Jewish community. The fellowship included:
Having moved to the Bay Area this past year, Michael Bruell is excited to be part of the JCC East Bay Leadership Development Fellowship! He is a senior associate at P4G Capital, a private equity firm focused on investing in the industrial and business services sectors. A midwest native, Michael graduated from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. Michael brings a love of Jewish life and experience with many different Jewish organizations throughout the years to the table.
Talia Citron is from Orinda, California and grew up going to Temple Isaiah in Lafayette. For college, she attended U.C. Santa Barbara where she double majored in Political Science and Global Studies. After working at a law firm in Los Angeles for two years, Talia moved to Washington DC for law school at the George Washington University Law School. Since graduating in May, Talia has moved back to the East Bay to work as a legal research clerk for the San Francisco Superior Court in their criminal division. Talia is passionate about health and wellness, and enjoys exercising, doing crossword puzzles, and spending time with her family, friends, and boyfriend.
Ms. Fischer Smith is a public relations professional who resides in the East Bay. She is a Board Member at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, where she serves as Co-Chair of the Gan Ilan Preschool Parent Association. She is currently part of her Temple’s Adult B’nai Mitzvah cohort and will become bat mitzvah in December of 2022. In her spare time, she enjoys painting watercolors, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her husband and three boys.
Andrew Muchin Goldblatt (He/They) is the Assistant Program Manager for the Progressive Jewish Fund of the New Israel Fund. They moved to Oakland after graduating with a BA in Judaic Studies from Tufts University. Andrew grew up in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago and they enjoy playing guitar and appreciating comedy in their free time.
Aliza Herzberg grew up in the Bay Area Jewish community and is a graduate of Cal Poly University with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology and Geography and a Minor in City and Regional Planning. She currently works as a Program Manager/Environmental Educator at Kids for the Bay. She has a wide range of international experiences, such as working in Berlin, Germany supporting psychosocial programs for refugees, studying abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand and serving in Lod, Israel as a Yahel Israel Social Change Fellow. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, gardening, reading, yoga, and hiking.
Ilana Koka is the embodiment of her name, (meaning tree) as she is constantly growing and shifting with the seasons of life. Ilana intentionally creates community anywhere she goes and is dedicated to increasing the wellbeing of people through community connection. Ilana is a passionate certified functional wellness coach and nutritionist and shares her gifts within her private practice. She is joyful about being part of the inaugural cohort and looks forward to growing with the larger JCC community!
Max Moy-Borgen was born and raised in the Bay Area and has had a lifelong commitment to the practices of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and social justice. This is exemplified through Max’s background in direct service, nonprofit management, community organizing, teaching, and advocacy. Max is deeply passionate about promoting the economic empowerment of diverse, low-income communities. Max recently started nursing school and looks forward to starting a new career focused on healing. Max has an interest in becoming a meaningful leader in the local Jewish community specifically focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as interfaith involvement to respond to local issues such as affordable housing, homelessness, hunger, poverty, and more.
Sapir Taib is the Program Director of JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa). JIMENA is a Jewish non-profit organization based in San Francisco whose mission is to achieve universal recognition for the heritage and history of almost one million Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa and their descendants. Sapir was born and raised in Israel, and her family is from Tunisia and Libya. She graduated from Bar Ilan University and received her B.A. with honors in Political and Social Science. Since moving to the Bay Area from Israel in 2017, Sapir oversees several Bay Area social media groups for local Jewish events and participated in several leadership programs, including the Shalom Hartman Bay Area Fellowship, WZO board, and IAC Gvanim leadership.
Liana Thomason is the Community Outreach Manager at Shalom Bayit, the Bay Area’s foremost voice on gender-based violence in the Jewish community. Liana got her start in this work in 2014, when she co-founded Berkeley High School Stop Harassing, an award-winning youth movement designed to combat sexual harassment at the high school level. After college, she participated in Avodah’s year of service in Washington, DC, where she educated women on their workplace rights related to sexual harassment and domestic violence. Liana feels most connected with her Judaism when she is engaging in activism of any type.
Sam Tobis lives in Oakland. Sam is the owner and general manager of Grand Bakery with the mission to provide and celebrate classic Jewish comfort food. Outside of work, Sam enjoys yoga, running, sauna, and wilderness backpacking.