Photo: Past Board Presidents
Current Board Members
Steve Klein, President
Steven is an attorney with Davis Wright Tremaine LLP’s Media and Intellectual Property group, specializing in trademark protection and enforcement. Originally from New Jersey, Steven is a graduate of the University of Rochester and Rutgers School of Law-Newark. Steven and his wife, Gail Mandel, have called Portland their home since moving here from the east coast more than a decade ago. Their son is a long-time Portland Jewish Academy student and frequent user of the MJCC’s sports facilities.
Avraham (Avi) Ben-Zaken was born and raised in Israel as a Sabra (first generation Israeli). He served the IDF as a medical officer in a tank division based in Golan Heights during the first Lebanon war. After four years in the IDF, he explored around the world and landed in Berkeley, CA, where he started his real estate career. In Berkeley, he followed his passion for renovating and retrofitting old brick buildings. After 15 great, productive years he moved with his family to Portland in 2006 to start his current company. Today, he is principal of one of Portland’s leading development companies, Urban Development + Partners, focusing on urban rehab, new construction, and property management. With his Israeli background, he strongly believes in communities, global education for all, and buildings that are built to last for generations to come.
Barry Benson is originally from Massachusetts has been a Portland resident for the last 15 years. He received his BBA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and MBA from Indiana University, Bloomington. Barry is a Senior National Account Executive with Merck & Co., Inc. He is the immediate past president of Congregation Shaarie Torah. Barry and wife, Karla, are the proud parents of PJA student, Molly.
Amy Blauer grew up in Seattle and has lived in Portland for over 20 years. She studied at University of Oregon and is a former middle school teacher. Amy currently tutors students of all ages in English and history. In the last 20 years, Amy has been an active volunteer for Jewish agencies and committees around Portland as well as for Portland Public Schools. She co-founded ReJewvenation, B’nai B’rith Camp’s women’s retreat and previously served on the BB Camp board of directors. Amy is married to Doug Blauer and they have two children, ages 10 and 13. They all love the MJCC!
Joyce has recently retired after forty years in the field of education. Her most recent position was in New York City where she served as Interim Head of School at Ethical Culture Fieldston School. Previously she had served for ten years as Head of The Town School in Manhattan, five years as Head of Redwood Day School in Oakland, CA, five years as both Lower and Upper School Head at San Francisco Day School. She also served as Interim Head at Town School for Boys in San Francisco. Joyce served on the National Association of Independent Schools Board of Trustees including three years as Vice-Chair. As well, she has served on the Board of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges that oversees the accreditation of both public and independent schools in California, Hawaii, the Pacific Islands and parts of Asia. She recently moved to Portland with her husband, John, who is a retired clinical psychologist and Presbyterian pastor. They have two sons, one who is in medicine in San Francisco and one who is a US Park Ranger living at Joshua Tree National Park. Joyce and John are the proud grandparents of four.
Jonathan Glass, Immediate Past Co-President
Jonathan currently serves as Co-President. He is Vice President and CFO of Council Tree Investors, a private equity firm focused on investments in the media and communications sectors. Jonathan currently serves on the Board and Investment Committee of the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation. Jonathan graduated from McGill University and received his MBA in Finance from Columbia University. He is married to Sarah Kahn Glass, and they have three children, all of whom attend or graduated from Portland Jewish Academy and enjoy working out at the J.
Marni Glick, Treasurer
Marni was born in Brooklyn, raised in Philadelphia and came to Portland in 1982 with her husband, Hank Kaplan. Marni has a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Public Administration/Finance from New York University. Marni recently retired from the City of Portland after a 33-year career in the City Budget Office and the Bureau of Transportation. Before she retired, she managed the Transportation Options Division overseeing implementation of the city’s first Sunday Parkways and expansion of the Safe Routes to School program and then managed the city’s Parking Operations Division until her retirement. Marni has served on the boards of PJA, Circle of Life Child Care Center, and Havurah Shalom. Marni and Hank have two daughters, both of whom attended PJA and spent most of their remaining waking hours at the MJCC participating in dance, the Stingrays Swim Team, gymnastics, basketball, afterschool programs, and day camp. Marni also sits on the national board of the Habonim Dror Foundation.
Melissa has been the content strategist-at-large for Washington Post Brand Studio since May 2017. Prior to that, she was lifestyle editor-at-large for HuffPost Creative Labs and has contributed as a writer to The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune, among other publications. Melissa’s personal blog was chosen as one of the top 100 parenting blogs in the country (top 10 for humor) by Disney’s Babble Media. She also once served as the publicity supervisor for several Warner Bros. Domestic Television properties including “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.” Last year, Melissa founded 500 Pens (500pens.org), an all-volunteer, anti-hate news project. Melissa and her family moved to Portland from Chicago in 2012 and her children began at PJA that same year. Melissa and her husband, Daron, have three children; Evan is in seventh grade; Gabriel is in fourth grade; and Zachary is in the first grade.
Gail Mandel is currently the Legacy Development and Marketing Manager at the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation where she works with individuals to assist them with their current philanthropy as well as with legacy and bequest giving. She also manages OJCF's marketing and communications program. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University and an M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies from City College/City University of New York. Gail’s past professional experience includes work with the Development Office of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and work in the publishing industry at Abrams, Randem, and as a freelancer. She also currently serves on the board of the Jewish Theatre Collaborative. Gail grew up outside of Chicago and moved to Portland almost 10 years ago from New York City with her husband, Steven Klein. They have a son who is a student at Portland Jewish Academy.
Erik Richmond, VP for Strategy
Erik Richmond grew up in Arizona and came to Portland in 1986 to attend OHSU School of Dentistry and became an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon. He divides his time between an office in Gresham and an office in Oregon City. Erik and his wife Annette, have two children, both of whom attended Portland Jewish Academy. Erik and Annette enjoyed their volunteer work at PJA, while their children were students there. Erik and Annette think their family’s educational experience at PJA was excellent, and want to make this available to other families. They both cherish the friends they have made because of their involvement in PJA. Erik and Annette also enjoy working out as members of the MJCC.
Danelle Romain is an attorney in private practice specializing in government relations at The Romain Group (TRG). Danelle covers a broad range of issues for TRG’s diverse client base, including developing and implementing Oregon legislative and administrative agency strategies for clients. Danelle is a Portland native and is married to RD Symms. They have two children at PJA, Sam and George.
Channah Rose, Secretary
Channah Rose is an attorney with the Colorado-based law firm, Sage Law Group, and specializes in private equity and venture capital financings, mergers & acquisitions and general corporate matters. She received a J.D. from New York University School of Law, a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from the University of Arizona. She was born in Santa Barbara, grew up in Phoenix, and has lived in Boston, New York, Jerusalem and Boulder, CO. She and her family were thrilled to move to Portland (where her husband was born and raised) in 2014. Her three sons, Eliav, Akiva, and Rafael, attend (and adore!) Portland Jewish Academy. Her husband is Rabbi Joshua Rose of Congregation Shaarie Torah.
Steve Rosenberg was born in Chicago and received his B.A. from Colorado College and his MS in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics from the University of Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Wexner Heritage Foundation. He has been the principal of Aspen Investment Group for the last 20 years, involved in the acquisition, development or financing of real estate, with development emphasis in hotels, industrial and condominiums. Steve has served on the boards or been the president of numerous organizations including Portland Jewish Academy (1985 – present), Mittleman Jewish Community Center, Chamber Music Northwest, Jewish Federation of Greater Portland (past president), TV Channel 32, Oregon Jewish Community Foundation, Foundation for Ilan Sport Center for the Disabled in Israel, Oregon DEQ Task Force, and Maxus Real Estate Investment Trust. Steve is an active triathlon participant. He and his wife, Ellen Lippman, have two daughters who are graduates of Portland Jewish Academy.
Andrea Sanchez, Immediate Past Co-President
Andrea has served on the PJA and MJCC Boards since 2013. She holds advanced degrees in both public health and city and regional planning. She works at Human Solutions where she is responsible for management and oversight of Human Solutions’ Housing Department, which includes the development and financing of affordable housing, asset management for a 700+ unit portfolio, and direct services to residents in all owned rental housing projects. She is married to Ben Drucker, and they have two children, both of whom attend Portland Jewish Academy.
Jonathan is a fourth generation Portlander and graduate of PJA's first eighth grade class who spent his formative years at the MJCC (from preschool through AZA). During the day, Jonathan is a real estate attorney at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, where he represents businesses, property owners, and lenders on a range of transactions. Before joining Miller Nash, Jonathan practiced litigation and political law in the Washington, D.C. office of an international law firm, and before that he worked in politics, including interviewing dozens of high-profile political figures ranging from Barack Obama and John Kerry to Bob Dole and Walter Mondale. He is happy to have the opportunity to continue his family's commitment to the community, remaining active in civic and community affairs through service on multiple nonprofit boards.
Jason Zidell, VP for Facilities
Jason Zidell is a fourth generation Portlander who enjoyed MJCC's early learning program for preschool and kindergarten, day camp, B.B.Y.O., and many other activities at the MJCC while growing up. He attended Willamette University, and is the President of the Argonaut Group, a real estate development and management company. He is also the president of the JEZ foundation, and is proud to continue his family's long tradition of Philanthropy and engagement in the community.