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)
Neal has, until recently, been a diehard East Coaster. He was born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut (featured in the Office!) and spent five years in NYC, working in finance and consulting. After an MBA, he was seduced by the siren song of startup life and the absence of miserable winters that San Francisco offers. He moved to SF three years ago and has been happily jumping around the fintech startup scene ever since. In the winter, you’ll find Neal skiing up in Tahoe, and in the summer he’ll most likely be hiking or scuba diving. In between, you can find him running logistics and planning parties for his Burning Man camp, Bubbles and Bass. He is really excited to be getting more involved with the Emanuel community, especially through Late Shabbat. Beware: he’s terrible at names, and if he’s loud, it’s just because he’s excited to meet you.
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 Jerusalem at the age of 13, and has continued to attend 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. After moving back, Aaron discovered the various YAC programs that Emau-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 is looking forward to contributing to the calendar of fun and original events that Emanu-El’s Young Adult Leadership Committee has to offer.
Ethan grew up outside of Boston, in Newton, Massachusetts. He went to college at Brown University, then medical school at Weill Cornell in New York City. Drawn by the prospect of outdoor activities without the cold, he moved out west in 2012 for residency and now works at UCSF as a neurologist. Throughout different cities, both in the US and abroad, participating in Jewish activities or hosting Jewish holidays has been a huge part of Ethan’s focus, and always served to provide an instant sense of community. Coming to San Francisco, Ethan was impressed at the young adult energy at Congregation Emanu-El, where activities such as Late Shabbat and Front Porch helped make the Bay Area feel more like home. He is thrilled for the opportunity to help expand and sustain young adult Jewish activities and help everyone find an equally welcoming experience.
Rachel is a native of Syracuse, NY, but a Californian at heart. After graduating from Northwestern University in Chicago and studying abroad at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, she ditched her snow boots for and spent five years happily soaking up the sunshine in San Diego. She previously worked as an AmeriCorps Fellow, a Teach For America Corps Member, and an Educational Director at the Anti-Defamation League. Currently, she is pursuing her passion for education and social justice as a ninth-grade English teacher at Woodside High School and teaches at the Temple Emanu-El Religious School. She is so excited to be on YALC and looks forward to meeting you out in the community!
Lila was born in Westchester, NY and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a graduate from the University of Rochester, but decided to move back to the bay 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!
Michelle hails from the one and only Detroit (Go Blue!) and attended the University of Michigan where she studied IT. After putting her skills to use in the IT world, she quickly decided that she missed human interaction and decided to go into tech sales. She then moved to San Francisco in hopes of getting that true “city life” experience. Despite the occasional stepping in smelly substances on the street, she has enjoyed every moment spent in this beautiful city.
In her free time, Michelle likes to play piano, hike, dance, eat ice cream, and be goofy with her friends. Michelle has always been involved in the Jewish community and found immediate comfort in Temple Emanuel after attending her first Late Shabbat. She is extremely passionate about community service and hopes to impact some lives in a meaningful way with fellow Emanuel members by her side :).
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 School. 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 Shabbat’s earlier this year, 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, travelling the world and learning new songs on his Ibanez AC-240 acoustic guitar.
Alina was born in St. Petersburg Russia and immigrated to Boston when she was five years old. She became very involved with Hillel at the University of Rhode Island where she studied International Business and Spanish. The opportunities that Alina was granted through her involvement in Hillel sparked her passion for the Jewish community, leadership, and travel. After graduation is when Alina’s real adventures began. She spent a year teaching English in Spain and then four years in Chicago. Although Alina loved the windy city, after surviving the Polar Vortex, she decided to chase the sunshine and moved to San Francisco (where she learned there was more fog than Sunshine but she still loves it). Alina works as a commercial real estate broker, and in her spare time enjoys meeting new people, exploring all the CA has to offer, creating art, and being involved in the community. She is extremely excited to be part of YALC and to help plan great events for the community.
Danielle is a native of LA and moved to San Francisco after graduating from UC Santa Cruz in 2014. She came to a Late Shabbat while she was still in college but in the city for an interview and knew right then that she would want to be involved with the Jewish Community. After attending more Late Shabbats through the last 3 years she decided to go to Summer Camp and had a blast! After that, she knew she wanted to join YALC so she could help welcome other new members into the Young Adult community. Danielle works as a Recruiter in the tech industry while also attending grad school at USC to get her Masters in Applied Psychology. She’s passionate about helping people find new career opportunities that they love. In her free time, she loves baking and eventually wants to be a professional cake decorator. She can’t wait to share her passions with the Young Adult community at Emanu-El!
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.
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 night Shabbat events 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.
Jack grew up in the Bay Area and enjoyed a wonderful childhood exploring the hillsides of Marin County. He lived in Israel in 2010 where he found a passion for social activism. He returned to the Bay Area where he produced hip-hop and studied Political Science until he moved to Boulder, Colorado in 2014. In Boulder, Jack shifted his focus from politics to Start Ups where he worked at multiple small startups before starting his own.
Jack has returned to the Bay Area and now runs two startups in San Francisco. When he is not working on his startups he spends his time with friends and family as well working on community projects. Jack is very connected to his Jewish roots and has joined the young Jewish community at Emanu-El to help grow the Late Shabbat program and connect young Jewish people all over the Bay Area.
Blake is a connector and takes immense joy helping foster meaningful relationships!
He grew up in Miami and went to college in Washington DC. It’s fair to say he fully lived the D.C. life! Interning at the Democratic National Committee and working in the nonprofit field for 5 years. Eventually, it was time for tech, which led him to the Bay working on creating the next generation of smart homes.
With regards to Judaism, Birthright was the powerful experience that brought a deep connection with his Jewish roots. After attending a late shabbat at Temple Emanu-El that same sense of pride of our people was rekindled. He knew he had to be involved.
A world class culture creator, Blake continues to lead and recommend culture building activities to one of the world largest companies, Samsung. Blake sees the immense value of strength in unity and shared values of compassion, love, and respect. He cannot wait to meet you!
Sarah is thrilled be joining YALC and grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow with such a strong team of professionals in the community. Sarah grew up in Massachusetts and moved to San Francisco in 2013 for a start-up job in Education-Technology. A passionate educator and former tech camp director, Sarah is always looking for new ways to engage learners and foster the love of learning in children and adults. As a life-long learner herself, Sarah spends her time outside of the classroom writing, biking, hiking, running, playing tennis and in the dance studio. Sarah is also a certified children’s yoga instructor and loves getting to share her practice with little ones.
Originally from Ventura, California, Gabby spent the first twenty three years of her life in Southern California and earned her bachelor’s in political science and psychology from the University of Southern California and master’s of education from UC Santa Barbara. She moved up to the Bay Area in 2014 to teach middle school and has since transitioned to working in strategic development for a global nonprofit social enterprise. Gabby is extremely passionate about youth development and social justice and as an undergrad served as a Co-Director of USC Troy Camp, one of USC’s largest and oldest student-run philanthropies that provides long-term mentorship for students in South Los Angeles. Gabby’s Judaism has always been extremely important to her – she held several leadership positions in her temple youth group growing up and recently had the opportunity to travel to Israel for a second time through Birthright, as well as participate in Emanu-El’s Germany Close Up trip. Gabby is very excited to be joining YALC and working with a wonderful group of people in the Emanu-El community.
While Cara was raised in New Jersey she always had a sense for adventure and knew she wanted to travel the world. Having always had a 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 fell 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 if 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.