Elana Rivel is an experienced leader of nonprofit Jewish educational organizations. Rivel previously worked at JLV for over 12 years, last serving as its Associate Director.
Rivel has served as a leader in Jewish nonprofit organizations ranging from Camp Ramah in the Poconos, Penn State Hillel, Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas, TX, and most recently as Director of Ramah Day Camp, Philadelphia. In her tenure at JLV, Rivel helped to develop and manage numerous innovative initiatives that became national models, such as One Book, One Jewish Community, jkidphilly and LeV: Getting to the Heart of Jewish Education.
Chief Program Officer
Gabby is an experienced Jewish educator, having worked as an education director, curriculum writer, teacher, author, and youth director/advisor in various capacities for over 20 years. At Jewish Learning Venture, she works as the Chief Program Officer and directs Whole Community Inclusion. Gabby is a proud recipient of the 2022 Covenant Award. Her most recent book, The Little Gate Crasher, is a memoir of her great-uncle, who overcame society’s prejudices about dwarfism to lead a remarkable life. She has also written The Kitchen Classroom, a children’s cookbook designed for children of all abilities. Gabby holds a B.F.A. in Theatre and Creative Writing from Emerson College and an M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
Alanna Raffel, OTD, OTR/L
Whole Community Inclusion Specialist
Alanna Raffel, OTD, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist and accessibility consultant. She graduated from the University of Maryland with dual degrees in Psychology and Dance and from Thomas Jefferson University with a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. Alanna has worked as an occupational therapist in acute rehab, early intervention ages 3 to 5, outpatient, and school-based settings. Alanna has facilitated accessibility in a variety of ways including autism-friendly Broadway performances in New York City, open captioning at People’s Light in Malvern, and organizing mapping events to collect data on physical accessibility. Her company, Access Point, strives to increase inclusion in Philadelphia and beyond by advocating for access, creating solutions, and promoting awareness of accessible opportunities for people with disabilities and their friends and family.
jkidACCESS Guides Director
In addition to her work with us as the jkidACCESS Director, Suzanne Gold is the Inclusion Facilitator at Ohev Shalom of Bucks County, engaging and supporting all students to participate within their sacred community; and the lead coordinator for Celebrations!@Ohev; a monthly Shabbat morning program for youth and teens with disabilities. In addition, she is a member of Ohev Shalom Inclusion B’Kvode striving to make Ohev Shalom an inclusive community for everyone.
Suzanne has presented at numerous professional development conferences, demonstrating and implementing accommodations that engage all kinds of students attending supplemental Jewish education. As a retired Master Special Education Teacher from the School District of Philadelphia, Suzanne merged her secular knowledge and experience with her passion for Jewish education.
Lisa has worked with Jewish educators across North America to bring Jewish values alive through reading and play. Over the past 8 years as Director of PJ Goes to School, an initiative of PJ Library, she worked with over 500 schools and 1500 classrooms to develop materials and workshops to help educators reflect and focus on creating environments that inspire the entire family’s interest in living Jewishly.
Lisa previously worked with JCC Association as co-creator of An Ethical Start, a program to excite children, family, and staff about learning Jewish values via classical Jewish text.
Lisa is also a composer and director of musical theatre. She has a BA/BS from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.Ed. from Gratz College.
Director, PJ Library in Philadelphia
Robyn Cohen is Director, PJ Library in Philadelphia. She is also the jkidphilly program specialist for Chester County. Robyn has experience working in the Jewish community with families of young children, teens, and college students. Robyn is a psychologist and her dissertation focused on children’s bedtime habits and routine. She and her husband are the proud parents of four wonderful jkids. Robyn has a B.S. in Psychology from Binghamton University, an M.A. in School Psychology, and a Ph.D. in School and Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University.
Whole Community Inclusion Consultant
Jaime Bassman, MS, OTR/L is a pediatric occupational therapist with over a decade of experience in early intervention, preschool and school-based settings including autistic support and emotional support programs. She is able to provide modifications and strategies that support attention span, behavior and sensory processing as well as reading and writing in Hebrew. On-site individual or generalized consultation sessions are available to improve outcomes for students with special needs at synagogues throughout the Delaware Valley.