Harriet Bograd, President
A professional volunteer, Harriet served as treasurer of Kulanu from 2002-2008, and president since then. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College and Yale University Law School, Harriet has led community programs in low income neighborhoods and Jewish communities since the 1960’s. She has served as a staff leader and consultant for non-profit community organizations in areas of education, child care, health, anti-poverty, and nonprofit “cyber-accountability.” Her work has involved funding, program development, finance, planning, and parent involvement in schools. Harriet was a founder of the Heschel School in New York City and is a leader in her synagogue. She is married to Ken Klein, and Kulanu’s office is in their home in New York City.
Bonita Nathan Sussman, Vice President
Bonita Nathan Sussman is a volunteer with Kulanu and serves as Vice President. She is a graduate of Yeshiva University Stern College, has a Masters degree in religion from Columbia University and a second Masters in Jewish education from The Jewish Theological Seminary. She is an ordained rabbi through Aleph. For Kulanu, Bonita serves as liaison for newly emerging, returning and isolated Jewish communities around the globe. She is on the editorial staff of the Kulanu Magazine and Kulanu Board liaison for the Kulanu Academic Cohort. Bonita and her husband Rabbi Gerald Sussman have travelled to Nicaragua, Cameroon, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Papua New Guinea, and India addressing their Jewish development needs and encouraging their journeys to become part of the Jewish people. Her photographs of her travels have been been published and exhibited.
Barbara Vinick, Secretary
A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Barbara earned a PhD in sociology from Boston University and
conducted post-doctoral work in human development at Harvard. She is currently a research associate at Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University, a center focused on Jews and gender worldwide. She is working on a volume of stories about Jewish brides around the world, a follow-up to her book Today I am a Woman: Stories of Bat Mitzvah Around the World published by Indiana University Press. As a long-time researcher in gerontology at the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University School of Public Health, Barbara has authored articles on lifestyles, attitudes, and experiences of mature Americans.
Sandy Leeder, Treasurer
Sandy Leeder is the Kulanu coordinator for the Lemba. He now lives in Tzfat, Israel and is retired from 30 years in the real estate development business where he specialized in tax and partnership accounting. He has a BA in Mathematics from Harpur College, SUNY and has an MBA in finance from Columbia University. During his US Peace Corps service from 1967 to 1969 Sandy lived with the Hausa and Fulani people in Niger, where he worked as an agricultural extension agent for a peanut cooperative. In 1983 he participated in a secret American Association for Ethiopian Jews operation that smuggled Beta Israel refugees out of the Sudan to Israel. Thereafter he served on the Board of the AAEJ until it ceased in 1992 after Operation Solomon. More recently he was a board member of the San Francisco Bureau of Jewish Education for 8 years. Sandy has visited various Jewish communities in Africa, including the Lemba in South Africa and Zimbabwe, Beta Israel and Beta Avraham In Ethiopia and Ibo Jews in Nigeria.
R abbi Barbara Aiello, Board Member
Rabbi Barbara Aiello is Italy’s first and only woman rabbi, Currently she serves the “b’nei anusim”
congregation Ner Tamid del Sud, The Eternal Light of the South,a recognized Reconstructionist
synagogue, and the first active synagogue in Calabria in 500 years since Inquisition times. Rabbi Barbara
is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and holds a MS from The George Washington
University . She was ordained at The Rabbinical Seminary International and the Rabbinical Academy in
New York City. She is a founding board member of the International Federation of Rabbis, mentoring
rabbi for the international Jewish Studies program, Darshan Yeshiva, and Blogger for Times of Israel.
Ari Greenspan, Board Member
Dr. Greenspan is a co-founder of the Ptil Tekhelet Association. He is a US trained dentist, with a practice in Jerusalem. He is a practicing mohel, shochet and sofer, and has worked for more than 30 years on collecting Jewish traditions and mesorot from far flung Jewish communities around the globe. He pioneered the exotic kosher dinner as a means of passing along disappearing kosher food traditions. He is a frequent contributor to Mishpacha magazine, had a column on Jewish tradition in Otiyot, a children’s hebrew magazine and writes extensively for other journals. Dr. Greenspan has been producing commercial Judaic art for 25 years enjoying wood metal and glass as his media. He has lectured around the world for dental groups and for many synagogues and Jewish schools.
Judi Kloper, Board Member
Judi Kloper, born and raised near Boston, graduated from Oregon State University with degrees in Child Development and Family Studies, and in Home Economics and Health Education. Judi has five children—three from India, one from China, and one birth child, as well as two beautiful grandchildren. As an international child welfare specialist, Judi worked for many years finding families for children with special needs from India. Judi has served on many boards in Oregon and in her home community of Corvallis, Oregon, including her congregation, Beit Am. Her volunteer work for non-profits has included editing and proofreading newsletters, websites, and blogs, assisting in immigrant programs, and traveling overseas to teach English. Her trip to India in 2014-2015 including living with the Bene Ephraim in Andhra Pradesh, a Kulanu community, and in 2015-2016, she lived in Nicaragua immersing herself in the life of the Congregacion Israelita de Nicaragua. In 2017, she assisted the Beit Din in Nicaragua as two new Jewish communities were born. She continues to maintain close ties to the communities in India and Nicaragua. In her free time, she rides her bicycle and searches for the best chai in Oregon. Judi is now the editor of Kulanu’s magazine.
Elie Lehmann, Board Member
Rabbi Elie Lehmann is the Campus Rabbi at Boston University Hillel. He has rabbinic ordination from Hebrew College in Boston. He loves supporting young adults find innovative and meaningful ways to feel confident in their Jewish identity, knowledge, and practice. He has worked with ngo’s in several countries over the past decade. As Director of the Kulanu Global Teaching Fellowship, Elie has worked with several of our partner communities in Africa. Elie is an alumnus of Mechon Hadar, Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary. In his spare time Elie enjoys cooking, cycling around new neighborhoods, and playing drums. He lives in Cambridge, MA, with his wife Anya Manning and their baby son.
Daneel Schaechter, Board Member
Daneel Schaechter, 26-year-old, has focused his work with Kulanu on the question of Latin American B’nei Anusim / Crypto-Jews for the last 10 years. At the University of Pennsylvania, he studied Latin American and Latino Studies and wrote his thesis on the intersection of religion and politics in Ecuador, with a case study of the Ecuadorian Jews and Crypto-Jews. He spent 2015 living in Recife, Brazil as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching English at the Federal University of Pernambuco, working at a small start-up, ProDeaf, and engaging with the Brazilian emerging Jewish communities. Most recently, he finds himself as an International Strategy Associate at Indeed.com and continues to serve as Kulanu’s Regional Coordinator for Latin America and as a board member. In 2015, Kulanu selected Daneel to be honored in the Kulanu Tribute Journal (see www.kulanu.org/tribute).
Yakov Zamir, Board Member
Yakov Zamir, freelance educator, manager, singer and writer, converted to Judaism after studying under the supervision of Geoffrey Goldberg, rabbi and cantor, in 1988. He shortly thereafter made aliyah, and lived in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, while pursuing a dual career as voice teacher and vocal soloist, performing both as a tenor and countertenor. While living in Israel, Yakov performed as a soloist with opera companies, orchestras and choirs in the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Iceland, Germany, France, and the island of Cyprus…and all over Israel. Since returning to the United States, Yakov has continued to freelance as a tenor and countertenor and hastried out several professions before settling on educational management.
Yakov started his involvement with Kulanu in 2014, with his first trip to Madagascar. Since then he has returned three times, and served as Kulanu’s liaison with the fledgling Jewish community in the capital city, Antananarivo. With Bonita Sussman of Kulanu and his contacts in Madagascar, Yakov helped organize the conversion of ultimately over 120 Malagasies to Judaism, and a conference featuring well-known Malagasy experts on Jewish roots and other related topics with keynote speaker Professor Tudor Parfitt of Florida International University.
Jacob Steinberg (Suriname Jewish Community coordinator)
Over the years, I have worked in Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, and Asia. I had the opportunity to visit small and isolated Jewish communities, and to see first-hand their struggle to maintain a meaningful Jewish life. While working in Suriname, I decided to get involved in supporting the small local Jewish community, the oldest existing Jewish community in the Americas. Being part of Kulanu is an opportunity for me to help the community to meet its unique needs.
Jerry Krasny, Business Manager
Jerry Krasny is Kulanu’s Business Manager; he keeps the head New York office running smoothly. Jerry is a graduate of Lehman College of the City University of New York with a BA in history. He worked for some years in the Claims/Finance Department of the Amalgamated Life Insurance Company in Lower Manhattan, following in the footsteps of his father, who was a longtime employee there. In 1980, he moved to Radio TV Reports, a company that supplied media intelligence and consulting services to advertising agencies and public relations companies. There he was in charge of the client standing order database, which provided competitive media intelligence to advertising agencies. In 1996, RTV was bought by VMS, Video Monitoring Services, where Jerry continued to work until August, 2011, when the company filed for bankruptcy. Jerry says it was his good fortune to discover Kulanu. “It’s been my pleasure to contribute to the spiritual and developmental growth of this wonderful organization.” We know we are the fortunate ones!
Jo Ann Friedman, Program and Fundraising Manager
Jo Ann Friedman is a graduate of Wellesley College and received a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from Harvard University. She graduated from Northeastern University of Law after many years of graduate school but eventually found her calling in the non-profit world. Jo Ann developed the “Family to Family“ program in Montreal and worked to integrate the large influx of refugees from the former Soviet Union into the Jewish community there. She became the Director of the Montreal Mizrachi Organization and worked directly with Israel to support Hesder Yeshivot.
She remains very involved with the Jewish communities of Canada, where her family has been since the 19th century. Her work at Kulanu will enable her to pursue her driving goal, which is to bring us closer to Tikkun Olam.
Mili Leitner Cohen, Communications Director
Mili Leitner Cohen is Kulanu’s part-time Communications Director. She started working for Kulanu in 2015 after attending a speaking tour event at the University of Chicago, where she is a PhD student in Music. Her dissertation examines how Jewish liturgy and paraliturgy are deployed in Israeli public space in order to attempt to define the limits of Israeli Judaism. She is also Assistant Editor of the academic journal Musica Judaica’s review section. Originally from the UK, Mili now lives in Jerusalem.