CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR / CFO
510-845-6420, ext. 115
Jaimie Baxter, Co-Executive Director / CFO, initially joined the HAMAQOM | The Place team in July 2018 as Chief Operating Officer. Previously, she was the Interim Chief Operating Officer and Program Director at Kevah, an organization that empowers individuals and organizations to build Jewish learning communities.
Her previous work includes serving on the Board of Directors as the Outreach Committee Chair for Marin County School Volunteers (MCSV) and as the Volunteer Program Coordinator at the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL). Jaimie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies with a concentration in Judaism from UC Berkeley. She has a passion for community building, lifelong learning, and education, and has a deep appreciation for the diverse and complex strands of Jewish culture and history.
CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR / CPO
Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan
510-845-6420, ext. 118
Peretz Wolf-Prusan, who served for 20 years as rabbi and senior educator at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, joined HAMAQOM | The Place in October 2010. The Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation sponsors this senior executive position.
Peretz, a national Covenant Award winner, spearheaded the development of our Bay Area community-wide Talmud Circle, Philosophy Circle, and Zohar Circle programs. He teaches classical texts for many of these offerings. In addition, Peretz oversees many HAMAQOM conferences and new educational initiatives.
After volunteering in Israel 1973–1974, Peretz came to the Bay Area to teach art at UAHC Camp Swig and study at the San Francisco Art Institute. He taught Jewish folklore and Hebrew calligraphy when Lehrhaus was founded in 1974.
After a decade of creating Ketubot, printmaking, working in informal education, he, along with Becki and one-year-old, Leora, traveled back to Israel in 1985 to learn at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and became a rabbi in 1990 (along the way, added Avital and Noah to the family). At Emanu-El, he revitalized and earned national recognition for the congregation’s education programs.
Peretz continues to learn at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and with the Consortium for Jewish Family Education. Peretz and Becki live in Berkeley.
510-845-6420, ext. 110
Tamar Zaken, Associate Director, joined HAMAQOM | The Place, in Spring, 2019. Tamar grew up in Oakland and moved to Israel as a teenager. For many years, Tamar directed service learning programs at Memizrach Shemesh, the Center for Jewish Social Activism based in Jerusalem. She graduated from the Joint Program at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and received a MSW from Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University in New York.
Most recently, Tamar served as the Shamash Resident at the JCC of the East Bay and as interim Director of New Generations at the New Israel Fund in San Francisco. She lives in the East Bay with her husband and two daughters. In her spare time, Tamar translates Sephardic Rabbinic texts to expose English speaking audiences to their inspiring message of inclusion and justice.
510-845-6420, ext. 117
Check out his podcast, Jew Oughta Know.
Jason Harris, Associate Director, is a Jewish educator and former politico with a passion for teaching Jewish and Israeli history. Jason develops and supports vibrant Jewish learning experiences, including courses, large scale public events, and study tours.
The Bay Area native is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with a Bachelors of Arts in International Relations. He also received a Masters degree in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies and Jewish Communal Service at the Hornstein Program for Jewish Professional Leadership at Brandeis University.
Jason served in Washington, DC as the Legislative Director to Representative Alcee L. Hastings. Prior to assuming his current role in January 2019, Jason spent five years as the Birthright Program Director at the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation, leading over five hundred Bay Area young professionals on their Israel journeys.
510-845-6420, ext. 112
Natalie Josef, Communications Manager, joined the HAMAQOM | The Place team in October 2019. Originally from Virginia, Natalie has been living in the Bay Area since 2001. She received her BA in English from James Madison University and her MA in Gender Studies from the University of Arizona.
Most recently, Natalie served as a Jewish Educator at Temple Sinai in Oakland and Shir Shalom in Sonoma, CA. She has also held numerous communications, writing, editing, and web design positions in San Francisco. She lives in Oakland with her two cats, Nigel and Finn, and has a passion for soccer, reading, indoor gardening, and serial commas.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT & ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR
510-845-6420, ext. 119
Jenny Myer, Community Engagement and Administrative Coordinator, joined the HAMAQOM | The Place team in August 2019. Jenny was born and raised in Los Angeles and received her BA in History from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Jenny has previously worked with different museums and historical sites in California, alongside educators as well as conducted her own research on historical book collections. She developed a strong passion for learning about history and culture and understands the importance of building learning communities.
Now residing in Berkeley, Jenny enjoys cooking, traveling, and listening to classic rock in her spare time. She is also on a continuous search for the world’s best falafel.
Jehon Grist, Ph.D., is a Senior Educator for HAMAQOM | The Place. He earned his doctorate in Near Eastern Studies from UC Berkeley, where he was a Regents Fellow. Jehon has conducted field research in Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the Valley of the Queens in southern Egypt. He has served as a teacher, study tour scholar, Executive Director, and Chief Operations Officer. Honoring Jehon’s 30-plus years of service to Lehrhaus Judaica, now HAMAQOM | The Place, we established the Jehon Grist Jewish Literacy Fund.
FOUNDING DIRECTOR EMERITUS
Fred Rosenbaum, the Founding Director Emeritus of Lehrhaus Judaica, now HAMAQOM | The Place, led the organization for 44 years until 2017. He has written eight books on modern Jewish history including Cosmopolitans: A Social and Cultural History of the Jews of the Bay Area (University of California Press, 2009). According to Kevin Starr, “no single community has contributed comparably to the rise and development of this region—and no book tells this story better than Fred Rosenbaum’s.”
His book Taking Risks (with Joseph Pell) was praised by Michael Krasny as “especially compelling,” and his Out on a Ledge (with Eva Libitzky), an Amazon bestseller, was deemed “honest and piercing, unsentimental and yet deeply moving,” by Michael Berenbaum, Founding Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Rosenbaum’s work has been translated into a dozen foreign languages.
Among many honors, he won the Anne and Robert Cowan Lifetime Achievement award for outstanding writing on Jewish themes by a Bay Area author and was the first educator from Northern California to receive the Award for Exceptional Jewish Educators from the Covenant Foundation in New York. He has taught at several Bay Area universities including the Graduate Theological Union, lectured widely in the United States and abroad, and has been the traveling scholar on numerous HAMAQOM study tours to Eastern and Western Europe, Israel and the Middle East, South America and Cuba, the American South, and his native New York.
CHIEF MORALE OFFICER
Huxley received his Official Good Boy Certification at a local—and highly prestigious—obedience school in Berkeley, California. He specializes in long walks, eating snacks, napping, and barking at smaller dogs and cats.
In accordance with the Midrashic traditions around Exodus 11:7, which records that “not a dog shall snarl at any of the Israelites,” Huxley is friendly, relaxed, and quiet around all visitors to the HAMAQOM | The Place office.