Who We Are

Bend the Arc Regional Councils

Bay Area

Alea Gage


Alea Gage is a city planner with experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. She was part of the Bay Area's first Jeremiah cohort in 2007 and has been involved in both Progressive Jewish Alliance and Bend the Arc ever since. She's been a leader with the Economic Justice Working Group and has actively worked to expand PJA’s, and then Bend the Arc’s, base of active members.

Rabbi Mike Rothbaum


Rabbi Michael Rothbaum serves as Rabbi/Educator at Beth Chaim Congregation in Danville, CA, and lives with his partner, Yiddish singer Anthony Russell, in Oakland. Rabbi Mike has received accolades for his achievements in religious school, B'nai Mitzvah, Youth Group, and Camp settings.  He has also done extensive work with faith-based social justice organizations, including Bend the Arc and JFREJ. Last summer, he joined a rabbinic delegation to Ghana, sponsored by AJWS.

Joel Abramovitz

Joel Abramovitz is a Jewish Studies Educator at the Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School in Foster City. A bay area native, Joel grew up in a family of educators who instilled upon him the importance of positively contributing to and improving one's local community and to the world. Joel has a BA in Jewish Studies and Anthropology from UCLA and a Master's in Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College. Joel's focus as an educator is to build a sense of ethical responsibility and moral compass, based in the Jewish tradition, in his classroom and students.

Angel Alvarez-Mapp

Angel Alvarez-Mapp is the Executive Director of Congregation Beth Sholom (CBS). Angel has been an active, long time congregant, studied for conversion with Rabbis Lew and Richmond.
Angel is a seasoned non-profit professional who has provided strong leadership and strategic direction to organizations for more than nine years, with extensive experience in the development of comprehensive strategic plans, capital campaigns, and communication/marketing plans.

Rabbi Melanie Aron

Rabbi Melanie Aron was born in Brooklyn, New York but moved to Cincinnati as an adolescent. There she lived in an intentionally-created racially integrated neighborhood, attended an all-city public school, became politically active in the North Avondale Neighborhood Association. Attending the Hebrew Union College as a graduate student in Modern Jewish History, she became interested in the rabbinate and was ordained in 1981.

Karen Ben-Moshe

I am a native New Yorker who has called the Bay Area home for over six years. As a life-long feminist, my commitment to social justice began with a passion for promoting reproductive rights. As an undergraduate at Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT), I was active in the school community, including organizing Take Back the Night events attended by 100s of students.

Ruth Ann Binder

Ruth Ann Binder is a professional life coach, mother, nonprofit consultant, and activist with a strong commitment to and experience in social change organizations. Prior to becoming a coach, Ruth Ann was the executive director of Rebuilding Together San Francisco, a community development organization that renovates homes, schools and community centers with the involvement of thousands of volunteers. During that time she was a LeaderSpring Fellow and was more recently chair of its Leadership Council.

Ari Breakstone

Born and raised in Berkeley, Ari has lived in the Bay Area for most of his life. After attending UC Santa Cruz, where he studied Anthropology and History and was editor-in-chief of a student newspaper, he began his career as a nonprofit development professional at the Jewish Community Federation.

Johana Finetti

Originally from Los Angeles, Johana (Jo) Finetti has been a proud San Francisco resident for the last seven years. Since obtaining her Bachelor's degree from San Francisco State University, she has explored her role as a teacher in a number of unique settings, working with age groups from toddlers with special needs all the way up to the university level, as a part-time lecturer for one year at her alma mater.

Kendra Froshman

Kendra Froshman is a Program Analyst at the Controllers Office in San Francisco where she provides technical assistance to city departments on policies, management and internal operations. She has a background in tenant advocacy and is getting her Master of Public Administration from San Francisco State. Originally from Santa Cruz, she has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for ten years.

Joel Gerwein

Dr. Joel Gerwein is an ecologist who manages environmental projects for the California Coastal Conservancy.  Joel has a longstanding interest in the connection between Judaism and the environment.  He co-wrote a curriculum on the subject entitled "Roots and Branches" for the Boston chapter of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and continues to teach and advocate about the subject at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley.  While studying at UMass Boston, he helped unionize his fellow graduate students. Joel grew up in the Washington, D.C.

Andy Katz

Andy Katz is an attorney advocating for workers’ and civil rights, public health, and protecting the environment. He was elected to the East Bay Municipal Utility District in 2006, representing Ward 4, which includes Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Kensington, and North Oakland. He currently serves as EBMUD Board President. Prior to his election to the EBMUD Board, he served for five years as a member of the city of Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board.

Evan Kuluk

Evan Kuluk is a Bay Area native, who returned to his hometown of Oakland, California in 2010 after 10 years of school and work that took him to Claremont, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Stockton and Sacramento. He is glad to be settled. Evan is a felony trial attorney with the Contra Costa County Public Defender's Office, handling cases ranging from drug possession to homicide. He is a 2007 graduate of UC Hastings College of the Law, where he was active with his school's chapter of the progressive legal organization National Lawyers Guild, and the GLBT student organization OUT Law.

Linda Rhine

Linda Rhine is a recent retiree after a 35+ year career in transportation planning. She was as a public sector employee at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) before joining Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates in 1992. Nelson\Nygaard is a San Francisco based progressive transportation planning firm committed to developing transportation systems that promote vibrant, sustainable and accessible communities. Linda was a principal, shareholder and longtime member of the firm’s Board of Directors.

Anna Salem

Anna Salem is a Policy Advocate at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC). She primarily works on education equity issues, challenging the school-to-prison pipeline and creating more inclusive and equitable schools. Before working at the ACLU-NC, Anna worked with middle and high school students at a youth center in the East Bay. Anna earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities and Politics at Scripps College with an emphasis on feminist and critical race theory.

Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller

Julie Saxe-Taller is the Associate Rabbi of Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco, where she has served since she was ordained in 2004 at the New York campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Julie graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in Peace and Conflict Studies and, prior to rabbinical school, directed Jewish education programs in the Bay Area.

Jeff Tiell

Jeff Tiell joined the Jim Joseph Foundation as a Program Associate in January, 2015. In this role, he assists grantees through the grant making process and provides grantee support in creating opportunities for meaningful Jewish learning across the country.

Igor Tregub

Igor Tregub is an engineer with the Department of Energy and has completed assignments with the agency’s Nuclear Nonproliferation and Intergovernmental Affairs divisions in Washington, DC. He serves as a Berkeley Rent Stabilization board commissioner and chair of its Budget and Personnel Committee. Igor is also the former chair of the Berkeley Commission on Labor.