Dana Gershon and Rabbi Jonah Pesner
Dana Gershon has been a social justice activist and leader in the Jewish community since high school, when she served as Social Action Vice-President of CRaFTY, then the NFTY region for New York City. A graduate of Combined Jewish Philanthropy’s (CJP) Acharai program, Dana held a number of leadership positions during the nearly twenty years that she and her family lived in Boston: she served as President of Rashi’s Board of Trustees from 2010-2012, and was Co-Chair of CJP’s Boston-Haifa Connection. Dana was instrumental in the founding of Parents at the Center in Haifa, Israel, an early intervention for underserved children at risk and their families. As of July 2020, she will become President of the Board of the National Council of Jewish Women. Outside of the Jewish community, Dana is on the Board of Advisors of the New England Center for Children in Southborough, MA, and Co-President of Sidwell Friends School Rowing in Washington, DC. Professionally, Dana is an attorney with a private practice that specializes in employment law. She represents clients both independently and through an affiliation with Ankner & Levy, PC. Prior to starting her own practice, Dana worked at Rosenman & Colin, LLP, in New York City, as well as at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, P.C. and Goodwin Proctor, LLP in Boston, MA. She has also taught legal research and writing at Boston University School of Law, and Judaism and Justice in the Genesis Program at Brandeis University. Dana received her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. She received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Cornell University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Rabbi Jonah Pesner serves as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and as Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism. Named one of the most influential rabbis in America by Newsweek magazine, he is an inspirational leader and tireless advocate for social justice. In 2006, he founded Just Congregations (now incorporated into the Religious Action Center), which engaged clergy, professional, and volunteer leaders in interfaith efforts in pursuit of social justice. Over the course of his career, he has also led and supported campaigns for racial justice, economic opportunity, immigration reform, LGBTQ equality, human rights, and a variety of other causes. During his tenure as a congregational rabbi at Temple Israel of Boston, Rabbi Pesner was a key leader of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization whose successful health care campaign led to access for hundreds of thousands of people and became a national model. Rabbi Pesner has trained and mentored students on all four campuses of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Pesner serves as a board member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, JOIN for Justice, the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, and the New England Center for Children. He has served as a scholar for the Wexner Foundation, American Jewish World Service, the Nexus USA Summit, and Combined Jewish Philanthropies. Ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1997. Rabbi Pesner was a congregational rabbi at Temple Israel in Westport, CT and is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Bronx High School. Dana and Rabbi Pesner currently reside in Bethesda, MD and have four daughters who are Alumni of The Rashi School, Juliet ’12, Noa ’16, Bobbie ’19, and Cate ’19.