Becca Shimshak, Co-Founder, President
Becca brings to Uprooted’s leadership team her professional expertise working with the Jewish community in the field of non-profit education. Becca’s experience as a Jewish communal professional is both national and pluralistic with organizations such as the Foundation for Jewish Camp, Gann Academy and currently with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. Becca is now the Director of the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy at JCRC. Prior to her work in the Jewish community, Becca developed a mentoring tutoring program for Goddard Riverside Community Center in New York City and managing professional development programs for the Department of Literacy in the Office of Curriculum and Professional Development at the New York City Department of Education.
On a personal level, Becca confronted her own fertility journey head-on and used assisted reproductive technology, yoga, acupuncture, spirituality, mind-body practices and healthy eating to change her life in order to build her own family. Her journey to fertility had many obstacles: miscarriage, ovarian cyst, endometriosis, emotional challenges, a compromised hip due to a rare benign tumor and chronic orthopedic pain. Becca feels fortunate to have searched out support from the Jewish community and believes her success in navigating such a challenging journey was in large part because of the connections she built and the shared knowledge of the community. Becca wanted others to find support even more easily than she did so while pregnant and on maternity leave she teamed up with colleague Dalia Davis to co-found Uprooted as a non-profit. Becca is the Director of the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. Becca received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University in Psychology in 1999. She and her husband Steve live in Needham, MA with their twin toddlers Zoe and Isabella and their dog Lucy.
To learn more about Becca’s story, check out her blog posts: https://jscreen.org/blog/pgd-the-zoe-and-isabella-story/ and https://weareuprooted.org/tu-bav-a-day-of-love-and-lifting-bans/.
Anya Manning, Treasurer
Chair, Boston Initiative
Anya brings over 10 years of market strategy and analysis experience working with young and mature companies across the world. This work has included strategic planning and alignment across 27 markets, identifying new markets, market modeling, and voice of customer (VOC) research. Currently, she works as the Marketing and Business Development Manager at a medical device start-up, MicroMedicine. Anya earned a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University in Environmental Science, a BA from the Jewish Theological Seminary in Midrash, and an MBA from Tel Aviv University.
Anya lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband, Rabbi Elie Lehmann.
Sharona Whisler, Clerk
Sharona Whisler is the founder of Chizuk, a support group for Jewish women struggling with infertility in South Florida. She believes in the peer support model as a source for emotional strength. Sharona’s parents found comfort in Resolve support groups during their own struggles to get pregnant with her and her triplet siblings and were able to direct her to the same resource when she and her husband began facing their own fertility struggles . Sharona found comfort in connecting with other women who understood the emotional and physical pain associated with infertility during the 3 years until she got pregnant with her daughter through IVF, and continues to facilitate Chizuk meetings every month. She is honored to be a part of the Uprooted Team and looks forward to the positive impact Uprooted will have in the lives of so many who are suffering.
General Board Members
Nicole Goldstein, Founding Board Member
Nicole Goldstein is an attorney and journalist living in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two children. Nicole’s professional work has spanned areas as diverse as litigation over grenade fuses to military healthcare and sitting on the Board of a congressionally-chartered historical association. Despite this diversity, she firmly believes that every aspect of her personal and professional life is colored by her struggle to have children and and by her adoptions – both the heartbreaking failed adoption in which they had their baby for a week before losing him; and the two successful adoptions that created their miraculous family. She is a passionate advocate for motherhood, successfully convincing her top-tier law firm to institute maternity leave for adoptive parents, and counseling friends and complete strangers in the adoption process.
Nicole received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 2002, and a B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1996. She is an active member of Ohev Shalom – The National Synagogue in Washington, D.C. She and her husband Franklin, also an attorney, have two perfect children who love their birthfamilies, but know that Hashem has found their forever families. They go to a Jewish day school in the D.C. area.
Cantor Hollis Suzanne Schachner, Founding Board Member
Cantor Hollis Suzanne Schachner has been an essential part of the Temple Shir Tikva of Wayland, Massachusetts clergy and community since July 2001. Along with directing the Temple’s music program she is a teacher of Torah and pastoral counselor to congregants. Cantor Schachner was born in The Bronx, New York and raised in Miami, Florida. She was a musical theatre major at the New World School of the Arts and studied in the jazz and vocal performance departments of the University of Miami, from which she graduated with double majors in Music and Judaic Studies. Before beginning her studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, School of Sacred Music in Jerusalem and New York, Cantor Schachner was the Cantorial Soloist at Temple Israel of Greater Miami, where her voice was heard weekly throughout south Florida on a live Shabbat radio broadcast. During her studies at Hebrew Union College, she served at Temple B’nai Israel of Woodbury, Connecticut for three years, until her graduation and ordination in May, 2001. Currently Cantor Schachner serves on the Board of Directors of Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Paula Brody & Family Education Center. She also teaches as a Cantorial Coach in the School of Jewish Music of Hebrew College. Cantor Schachner loves reading, cooking, theatre, traveling and camping with her family. She and her husband, Cantor Jeffrey Stock, are the proud parents of Gavriel and Liat.
My husband and I struggled with unexplained fertility for 4.5 years before having our first child, Eliana, via gestational surrogate. There were many years of sadness, failed IVFs and finally elation with the joy of finally becoming a parent. 2.8 years later our daughter Mia was born via our same surrogate. We live in Minneapolis with our two angels (11 & 8) and our dog Jojo. I have a Master’s in Education and was a bilingual Spanish teacher before having children. Since having children, I have been working in medical sales and currently work in Biotechnology at Shire specializing in rare disease. I look forward to giving back to others struggling with fertility to make the journey less lonely and isolating.