The Rashi School Annual Dinner

Please Join Us:

Sunday, November 8, 2020
21 Chesvan 5781

Honorary Chairs: Donna & David Frieze, Linda & Michael Frieze
Co-Chairs: Jessica & David Aronoff, Daniel L. Miller,
Kara & Brandon Westerling

Honoring Rashi Alumni parents Dana Gershon and Rabbi Jonah Pesner.

    • Alumni Parents Dana Gershon and Rabbi Jonah Pesner

      2020 Annual Dinner Honorees

      Alumni Parents Dana Gershon and Rabbi Jonah Pesner

    • Gavin Alexander

      2020 Tikkun Alum Award Recipient

      Gavin Alexander '99

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.

Gavin Alexander ’99 (formerly Alexander Fishman) is a senior associate at Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston, where his work focuses on complex corporate transactions. Ever since his first day of law school, he has passionately worked to improve the lives of LGBTQ individuals in Massachusetts and around the country, and to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Gavin studied Theater and Mathematics at Wesleyan University, and graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude in 2012. As a law student, Gavin worked with Massachusetts Transgender Legal Advocates providing pro bono civil legal services to low-income transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, and after law school, Gavin spent a year as a law clerk for Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. More recently, Gavin has served as a Co-Chairof the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association and asa member of the Board of Directors of the National LGBT Bar Association, and he presently serves on the Boston Bar Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Section Steering Committee, where he has been working to build a new, multi-organization steering committee to support the needs of LGBTQ lawyers and law students of color throughout Massachusetts. In December of 2019, after speaking publicly about his experience as an attorney diagnosed with severe chronic depression, Gavin was appointed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to serve on the Court’s new Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-being. This new committee is charged with planning and overseeing efforts to enhance the well-being of lawyers, judges, and law students in the Commonwealth. Gavin was named one of the “Best LGBT Attorneys Under 40” by the National LGBT Bar Association in 2017, featured on the Massachusetts Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list for 2018, and selected as one of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s 25 “Up & Coming Lawyers” for 2019.

The Annual Dinner is our largest community and fundraising event of the year where we celebrate Rashi's commitment to academic excellence, social justice, and integrated Jewish education. We encourage all parents, grandparents, alumni, alumni parents, and friends to join us for this tradition. 
Tikkun Alums, including this year's recipient Gavin Alexander '99, are recognized at the Rashi Annual Dinner and are invited to spend a day at the school, sharing with students their ongoing efforts and the ways in which Rashi social justice initiatives shaped their own directions and pursuits. 

Past Dinners