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!
Young Adult Leadership Committee (YALC)
Aaron is a San Francisco native, and passionate about all things San Francisco! Growing up just a few blocks from Temple Emanu-El, he used to attend summer school and various activities at the congregation. His family relocated to the North Bay at the age of 10, but Aaron’s love of Emanu-El and his Jewish heritage remained. Aaron had a bar mitzvah in Jerusalem at the age of 13, and has attended High Holy Day services at Emanu-El for years. After receiving his BS in Finance at Santa Clara University, he moved back to San Francisco and enjoys a career in residential real estate with his brother Michael. Once back, Aaron discovered the various YAC programs that Emanu-El had to offer, and was impressed to see how the programs have grown. After a year of attending events, he couldn’t wait to get involved! His first event was a home buyer seminar with a fellow YALC member, which was received very successfully, and he is looking forward to contributing to the calendar of fun and original events that Emanu-El’s Young Adult Leadership Committee has to offer.
Lila was born in Westchester, NY and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a graduate of the University of Rochester, but decided to move back to the Bay area after graduating in 2014. She’s previously worked in the healthcare sector but is currently working in the technology space. Her passions include health, wellness, and fitness, and finding new ways to forge relationships with friends. In her free time, you can find Lila catching up with friends at local restaurant, working out, or traveling.
Vince grew up in a small town in West Sonoma County. He was an Environmental Studies major at UC Santa Cruz (go Banana Slugs!). After several years of pursuing personal passions in the solar and fitness industries, he settled down in San Francisco and joined the tech sales world.
He was raised in a secular household but, like so many other young Jews, his Birthright trip ignited a passion for Judaism, Israel, and Jewish culture that would mark the beginning of his Jewish journey. Several years later, he attended his first Late Shabbat at Temple Emanu-El and fell in love with this community so much that he hasn’t missed a single one in over a year! His goal with YALC is to give back to the Bay Area Jewish community that has been such a positive impact on his life and provide others the same opportunity it gave him to explore and strengthen his Jewish identity.
When he’s not engaging in the Emanu-El community, you can find Vince working out, playing sports, traveling, spending time outdoors, and enjoying time with friends and family.
Aaron grew up in Santa Monica, CA (Go Dodgers!), but his best friends will admit that he’s a NorCal convert and loving everything the Bay has to offer. He earned a BA in Political Science and Business from Brandeis University where he was Captain of the Varsity Golf Team. After graduating in 2009, Aaron moved back to Los Angeles and worked in private banking/wealth management as an investment advisor for several firms before taking the summer of 2014 off to backpack around Europe with a dear friend from high dchool. It was during this life- changing trip that he decided to take the leap of faith and accept a position with a successful fintech company in San Francisco. After attending several Late Shabbats, Aaron felt an immediate connection with congregants and members of the YALC board that are now some of his closest friends in the city. Aaron joined YALC in August 2016 after putting on an event at the Ping Pong Club, Spin SF and is very excited to work with the YALC leadership team in planning future events! He enjoys playing golf, traveling the world and learning new songs on his Ibanez AC-240 acoustic guitar.
Misha is a Washington, DC area native who attended a Jewish day school K-12 before earning his BS in Agricultural Economics from the University of Maryland and MPS in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University. After an 8+ year career in sports marketing, Misha transitioned into tech recruiting last year and is loving the change…He’s passionate about travel (especially Europe and recently National Parks), serving as social chair for friends, and Bay Area adventures. In his free time, Misha can be found on a trail or tee box, a bakery with an espresso and chocolate chip cookie, or visiting family in the East Bay…Misha’s attended multiple late shabbats since moving to SF in 2016 and loves the end of week relaxation it brings. He was inspired to join YALC after attending Camp Nai Nai Nai and spending more time with the Rabbis and community.
Gahl grew up in the Bay Area and has been involved in various Jewish organizations since childhood. He loves to host parties for Jewish holidays and explore new restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in San Francisco. Fluent in Hebrew, he has traveled across Israel many times and has visited Jewish communities in different parts of the world. During college, Gahl worked as a DJ, performing for crowds of over 2,000 people on a weekly basis while studying Computer Science at UCSC. Since college, Gahl worked in various engineering leadership roles from database software to self-driving-cars and artificial intelligence. Gahl now works as a Product Manager at a database software company.
Compelled by the prospect of re-establishing deeper connections with the local Jewish community in San Francisco, Gahl began to attend Late Shabbat at Emanu-El. He instantly felt connected to the community and became excited about opportunities to contribute. He’s thrilled to be a part of YALC and help our extremely diverse young adult Jewish community grow stronger.
Claire spent most of her life in Southern California, growing up in LA and attending college and graduate school in San Diego. After graduating, Claire moved to Oakland in July 2018 and hasn’t looked back! She works as a school-based child therapist, gaining her hours towards her LCSW. Her free time is spent perfecting her handstand, brainstorming Jewish community events, and researching play therapy techniques.
Claire was brought to Late Shabbat by a close friend in January 2019, and instantly knew that she had found the Jewish home in the Bay Area she had been seeking. She is thrilled to be joining YALC and have the opportunity to give back to her community!
Grant grew up in Winston Salem, North Carolina. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and moved to San Francisco after graduating in 2017. Currently he is working in the financial services industry.
He is passionate about conservation and being outdoors. When he isn’t backpacking or skiing you can find him rooting for UNC basketball and going to see live music in the city.
He has been involved with planning young adult Jewish activities since high school and is looking forward to continuing those efforts and giving back to the SF community.
Sarah grew up in Geneva, Switzerland. Upon finishing high school, she went on a soul searching journey that led her to travel and live in Israel, the United Kingdom and Argentina. She graduated from the University of San Francisco with a B.A. in International Studies in 2017 and is now continuing her education with a M.S. in Environmental Management. Sarah has volunteered around the Bay Area in different organizations including Glide, SF-Marin Food Bank, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, and Garden for the Environment. When she is not reading, researching or writing papers, she enjoys greeting the ocean and finding her flow in a vinyasa class. She discovered Congregation Emanuel on a Late Shabbat and she is proud to call it her community.
Becca is a Bay Area native, and loves Bay Area everything from redwoods groves to beaches. You’ll find her first (and last) on any dance floor, and enjoys outdoor concert-going, fitness classes, and discovering new local restaurants. Becca graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle, and is currently a Diversity and Inclusion leader at a Bay Area tech company.
Intrigued by the opportunity of re-establishing deeper connections and building community, Becca began to attend “Late Shabbats” at Emanu-El, as well as community dinners, memorable Camp Nai Nai Nai summers, and wellness workshops. Becca instantly felt connected to the community and became excited about additional opportunities to contribute and bring people together. She’s thrilled to join YALC!
While Cara was raised in New Jersey. she always had a sense for adventure and knew she wanted to travel the world. With her passion for international service, after graduating from Hobart and William Smith colleges in 2011, she made plans to travel abroad. In addition to being a Peace Corps and AmeriCorps alum, she has lived and worked in seven countries where she facilitated and oversaw community development and outreach. On returning to the United States she moved to Portland, Oregon where she received a masters in International Development and Service from Concordia University. Having fallen in love with the West coast, upon graduation she moved to the Bay area in 2016. Throughout her time abroad she always was able to find a Jewish community to welcome her in, so when she moved to San Francisco she knew she wanted to help facilitate and strengthen the community here. As soon as she attended her first Late Shabbat at Congregation Emanu-El she was inspired by the friendliness and compassion of everyone she met and knew she had found something she wanted to be a part of. She is so excited to be on YALC and looks forward to meeting you out in the community!
Anna was born in the Ukraine and grew up on the Peninsula. During her college years at UC Berkeley, Anna worked at Hillel and was a co-founder and president of the Jewish Business Association. After receiving her BS in Business Administration, Anna lived in the East Bay and worked in financial services, helping thousands of clients obtain residential mortgage financing and educating first time homebuyers. In 2014, Anna moved to San Francisco and discovered the welcoming, warm community and interesting programming at Emanu-El. Anna currently works as an Operations Manager at a leading fintech start up in San Francisco and enjoys spending her spare time exploring San Francisco, working out, cooking, and planning/attending Emanu-El events. After a few years of attending events, Anna joined the 2016 Young Adult Summer Camp Committee and loved planning camp. Anna became a YALC member in late 2016 and is excited to plan fun, enriching events and getting to know members of our thriving Young Adult Community.
Thaïs Miller (pronounced “tie-ees,” pronouns: she/her/hers) was born in Los Angeles, CA and graduated from Milken Community High School, a Jewish day school. She is the author of the novel “Our Machinery” (2008) and the short story collection “The Subconscious Mutiny and Other Stories” (2009). She received her BA magna cum laude with Honors in Literature and a minor in Music Performance from American University in Washington, DC in 2009. She then received her MA in Creative Writing for Social Activism from New York University in 2011.
She moved to San Francisco in 2015, and she is currently a PhD Candidate in Literature, pursuing a Creative/Critical Writing Concentration at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research and teaching fields include 20th- and 21st-century Jewish American literature, especially Jewish humor in fiction, film, and television. She has taught literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, UC Berkeley Extension, and the Gotham Writers Workshop. She recently developed a course called “‘Funny Girls,’ 100 Years of Jewish American Women Writers and Performers.”
When she’s not teaching, attending Yiddish literature classes, or working on her dissertation novel California Kvetchin’ (about learning Yiddish and Jewish ghosts), she loves going out to dinner and the movies with family and friends, practicing yoga, visiting museums, attending concerts and film festivals, and traveling. She was inspired to join YALC in 2021 after a year of Mixology, Wellness, Torah on Tap, and Jewish Book Club events with a welcoming and supportive community.