Daniel May, Director: Daniel began his organizing career in the South Bronx, building tenant unions and block clubs in Mott Haven, one of the poorest congressional districts in America. His organizing led to improvements in plumbing, heating, refrigeration, building-wide renovations, and increased police presence. Daniel continued organizing in California with One LA – IAF, the Los Angeles affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the country’s oldest and largest community organizing network. In Southern California, Daniel worked to win a $14 million dollar environmental clean-up at a school site deemed toxic, the termination of practices of predatory police profiling of undocumented immigrants, and a near doubling of voter turn-out in the municipal elections of Maywood California, leading to an entirely new city council. In addition, Daniel spearheaded the IAF’s outreach in the Jewish community, recruiting numerous synagogues into the organization. Daniel went on to direct the political organizing and community outreach for the Service Employee International Union’s (SEIU) Campaign to Improve Assisted Living, a national effort to organize workers in assisted living facilities. He has written on organizing for The Nation, Conservative Judaism, and Reform, the magazine of the Jewish Reform movement. Daniel graduated from Pomona College and holds a Master in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Email Daniel at danielmay [at] jstreetu [dot] org.
Ira Stup, Deputy Director: Ira joins J Street after spending a year in Israel through the Dorot Fellowship. While working with communities of Holocaust survivors and child refugees from Darfur, Ira spent much time doing independent research in the West Bank in both Jewish settlements and Palestinian communities. Ira attended Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, studying American Studies and Jewish History. While in college, Ira worked as an HIV and sexual health counselor and headed LGBT advocacy groups dedicated to social change both within and outside the Jewish community. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Ira currently lives in New York City. Email Ira at ira [at] jstreetu [dot] org.
Sarah Beller, Director of Programming and Education: Sarah graduated from Harvard University in 2003 with a degree in social anthropology. After teaching in public schools and directing music and literary festivals at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, Sarah earned her Masters degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University. While in college and graduate school, she facilitated campus interfaith dialogues, including conversations during the Second Intifada and the war in Gaza and Israel. Trained in experiential education, facilitation, evaluation, and trauma response, Sarah has conducted research for Encounter and designed a training program for the Jewish Dialogue Group. She has also studied Arabic in Cairo, Egypt and traveled in Israel and the West Bank. Sarah grew up in New Haven, CT, and now lives in Washington, DC. Email Sarah at sarah [at] jstreet [dot] org.
Elyssa Feder, Midwest Campus Organizer: Elyssa joins J Street after completing an organizing fellowship with the Obama campaign in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She holds an MSc in Comparative Politics and Conflict Studies from the London School of Economics and a B.A. in International Affairs and Women’s Studies from George Washington University. Elyssa’s interest in gender in ethnonational conflict led her to internships with the Women’s Foreign Policy Group and the National Endowment for Democracy. She also has experience working on Capitol Hill for Senator Frank Lautenberg. Born and raised in New Jersey, Elyssa currently lives in Chicago. Email Elyssa at elyssa [at] jstreetu [dot] org.
Andrew Gordon-Kirsch, Mid-Atlantic Campus Organizer: Andrew joins J Street after serving as program coordinator for the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay in Berkeley, CA. A raft guide and rock climbing instructor, Andrew was a co-educator for Abraham’s Vision, a Muslim-Jewish conflict transformation organization, and is a past Jeremiah Fellow through Bend the Arc. Andrew spent 2010-2011 in Jerusalem as a Dorot Fellow working with Jewish and Palestinian teens, and 2008-2009 in Cairo as a student at AUC. He holds a BA from UCLA in Middle Eastern and North African Studies, speaks Arabic and Hebrew, and marvels at the linguistic wonders of the trilateral root system. A Berkeley native, Andrew currently lives in New York City. Email Andrew at andrewgk [at] jstreetu [dot] org.
Helen Knight, Programming Associate: Helen joins J Street after graduating from the University of South Carolina Honors College, where she majored in International Studies with a concentration in Middle East policy and conflict resolution and minored in English. In 2010, she interned in the US House of Representatives through J Street U’s inaugural Congressional Internship Program. Prior to her work with J Street, she spent a semester studying Arabic at the American University in Cairo and teaching English to Egyptian university students, and was the intern specializing in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the Human Rights Program at the Carter Center. At South Carolina, Helen served on the executive boards of seven major campus organizations focusing on community service and activism, and volunteered with the Obama primary and national campaigns. Helen’s senior honors thesis constituted the first study of the politics of the South Carolina community with respect to Israel and the Palestinian territories. A native of Decatur, Georgia, she currently lives in Washington, DC. Email Helen at helen [at] jstreet [dot] org.
Mimi Micner, New England Campus Organizer: Mimi joins J Street after working as a union organizer with the American Federation of Teachers. Concurrently, she was a Fellow with the Jewish Organizing Initiative (JOI) Fellowship, which helps young Jewish organizers gain the organizing skills and experience to build powerful Jewish and community organizations in order to create a just world. Mimi attended Middlebury College, during which she was involved in Israeli-Palestinian peace building: she worked in the summer of 2008 with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) to advocate against house demolitions in East Jerusalem; interned with J Street in Washington, DC in the summer of 2009; and started a chapter of J Street U at Middlebury College the following year. While studying abroad in India her junior year of college, she conducted research about and became involved in civil society peace building between India and Pakistan. Mimi is from Vancouver, BC and now lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. Email Mimi at mimi [at] jstreetu [dot] org.
Naomi Shiffman, West Coast Campus Organizer: Naomi joins J Street after serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the HandsOn Network for a year, while concurrently interning for J Street in San Francisco. Naomi graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Psychology and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. While at UCSD, Naomi was heavily involved in the Jewish and pro-Israel community: she interned at Hadassah, the women’s zionist organization, during the summer of 2007; served as the Grinspoon Israel Advocacy Intern at UCSD Hillel during the 2008-2009 school year; and co-founded an interfaith dialogue group in the same year. Born in Tel Aviv, Naomi was raised in Palo Alto, California, and currently lives in Oakland, California. Email Naomi at naomi [at] jstreetu [dot] org.
Sarah Turbow, DC Metro and Southeast Campus Organizer: Sarah joined J Street after graduating from Yale University with a BA in Political Science. At J Street, she has previously served as the Executive Assistant to Jeremy Ben-Ami and as the office manager of the Washington, DC office. In college, Sarah was the President of the Yale College Democrats, helped found the J Street U chapter on campus and worked to increase dialogue about Israel among Jewish students. In 2007 she traveled to the region for the first time with the Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace internship program, and returned there in 2009 to conduct research for her senior thesis on integrated education in Northern Ireland and Israel. She previously served on the Board of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom as the organization’s first student representative. Originally from Brooklyn, Sarah now lives in Washington, DC. Email Sarah at saraht [at] jstreetu [dot] org.