Our Team

Have a question, an idea, or want to partner with us? Send our team a note at contact@tzedekbox.org.

Interested in joining our team? Check out our open volunteer roles here.

Andrew Mandel

Founder

Andrew K. Mandel (he/him) has spent his career dedicated to developing leaders for social change. A seventh-grade English teacher in South Texas after graduating from Harvard College, Andrew spent 16 years designing the national leadership programming at Teach For America and earned his doctorate at Teachers College in adult learning and leadership. In 2014, he co-founded Strong East Ramapo, a volunteer advocacy organization addressing educational inequity in his hometown. Seeking to grow Jewish communities that live out the Biblical call for justice, Andrew entered rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College in 2018 and has served Union Temple, Orangetown Jewish Center and Temple Sinai of Newington as a pastoral intern, adult educator, service leader and social justice coordinator. He is now a student rabbi at Central Synagogue, leading its new online community, The Neighborhood, for 400 households nationwide and around the world. Andrew received support from his Wexner Heritage Program cohort and the "Be Wise" Fellowship to lead a team to create Tzedek Box. He lives with his partner, Mozart, in Long Island City, Queens, and is uncle to two Brooklyn nephews.

Jill Rodde

Strategy and Operations

Jill Rodde currently serves as COO at Harlem Lacrosse, a sports-based youth development organization operating in New York, Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. She grew up in Minnesota, where she graduated from Carleton College in 2009. She began her career at Teach For America and spent five years working on the Alumni Affairs team; following that, she worked in the Division of Student Affairs at UC Berkeley. She also served as the founding Strategy and Operations Manager for Revolve, a peer-led community dedicated to personal, professional, and spiritual growth through the lens of Jewish values. Jill lives in Chicago with her husband.

Edon Valdman

Technology

Edon grew up in South Florida and the Chicago suburbs, before spending 4 years in the city of Chicago studying at Columbia College Chicago. At CCC, he got his degree in Music Technology, focusing on audio, music, and iOS app development.

A lifelong Conservative Jew, Edon first sparked an interest in Jewish learning during his time at various Jewish day schools throughout elementary and middle school. Edon is a proud Ramahnik, having spent two summers as a camper and six on music staff at Camp Ramah Wisconsin, where he taught lessons in various instruments and audio tech. He describes his time at camp as “instrumental” to his Jewish identity and particular love for Jewish music.

When he’s not helping create a space for online social justice, Edon works as a freelance video editor, audio engineer, and podcast producer, and spends his time free time playing video games, watching TV, and hanging out with his partner Agnes.

Jackie Fishman

Growth and Development

Jackie Fishman has spent her career partnering with philanthropists and nonprofits to achieve their goals through strategic, thoughtful, and effective grantmaking. Currently, Jackie is a Grants Officer at the Open Society Foundations where she focuses on grantmaking compliance. Previously, managed grants, programs, and operations at the Natan Fund, a giving circle and venture philanthropy fund that supports start-ups and social entrepreneurs addressing key challenges in Jewish communities around the world and Israel. Prior to her work at the Natan Fund, Jackie held positions at Hazon and the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Jackie holds a Masters in Public Administration from NYU Wagner and a BA in English and economics from Binghamton University.

Lauren Stock

Director, Outreach Programming

Lauren Stock (she/her), originally from Dallas, TX, is a senior at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT where she will graduate in the spring of 2021 with her B.A. in Theater, Sociology, and Dance. Having grown up in the Reform movement, at the former URJ Kutz Camp, and in NFTY, Lauren prioritizes leadership and social justice in all of her work, with a specific love for supporting and mentoring teens. She continues to work with the RAC as a Teen Justice Fellowship Coach, and is a current member of the Commission on Social Action and URJ College Leadership Team.

Lauren is so excited to be joining the Tzedek Box team, combining her passion for Jewish social justice with her work as a director & theater-maker to share stories of the Jewish pursuit of justice in our everyday, 21st century lives.

Phoebe Ana Rabinowitsch

Partnerships

Phoebe Ana Rabinowitsch is a student at Yeshivat Maharat in the class of 2022. She grew up in South Florida and earned a B.A. in Religion and Anthropology from American University (Washington, DC). Phoebe Ana has completed various internships including placements with a national voter registration campaign, with Hillel International, and served as Multifaith Intern with New Sanctuary Coalition through Truah's Rabbinical Student Fellowship. Phoebe Ana studied at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at Middlebury College Language Schools. She has studied Torah at Drisha, Hadar and Pardes, where she was involved in organizing a weekly partnership minyan. She has experience teaching English as a Second Language to adult learners and Hebrew and Judaic studies at various religious schools in New York City. Phoebe Ana is interested in exploring how to create a supportive and nourishing environment for all and is committed to further pursuing a society that reflects our values. She is a chaplain intern at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and lives in Washington Heights, New York.

Emily Hicks-Rotella

User Experience

Emily's vision statement: All mission-driven, social justice-oriented people and organizations will have the confidence and skills to learn, use and love data & technology as part of achieving their missions. Emily has over a decade of experience working with organizations of all shapes and sizes to support their data and technology culture and strategy. As part of this work, Emily supports staff members to learn, use, and love their data and technology, adds capacity to teams and organizations that need additional technical knowledge and skill, and uses a uniquely human and non-technical approach to develop and support a culture that sets up staff and organizations for success using data and technology for their missions and impact. Emily lives in the Bronx, New York with their wife and two young children, and when they aren't being a total data and tech nerd, they are either singing outside, snowboarding, reading, or getting more tattoos.

Alyssa Berman

Partnerships

Alyssa (she/her) is originally from Connecticut and has spent the last six years in Pittsburgh, PA attending the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Jewish Studies and post-graduation as a Repair the World fellow focusing in education justice. As a Repair fellow, she has been coordinating the PeerCorps program bringing together Jewish middle and high school student together in learning and service. She believes that Tzedek and Tikkun Olam are imperative to living a Jewish life and feels most connected to her Jewish community when attending a Shabbat Dinner (even on Zoom) or helping the people around her. Alyssa credits her parents, her childhood synagogue Congregation Kol Haverim, and her eight summers at URJ Eisner Camp for her unwavering commitment to Judaism and the Jewish Community. She is extremely excited for her next step this summer, moving to the Upper West Side of New York City and beginning a position at Columbia/Barnard Hillel Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life.

Lisa Gaetjens

Education

Lisa Gaetjens grew up in Seattle and attended Carleton College in Minnesota where she majored in Spanish and education. She moved to NYC in 2011 and earned a masters degree in Bilingual (Spanish/English) Elementary Education at Bankstreet College of Education. In her 6 years as a teacher she taught students from 3 years old to high school in public, private, charter, and home school settings. Most recently she worked as the Chief of Staff and Household Manager for a family in Manhattan where she learned how to solve just about any kind of problem.


She served on the first National Board of Advisors for Base, a pluralistic Jewish community rooted in radical hospitality, learning, and service. She lives with her husband and toddler in NYC. She can usually be found chasing her son around Central Park with an everything bagel in one hand and coffee in the other.

Miranda Lipton

Editorial

Miranda is a writer and photographer living in Austin, Texas. Born and raised in the New York metro area, she spent 2016-2020 in Columbus, Ohio studying Journalism at The Ohio State University. She is currently a freelance food photographer, blogger, ceramic artist, and is passionate about the intersection of art and justice.

Dena Robinson

Tzedek Havdalah Host

Dena Robinson is a daughter of the warm Caribbean seas between Jamaica and Barbados. She is a first-generation Black, Jewish, and queer woman who organizes, educates, lives, works, and plays in Baltimore, MD, and the DC Metro area.


Dena is passionate about collective and individual liberation and healing, storytelling (in all its forms), and centering joy, play, and pleasure in everything she does. Leading from her values and lived experience, Dena has worked as an organizer around the areas of race equity, education, and campus sexual assault, taught immigrant and refugee students English, designed social justice and race-equity focused curricula, taught students how to tell their stories in front of the camera, and facilitated workshops around race, white supremacy, and identity.


When she's not busy working as a civil rights attorney and enforcing Title VII, Dena can be found nurturing her passions. Dena runs a DEI facilitation and consulting practice, Radical Roots, alongside her co-founder, a fellow Jewish woman of color. Through her DEI work, Dena has facilitated or consulted with BBYO, Avodah, the Safety, Respect, and Equity Network (SRE), Netflix, and Reddit, among others. She also is the DEI Manager for the Revolve Community, a peer-led Jewish community. When Dena isn't wearing multiple hats, you'll find her hiking all over Maryland with her partner, Tia, and their two dogs, Moose and Stanley, lifting heavy things while training for Strongwoman competitions, cooking, or reading good books.


Professionally, Dena graduated cum laude from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law with a healthcare law certificate. She has over 10 years of experience in community organizing around race equity, education, and campus sexual assault. Dena also holds an M.S.Ed. from The Johns Hopkins University. Currently, Dena works as a Trial Attorney for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.

Darin Lim Yankowitz

Tzedek Havdalah Host

Darin Lim Yankowitz grew up in the Bay Area, where he attended some of the best and worst public schools in California. One of his most vivid childhood memories is his father sitting him down in the fourth grade to say, “If you want to get into college, you need to earn straight As. And even that might not be enough. Because an A in Oakland isn’t even worth a C in Piedmont.” When Darin’s family later moved from Oakland to Piedmont, it changed his life—and demonstrated to him with utter clarity how racism and poverty shape educational opportunity, setting children with equal potential on vastly different life trajectories. Those experiences, alongside the Jewish values of tzedakah and tikkun olam, motivate Darin to make educational equity his life’s work.

Darin works for Teach For America, leading human capital for their national recruitment team. He graduated from UC San Diego with highest distinction, writing his undergraduate thesis on our moral obligations to the global poor. Darin also holds an MA from Teacher’s College at Columbia University in educational leadership, and he is in the final year of doctoral studies at Vanderbilt University, where he is researching how quantitative analysis can be used to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in multicultural organizations. Outside of work, Darin enjoys high-altitude trekking, practicing handstands, and learning about nutrition science.

Darin lives in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, with his partner, Naomi, their two children, Akemi and Takashi, and their dog, Genki. He is acutely aware of the fact that he is the only one in the family whose name does not end in the letter “i.”

Shirah Kraus

Educator Support

Shirah Kraus is a rabbinical-education student at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio (and Los Angeles, California). Before enrolling at HUC, Shirah completed her undergraduate degree at Bryn Mawr College where she majored in Religion and concentrated in Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Shirah has served as the student rabbi of B’nai Israel Congregation in Grand Forks, North Dakota and Temple Shalom in Lafayette, Louisiana. She has taught children and adults in synagogue, day school, and Jewish summer camp settings. In 2019, Shirah served as the director of Jewish Education at the URJ camp, GUCI. She is passionate about cultivating learning, social justice, and community -- and having fun in the process!

Shirah grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio with her parents, Rabbi Matthew Kraus and Rabbi Sissy Coran (z”l), and three siblings, age 28, 21, and 12. Shirah loves to play guitar and banjo, toss frisbee, make silly faces at babies, cook, puzzle, create art, and tell dad jokes.

Tzedek Box Clergy Council

We are honored by the counsel and support of clergy from a variety of Jewish movements and institutions.

Rabbi Adam Baldachin


Shaarei Tikvah, Scarsdale, NY

Rabbi Jeffrey Bennett


Temple Sinai, Newington, CT

Rabbi Paula Mack Drill

Orangetown Jewish Center,
Orangeburg, NY

Rabba Yaffa Epstein


Director, Wexner Heritage
Program, Columbus, OH

Rabbi Noah Farkas


Valley Beth Shalom, Los Angeles, CA

Rabbi Hilly Haber


Central Synagogue, New York, NY

Rabbi David Jaffe


Author, Changing the World From The Inside Out, Sharon, MA

Rabbi Leora Kaye


Union for Reform Judaism, New York, NY

Rabbi Salem Pearce


Executive Director, Carolina Jews for Justice, Durham, NC

Rabbi Sid Schwarz


Senior Fellow, Hazon, Rockville, MD

Student Rabbi Kelly Whitehead


Temple Sinai, Summit, NJ