Meet The Yesod 2018 Fellows

We are proud to announce the 2018 cohort of The YESOD Community Leadership Development Program: Powered by Eder Leadership Institute and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.

Yesod Leadership Program, a visionary effort to cultivate and nurture dedicated community lay leaders committed to shaping the Jewish future and strengthening their nominating organizations. This highly selective program brings together a collaborative cohort of diverse Jewish activists, representing the broad array of organizations and affiliations within the Jewish community of Greater New Haven.


Nicole Korda

Nicole Korda was born in Bern, Switzerland, where she grew up with her parents and sister. After graduating with a degree in Physical Therapy in Zurich, she got the opportunity to move to New York City and work in a private clinic in Manhattan. In 2000 she established her own private Physical Therapy clinic and maintained a successful practice there unit marrying Jaime Grutzendler in 2003 and moving together to Chicago. There they had two children Michelle in 2004 and Joel in 2009. In 2011 Jaime got a position at Yale University and they moved to New Haven. Eli was born in 2013. Nicole works as a Physical Therapist in home health and is also involved in her local synagogue and the Jewish Community.

Judy Kleinstein

Judy Kleinstein has lived in Woodbridge, CT since 2006 with her husband and 3 children. Judy is a member of Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven. She also has strong ties to the Reconstructionist community, and sent her daughter to Camp Havaya (previously Camp JRF). Judy is deeply involved in Ezra Academy and its community, and is currently working in development, the PTO and outreach. She graduated with a BA in history from the University of Pennsylvania, an MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and completed her internal medicine residency at Montefiore Medical Center. She currently works as a general internist at Northeast Medical Group.

Katherine Krechevsky

Katherine Krechevsky is a native of Connecticut who lives in Wallingford with her husband David and sons Jacob and Samuel. A member of Temple Beth David in Cheshire for the past 20 years, Kathy has most recently served as Sisterhood president and is a familiar face at many temple functions. One of her passions is feeding the temple congregants Challah at Onegs. From Challah designs (Tree of Life, Star of David) to flavors (Chocolate-orange, apple stuffed) to a year-long pursuit of a gluten-free Challah she enjoys experimenting and challenging herself to create not only traditional Challah but many different Challahs to appeal to the diverse tastes that make up the TBD community. And yes, in Kathy's world Challah is always spelled with a capital C!

Joanna Romberg

Joanna Romberg is the Senior Associate Director of Development and Alumni Affairs at Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre. Before coming to Yale Joanna worked in NYC at The Foundation for Jewish Culture, HBO’s The Sopranos, and The Israeli Opera & Tel Aviv Center for the Performing Arts (TAPAC). Among her many roles at TAPAC, Joanna managed tours for the Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company, joining their journeys to eastern Europe, the United States and on local performances throughout Israel. Her background and work encompass nearly 20 years working in TV, Film, Theatre, Dance, and Opera. Joanna is a 2007 graduate of Yale School of Drama’s Theatre Management program and lives in Hamden, CT with her husband and two kids, Eli and Ari.

Elina Katsman

Elina Katsman, 35 years old. Was born in Ukraine ( former USSR), grew up in Tel Aviv, Israel. Former professional dancer ( Ballet, Jazz, Modern). Holds a B.A in Business and Communications and 10 years of marketing communication work experience, including in TBWA, one of the worlds largest ad agencies. Made her second "Aliya" to the USA in 2013 following her American husband. Lived in several countries including China and Mexico, speaks 3 languages. Proud Mom of 2-year-old Etan. Currently stay at home Mom and an evolving commercial realtor. Entrepreneurial, passionate about travel, cultures and bringing people together.

Mathew Nierenberg

Mathew Nierenberg has worked in the education field as a Special Education teacher/PPT Chairperson for the New Haven Public school system for the past 20 years. He received his Bachelors in Special Education, Masters in Elementary education, and sixth year degree in school administration from Southern Connecticut State University. Matt is the past president of Team West Haven Inc. a non-for profit organization that works with the special needs population. Matt and his family are active members of Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven. Here he teaches Hebrew school and sits on the board of directors as the assistant treasurer. During the summer months he is the aquatics director for Camp Laurelwood he brings 26 years of aquatic experience to camp. Matt holds a certificate as a Certified Pool Operator; teaches American Red Cross Lifeguarding, CPR, and First Aid as well as swim lessons. He enjoys spending his free time with his wife and twin boys.

Robin Levine-Ritterman

Robin Levine-Ritterman is currently the Vice President of Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven. She became active in leadership at TE by joining the rabbi search committee in 2008 and the Board of Directors soon after. She is slated to become President summer of 2019.


Robin is a naturopathic physician and acupuncturist practicing at Whole Health Natural Family Medicine in Hamden. She also teaches acupuncture at the University of Bridgeport. Robin lives in New Haven with her wife and two almost grown children.

Marisol Sanchez-Moycik

Marisol has been living in Woodbridge for over a decade with her husband and eight year old daughter. As a social worker by education, she often becomes involved in any group that she joins. When her daughter was a toddler, she frequently attended the JCC Shabbat Friends program where she actively participated and lead a children’s class. As a member of the MOMS Club of Orange, she held offices of Treasurer, Membership Vice President and President. As a parent of an Ezra student she became involved in the PTSO the first year and became a room parent the second year and is currently serving as a Co-President.

Andrea Jacobs-Stannard 

Andi moved to the Greater New Haven area 15 years ago from NJ to attend Yale University School of Medicine's Physician Associate Program. Since that time she has worked as a Hospitalist in Internal Medicine at YNHH and currently works at the Yale University Health Plan Department of Dermatology. She is a Clinical Instructor of Medicine. Andi was involved with the Young Women's Philanthropy Circle and will be Co-chair of the Sabra Society in August 2018. She is a member of Congregation Mishkan Israel. She enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 children and loves to read, bake and travel the world.

Sharon Sutin

Sharon Sutin grew up in Woodbridge, CT and was an active member of the Jewish community throughout her childhood and teen years, through her involvement with Makom Hebrew High School and serving as a board member for the local chapter of USY. More recently, Sharon has been working with the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven to revitalize the Young Adult programming through an initiative called Next D’or.


Sharon is a graduate of Amity Regional High School in Woodbridge and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in Actuarial Sciences. Currently, Sharon works as an actuary in Hartford for Prudential Financial and enjoys spending time traveling or being active outdoors.

Vlad Katsovich

Vlad lives in Cheshire with his wife Lily and their two daughters. Originally from the former Soviet Union, Vlad has been living in Connecticut for over 25 years.


Vlad is Director of Engineering Growth Products at Wolters Kluwer ELM in Hartford where he has been working for the last 14 years leading development of new software products for legal industry.


Vlad and his family have been members of Temple Emanuel in Orange for many years. That’s where Vlad and Lily got married and where Vlad currently serves as Second Vice President and member of the Board.

Emily Hackel

Emily is currently Director of Corporate Reputation at Anthem, Inc. where she is responsible for building brand equity in the marketplace for the nation’s second largest insurer. Prior to joining Anthem, Emily was head of communications for McKinsey’s healthcare practice; and prior to that, she led marketing, business development and operations for Edelman’s health practice worldwide. Emily began her career at New York University School of Medicine’s Mental Illness Prevention Center.


Outside of work walls, Emily is a cultural companion for Iris, a mentor at Blueprint Health accelerator in NYC, and involved with a range of other health care organizations. She graduated cum laude from Columbia University.

Carolyn Levy

Carolyn Levy has lived in the New Haven area most of her life, but is rather new to the Jewish community, choosing to convert in 2005. Carolyn is a mother of two boys, Jacob & Gabriel, and wife to Eli. Carolyn is a registered nurse at Ezra Academy and a pediatric nurse practitioner student at Stonybrook University; she is also a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. When she is not working or studying she enjoys spending time with her family outdoors, gardening and cooking.

Jamie Zubkoff

Jamie Zubkoff, a native New Yorker, lives in Woodbridge with her husband and two children. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Communications. An integrated marketing professional with 15 years’ experience, most recently in the healthcare sector, Jamie is currently focusing on raising her young children and acclimating to life in the suburbs.

Chava Light

Chava Light was born and raised in New Haven, CT. Currently a graphic designer/illustrator and occasional current events cartoonist, she is the proud parent of three great kiddos along with her husband David who works in the biotechnology field.

Christopher Sheehan

Christopher Sheehan converted to Judaism after attending a class for non-Jewish spouses and fell in love with the traditions and Tikkun Olam ideologies presented. He and his family have been a members of Temple Beth David for 20 years. In his time there he was instrumental in reviving the youth group, was interim Board Secretary and was the PreK/K teacher for 6 years. Recipient of the Chai Award along with his wife Lori in 2012. After attending Hava Nashira in 2017 he began assuming the responsibilities of Music Educator and Song Leader for TBD.

Melanie Sara Rausch

Melanie is a native of Maine and has called Bethany home since 2006. She attended Middlebury College and UCONN Law School where she was an editor and published contributor of the Insurance Law Journal. She is a commercial real estate and business law attorney. Melanie was recently re-appointed to the Connecticut Senate Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, has served on local non-profit boards, and has been active in various Jewish organizations including the Federation and the ADL. Melanie is married to a local businessman and together with their family they own and operate several area restaurants. Melanie enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.