Sandy knows firsthand the value of community and connection in all aspects of life, but in particular as it relates to fertility journeys. After experiencing a miscarriage during the summer of 2019, she published her story in The Forward and has been committed to sharing her story as a way to add to the conversation about pregnancy loss and challenges to growing a family. Professionally, Sandy serves as the Vice President, External Affairs and Communications at Selfhelp Community Services, a nonprofit organization in New York City dedicated to ensuring independence and dignity for older adults as they age, with specialized programs for Holocaust survivors. In her role, she is responsible for raising awareness about the services, mission, and vision of the organization through digital and print communication, advocacy, and outreach. Prior to her current role, Sandy worked at UJA-Federation of New York and for former Manhattan Borough President, and current NYC Comptroller, Scott Stringer. Sandy is also an alumni of Honeymoon Israel, and in 2019, serves as the chair of the Alumni Leadership Council.
David M. Phillips
David is the Principal of Immersive1st, a consulting business that specializes in the not-for-profit sector. The firm focuses on areas of impact such as fundraising, governance, strategic analysis, talent acquisition & retention, program development & implementation, coaching and acute organizational challenges.
David has been involved in the camping sector (day and overnight) for over 30 years and has held most roles at camp from counselor to director! His more formal positions include major gifts officer at United Way of Allegheny County and President & CEO of both Capital Camps & Retreat Center and of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County. As a Consultant he works with various types of camps ranging from girl scouts to YMCA, JCC, specialty programs and independent not-for-profits.
A life-long communal professional his passion is to do important things, with good people, that make a difference.He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Master’s Degree in Social Work focused on community organizing and development. He has a trademark British sense of humor and is not afraid to use it even if others do not understand it. He is married having met Karen at camp, and they have two children – Natie and Hope – both raised at camp. His not so secret passion is football – the real one!
Rabbi Laurie Phillips
Rabbi Laurie Phillips is the creator and director of BEINEINU. Profoundly impacted by her participation in the Brandeis Collegiate Institute in 1995, Laurie set out on a path to intentionally cultivate her own spiritual journey. Becoming a rabbi was an ideal way to merge her passion for Judaism and education after earning a BA in education and special education, as well as an MA in Leadership in Teaching, Curriculum and Supervision. During her time in rabbinical school, she participated in the Mandel Senior Educator program. Laurie was ordained by HUC, Los Angeles in 2003, and last year she completed the three year Rabbinic Leadership training provided by the Shalom Hartman Institute.
Laurie has worked for JCC Association as the Associate Director for the Mandel Center for Jewish Education, co-creating “Lechu Lachem,” designed to immerse camp directors in a personal exploration of their relationship with Judaism. She served as the Director of Education for Wilshire Boulevard Temple and Congregation Habonim, transforming both into an energized, vibrant place for learning and growth. In collaboration with the Manhattan JCC and three other Manhattan synagogues, Laurie helped create and implement the Jewish Journey Project, a choice-based supplemental Jewish educational program for kids through middle school.
She is active in Kids4Peace, Vice President of MATAN, UPROOTED board member, and a trained birth doula. Laurie is deeply committed to empowering women to reclaim mikveh through education and crafting individual experiences. She is also a teacher of mindfulness and believes strongly that a regular practice involving silence and chanting can transform, nourish and heal.
Talia Liben Yarmush
Talia Liben Yarmush is a freelancer writer and editor. Her work has appeared in many national publications, as well as in Jewish papers all across the country. Talia runs the Jew(ish) Binder, an online network and community of Jewish women writers; and she is the Executive Director of Achayot: Sisterhood of Jewish Women Writers, a small nonprofit.
Talia holds a BA in Sociology with a Minor in Film Studies from Bryn Mawr College; and a Certification in Public Relations from Rutgers School of Communication and Information. She currently works in New York City as the Social Media Manager at Hadassah: The Women’s Zionist Organization of America. Talia is a TV addict, an Oxford comma enthusiast, and the mother of two IVF babies. You can learn more about her on her website www.TaliaYarmush.com.
Cantor Shanna Zell
Cantor Shanna Zell is a singer/songwriter turned who will soon assume the role of Senior Cantor at Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley. She believes in creating a warm, passionate, uplifting community to all seekers and lovers of Judaism.
She received her BA in both European Cultural Studies and English & American Literature from Brandeis University. Before embarking on her cantorial journey, Shanna performed live shows with her band – Shanna & the Zellots – a powerful pop-rock ensemble. She released one full length album (2005) and one EP (2011), both comprised of original music. Blending her experience as a songwriter and passion for Jewish music, Shanna brings her passion for Jewish music and driving rock rhythms into invigorating, engaging synagogue services. At TBE Shanna loves directing their high school T’filah Band, singing with the Gan Elohim students and crafting intentional worship with her clergy partners.
She received her ordination from the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music (HUC-JIR) in May 2017.
Shanna encountered Uprooted after deciding to undergo an egg retrieval in her early 30s; she knew one day she wanted to be a mother, but had not yet met a partner for this journey. She is a strong advocate of this option that enables women who might not be ready to conceive to do so later in life.
Shanna lives with her fiancé Josh and their Golden Retriever Toby in Natick. She believes that one can find the sacred in all things secular, loves keeping her pulse on the underground music scene…and sushi.