Rabbi Jill Jacobs
Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the Executive Director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, which mobilizes 1,800 rabbis and cantors and tens of thousands of American Jews to protect human rights in North America and Israel. She is the author of Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community (Jewish Lights, 2011) and There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition (Jewish Lights, 2009).
Widely regarded as a leading voice on Jewish social justice, she regularly lectures at synagogues, Jewish community centers, and conferences and has written about Jewish perspectives on social justice and human rights for more than two dozen publications.
Rabbi Jacobs has been named three times to the Forward’s list of 50 influential American Jews, to Newsweek’s list of the 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America every year since 2009, and to the Jerusalem Post’s 2013 list of “Women to Watch.” She holds rabbinic ordination and an MA in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary, an MS in Urban Affairs from Hunter College, and a BA from Columbia University. She lives in New York with her husband, Guy Austrian, and their daughters Lior and Dvir.
Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster
Director of Programs
Rachel is T’ruah’s Director of Programs. Ordained in 2008 from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she was a student activist and leader, she is a noted speaker and writer on Judaism and human rights, including speaking internationally on behalf of the U.S. State Department on the issue of human trafficking. Her writing has appeared on CNN.com, the Forward, the New York Daily News, the Huffington Post, and many other publications. Rabbi Kahn-Troster was named to the Jewish Week’s 2011 “36 under 36” for her human rights activism. She serves on the board of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, with her husband, Dr. Paul Pelavin, and their daughters Liora and Aliza.
Rabbi Lev Meirowitz-Nelson
Director of Education
Lev is the Director of Education for T’ruah. Lev was ordained in 2013 from Hebrew College. Before coming to rabbinical school, he taught fifth grade at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan for three years and worked for many summers at URJ Eisner Camp. Lev holds an AB in Geology from Brown University and spent a post-baccalaureate semester at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, where conservation and sustainable development are approached in the context of Arab-Israeli peace efforts. Lev, his wife Eliana, and their sons Barzilai Khalil (aka Buzz) and Tav Hadar live in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Kensington.
Rabbi Marisa James
Marisa is the Senior Organizer for T’ruah. A 2016 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, Marisa spent more than five years living, working, and studying in Jerusalem. While there, she worked for Encounter Programs, taught Introduction to Judaism classes both in Jerusalem and in Bethlehem, and co-created and led the rabbinical student program for T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. Marisa has also taught college English at the University of Connecticut and Rutgers and acted as cantor for communities in Israel and America. Marisa and her wife, contrabassoonist and translator Barbara Ann Schmutzler, live in New York City.
Executive Assistant/Development Associate
Talia is the Executive Assistant and Development Associate at T’ruah. She received her B.A. from Barnard College in sociology and human rights. She spent two years as a grant writer and organizer in Tel Aviv at a community based social change organization called Mahapach-Taghir. She is from Minneapolis and lives in Brooklyn.
Director of Special Events
Ronit is the Director of Special Events for T’ruah. She has produced fundraising and performing arts events within the non-profit industry for the last ten years. Ronit has worked for such prestigious organizations as the Lincoln Center Festival, the Chateauville Foundation, Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans, and the launch of the Castleton Festival, an annual international opera festival under the artistic direction of Maestro Lorin Maazel. She is motivated by the great potential for communication and understanding by way of artistic expression.
Danny is the organizer with T’ruah. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2014 with a degree in social studies. After graduation, he spent over a year as a community organizer with the Naugatuck Valley Project, a congregation-based community organization that seeks to unite people of differing backgrounds around a common vision of a just society. Simultaneously, he participated in the JOIN fellowship which provided a space to explore the intersection of justice, community organizing and Jewish community. Danny is from West Hartford, Connecticut and now lives in Brooklyn.
Ayelet has three decades of experience working on campaigns for public health, workers rights, the environment, human rights, public safety, gay rights, environmental justice, animal rights and political candidates in more than 20 states and internationally. Ayelet’s career has involved organizing, strategic communications, non-violent direct action, lobbying, training, Get-Out-the-Vote, fundraising, and publishing for Environmental Defense Fund, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Democratic National Committee, Texas Observer, National Democratic Institute and others. She teaches Introduction to Campaigning & Organizing at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Rhonda E. Otten
Rhonda is T’ruah’s Financial Manager. She is a native New Yorker and a Certified Public Accountant with 15-years of finance and accounting experience. Rhonda recently became ordained as an Interfaith Minister and enjoys supporting non-profit organizations through her volunteer efforts. She resides in Montclair, NJ with her spouse Debra and daughter, Dawn.
Itamar is the Program Manager for T’ruah’s Human Rights Program for Rabbinical/Cantorial Students in Israel. He is an Israeli-American translator and researcher. Itamar earned his BA in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently finishing his MA in Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. In 2010-2011, he was a New Israel Fund Social Justice Fellow.
Rabbi Ian Chesir-Teran
Ian is T’ruah’s Rabbinic Educator in Israel, and the Manager of Diaspora Communications and Engagement at the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the Reform Movement’s religious and civil rights organization in Israel. Ian earned a Bachelor’s degree in French Civilization in 1992 from Georgetown University, a juris doctor degree in 1995 from the Georgetown University Law Center, and was ordained as a rabbi in 2014 at the Jerusalem campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Ian made aliyah from South Orange, New Jersey in 2010. He is a member of Kibbutz Hannaton in the Jezreel Valley, where he lives with his husband Daniel and their three children, Eliezer, Yonah and Tamar.