Rabbi Jill Jacobs
Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the Executive Director of T’ruah. She is the author of Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community and There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition, both published by Jewish Lights.
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, 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, where she was a Wexner Fellow; an MS in Urban Affairs from Hunter College, and a BA from Columbia University. She is also a graduate of the Mandel Institute Jerusalem Fellows Program. She lives in New York with her husband, Rabbi Guy Austrian, and their two daughters.
Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster
Rachel is T’ruah’s Deputy Director. 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 boards of the Alliance for Fair Food and and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. She lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, with her husband, Dr. Paul Pelavin, and their daughters Liora and Aliza.
Julie is our Director of Communications. Before joining T’ruah, she was managing editor of My Jewish Learning, where she oversaw all editorial aspects of a major site relaunch and published a daily newsletter. She worked as a journalist for many years, contributing to the Wall Street Journal, New York Sun and Associated Press, while holding staff writing and editing positions at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the New York Jewish Week. She lives in Jackson Heights, Queens, with her husband and their two daughters.
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.
Director of Individual Giving
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.
Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson
Director of Rabbinic Training
Lev is the Director of Rabbinic Training 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.
Rabbi Salem Pearce
Director of Organizing
Salem received her rabbinic ordination from 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.
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.
Executive Assistant and Development Associate
Danielle graduated from the George Washington University in 2016 with a BA in Middle Eastern studies and a minor in Arabic, where she served as the J Street U GWU co-president and Southeast Regional co-chair. Before joining T’ruah, Danielle worked at the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) in New York City. Danielle was born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey, where she now lives with her husband.
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.