Our team is here to help you strengthen and sustain your connection with the global Jewish community. To learn more about our work, please feel free to contact us. For general questions, or if you are unsure which regional director serves your community, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Network Professional Staff
Chief Impact and Growth Officer
Ruth Raskas is Chief Impact and Growth Officer for JFNA, a new role focused on using data, analytics, and digital strategies in a commercially sophisticated way to drive flourishing Jewish communities. In a fast changing technological and economic environment, the Impact and Growth Department, which includes The Network of Independent Communities, will drive solutions and innovations that help Federations and Network communities maximize their impact and use data to make informed decisions.
Ruth Raskas spent close to 20 years as a health care executive driving innovation across the country. As a leader in a Fortune 50 company, Ruth was responsible for setting a vision and driving results with improved outcomes. In her most recent role, she led “Go To Market” for Anthem’s Artificial Intelligence Unit, bringing digital products into the health care market. She has worked closely with State and Federal governments, a range of customer segments and with the start-up community in the US and Israel. Ruth was also responsible for launching Anthem’s Provider Experience work, establishing the system for measuring and improving provider satisfaction.
As a volunteer, Ruth spent nearly a decade on the Board of the St. Louis Jewish Federation where she was involved in many committees including Chairing Planning and Allocations. She was also a Wexner Heritage Fellow and a winner of the St. Louis Federation’s Young Leadership Award. Ruth has also spent time volunteering for the day school community including serving on the Board of the Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School and SAR. She is also a board member of the Shalom Hartman Institute. Ruth received her AB from Harvard College and her JD from Georgetown University Law School. She currently lives in NY with her husband and three children.
Edward Finkel serves Network communities from Maine to Maryland, Western North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee, Southeast Georgia, North, Central and South Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and also the Western Region (Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Washington and Wyoming).
He founded EJF Associates, a campaign management and philanthropic consulting firm, and has designed and directed annual, capital and endowment fundraising operations for over three decades for synagogues, Jewish community institutions and organizations, providing key strategic expertise. He previously served as Assistant Atlantic Seaboard Regional Director of United Jewish Appeal and in executive management positions at The Jewish Federations of Greater Metrowest, Western Massachusetts, Greater New Haven and Merrimack Valley. A trained broadcast journalist, Ed is a graduate of Boston University College of Communications. He currently serves in leadership capacities to several educational, arts and Jewish organizations and has been honored for his contributions to their work.
Abby comes to JFNA with over 5 years of experience in donor relations and fundraising in the Jewish community. She is very excited to work with the Network Communities throughout the Southeast (North Crolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, as well as Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Texas to help strengthen their opportunities to enhance Jewish life and their campaign fundraising efforts.
Previously, she was Head of School at Addlestone Hebrew Academy in Charleston, South Carolina, a community Jewish Day School, serving over 130 students from 18 months through 8th grade. Abby also served as Executive Director at Synagogue Emanu-El in Charleston and received her professional certification as Fellow of Synagogue Administration (FSA) by the North America Association of Synagogue Executives (NAASE). Abby began her Jewish communal professional career as Director of Camp Young Judaea Midwest.
Originally from Chicago, Abby received here BA from Purdue University in organizational communication and secondary education. She also earned an MA from Bowling Green State University in special education. Abby has post graduate training at Harvard University’ Principal’s Institute as well as Northwesterm University’s Jewish Leaders Seminar. Currently,Abby is earning another masters degree in Executive Management at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning.
Abby lives in Charleston with her husband Norm, a geology profession at the College of Charleston and had three sons Ari (23), Aaron (20) and Elan (19).
Rachel Levy serves Network communities in the Midwest Region (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin) as well as Alaska, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Rachel lived in Providence, Rhode Island until she graduated from Brown University in 1995. She has been working for a wide range of Jewish organizations as a Jewish professional her entire career beginning with her time as the Bronfman Fellow at Hillel International. Rachel launched a start-up in Boston to connect young adults to Jewish life after college and expanded the program across the country by working with Federations and Jewish Community Centers. Because of her vision and leadership of Jewish organizations as a young adult, she was awarded a Wexner Graduate Fellowship towards her Masters in Public Administration at Columbia University. During her time in New York, she had the opportunity to work for the Bronfman Foundation, Jewish Funders Network and UJA Federation of New York. Rachel rose up the ranks of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey working with Woman’s Division, Corporate Sponsors and Major Gifts. In 2011, Rachel began serving as the Midwest Regional Director for the Network of Independent Communities at The Jewish Federations of North America and moved to Madison, Wisconsin. She has traveled to over 22 states in this position, played a critical role at regional and national conferences for nearly a decade and visited our beneficiary agencies in Dimona, Israel, Tbilisi, Minsk and Havana, Cuba. In her free time, she has completed 6 triathlons, 6 half marathons and 4 century bike rides. Rachel is currently living in Providence, RI.
Erica has been with JFNA in administrative support since 1996. She holds a BA in early childhood education, and is married with two daughters and two grandchildren.
The Network Advisory Committee
We are fortunate to have dedicated volunteer leaders from Jewish communities across the country serve on the Network Advisory Committee to advise, guide and help further the mission and work of the Network of Independent Communities.
Simone Knego, Chair
Caryn Rosen Adelman
San Luis Obispo, CA
Miami Beach, FL
Susan Weiss Firestone
New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
Julie Wise Oreck
New Orleans, LA
West Hartford, CT
Leslie Dannin Rosenthal
South Orange, NJ
Port Saint Lucie, FL