Jeremiah Fellowship Participants
Jillian Ezra is the founder of Ezra Productions, a production company that specializes both in helping families preserve their most important stories on film and creating emotionally compelling videos for companies and nonprofits. A native Angeleno, Jillian moved to New York in 2004 to attend New York University’s College of Arts and Sciences, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in economics in 2008. During college, she also studied Italian and writing at NYU’s campus in Florence, Italy and anthropology and social work at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Upon graduating, she completed an internship in public relations at Cartier and spent two years working in marketing at Lazard Asset Management in New York. Although she found the field of finance fascinating, she moved back to Los Angeles to be closer to her family and pursue a career that inspired her: producing meaningful cinematic videos for families, companies, and nonprofits. After editing a short documentary for a friend about the treatment of African asylum seekers in Israel, Jillian co-founded Right Now: Jewish Americans Advocating for African Asylum Seekers in Israel in July 2012. She continues to produce video content to raise awareness about the problems that refugees and south Tel Avivians face in Israel and assists with strategy development, advocacy, and social media.
Natalie is thrilled to join the Los Angeles cohort for the 2012-2013 Jeremiah Fellowship. Born and raised in LA, Natalie grew up strongly connected to social justice, largely through her family's Reform Jewish practice and consistent Jewish education. Natalie studied art history at Kenyon College, a tiny liberal arts school in the middle-of-nowhere Ohio. During her time at Kenyon, Natalie was given the freedom to explore many different areas of study. She found herself drawn to not only the arts, but also to sustainable agriculture and education. Upon graduation, Natalie was desperate to find a way to meld these interests, and in fact she did: she currently works with 1st grade students at a charter school that offers alternative education to a culturally and socio-economically diverse community in the heart of Los Angeles. She is so excited to be a part of the Jeremiah Fellowship and to turn her advocacy for the arts, education, and sustainable food into activism!
Jason Lipeles grew up in Long Beach, CA. He earned a degree in Italian at Vassar College in 2008 and a Master of Social Work at the University of Southern California in May 2012. Over the past several years, Jason has been active in social justice work as an AmeriCorps Fellow at the Jewish Federation of Greater L.A., a volunteer with various anti-hunger non-profits in L.A., and an MSW intern at MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. He is especially interested in issues of healthy food access in and around Los Angeles. Jason currently works in development at Community Services Unlimited, a South L.A.-based non-profit that builds community health and self-reliance through food system projects. Jason also really likes photography and hopes to someday merge his passion for social justice with his thirst to create thoughtful images.
Nathan Looney was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Shortly after high school he joined the U.S. Army’s Military Police Corps. During his eight years in the Army he was deployed on missions to Belize, Italy, and Iraq, and he was a first responder after Hurricane Katrina as well. Aside from his military career, Nathan is passionate about transgender advocacy and mentors other trans-men in the beginning stages of their transition. Nathan is currently finishing his undergraduate business degree at American Jewish University. In his free time he enjoys watching football and can often be found tending a barbeque grill.
Lia Mandelbaum, a Tampa, FL native, feels really great about being a part of the 2012-2013 cohort of the Los Angeles Jeremiah Fellowship. She is finishing up her BSW in Social Work at Cal State Los Angeles and is about to start an internship at Barbour and Floyd Mental Health Services. She works part-time for Craig Taubman at Craig 'N Co., and she loves helping with the production of their major community building projects. She has blogged with the Jewish Journal Online’s historic Oy Gay blog since its launching and is on the verge of launching her own blog with them called Sacred Intentions. As a result of her volunteer work with Kaiser's hospice department for the past year, she sees herself heading in the direction of geriatric social work; however, she is also very flexible and is open to whatever the universe presents to her.
Elana is eager to join a community of social justice advocates as she returns to Los Angeles. She graduated from UC Davis School of Law in May 2012 and earned her B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley. During law school, Elana clerked with the District Attorney’s Office in Sacramento and Los Angeles County, the California Attorney General’s Office, the UC Davis Prison Law Clinic, and a private civil rights firm on a trial challenging the constitutionality of a gang injunction in West Sacramento. Elana was President of the Jewish Law Students Association at UC Davis and looks forward to re-introducing herself to the Jewish community in Los Angeles through Bend the Arc. Elana is doing everything she can to gear up for her career in public service law. When she’s not on the clock, she’s either out running or developing new recipes that include hummus.
Laura Mizes has been involved in social justice work since the age of 13 and is thrilled to further her passion with the Jeremiah Fellowship this year. In 2009, Laura traveled around the world with Semester at Sea and was able to witness and learn about global humanitarian issues firsthand. When she returned from her semester abroad, she founded a campus-wide philanthropic event to fight local hunger and educate her community on global hunger issues. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Laura was an AmeriCorps member at College Bound in St. Louis where she worked with 250 low-income, first-generation high school students. Currently she is the Youth Outreach Coordinator for MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. Laura holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri - Go Tigers!
As an MFA acting candidate at Yale University 2008, Gamal Palmer co-produced an undergraduate abroad program, “Arts in Action: Theater and Public Health in Swaziland and South Africa.” He then designed an interdisciplinary graduate program for the Yale Schools of Drama and Divinity entitled, “The Quest for Social Justice through Music, Theater and Religion,” which takes place annually in Tanzania, East Africa. Palmer is also co-founder and co-artistic director of Company Cypher (New York and Los Angeles). He is committed to combining social justice and the arts as tools for bringing transformative opportunities to all persons.
Allyson Taylor Schwartz
Allyson Taylor Schwartz is a recent graduate from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles (LMU). Allyson graduated with Honors and a B.A. in Communication Studies with a minor in Jewish Studies. During her time at LMU, she was actively involved with Jewish life and social justice work on campus. She was the Hillel president for two years and also the social chair for Creare, a service organization dedicated to working with the youth of Los Angeles. She has also sat on the Vice President's Intercultural Student Advisory Committee and the Interfaith Council. She recently received the Student Service & Leadership Award for her dedication to education of the whole, service, and the promotion of faith and justice. Allyson currently works full time as the program officer for the Shamayim V'Aretz Institute, an organization dedicated to the intertwining of Judaism and veganism. Outside of social justice and Judaism, her interests include traveling, intercultural immersions, and being a vegan foodie. Allyson is also greatly concerned with how lifestyle choices affect the planet and those around us. She is excited to continue working with the Jewish community and for social justice causes with the LA Jeremiah Fellowship!
Ethan is a native of Sonoma County, California, where he grew up racing his bicycle and exploring the countryside throughout the region. After graduating from high school, he went on to pursue a degree in Politics from Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he learned to love political theory. After visiting Israel on Birthright two years ago, Ethan became involved in an organization called J Street U, where he began to develop a sense of his Judaism that had been dormant since his Bar Mitzvah. Through J Street U’s strategy, he has discovered the power and necessity of community organizing. Ethan has recently graduated from Occidental College and is now an intern for Eric Garcetti's campaign for Mayor of Los Angeles. He hopes to further fuse his Jewish identity with his desire to do work for the public good.