LEADERSHIP TEAM

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MADISON JACKSON

Founder and Executive Director

Madison Jackson grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, but currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Creative Nonfiction Writing at Chatham University. She has a double Bachelor of Arts degree in Judaic Studies and English, with a minor in History, from Binghamton University in upstate New York. After attending the Szarvas International Jewish Youth Camp in Hungary, Madison became passionate about global Jewish life. She spent a summer living in Warsaw, Poland, working at the American Jewish Committee Central Europe office. Since her return to the United States, she has been determined to help connect Jews from around the world.

KATIE KEIZNER

Event Coordinator

Katie Keizner lives in the UK, just north of London, with her parents, two younger brothers and her Lakeland Terrier fur-baby Della. Katie currently works as an Events Organizer at the Biochemical Society. For the past few years she has been heavily involved with her local Chabad. Katie enjoys 
comparing the London Jewish trends to the Jewish trends where her global Jewish pen pal lives in New York. Katie loves nothing better than seeing a musical at a theatre in London, taking Della for a walk, and socializing with friends.

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SARAH LAUREN KRIEGER

Marketing Consultant

Sarah Lauren Krieger was born and raised in upstate New York and enjoys finding new places to explore, especially in nature. She is a proud alum and Cum Laude graduate of Ithaca College with a B.S. in Communication Management and Design, a concentration in Corporate Communication, and a minor in Jewish Studies. She enjoys combining her passions of Jewish history through travel storytelling. She works with kids, giving back to communities, and is employed in marketing as a content creator.

GIANINA DWEK

Special Projects Coordinator

Gianina Dwek is a Jewish entrepreneur and young creative based in the UK. She was a 2021 JDC Entwine Jewish Service Corps Fellow with the Gabriel Project, and she volunteers for the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Arts & Culture Programme. Gianina also runs her own ethical fashion enterprise, milipili, striving to make a positive social and environmental impact with eco-friendly loungewear that raises funds for UK based charities. She enjoys baking, reading, travelling and writing to her pen pals!

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SAHAR AMSALEM

Community Outreach Coordinator

Sahar Amsalem lives in Australia and is currently studying at university. She has a big passion for learning about Jewish life all over the world and facilitating meaningful connections. Sahar is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Global Jewish Pen Pal Program. In this role she looks forward to reaching out to different organizations and individuals around the world, to join the Global Jewish Pen Pal Program.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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MADISON JACKSON

President

Madison Jackson grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, but currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Creative Nonfiction Writing at Chatham University. She has a double Bachelor of Arts degree in Judaic Studies and English, with a minor in History, from Binghamton University in upstate New York. After attending the Szarvas International Jewish Youth Camp in Hungary, Madison became passionate about global Jewish life. She spent a summer living in Warsaw, Poland, working at the American Jewish Committee Central Europe office. Since her return to the United States, she has been determined to help connect Jews from around the world.

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REBECCA FALK

Secretary

Rebecca Falk is passionate about ensuring strong Jewish communities exist throughout the world. She practices with the health care law team at Wolfe Pincavage, LLC. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with friends and family.

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VALERIE GESTING

Treasurer

Valerie Gesting is a CPA who recently retired with more than 30 years of audit, information security, and risk management experience in the financial services and retail sectors.  She has a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Miami University and a master’s degree in taxation from the University of Cincinnati.  Valerie’s interests include bicycling, kayaking, and volunteering.  She lives in the Cleveland, Ohio area with her husband and rescue dog.

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JONATHAN NIERMAN

Director

Jonathan Nierman works as the Chief Development Officer for Jewish Vocational Service in Boston. He is responsible for driving the major gifts program and providing strategic direction and oversight for the Development Team, which includes communications, institutional support, and events. Prior to working at JVS, Jonathan served as the Regional Director of Development of American Jewish Committee. In this position he successfully managed high level donors on a national and international scope and worked extensively with partnering Jewish organizations and the Jewish philanthropic community. Additionally, Jonathan served as a Donor Relations Officer at the National MS Society where he had success building organizational and team capacity. Jonathan holds a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology from Union College.

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RANDY FRIEDMAN

Director

Randy Friedman lives and teaches in Binghamton, New York. He and Brenda and their three daughters, Ellie, Mika, and Zohar (and best dog, Rocky Marmalade) enjoy life outdoors as much as possible in gorgeous Upstate New York. Randy teaches courses in philosophy of religion in the Judaic Studies Department at Binghamton University, where he is also Director of the Center for Israel Studies.

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SEAN MARTIN

Director

Sean Martin serves as Associate Curator for Jewish History at Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a historian and archivist with research interests in Poland’s twentieth century Jewish history and the history of Jews in the United States. He is the author of Jewish Life in Cracow, 1918-1939 (Vallentine Mitchell, 2004) and the author and editor of For the Good of the Nation: Institutions for Jewish Children in Interwar Poland (Academic Studies Press, 2017). He has also published works on Cleveland’s Jewish history, including A Stitch in Time: The Cleveland Garment Industry (Western Reserve Historical Society, 2015) and, as co-editor with John J. Grabowski, Cleveland Jews and the Making of a Midwestern Community (Rutgers University Press, 2020), a volume of essays on Jewish Cleveland.