2023- 2024 Board Members
Rabbi Elan Babchuck – Elan and his wife, Lizzie, are the proud parents of Micah (a recent JCDSRI graduate), Nessa (a current JCDSRI student), and Ayla (a future JCDSRI student). Elan is a rabbi and entrepreneur who is committed to leaving behind a world that is more compassionate, connected, and just than the one he found. In pursuit of that commitment, Elan serves as Director of Innovation at Clal, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and the Founding Executive Director of Glean Network, an incubator and network for entrepreneurs who are building new models of faith in action, which partners with Columbia Business School. He has incubated over 150 successful startups over the past 10 years, and built four of his own during his 20 years of entrepreneurship. A sought-after keynote speaker, Elan publishes regularly, including in The Wisdom Daily, and is the co-author of Renewable Energy (2023), a book exploring emergent leadership models for legacy religious organizations. In addition to all that, Elan has served as a founding board member for numerous organizations, including Sympara – an organization that repurposes religious buildings into sacred/civic spaces and the Beloved Network – a network of startup, home-based Jewish communities. Elan is also a member of the Research Advisory Board of Springtide Research Institute which focuses on spirituality and Gen Z and is on the Board of Advisors of the Changemaker Initiative.
Karen Wasser Beraha–Karen has lived in Providence since 1985. She has three sons who graduated from Alperin Schechter Day School prior to enrollment at Classical High School. Her previous volunteer activities include the Camp JORI board, and the board of Temple Emanu-El. She has served on numerous committees at the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island, Alperin Schechter Day School and Temple Emanu-El. Karen is a retired Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and worked as a pediatric nurse and nurse practitioner in Illinois, Missouri, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. She enjoys cooking, reading, exercising, relaxing at the beach, and spending time with her grandchildren.
Kevin Blake – Kevin is the proud parent of two wonderful children. A native of New Jersey, Kevin and his wife, Melissa, have made Rhode Island their home for the last eight years. Kevin is Senior Legal Counsel at CVS Health.
Lesley Bogad, Vice President – Lesley Bogad is the proud, single parent of Micah J, a recent JCDSRI graduate. For the past 20 years, she has made a career in teacher education at Rhode Island College where she is professor and chair of Educational Studies, affiliated faculty in Gender and Women’s Studies, and the co-Director of the Youth Development program. Her academic work focuses on schooling for social justice and building community. Lesley is a California native, an avid gardener, and a Jewish day school alum. Her superpowers include making beautiful tables in Google Docs, helping teachers and students find their “why,” and quoting Hamilton lyrics.
Susan Leach DeBlasio – Susan is a life-long member of Temple Emanu-El and community admirer of JCDSRI. She is President of the Classical High School Alumni Association, a past president of URI Hillel and Jewish Seniors Agency, a former Vice Chair of The Miriam Hospital, a former Vice Chair and Secretary of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, and past chair of the Rhode Island Foundation Professional Advisory Council. A past president of both the Rhode Island Bar Association and the Rhode Island Bar Foundation, Susan practices corporate, health care, and construction law in Providence and Boston and is a frequent presenter on the topics of business law, practice management, and legal ethics. She graduated Wheaton College, phi beta kappa, and Boston University School of Law, and has an MBA from Providence College. Susan loves the beach, the outdoors, life in Providence with her husband, an eye surgeon, and spending time with her daughter and her family, especially being Bubbe to Leo, who will be joining JCDSRI this year(!) and Eli, a future JCDSRI student.
Brauna Doidge – Brauna grew up in Toronto, Ontario and has been living in Providence, RI for the past nine years with her husband, Paul Nahme, and their three kids, Eli, Benjy and Clara. Benjy and Clara are current students at JCDRSI and Eli is a recent graduate. Brauna is trained as an attorney and now serves as COO of the Dorot Foundation. Along with serving as Secretary of the JCDSRI board, she is Treasurer of the Jewish Alliance board. She loves working with the JCDSRI board and staff.oard of the Jewish Alliance as well as JCDSRI. She is looking forward to learning from the JCDSRI board!
Robyn Furman – Robyn has been connected to the school since the days it began as Solomon Schechter Day School. She is the parent of four Alperin Schechter Day School alumni. Previously, Robyn worked in early childhood and elementary education. Now she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, five of whom attend JCDSRI!
Marisa Garber – Marisa has been living in Rhode Island for almost 25 years. She started her career as a physical therapist working in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and for the past 5 years has been working with her husband, Dan Gamm, who is a financial advisor for TW Financial Group. They have beautiful children, all of whom attended JCDS; Sandy (22) who is a senior at Brandeis University, Joey (20), who just completed his freshman year at Temple University, and Tessa (16), a sophomore at Classical High School.
Marisa served on the board and executive board of the JCC for 5 years and on the Alliance Board. She was the chair of the Early Childhood Committee at the JCC Early Childhood Center for 8 years and chair of the Early Kabbalat Shabbat program and the Outreach and Retention committee at Temple Emanu-El for many years. She served as the Treasurer for the Parent Association at JCDS for 3 years and served as co-chair of the Parent Association for 4 years. Marisa was Chair of the Board of Directors of Jewish Family Services for three years and was a member of the Partnership Committee which was formed to explore the possibility of merging with Jewish Seniors Agency.Once the merger was complete, and the new agency, Jewish Collaborative Services (JCS) was formed, she served as Vice Chair of the Board for two years and is currently in her third year as Board Chair.
Deb Herman – Deb Herman is an alumni parent of 3, and has kept JCDSRI close to her heart since her children graduated from the school. During the day she is a clinical-research psychologist, at night she spends as much time as possible creating upcycled functional art. She is very excited to continue as a board member and stay involved in the school!
Kenny Hersh – Kenny returns to the JCDSRI Board after a long hiatus. He previously served on the Board of Alperin Schechter Day School, two years as Treasurer. Kenny’s three children graduated from ASDS and all are sending, or going to send, their children to Jewish Day School as well. Kenny and his wife, Leah, are the owners of American Wallpaper and Design Center and are the proud grandparents to 10 grandchildren, 3 of whom attend JCDSRI.
Shoshana Jacob, President – Shosh is the proud parent of 2 JCDSRI alumni. Shosh and her husband, Josh, moved to Providence to be closer to the JCDSRI community. She grew up in Providence and attended the Alperin Schecter Day School (now JCDSRI) for 9 years. Shosh loved this school and attributes her love of Judaism and fondness for Jewish day schools to JCDSRI. She is thrilled that her children get to attend the same school (albeit more innovative) that she attended. Shosh is a Jewish Communal Professional and has worked at many synagogues doing various things from teaching in religious schools, to being a youth director, and even a young family outreach coordinator. She is currently the Interim Youth and Family Program Director at Temple Emanu-El in Providence.
Rabbi Navah Levine, Treasurer – Rabbi Levine received her rabbinic ordination and an MA in Judaic Studies from Hebrew College Rabbinical School in Newton, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Yale University and she spent 14 years as an investment consultant, advising nonprofit institutions and high-net worth individuals. She is currently on the Executive Board for the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis.
Rabbi Levine has lived and studied in Israel, climbed a 20,000-foot peak in Nepal, and bicycled across the US. She has traveled extensively from Laos to Thailand and New Zealand, and worked at the South Pole Antarctic Station. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island and loves reading, singing, traveling, spending quality time with friends and family, and raising her son Ari, a proud JCDSRI alumni.
Mara Ostro – Mara’s three children all attended JCDSRI and are now attending the Wheeler School. She is a speech pathologist and a graduate of Jewish day school herself. She previously served as JCDSRI Board President and the Chair of the Head of School Support Committee.
Judy Rosenstein – Judy grew up in Providence and after college settled here with her husband, Jay. Judy is the parent of three Providence area day school alumni – two from PHDS and one from JCDSRI/ASDS. She is the grandmother of five granddaughters all of who attend (or will attend) Jewish day schools, one at JCDSRI. Judy is a former board or officer of JCDSRI, the JCC, Jewish Alliance and others. She is “pretty much” retired as Benny’s Toy Princess and now is a Baby Cuddler at Women and Infants Hospital.
Jessica Schuster– Jessica is the proud parent of Ava, Sadie and Charlie all of whom attend JCDSRI. Jessica moved from New York City to Providence for graduate school and has been here ever since! She received her PhD in Applied Mathematics from Brown University and is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, where she uses computational biology to study the genetics of reproductive disorders. In her free time, she loves going to the beach with her family, cooking, and party planning.
Howard Voss-Altman – Rabbi Howard has been a rabbi in Rhode Island since 2015. For the past five years, he has served as the Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth-El, and is now proud to be the rabbi of Temple Habonim in Barrington. Rabbi Howard grew up in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, and graduated from Duke University in 1982 with a B.A. In Political Science and received his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1985, where he was an Associate Editor of the Law Review. As an attorney, he specialized in labor relations and employment discrimination. Rabbi Howard was ordained from the Cincinnati Campus of HUC-JIR in 1999 and served as an Assistant Rabbi of North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Illinois from 1999 until 2002. He then became the rabbi of Temple B’nai Tikvah in Calgary, Alberta, where his rabbinate focused on building a strong spiritual community, pastoral care, and community and social justice issues. Rabbi Howard serves on the Board/Steering Committee of the Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty and is active in local community and justice initiatives. Rabbi Howard and his spouse, Annie, have been married since 1992. Annie is a practicing attorney, currently working as a public defender for the State of Massachusetts. They have three children, Emilie, Judah, and Adi. As a family, they enjoy theater, cinema, travel, music, and, especially, visiting Disney World.