Board of Trustees 2019-2020

The members of the Gateways Board are a diverse and experienced group of community leaders, professionals, funders, and parents representing a wide range of backgrounds, religious observance and generations. Each trustee is committed to fulfilling the needs of our stakeholders through strategic, financial and governance best practices that align with the Gateways mission and vision.

Click on the plus sign to view each board member's bio.


Michelle Alkon, President

Michelle has been connected to Gateways since before it existed. She became a board member of Etgar L’Noar in 2000, when her son, Ben became a student. A member of Etgar’s executive board, she was the co-chair of the merger committee that created Gateways 11 years ago. Michelle proudly served on the Gateways executive board and board of directors and, subsequently, as part of the Gateways Growth Group (G3) committee that focuses on innovation and growth for the organization. Michelle has been an advocate, supporter and advisor for Gateways but believes fervently that Gateways has given her and her family more than she could ever begin to give back.

Nora Friedman, Chair of Education Advisory Committee

Nora is delighted to be serving on the Gateways board. A psychiatrist at the Lurie Center for Autism at Massachusetts General Hospital, she provides clinical care for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities across the lifespan. For the past few years, Nora has served on the CJP Committee on Services for People with Disabilities. She and her husband have four children.

Dara Grossman, Clerk

Dara Grossman has been involved with Gateways since 2012.  She currently is the chair of the Education Committee.  Prior to joining the Board she taught at MetroWest Jewish Day School and served as the school's social justice coordinator.  This year, Dara will be participating in the CJP Women's Philanthropy Leadership Development Series.  She is also an active member of the Temple Beth Shalom community in Needham.  Dara earned an M.A. in Elementary Education from NYU and a B.A. from Union College.  She lives in Needham with her husband David and their three children, Ian, Jared and Alexa.

Cindy Kaplan, Vice President, Development

Cindy is a Certified Parent Coach and a Master’s level Psychotherapist who has been working with couples and families over the last twenty years. She currently leads parenting workshops and presentations and has a private practice serving parents, many of whom have children with special needs. Cindy has been involved with Gateways for the last nine years as a parent of a child in the Sunday school, B’nei Mitzvah, and Mitzvah Mensches programs. She has facilitated workshops for parents in the Sunday school program and is thrilled to delve deeper into the heart of Gateways by joining the board. Cindy lives in Newton with her husband and three children.

Sasha Meyerson, Chair, Nominating Committee

Sasha Meyerson is active on the CJP Women's Philanthropy Executive Board as a Vice President of Young Women.  She also enjoys working part time as an early intervention physical therapist with kids 3 and under.  She lives in Needham with her husband Geoff and their three kids, Victoria, Jacob and Michelle.

Barbara Posnick, Vice President of Finance / Treasurer

Barbara lives in Wayland with her husband, Carl Mikkelsen.  She currently serves on Gateways’ Finance Committee.  She is now retired after a long career as a health actuary, and is an Adjunct Professor in the Actuarial Science program at Boston University.  Barbara is very active with her synagogue, Temple Emunah of Lexington, where she served as President.  Additionally, she has been actively involved with LimmudBoston, where she has been Program Book Editor and Co-Chair of the Program Team, and she is a member of the Board of Directors of the Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston.

Ellie Shrage, Vice President of Governance

Ellie has an M.S.W. from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work- Yeshiva University. She is a Certified Developmental Specialist and for the past 20 years has been working at Thom Charles River Early Intervention, working with children from birth to age three with developmental delays and disabilities. Prior to that, she worked at the Kehillath Israel Nursery School and The Boston Children’s Museum. She previously served on the board of the CAC (Children’s Advocacy Center) of Suffolk County and Congregation Shaarei Tefillah of Newton Center. She was on the original board of Etgar L’Noar.

Barbara Schultz, Vice President of Strategic Planning

Barbara joined the Gateways Board in 2014. She is a past chair of the Boston Jewish Community Women’s Fund, serves on Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ Governance and Nominations Committee, and recently joined the board of Jewish Family Service of Metrowest. Barbara is also involved with the Cornell Alumni Ambassador Admissions Network. She lives in Sharon with her husband and two daughters.



Jenna Andelman

Jenna has been involved with Gateways since 2010, when she joined the Finance Committee.  A Trustee since the following year, she has continued on that committee, now in the capacity of Vice President of Finance.  She is also a long-standing member of the Gateways Growth Group (focusing on innovative ways to extend Gateways’ reach) and has been involved in various special projects including strategic planning initiatives and Gateways’ two publications, The Gateways Haggadah and The Gateways Shabbat Family Companion.  Jenna is also an active member of the Newton Centre Minyan.  She holds degrees from Harvard College and the Ross School of Business, and has spent most of her career in hospital and physician practice administration. A Newton native and current resident, Jenna lives with her husband Gavin and their four boys.

Julie Childers

Julie Childers is a nonprofit management consultant with experience in higher education, special education, women and girls’ health, and Jewish philanthropy. She is immediate past executive director of Our Bodies Ourselves and former Vice President of Education at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. Julie is also proud of her work at the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles promoting innovative organizations engaging young adults in Jewish life. With a Ph.D. in sociology from Boston College, she seeks to bridge the nonprofit and academic sectors with evidence-based practices to address real world problems. Julie is an active member of Temple Shalom of Newton, at which her wife, Rabbi Laura Abrasley, is co-senior rabbi. Their son, Noah, is an enthusiastic student at MetroWest Jewish Day School in Framingham, where the whole family benefits from the expertise and support provided by Gateways professionals.

Larry Chafetz

Larry Chafetz is a member manager of CC&S Development LLC which owns and operates hotels in Georgia and New Hampshire. Larry is also a member manager of Chafetz Group LLC which invests in a diversified portfolio of real estate, real estate funds, public and private equity; he is also a trustee for the Irwin Chafetz Family Charitable Trust. Passionate about philanthropy and community service, his main points of interest are local and global Judaism, Jewish Education, Israel, and Special needs awareness and activism. A past president of Congregation Mishkan Tefila he currently serves on the Mishkan board of directors along with boards for Shalom Learning, and The Rashi School. Larry lives in Newton with his wife Rachel and their children Daniel, Tal, and Ben.

Danielle Darish

Danielle Darish has been actively engaged in CJP, specifically Women’s Philanthropy, for the past several years. She joined the Board of Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JF&CS) in 2016 and also serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for Early Relationship Support at JF&CS. Danielle co-chaired the Women’s Breakfast for JF&CS in 2016, a major fundraiser for CERS. She also regularly volunteers her leadership to The Rashi School and Temple Beth Shalom in Needham. Danielle earned her BA from Brown University and her MSW from Boston University. Prior to starting a family, she was a clinical social worker focused on helping severely at-risk adolescence in Boston. An avid fitness enthusiast, Danielle resides in Needham, MA with her husband and three young children.

Marcus Dodyk

Marcus Dodyk is currently an Associate at Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm he joined in 2016. Prior to joining Berkshire, Marcus was an analyst at Evercore, an investment bank in New York. He holds a B.S. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and will be attending business school in the fall of 2018. Marcus served as a teen volunteer in the Gateways program while he was a student at Gann Academy and is very excited to be reconnecting with the organization now that he is back in Boston.

Michal Fandel

Michal has served on the Gateways marketing committee and is currently the Chair of the Gateways Growth Group (G3). Other boards she has served on include Kehillah Schechter Academy, Temple Israel of Sharon and autism organizations. Her professional experience is in product and marketing strategy for innovative new technology products and programs, especially in education and healthcare. She resides in Sharon with her husband and four children, a 10th grader and 6th grade triplets.

Jackie Finard-Hughes

Jackie has her Master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Emerson College and was a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist before the birth of her daughters. Jackie is deeply committed to her kids’ school, The Rashi School. At Rashi, she is currently co-chairing the Capital Campaign and is also Vice President of Fundraising for the parent association. In addition to her work with Rashi, she has served on the executive board of CJP Women’s Philanthropy as Vice President of Engagement. Jackie is presently co-chairing the Women’s Philanthropy cookbook project, From Our Kitchens, a community published cookbook filled with both recipes and stories about Boston’s Jewish Community. She currently lives in Wellesley with her husband, Rob and two daughters, Molly and Izzie.

Ethan Freishtat

Ethan Freishtat graduated from Brandeis University with a major in political science, and currently serves as a financial planner in the Boston and MetroWest area. He is currently in the process of acquiring the Chartered Special Needs Consultant title, which is a professional designation for those who help with the planning needs of families who have a child with a disability. Ethan is also an active participant in the Rashi Development Committee, and a board member of the Jewish Family Service of MetroWest. He lives in Needham with his wife, Erica, and their three children, Thomas, Zoe, and Dylan.

Tamar Davis Galper

As a person born with a disability and the daughter of a rabbi, Tamar is keenly aware of the value of volunteerism and advocacy within and on behalf of the Jewish community, which is evident in both her professional and lay leadership career choices. Professionally, Tamar is the Chief Development Officer for the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston. She came to JCRC after 12 years at Hadassah, most recently as their National Director of Annual Giving. The immediate past Board Chair of the Young Israel of Brookline and now serving on the board of Gateways, Tamar is an active volunteer in the Greater Boston Jewish community. When she lived in Manhattan, Tamar was a Vice President of Congregation Ohab Zedek, a member of JNFuture’s Leadership Ring, and co-founded ViZion, a growing network of professionals working for Jewish, Israel and Zionist-related non-profits (now managed by the American Zionist Movement). Tamar has a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Yeshiva University’s Syms School of Business. A proud stepmother and mother to five children, Tamar and her husband, Allan, live in Brookline.

Paul Gershkowitz

Paul graduated in 1982 from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Finance and Marketing. He is the father of four children (Brett, Brianna, Alexa, and Jake) and resides in Newton with his wife, Laurie. He has worked in the mortgage industry for over 30 years and is currently a First VP of Retail Lending at Berkshire Bank. Prior to Berkshire Bank, he was the President and co-owner of Greenpark Mortgage Corporation, in Needham, MA. He also was the founder and co-owner of Assurance Mortgage Corporation. Both of these mortgage companies were sold to publicly traded companies. Paul is involved on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including Congregation Mishkan Tefila. He has chaired charitable events for CanDo, Citizens for Affordable Housing, Gateways, Mishkan Tefila, Newton Historical Society and Combined Jewish Philanthropies. He devotes time to worthy organizations by participating on many committees. 2015 will mark the thirteenth time he has participated in The Pan Mass Challenge. He has raised nearly $140,000 to fight cancer. His passion is to inspire young adults to make a difference through involvement in social causes, community activity and charitable work. Paul’s hobbies include spending time with his family, skiing, and biking.

Lisa Hills

Lisa Hills received her MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and her BA in Politics from Brandeis University. She is a management consultant who specializes in organizational strategy and talent development. Lisa has a long history of involvement in the Jewish community including as president of Temple Emanuel, chair of Camp Yavneh’s strategic planning process, chair of the Prozdor Advisory Board, and as a member of CJP’s strategic planning committee on supplemental Jewish education. She has chaired numerous searches for senior professionals and clergy as well as provided executive coaching to ensure successful on-boarding. Lisa’s passion for Gateways developed through two of her children’s (Meredith and Amanda) transformative volunteer experiences. She is the proud parent of four adult children and a son-in-law and resides in Newton with her husband, Matthew.

Alexis Kopikis

Alexis Kopikis' goal is to be a great dad. Professionally, he has spent 20+ years founding and investing in technology startups building human centered products. He has founded four startups, two creative startup studios, two branding agencies, and two investment platforms. In addition, Alexis has helped dozens of companies craft and deploy their strategic stories to launch their brand and products. He holds M.A. and B.A. degrees from the University of California, San Diego. He is a product of Camp Ramah, and was born in Argentina. Alexis, wife Carla and their twins Adar and Dahlia live in Needham and are members of Temple Beth Shalom. Adar skips smiling in and out of Gateways’ Sunday Programs each week and his parents couldn't be more proud.

Judy Levin-Charns

Judy Levin-Charns holds an MS in Speech/Language Pathology and an EdD in Reading and Language - both from Boston University. She is currently the Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Special Education Administration at Bay Path University. Previously Judy was the Assistant Superintendent for Student Services in the Newton Public Schools. Judy is a member of the Board of Trustees of Temple Shalom as well as member of Sisterhood. She is currently on the Educational Programming Committee and Social-Emotional Learning Committee at Gateways. Judy lives in Newton; she and her husband have one son.

Marni Smilow Levitt

Marni has been involved in Jewish organizations in the Greater Boston area since she graduated from Tufts University (1988) and Northeastern University Law School (1992). Marni spent many years involved in the Anti-Defamation League, serving as a facilitator for ADL’s Confronting Anti-Semitism Program and as a member of their Speakers’ Bureau. Marni has also been involved in numerous CJP initiatives and committees over the years. She is currently the Chair of CJP’s Disabilities Services Committee, and previously served on the Engagement Subcommittee for CJP’s Strategic Planning Initiative. Marni participates in fundraising efforts for CJP, during Super Sunday and doing donor solicitation. Marni was fortunate to be chosen as a member of the Cynthia and Leon Schulman Acharai Leadership Program in 2007-2008. For eight years, Marni sat on the Board of Temple Sinai of Sharon, where she served as Fundraising Chair, Membership Chair and Third Vice President. Marni also had the great honor of serving on the Rabbi Search Committee that brought Rabbi Joseph Meszler to Temple Sinai. Professionally, Marni is a health care attorney, having served as Deputy General Counsel for Steward Health Care LLC and as the Director of Legal Services/General Counsel for Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton from 1997-2011. She currently works for Outside GC, and lives in Sharon with her husband, Jonathan and her four children, Joshua, Alexa, Noah and Ari. Marni is Gateways' immediate Past President.

Joanne Davis Rose

Joanne has worked for the past 13 years in the field of landscape architecture, and currently is a design consultant on local residential projects. She also serves as a board member at Maimonides School, as an officer on the board of Ma'ayan: Torah Study From the Sources, and as Treasurer for the Greater Boston Eruv. Joanne lives in Brookline with her husband Adam and their four children. 

Linda Sternberg

Linda Sternberg graduated from The George Washington University with dual degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education. She has worked for Newton Public Schools as a special education teacher since 1974, taking a break to stay home with her children, returning 25 years ago to her current role as the Early Childhood Consultant in the Newton Early Childhood Program. Linda serves on the Board of Overseers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, participates in various committees at Newbridge on The Charles (where her father resides) and is a team captain for the American Heart Association Heart Walk. Linda has collaborated with Gateways as a grant reader, provided consultation to Sunday Schools and has given in-service presentations about strategies to support preschoolers to teachers and parents. She is honored and thrilled to serve on the Gateways’ Board!