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, where he was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. In 2017, Lev was honored by the Covenant Foundation with a Pomegranate Prize, which recognizes early-career Jewish educators. Before attending rabbinical school, Lev taught fifth grade at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan for three years and worked for many summers at URJ Eisner Camp. He 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.
Director of Special Events
Ronit is the Director of Individual Giving 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.
Director of Operations and FinanceDanny is T’ruah’s Director of Operations and Finance, committed to supporting organizations that strengthen the Jewish community and advance tikkun olam. Danny served Kehilat Romemu as its Director of Operations. He consults for the Global Day of Jewish Learning as Educational Advisor. He also enjoys baking, and co-founded Challahback Bakeshop, an organic whole-wheat vegan challah bicycle delivery service, in San Francisco. Danny earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2005 and a Masters degree in Experiential Jewish Education from the Davidson School at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2014. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, also a Jewish communal professional.
Salem Pearce is in her final year at Hebrew College Rabbinical School in Boston, Mass. During her time there, she has served as the rabbinic intern at Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue and at the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, and she was the Community Organizer at Temple Israel of Boston. She was also a mikveh guide at Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and a member of the Community Hevre Kadisha of Greater Boston. She trained to be a chaplain at Bellevue Hospital in New York City and has been a student fellow with Rabbis Without Borders; American Jewish World Service’s Global Justice Fellowship for Rabbinical and Graduate Students; and T’ruah’s Rabbinical and Cantorial Summer Fellowship in Human Rights. Before going to rabbinical school, Salem lived and worked in Washington, D.C., as a fundraiser for several nonprofit organizations and volunteered for and served on the board of the DC Rape Crisis Center. A native Texan, Salem received a B.A. in Classics from the University of Texas at Austin.
Executive Assistant/Development Associate
Aaron graduated from Haverford College in 2014 with a major in history and a concentration in peace, justice & human rights. After graduation, he worked as an investment management paralegal at an international law firm in Philadelphia and then as a special assistant to the vice president of development at the New Israel Fund in San Francisco. Aaron is from Skippack, Pennsylvania and now lives in New York City.
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.