Alexa Broida, Director
Email Alexa, 212-452-6576

Alexa Broida has been with Mitzvah Corps since 2010. She graduated from UCLA with degrees in Public Health and Developmental Psychology, and obtained a Master's in Business and Organizational Science from GWU. Currently living in Philadelphia, Alexa is passionate about discovering people and places around the world, and connecting others with life changing experiences.


Jonah FreelanderDirector of Strategic Partnerships & Development
Email Jonah, 212-650-4077

Jonah grew up in the Reform movement and was heavily involved in the NFTY and URJ Eisner camp communities through his time at Trinity College. Jonah has since dedicated his professional life to the creation and development of innovative educational experiences, designed to guide Jewish youth toward living meaningful Jewish lives in an ever-changing complex world.


Ilana SchearRegistrar, URJ Teen Travel Programs
Email Ilana, 212-452-6517

Ilana graduated from Goucher College with a degree in Communication and Media Studies and a minor in Political Science. She was actively involved in NFTY, as well as participated in Mitzvah Corps and NFTY in Israel, and joined the URJ Teen Travel Programs team in 2016. In her spare time, Ilana is an enthusiastic traveler discovering different cultures, sites, and sounds of our global world.


Denise BulnesBursar, URJ Teen Travel Programs
Email Denise, 212-452-6520

Denise has served URJ Teen Travel Programs since 2006. She is a Lehman College Certified Business Bookkeeper and Assistant Accountant; also, as a notary public, she has over 30 years of experience in accounting and auditing. Denise sits on the Board of Directors of the Warwick Lions Club, is a volunteer puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and is an avid community activist. Married to her high school sweetheart for over 30 years, she has two children and four grandchildren.


Dan Lange, Director of Youth Programs, URJ
Email Dan, 212-650-4078

Dan holds a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Leadership from Brandeis University’s Hornstein Program, where he was named a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar. He joined the URJ in 2014, and has overseen professional development, international staffing, safety, security, and other programmatic and operational aspects for our network of 16 camps and nearly 120 full time employees in our youth system. 

Mitzvah Corps is proud to introduce you to our summer staff! We take a great deal of pride in our staff members, who provide a stable and caring environment for participants throughout the duration of the program. Each year, we look for qualified, experienced, energetic, and passionate individuals to lead our groups. Collectively, they have a wealth of experience working with Jewish youth in various settings, and bring a unique perspective and set of skills to the team. Select a program below to read about the amazing staff we've lined up for this summer!

Beth Lipschutz, MSW
Program Director

Beth joins us from Denver, Colorado, where she works as the NFTY Missouri Valley (MV) Regional Director of Youth Engagement. Throughout the year, she mentors teen leaders as they plan programs for their peers and serve as resources to their networks. She also works to build relationships with the congregations, clergy and youth workers in the region to support them in engaging teens in different ways. Beth is excited to return for her second summer with our Civil Rights Journey and help teens discover how they can use their Jewish values as motivation to positively impact the world around them!

Joe Winner
Assistant Program Director

Joe Winner will also be returning for his second summer with the Civil Rights Journey. Joe grew up in Hoffman Estates, Illinois where attended URJ OSRUI camp and was involved with NFTY's Chicago Area Region. He attended University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he was heavily involved with Hillel, watching sports, and the college radio station, WPGU 107.1. After graduating, Joe decided to pursue a career in Jewish Education and he now works with NFTY and Jewish Student Connection in Chicago. Joe loves music, cooking, and the Chicago White Sox.

Naomi Segal
Program Coordinator

Information about Naomi coming soon!

Amanda Wilson
Program Coordinator

Information about Amanda coming soon!

Hannah Arwe
Program Director

Hannah Arwe is the Manager of Youth Programs for our partner, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, and we could not be more excited for her to join the on-site team this summer! Hannah comes from a strong background in education and social justice, and loves working with young people to become agents for change. She has a Master’s in Women’s & Gender studies from DePaul University and a Bachelor’s in Public Health from the University of Rochester. She is skilled at curriculum development, community building, and activism. Hannah is super excited to continue to help others get excited about organizing through a Jewish lens. Alongside dismantling systems of oppression and power, Hannah loves to dance, swim in the ocean, and bake delicious desserts.

Noah Benjamin
Assistant Program Director

Noah Benjamin is extremely excited to return to Mitzvah Corps, this time in Chicago. During the year, Noah works at Temple Sinai in Washington DC as a teacher and fundraiser, as well as with the synagogue’s NFTY youth group. What he loves most about Mitzvah Corps, and why he keeps coming back to staff each summer, is the opportunity to learn by doing.  He is looking forward to the amazing opportunities we will have this summer to have experiences most High School students never get to have!

Maddy Winard
Program Coordinator

Information about Maddy coming soon!

Jordy Cohen
Program Director

Jordy is thrilled to join Mitzvah Corps for the 3rd year! She grew up outside of Boston, MA, where she was a Prozdor student and involved with NFTY. She earned a BA in Religious Studies from the University of Pittsburgh with a certificate in Jewish Studies, and is currently a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. Jordy has been staff on a number of teen programs including NFTY in Israel and Mitzvah Corps Pacific Northwest, and led our Mitzvah Corps Israel program in 2016. She is so excited to explore New Orleans this summer!

Caleb Alemany
Assistant Program Director

Caleb is a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a degree in History, and has been involved with Reform Jewish youth engagement for most of his life. His foundation for his Jewish youth experience can be credited to the URJ Eisner Camp, which he attended for two summers as a camper and as a member of the staff for the past five summers. He currently serves as the Assistant Director of Youth Engagement at Temple Shalom in Newton, Massachusetts. He is most energized about returning to Mitzvah Corps to give back to the various and diverse communities in New Orleans and Costa Rica!

Adam Grosman
Program Coordinator

Adam will be spending his third year involved with Mitzvah Corps, after spending previous summers in New Jersey and Los Angeles. He has a History and Secondary Education degree from Bradley University, and currently works for a school in St. Louis in a special education setting. This summer he will also be completing his 8th year at Camp Rainbow, a camp for kids with cancer and other blood related diseases. It is his passion and my lifelong goal to work with children, teens, and all ages of youth to help them become better young men or women and to help provide them with the tools they can use to become successful.

Carly Coons
Program Director

Information about Carly coming soon!

Emily Teitell
Assistant Program Director

Emily will be returning for her second year with Mitzvah Corps. She graduated from Colorado State University in 2016 with a degree in Journalism and Media Communication. As a Colorado native, she developed a love for photography and the outdoors at a young age, and loves bringing that's enthusiasm to the Mitzvah Corps table! She was a counselor at Camp Rainbow and at Shwayder Camp, most recently as the Staff in Training Coordinator, mentoring teens to be the next generation of camp staff and develop their Jewish identities. She loves helping young people build better relationships with themselves and the world around them!

Zach Plesent
Program Coordinator

Information about Zach coming soon!

Ezra Oliff-Lieberman
Program Coordinator

Information about Ezra coming soon!

Mariel Wilk
Program Aide

Information about Mariel coming soon!

Ross Bear
Program Director

Ross Bear is excited to be leading Urban Mitzvah Corps this summer. A product of the Reform Movement, Ross grew up in New Jersey where he was an active NFTY participant, and spent more than 16 summers at Camp Kinder Ring as both a camper and staff person. Ross received his Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers School of Journalism and his Masters in Secondary Education from Cabrini University. He has spent more than a decade serving the youth in New Jersey as an advisor, as a frequent visitor to Camp Kutz, Camp Harlam, and 6 Points Sci-Tech, and as a teacher and member of the New York / New Jersey regional youth committee. Ross can't wait to bring his vast experience, thirst for social justice, learning and FUN to Urban Mitzvah Corps this summer!

Libby Fisher
Co Assistant Program Director

Libby Fisher is finishing her first year of rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem, and will continue in Cincinnati in the fall. She grew up in the Chicago area, and spent 12 summers at URJ Camp Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute as a camper, staff member, and unit head. She graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign with degrees in Religious Studies and Music. Before starting at HUC-JIR, Libby spent time working as an advisor in NFTY-CAR in Evanston, IL. After hearing the amazing stories from family and friends about Mitzvah Corps programs, Libby is thrilled to begin her own adventure at Urban Mitzvah Corps!

Ariel Milan Posner
Co Assistant Program Director

Ariel Milan-Polisar grew up at URJ Eisner Camp, where she spent 13 summers, and was an active participant in NFTY-New York Area Region, serving as Religious and Cultural Vice President her senior year. She got her BA in Sociology from Brandeis University in 2014 and just finished her first year of rabbinical school at the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College. Ariel looks forward to bringing all that she learned in Jerusalem, and from her many years at camp, to Urban Mitzvah Corps this summer!

Lulu Belferder
Program Director

Lulu was born and raised on Long Island, NY.  She has a BA in Judaic Studies with a minor in Psychology and Fine Arts, and a Masters in Counseling. Currently Lulu is working as the Director of Residential Services at a non-profit serving Children and Adults with Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities. For the last 4 years, Lulu has also been working at Temple Sinai of Roslyn, as a member of the youth/teen programs staff.  Lulu has staffed Israel Experience programs, with BBYO Passport to Israel, NFTY in Israel, Kesher Birthright trips. For the past three summers Lulu has helped to lead trips with Mitzvah Corps to Central America, and she is very excited to be leading a trip his summer to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands!

Tyler Dratch
Program Coordinator

Information about Tyler coming soon!

Fedora Copley
Putney Leader

While studying Spanish at Reed College, Fedora studied abroad in Ecuador and wrote her thesis on indigenous hip-hop as a form of political resistance in Ecuador and Bolivia. She was the resident advisor for Reed’s Spanish dorm, during which time she worked with scholars from Argentina and Spain to create campus-wide cultural events. Inspired by studying Spanish literature at Reed, Fedora has since translated scholarly articles from Spanish to English for the literary theory journal 452°. She now volunteers with undocumented migrants at a shelter in El Paso, Texas, as an advocate and case-worker. Fedora is fluent in Spanish and is learning Portuguese. This fall, Fedora hopes to work in Seattle as an advocate for unaccompanied youth who migrated to the U.S. without their families. She has led a community service program for Putney Student Travel in Costa Rica.

Michal Yarkoni
Guide

Information about Michal coming soon!

Basha Goldstein Weiss
Program Director

After graduating from Mount Holyoke College and living in Amherst, Basha was excited to return to Boston! Currently, she spends her days teaching art at a school in Brookline, enjoying the outdoors, working on her own projects, and participating in Jewish communities. She is excited to return to Mitzvah Corps, and to spend the summer engaging with teens and social justice in Israel!

Jackie Heymann
Program Coordinator

Information about Jackie coming soon!

Aaron Fox-Snider
Program Coordinator

Information about Aaron coming soon!

Rabbi Peter Rigler
Program Director

Rabbi Rigler lives with his wife, Rabbi Stacy Rigler, and their three children, Maya, Nathan, and Eli. He was ordained by HUC-JIR in 2002, and currently serves as the Rabbi of Temple Sholom in Broomall, Pennsylvania. He is an active board member for the URJ Camp Harlam, where he serves on the faculty for two weeks each summer. He is involved at the Broad Street Ministry homeless shelter and in many social action projects throughout Philadelphia. He is also a graduate of the Synagogue Transformation and Renewal Program and the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and currently serves as a member of the Board of Rabbis of Philadelphia and is the President of the local Clergy Counsel. Rabbi Rigler is returning to Mitzvah Corps this summer, and is excited to bring another group of teens to Central America!

Alex Kurland
Program Coordinator

Information about Alex coming soon!

Ruthie Gertz
Program Coordinator

Information about Alex coming soon!

Jane Harris-Koblin
Program Director

Information about Jane coming soon!

David Coons
Program Coordinator

Information about David coming soon!

Jordy Cohen
Program Director

Erica is looking forward to spending her fourth summer with Mitzvah Corps! When not with us, she is the Manager of Network and Community Mobilization at the Food Bank for Westchester in Westchester, New York. Erica holds a Master of Social Work, and splits her time between Food Bank for Westchester and working as the Youth Advisor for Temple Sinai in Stamford, CT where she lives. Erica is an avid runner, cook and traveler in her free time.

Caleb Alemany
Program Coordinator

Caleb is a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a degree in History, and has been involved with Reform Jewish youth engagement for most of his life. His foundation for his Jewish youth experience can be credited to the URJ Eisner Camp, which he attended for two summers as a camper and as a member of the staff for the past five summers. He currently serves as the Assistant Director of Youth Engagement at Temple Shalom in Newton, Massachusetts. He is most energized about returning to Mitzvah Corps to give back to the various and diverse communities in New Orleans and Costa Rica!

Maddy Allwein
Program Coordinator

Information about Maddy coming soon!