Jeremiah Fellowship Participants
Taylor Cohen is a Los Angeles native with a degree in linguistics and comparative literature from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. After graduating in 2012, Taylor pursued her passion for service and volunteering by joining the national service program AmeriCorps. Taylor is currently serving in her second year as an AmeriCorps Fellow with KOREH L.A., The Jewish Federation's children's literacy program. With a strong belief in equality, Taylor plans to dedicate her professional career to social justice and supporting her community. In her spare time Taylor can be found climbing a fruit tree with the food justice organization Food Forward, enjoying a local used bookstore, or exploring the city by foot. She cannot wait to embark on her journey with the Jeremiah Fellowship, where she hopes to gain a better understanding of current issues and how she can further impact the world.
Ilissa Gold has felt compelled to fight for social justice since the age of 14, when she became outraged over the re-imposition of the "global gag rule" in 2001, which barred American women's health organizations working overseas from discussing abortion. Since then, Ilissa has been a strong advocate on a number of progressive social justice issues, including reproductive justice, LGBT rights, workers' rights, and economic inequality. Ilissa firmly believes that it is her Judaism and the experience of the Jewish people in the United States which calls her to work for social justice. Ilissa works as an attorney practicing transactional real estate and land use law. In Los Angeles, in addition to Bend the Arc, she is the president of the Miracle Mile Democratic Club and is active in Bet Tzedek and the National Council of Jewish Women.
Erica Gross is a recent transplant to Los Angeles. She works with Ag Innovations Network, a non-profit organization that facilitates forums and roundtables devoted to creating a sustainable food system. In 2007, she received her BA from Harvard University in Government with a citation in Spanish; and spent the next 6 months interning with the UNHCR in Jerusalem. Erica developed an interest in food systems and food justice while spending a year in France teaching and working on organic farms. She enjoys traveling, cooking, dancing, and hiking in beautiful Southern California.
Rachel Hamburg attributes her lifelong passion for social justice work to her upbringing in a community of activists in Berkeley, California. Rachel is particularly passionate about disability rights, so much so that she created her own course of study at Pomona College in Politics and Disability Studies. While at Pomona, Rachel also founded and ran the college's chapter of Challah for Hunger, an international student organization that raises funds and awareness for local and global social justice initiatives. Upon graduating from Pomona, Rachel moved to London, England, where she earned her masters degree from The London School of Economics and Political Science and worked for two non-profits, most recently as the community involvement coordinator at a health and wellbeing center. She is thrilled to be back in California, where she is currently working as a consultant, supporting non-profits with strategic planning and organizational development. She looks forward to expanding her involvement in social and economic justice activism as a member of the Bend the Arc community.
Jonathan Rich hails from Georgia and moved to Los Angeles last winter. His previous progressive activism experience focused on immigration reform, education policy, and economic justice. Jonathan was an active volunteer at Hillel during his college years, and is passionate about Israel advocacy and social action. He was a part of the Shamiyim V’Aretz Fellowship, which focuses on Kosher Vegetarianism. He attended Birthright in 2012 and completed an adult Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem.
Zack Ritter recently received his PhD in Higher Education from UCLA. He is currently Director of Academic Support and Career Services at American Jewish University, where he helps students succeed socially and academically in college and creates career mentoring partnerships with professionals in Los Angeles. He completed the New Ground Muslim-Jewish Fellowship, and is involved in strengthening cross-cultural awareness and relationship building through his research and community outreach. Zack has published on East Asian International students' experiences with cross-racial interactions and Singapore's education reforms. He has taught courses on social justice history, socio-economic inequity, and college student development. He is also passionate about history, politics, education reform, art, music, civic engagement, and public policy.
Sarah Steinberg was born and raised in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, in a small town called Coarsegold. She studied Cultural Anthropology at the University of California Santa Barbara, where she developed her love for social justice and humanitarian issues. After graduating, she participated in a volunteer program in Ashdod, Israel for five months. She tutored children in English, helped renovate homes and community gardens, worked in food distribution centers, toured the country, and learned about her Jewish heritage. She then moved to Los Angeles to work as an intern at J Street, and has been living in the city for the last two years. She is very excited to start this new chapter as a Jeremiah Fellow with Bend the Arc!
David is a young professional living in the Bay Area. He spent two years teaching English in Japan and is still becoming re-acclimated to life in California. He enjoys games, reading, drawing, music, the beach, cycling, and cooking.
Rivka Burstein-Stern is from Seattle, WA and attended Carleton College. She has a hunch that social activism is literally in her DNA, and she has especially enjoyed doing social justice work with a Jewish lens since participating in AVODAH DC and volunteering with Jews United for Justice. She happily returned to the West Coast to pursue a Master of Arts in policy and leadership at Stanford's School of Education, and now works to build Full Service Community Schools for Oakland Unified School District. She loves private room karaoke (and any group singing, really), turtles, the Pac-12 Conference, and fake meat products.
Kevin Gordon is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose films have screened at festivals across the country. Kevin began his career in public interest law before turning to media as an alternative tool for producing change. He has since worked on productions for Discovery, PBS, Facebook, and The New York Times. His work uses engaging, character-based storytelling to create conversations about important social issues. Kevin received his MFA in Documentary Film and Video at Stanford University and is a graduate of Yale University. He is eager to apply his skills to Bend the Arc's campaigns.