BOARD Of dIRECTORS
Karyn Bass Ehler
Karyn L. Bass Ehler serves as the General Counsel for the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). In this role, Karyn manages and oversees all legal functions for IDPH, including helping the agency and the State of Illinois navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to joining IDPH, Karyn served as a civil rights attorney in both private practice and in the public sector. Karyn served as the Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau for the Illinois Attorney General and oversaw the department that investigates and litigates cases under both state and federal law involving patterns and practices of discrimination. While working for the Illinois Attorney General, Karyn served as one of the lead counsel in the State of Illinois v. City of Chicago (N.D. Ill.) litigation and negotiation, which resulted in a historic consent decree addressing comprehensive and systemic reform of the Chicago Police Department. In addition, Karyn successfully led the legislative initiatives on campus sexual assault in 2015 and the effort to expand Illinois’ hate crimes law in 2017. Karyn earned her J.D., cum laude, from DePaul University College of Law, where she was the Editor-in-Chief for the DePaul Law Review and a Dean’s Merit Scholar and earned her B.A., with honors, from Northwestern University.
Board Vice President
Sara Cantor co-founded Greater Good Studio to apply her background in ethnographic research and design strategy to overlooked problems and underserved people. At Greater Good, she designs effective and inclusive engagements, guides the research practice, and develops partnerships with clients, peers and mentors. Sara speaks regularly on designing for social impact and has facilitated social innovation workshops around the world with a wide range of learners, from nonprofit executives to high school students. Sara holds a master’s in design planning from the Institute of Design at IIT and a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University.
Rich Amend and his wife Andy have been connected with JCUA for almost thirty years. Rich lives in Highland Park and retired in 2014 from his work in the distribution industry. He periodically works as an industry consultant on international supply chain and computer systems integration. Deeply committed to social justice causes, Rich has had more time to be active following his retirement. He is a board member of Curt’s Cafe and was part of the core team that brought Curt’s to Highland Park. Additionally he holds the following leadership roles in Jewish and community organizations: board member for Family Service of Lake County; Commission on Social Action member for the Religious Action Council; member of J-Street’s National Leadership Circle; and member of JCUA’s immigration task force. Rich also belongs to Makom Lakeside, the new synagogue entity resulting from the merging of Solel and Lakeside Congregations.
Cydney Wallace is a Torah observant wife and mother of four, born and raised on the south side of Chicago. She joined JCUA after becoming increasingly frustrated with how the 2016 election was going. Cydney graduated high school a year early and attended Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, where she met her husband of nearly thirteen years, though she was unable to finish school due to a lack of funds. Working exclusively in customer service jobs, her first job as a grocery store stocker in Sandy Springs, GA paid her just $5.45/hr in 2004. Cydney began working for Epiq Global (formerly Document Technologies, Inc.) in 2011 pushing a mail cart and, as of April 2019, became a member of the Operations Team as the Resource Select Team Manager. After a childhood of constantly moving/being evicted, and a stint of homelessness in college, Cydney and her husband Brent bought their first home in Chicago Lawn/Marquette Park in to be within walking distance of Beth Shalom B’Nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew congregation.
Rabbi Frederick Reeves
Immediate Past President
Rabbi Frederick Reeves is the senior clergy of KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to serving as the spiritual leader of Illinois’s oldest Jewish congregation, he is the president of the Hyde Park & Kenwood Interfaith Council and serves as a member of the board for the Chicago Area Reform Rabbi’s Association. Prior to coming to KAM Isaiah Israel, Rabbi Reeves served as the Associate Rabbi of The Temple in Atlanta, Georgia. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Rabbi Reeves has a degree in French Literature from the College of William & Mary. He earned an M.A. in Hebrew Letters and was ordained at the HUC in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rabbi Reeves has five children: Violet, Asher, Levi, Hazel, and Judah. He and his wife, Lauren, love living in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.
Daniel Epstein is a former litigator at Jenner & Block. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics and political science in 2007 from Washington University in St. Louis. He received his J.D. in 2015 from The University of Chicago Law School. Mr. Epstein’s pro bono practice is active and has included the representation of clients before the Supreme Court of the United States and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2017 Mr. Epstein won Jenner & Block’s pro bono award. Prior to practicing law, Mr. Epstein was the Director of Government Relations for a global private provider of education services. He also worked as a consultant — focusing on business best practices research for Fortune 100 insurers — and led a nonprofit supporting educational initiatives on five continents. Mr. Epstein is a founder and the president of Perspective to the People (a nonprofit working to provide free security cameras to residents in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood), serves on the board of directors of the Young Professionals Council of the Lawndale Christian Legal Center, is a member of the Institute for New Economic Thinking’s Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group, and is a Tony Patiño Fellow.
As Managing Director of Regional Real Estate Services for IFF, Mr. Feinberg oversees strategy and implementation of IFF’s real estate work in its regional offices and aligns IFF’s real estate consulting work to other departments and initiatives throughout IFF. Prior to joining IFF, Mr. Feinberg led the real estate development of more than 10 charter school campuses, totaling more than $125M in facilities projects and impacting more than 5,000 students on a national footprint. He also provided real estate and facilities strategy and consulting for more than 15 charter schools. He previously served as the CEO of the non-profit, Charter School Support Services, was a co-founder of the non-profit Launchpad Development Corp, and served as a Regional Director of Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund. David is passionate about educational equity and community redevelopment. He began his career as a public school teacher in South Phoenix, teaching 3rd grade and middle school, and designing an after-school program for at-risk youth. After obtaining his graduate degree in urban planning, he began focusing on the intersection of educational equity and community redevelopment in charter school real estate and operations. He currently serves as the Secretary of the Pulaski LSC. He holds a B.A. from Hampshire College, a M.Ed. from ASU, and a Masters in Planning from USC.
Maris Garcia is the Director of the D+I Studio at the University of Chicago. Using a human-centered design approach, she coaches partners in making the campus more equitable for underrepresented students, staff and faculty members. She is a trusted design researcher and strategist with 15 years of experience across sectors and industries. With a strong commitment to social innovation, she has led extraordinary nonprofits and foundations in creating new programs, strategies and tools to help people change mindsets, behaviors and conditions. Maris previously taught Research Methods at the School of the Art Institute Chicago (SAIC) and received a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied architecture and psychology. She and her family are passionate Builders at Mishkan Chicago, where she serves on the community’s Organizing Team.
Rabbi Megan GoldMarche
Rabbi Megan is the Rabbi at the Silverstein Base Hillel at Lincoln Park and the campus Rabbi of Metro Chicago Hillel. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 with a B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies. Megan then went to work for the Hillel at Yale University where she discovered her passion for working with college students, and realized that rather than pursuing a PhD in Clinical psychology she wanted to use the Jewish tradition as a source of meaning to empower young adults to create their own rich Jewish identities. Megan was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2014 and also received an MA in Jewish Gender and Women’s Studies and a certificate in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Megan in an alumna of the Wexner graduate fellowship and prior to joining Metro Chicago Hillel, Megan served as the Senior Jewish Educator at Columbia/Barnard Hillel where she oversaw the social justice portfolio of the Hillel and was involved in various local social justice organizations in New York including JFREJ, T’ruah, and Picture the Homeless. She sought out JCUA as soon as she returned to Chicago and strives to bring local activism to her work at Hillel, seeing it as central to Jewish life and living.
Karen Jacobs grew up in a small-town in New England and moved to Chicago after college to begin a career in advertising, working for Leo Burnett and then a sister company, Starcom Media, for more than 20 years. She and her husband Andy Jacobs raised their family in Northbrook, Illinois, and moved back to the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago in 2013. The Jacobs were among the founding families of Shir Hadash Reconstructionist Synagogue in the northwest suburbs, and are now active members of Mishkan Chicago. She has served as a Board member for Shir Hadash, the Glenbrook North Choir Parents Organization, Chicago Market, and on two advertising trade organizations.
David Levinson arrived in Chicago in the fall of 1979 as a VISTA, assigned as Energy Programs Coordinator to The Neighborhood Institute (TNI), the not-for-profit community development arm of South Shore Bank. His work TNI involved education, advocacy and direct service. In 1984, David co-founded Recycling Services, which became one of the largest independently-owned paper recycling companies in the Midwest. David formerly served as JCUA’s Board Treasurer and has been consulting within the recycling industry.
Benetta Mansfield is a lawyer with more than 30 years of experience as an advocate and mediator. During her professional career in Washington, D.C., Benetta served as the Chief of Staff of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents more than 185,000 bus operators, maintenance and clerical employees throughout the U.S. and Canada. Previously, she was the Chief of Staff of the National Mediation Board and was appointed by a federal judge to direct the election of international officers for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Upon retirement, Benetta returned to her hometown of Chicago, Ill., where she lives today with her husband, Kalman Resnick. She previously served as Vice President of the Board of Arise Chicago and Chair of the Board of Operation Understanding in Washington, DC. She is also a board member of the Mansfield Family Foundation, a longtime supporter of JCUA. In May of 2019, she completed her second term as Chair of the Avodah Board of Directors.
Matthew Owens has been involved with JCUA since arriving in Chicago in 2016 and has been particularly active in JCUA’s work on police accountability. Justice is at the center of Matt’s religious practice, and he identifies strongly with the notion that Judaism calls on all of us to act on core Jewish values of humanity and fairness. He joined Miner, Barnhill & Galland in 2016 and has represented plaintiffs in civil rights, consumer protection, wage and hour, and environmental justice cases. Matt is a graduate of Stanford Law School. During law school, he worked at a pro bono legal clinic, where he defended tenants from unlawful evictions and recovered unpaid wages for workers, including a class action to compensate more than 2,400 janitors for minimum wage violations.
Steve Rothschild is Professor and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Rush University Medical Center. Steve’s medical career has focused on eliminating health inequities, from opening his practice in Pilsen in 1988, to working with medical and nursing students at one of the city’s largest homeless shelters for over 25 years. As the COVID19 pandemic began in March 2020, he established CHHRGE, the Chicago Homelessness and Health Response Group for Equity, which has grown into a unique multi-sector coalition of over 130 advocates and agencies working to improve the health of persons experiencing homelessness. Steve is also a community health researcher, conducting multiple NIH-funded studies of interventions to improve the health of Black and Latinx people with diabetes, depression, and other chronic illnesses. He is on the leadership of the Chicago Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, and the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, and serves on the Chicago Board of Health.
Irene Lehrer Sandalow
Irene Lehrer Sandalow is the founder and director of SketchPad a Jewish shared workspace and community for innovative, mission-driven Jewish organizations and entrepreneurs (JCUA is an anchor organization of SketchPad.) Irene has worked in the Jewish nonprofit sector for over 15 years. She has expertise in coalition building, project management, strategic planning, community education, outreach, and organizing. Most recently, Irene was the Chicago Senior Project Manager of URJ’s B’nai Mitzvah Revolution. Prior to that, Irene founded the Parent to Parent Initiative at The Jewish Education Project promoting parent leadership in Jewish day schools in New York. From 2006-2012, Irene worked at JCUA where she educated and mobilized members of the Jewish community in local and national social justice campaigns. Irene’s writings have appeared in eJewish Philanthropy, ZEEK: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture, Journal for Jewish Communal Service, and Sh’ma: a Journal for Jewish Ideas. She and her husband, Dr. Nathan Sandalow, are the proud parents of Eli, Abe, and Chananya (Henry).
Randi Stern has been an active JCUA member since 2014, working primarily on the Trauma Center and Domestic Workers Bill of Rights campaigns. She was on the Hyde Park JCC Board from 2005 to 2008. Randi was the coordinator of the Hyde Park Israel Solidarity Day Walk for Israel in 2006 and 2007. Randi has a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Illinois-Urbana and has worked in the medical research field for over 30 years. For the past 15 years, until she retired two years ago, she worked at the University of Chicago. Randi was involved in numerous neighborhood activities while living in the Dearborn Park community in the 1990’s. Randi coached her children’s soccer team in the South Loop and currently coaches a girls softball team in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Randi loves to play basketball and has been fortunate to compete in women’s 3 on 3 basketball during the 2013 and 2015 Senior Games.
Jeffrey A. Zaluda is a partner at Horwood, Marcus & Berk. He built his practice by creating long-term relationships with clients who value his accessibility and ability to bring creative, practical and empathetic solutions to their unique matters. Jeff’s clients include individuals, families, fiduciaries, closely held businesses, business owners, entrepreneurs, philanthropies and social impact investors. He advises on estate and tax planning, business and succession planning, asset protection and preservation, estate and trust administration, estate and trust litigation, and deployment of social capital.Jeff regularly speaks and writes and has prepared and presented dozens of professional articles, treatises and speeches on a variety of topics related to his trusts and estates practice. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and a member of the Tax Management Estate, Gifts and Trust Advisory Board, the Chicago Estate Planning Council and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, among other organizations. He regularly publishes in various professional journals.