Rabbi Ruth Adar
Rabbi Adar brings her experience as a lecturer, teacher, and community organizer to HaMaqom. She is a testament to what HaMaqom was established to do: advance life-long Jewish learning and develop the next generation of Jewish leaders. Rabbi Adar began her own studies with HaMaqom (then Lehrhaus) in 1995, studies that inspired her to become an ordained rabbi in the Reform movement in 2008.
She has been an educator at HaMaqom teacher since 2009 and is particularly well-known for her “Introduction to the Jewish Experience” series of classes. Rabbi Adar was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, with a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters in 2008. She completed a Master of Arts in Religious Studies at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She also received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics with Minors in History and Education at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Ruth has served as a rabbi in several congregations, including Congregation Ner Tamid in Henderson, NV and Temple Beth Solomon of the Deaf in Tarzana, CA. Many in the Bay Area know her best as the “Coffee Shop Rabbi,” a program she started in 2008 to reach out to non-affiliated Jews and others who are curious about Judaism.
Rabbi Adar has published on the topics of the Jewish Ethics of Money and on Conversion to Judaism, and writes quarterly divrei Torah for the CCAR Newsletter.
Chief Financial & Operating Officer
510-845-6420, ext. 115
Jaimie Baxter, CFOO, 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.
Chief Program Officer
510-845-6420, ext. 110
Tamar Zaken, Chief Program Officer, 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.
Director of Advancement
Lisa Strauss, Director of Advancement, joined the HaMaqom | The Place team in July 2020. Lisa was born and raised in the Bay Area. She received her degree in Communications and Electronic Media from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, and was captain of the DI Women’s Water Polo team.
Lisa has extensive skills and experience in marketing, digital media, and events. Her career began in the music and events industry on the east coast planning programming, promotions, and high-profile events for several prominent brands. She made her way back westside in 2011 while doing creative marketing work in the start-up world and hasn’t left the west coast since.
Now back in Los Gatos, Lisa is happy to be living and raising her kids in her hometown, dedicating her skillset to advancing the Bay Area Jewish community. She and her family can be spotted riding around town on bikes or attending outdoor live music events. Lisa has found joy recently in coaching her daughter’s eight and under softball team, the Sparkle Jellies.
Director of Development
With almost twenty years of experience in the non-profit sector, Jenny joins HaMaqom | The Place as the Director of Development. Prior to joining our team, Jenny spent ten years as the Director of Annual Giving at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto and served as the Development Director for eScrip, a San Mateo based company that has distributed over $300 million to schools across the country.
A graduate of the University at Colorado, Boulder, Jenny was a member of the Women’s DI basketball team and graduated with a degree in Communications. Born and raised in Menlo Park, CA, Jenny attended Sacred Heart Preparatory in Atherton. She resides in Redwood City, CA with her husband Dermot and two children, Tommy and Lilly.
510-845-6420, ext. 119
Jenny Myer, Operations Manager, 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.
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.