Young Adult Leadership Committee
We host over a hundred events every year. How do we do it? Who comes up with all the ideas? The answer is the Young Adult Leadership Committee (YALC). These dedicated young adult volunteer congregation members are the brains and brawn behind our programs and events. They comprise a sample of our Young Adult Community: they’re in their 20s and 30s, and they’re awesome!
2015 Young Adult Leadership Committee (YALC)
Phillip Klugman (Co-Chair)
Phillip grew up in Central California's Salinas Valley, where he was a member of Temple Beth El. Phillip left the golden state and traveled to New York for college, where he attended NYU and immersed himself in the strong Jewish community of New York. This led him to join NYU's Jewish Heritage Program and participate in numerous events at NYU's Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life. As part of this great Jewish community, Phillip traveled to Israel for the first time on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip, where he further connected to his Jewish roots and discovered his insatiable love of hummus. After graduating with a B.A. in Political Science from NYU, Phillip returned to his home state of California where he now works as a brand builder and communications expert, helping brilliant people and companies achieve their communication goals. He joined YALC in 2013 to continue building his strong Jewish identity and to be a part of the great Jewish Community at Congregation Emanu-El.
Justin Young (Co-Chair)
Justin grew up in Southern California as an active member of Temple Beth El, an avid NFTY participant, and happy Swig camper. He earned a BA in Political Science from the University of California Santa Barbara, where he served on the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity Executive Board and enjoyed the opportunity to surf on a daily basis. After graduating, Justin worked as the Program Director for the Hillel Foundation of Orange County to create a vibrant and dynamic Jewish community at UC Irvine. Serious soul searching and traveling led Justin to graduate school at California State University Long Beach where he earned his teaching credential in social sciences. He moved up to San Francisco (his best decision ever) in the summer of 2012 and was brought to a Late Shabbat in August 2012 by his cousin, Erica. After experiencing Shabbat, he knew this was the community for him. His parents hail from San Francisco and grew up attending services at Congregation Emanu-El, so he felt an immediate connection to the community. He was thrilled to join YALC in September 2013, which allows him to combine his passions for social justice, social events, and program planning. Justin is a high school history teacher as well as a track and field coach. He enjoys running, swimming, biking, cooking, surfing, yoga, competing in triathlons and road races, attempting to play guitar, and laughing at his own jokes and costumes even if no one else does.
Jonathan Bloom first attended Temple Emanu-El's Late Shabbat in 2008, and was instantly hooked. After years of following his television news career through the small and largely Christian towns of Middle America, finding Emanu-El's vibrant and growing Young Adult Community was like finally coming home. It was the happy end to the first chapter of an exciting Jewish journey that continues to unfold here in San Francisco. A Temple member since late 2008, Jonathan has performed comedic roles in the Purim Follies since 2010, and has been a fixture at other Jewish social events, often as a volunteer bartender and unofficial event photographer. In 2012, after a career move that ended many years of working evenings and weekends, Jonathan took a long-awaited step and joined the Young Adult Leadership Committee, hoping to help shape this dynamic and one-of-a-kind community for his peers and the generations that follow. Jonathan can be found skiing the slopes of Lake Tahoe during the winter, cheering on the San Francisco Giants by summer, and performing pop-up concerts with the a cappella group Scales Of The City when you least expect it. Jonathan can also be seen most weekday evenings on ABC 7, reporting on the tech world's latest innovations, and the great Bay Area minds that create them.
Abra moved to the Bay Area just over a year ago after reporting from the Israeli coastline where she attempted to eat her way through every hummus shop she could find. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Abra spent her formative years in Massachusetts, where she mastered the art of shoveling snow and dressing in layers. Now back on the West Coast, Abra has enjoyed getting involved and finding a Jewish community through Young Adult activities at Emanu-El.
Originally from Los Angeles, Scott moved to San Francisco in 2008 after graduating from Tulane University in New Orleans where he earned his BS in Finance and Economics. When Tulane was shut down in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Scott attended the London School of Economics for a year and traveled extensively while abroad. After college, Scott started his career in technology at Yahoo where he spent three years working as a product manager on applications within the Yahoo front page, Yahoo sports, and mobile. Scott left Yahoo in 2011 to join financial services startup Lending Club, where he currently works. Scott joined the YALC in 2013 and Will spearhead various programming across social action, the humanities, and Jewish education.
Laura joined YALC in August 2011 and is excited to continue to give back to the Jewish community. She has enjoyed many a Late Shabbat since moving to San Francisco in 2006. Born and raised in San Diego, CA, Laura attended UC Davis where she earned her B.A. in Psychology with minors in Education and Music. After moving to the city by the bay post graduation, she worked for several years in the field of education, both Jewish and secular. She went back to school at San Francisco State University where she attained her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and has continued to work in education ever since. Laura grew up in a Reform temple where she had both her Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation in addition to serving as a madracha for four years. During high school Laura took leadership roles in BBG. She went on to be highly involved in both Hillel and ΣΑΕΠ at UC Davis. In the fall, she will start her tenth year of teaching Sunday School to Jewish youth. When not working with children, Laura enjoys photography; exploring the bay area; tasting local cuisine; and paying her respects to the Golden Gate Bridge. Laura is happy to call Temple Emanu-El her Jewish home and looks forward to serving another great year on YALC!
Stephen hails from Plano, Texas, where he was a member of Temple Shalom. After graduating from Tulane University with a BSM in Finance, Stephen volunteered in Ethiopia for Stiftung Solarenergie to help develop Solar Energy in rural Ethiopia. Stephen left the Ethiopian highlands for NYC and began a career as an Investment Banker with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Greentech Capital Advisors. In 2012, Stephen moved to San Francisco and transitioned into Software Sales, most recently with Marketo, the leading marketing software company. Stephen loves to spend time outside and has quickly realized that the West Coast is the Best Coast. Stephen joined YALC in January 2014 and is excited to be part of the Emanu-El community.
Alissa Merksamer joined YALC in 2014 shortly after becoming a member of Temple Emanu-El.
Through participating in Young Adult activities like Late Shabbat,THE Book Club, and weekend hikes, Alissa discovered a welcoming community and packed social calendar. Originally from Sacramento, she moved to New York in 2010 to pursue a master's degree in Food Studies from NYU. Now back in San Francisco, Alissa works as a copywriter for Whole Foods Market and freelance food writer.
While growing up in the Bay Area, Lauren attended services at Temple Emanu-El with her family and, just last year, became a member of their Congregation. Born in San Francisco and raised in the Peninsula, Lauren graduated from college in Texas where she earned her B.A in Journalism and found a passion for writing and telling stories. After college, Lauren ventured back to the Bay Area and worked for two technology startups before joining Pinterest, where she currently works today. Now living and working in San Francisco, Lauren enjoys exploring new cities, riding her horse, yoga, scuba diving, and getting involved with the Jewish community.
Allie joined Emanu-El after moving back to California in 2012 and wanting to get connected to the Jewish community in San Francisco. Allie grew up attending a Reconstructionist synagogue in Orange County. She attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and then ventured into the political world working on the 2008 Obama campaign and moving to Washington, DC. After dabbling in politics, Allie decided to pursue a passion for public health and got her Masters in Public Health from George Washington University. After graduating, she moved to San Francisco to pursue a career in public health and works at UCSF in adolescent health. Allie joined YALC in June 2013 after attending many late night shabbats and other YALC sponsored activities in the city. Her family hails from San Francisco and she grew up attending Bar and Bat Mitzvah's and family reunions at Emanu-El. Allie is an expert people watcher, a dog enthusiast, an avid reader and experimental crafter.
Aaron Weisinger has been an Emanu El congregant for the past five years along with his wife Erica. He lives close to the temple and has been on the YALC since 2014. He works for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage where he helps people buy and refinance homes. Aaron grew up in Danville and attended UCSB for his undergraduate degree before obtaining his MBA at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga. He enjoys spending weekends in Tahoe where he enjoys snowboarding, wakeboarding, fishing and relaxing.
Anat joined YALC in 2013, soon after becoming a member of Congregation Emanu-El. Anat grew up in a small town in the north of Israel. She moved to the city in 2009, to get a BFA in Animation and Web Design from the Academy of Art University. Anat has always considered herself "collaterally" Jewish, but had to move all the way to San Francisco to find her religious connection through Emanu-El. Anat loves cooking, writing , creating art and talking about Israel.