Meet the Service Team

 

Aaron Acharya

Associate Director of Service – International Volunteer Programs (NYC)
Aaron is the Associate Director of Service for International Volunteer Programs, overseeing a team responsible for the administration of the international component of AJWS’s service programs. He previously served as the Project Manager of the Human Rights Clinic at HealthRight International, a volunteer program that mobilizes, trains and deploys health professionals to provide forensic evaluations and affidavits to survivors of torture seeking asylum and other immigration relief in the United States. Prior to that, Aaron worked with Global Youth Connect, designing US youth delegations to Nepali refugee camps, now a regular program bringing young activists to post-conflict countries like Cambodia, Rwanda and Guatemala. He also served on the Board of Directors of Global Youth Connect for two years. Aaron earned a Master of Public Administration from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.

John Cape

Program Officer – Domestic Programs (NYC)
John is the program officer for group leader management and is responsible for hiring, training and supervising group leaders for all AJWS group service programs. Prior to joining AJWS, John coordinated the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. John spent one year teaching English as a volunteer WorldTeach teacher in Costa Rica. He has also worked as an Outward Bound lead instructor for struggling adolescents, and as a counselor and group challenge facilitator at Seeds of Peace. John earned his B.A. in Government and Religious Studies from Cornell University.

Ashley Carter

Administrative Coordinator – Volunteer Selection and Administration (NYC)
Ashley is the administrative coordinator for the service department, responsible for the administrative and logistical functions of AJWS service programs. Before joining AJWS in February 2011, Ashley worked at Community Partners, a non-profit organization that serves the mental health needs of Strafford County, NH. While there, she worked with children with mental health or behavioral issues, assisting and supporting them in various activities within the community. Ashley recently earned her B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of New Hampshire, where she also spent a semester abroad at Regents College in London, England.

Aylah Cohen

Program Officer – Volunteer Selection and Administration (NYC)
Aylah is the program officer for volunteer selection and administration, responsible for ensuring efficient implementation of all AJWS service programs and for supporting Hillels while they plan AJWS Alternative Breaks. Aylah served as the Program Officer for Alternative Breaks before joining the VSA team. Aylah previously worked as a mission manager for The Jewish Federations of North America where she planned and implemented fundraising missions to Israel and Eastern Europe for North American Federations. Prior to working for JFNA, Aylah worked for Legacy Heritage Fund, coordinating and organizing a seven week summer program for high school students from North America in Israel. Aylah holds a B.S. in human development and family studies from the University of Rhode Island.

Liliana Goldschmidt

Field Officer – International Volunteer Programs (India)
Lily Goldschmidt is the India-based field officer for AJWS’s International Volunteer Programs in India, serving as the primary support person for Volunteer Summer, the World Partners Fellowship and Volunteer Corps in field. Lily comes to this position having served as the WPF Field Advisor in 2009-2010 and as both a World Partners Fellow and a Volunteer Corps participant in India. In 2009-2010, Lily volunteered with Vikalp Women’s Group in Gujarat and SANGRAM in Maharashtra. Prior to her time in India, Lily worked for an advertising agency in Sausalito, California. She graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2006 with a BS in Psychology.

Irene Kangume

Country Representative – International Volunteer Programs (Kampala, Uganda)
Irene is the country representative for AJWS service programs in Uganda. Part of her role is to create awareness among volunteers about the socio-economic, gender and political issues that will enable them to work effectively in Uganda. In addition to her work with AJWS, she also serves as the cross cultural coordinator/trainer for United States Peace Corps Training Program, through which she has dealt with various health, education and economic development issues.

Masha Katz

Program Officer – International Volunteer Programs (NYC)
Masha is the program officer for AJWS International Volunteer Programs in Africa, responsible for all aspects of the individual and group volunteer programs in Africa including Volunteer Corps, Volunteer Summer, Delegations and Alternative Breaks. She is responsible for supporting volunteers as they navigate the challenges and successes that come with volunteering in Africa for ten days to one year. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in International Studies emphasizing the environment and international development. Upon her completion of her degree, Masha volunteered in Uganda with American Jewish World Service's World Partners Fellowship and additionally traveled to Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Following her travels and before rejoining AJWS, she worked for Hadassah's Young Judaea Year Course.

Alexis Kort

Program Officer – Domestic Programs (NYC)
Alexis Kort is a program officer in the Service Department. She has been on staff with AJWS since 2006. Alexis is an alumna of the AJWS Volunteer Corps where she was an intern for six months with Point of View, a Women's Rights NGO in Mumbai, India in 2004. She received her B.A. from McGill University where she majored in Jewish and Middle Eastern studies. Subsequently, she focused on modern Islamic thought, human rights and women for an M.A. from the University of London School of Oriental and African studies. Alexis served as the Israel Programs Director for Habonim Dror, North America, and has led groups for AJWS's Rosh Chodesh—It's a Girl Thing educational project, Alternative Break trips to Guatemala with UCSD and to Nicaragua with Queens College and two Delegation trips to Uganda with synagogues from Portland, OR and Beverly Hills, CA. She has also traveled to Honduras, Peru, Ghana, Senegal and India for AJWS.

Dorcus Moo

Program Officer – International Volunteer Programs (NYC)
Dorcus joined AJWS in August 2007 as a program officer for International Volunteer Programs, responsible for the coordination of volunteer placements in Southeast Asia. Dorcus is a longtime student activist and international women’s rights advocate and in 1994 she founded the Karen Student Network Group, a current AJWS grantee. Prior to joining AJWS, Dorcus worked with the International Rescue Committee in their refugee resettlement division. She has also worked in Thailand with EarthRights International as a women’s rights project coordinator. Dorcus holds a B.A. in political science from Hartwick College and is currently pursuing her graduate degree in international affairs at the New School University.

Everlyne Nairesiae

Country Representative – International Volunteer Programs (Nairobi, Kenya)
Everlyne is the country representative for AJWS service programs in Kenya. She has a B.A. in Education and an M.phil. in Educational Guidance and Counseling, both from Moi University in Kenya. Her areas of expertise include gender, human rights, HIV/AIDS, planning, monitoring and evaluation, peace-building and conflict transformation, and organizational development. Everlyne has worked for many organizations including GROOTS Kenya and GROOTS International. She worked as a consultant and team leader of consultancy department for TAABCO Research and Development Consultancy Firm based in Nairobi Kenya. Everlyne currently resides in Nairobi.

Will Nassau

Senior Program Officer – International Volunteer Programs (NYC)
Will is the senior program officer for India with AJWS’s International Volunteer Programs, responsible for the international work of Volunteer Corps, Volunteer Summer and the World Partners Fellowship. Will supervises all aspects of volunteer placements, developing NGO partnerships and strategic planning for the region. Coming to AJWS after nearly four years with InterExchange, Inc., a New York-based public diplomacy group, and a Master's degree in international affairs from the University of Exeter, Will has a strong interest in international development, human rights and the global NGO community.

Rachel Profeta

Program Officer – Volunteer Selection and Administration (NYC)
Rachel is the program officer for volunteer selection and administration, responsible for ensuring efficient implementation of all AJWS service programs. Rachel previously served as program associate for short-term service programs. Prior to joining AJWS, Rachel worked at the Renfrew Center, a residential eating disorders facility. Prior to that, she worked with Habonim Dror North America, organizing local chapters and coordinating a study abroad program in Israel. She holds a B.A. in women's studies from Temple University in Philadelphia and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Organizational Change Management at Milano the New School for Management and Urban Policy.

Andrea Richardson

Associate Director of Service – Volunteer Selection and Administration (NYC)
Andrea is the associate director of service for volunteer selection and administration, overseeing a team responsible for the daily operations, volunteer selection and administrative processes of all AJWS service programs. Andrea previously served as senior program officer of operations for AJWS service programs and as program officer for Southeast Asia with Volunteer Corps, placing volunteers with NGOs in Thailand and Cambodia. Prior to joining AJWS in June 2004, Andrea spent several years in the legal field. She earned her B.A. in anthropology from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, and formerly sat on the board of directors of JusticeWorks Community, an organization that advocated for just and effective criminal justice policies.

Lilach Shafir

Associate Director of Service – Domestic Programs (NYC)
Lilach is the associate director for domestic programs, overseeing a team responsible for outreach and recruitment, group leader hiring and management and domestic programs and follow up with all of our service volunteers. Lilach was an AJWS Volunteer Summer Group Leader in Ghana. She spent a year in Israel as a Dorot fellow. Prior, she spent three years in Timor-Leste, working with international and local non-profits and the Timorese government in conducting cross-sector leadership development and strategic planning. Lilach worked as a Program Director for the Close Up Foundation in Washington DC, managing and teaching weekly programs in civic education for American and international high school students. Lilach has an M.A. from Stanford in International Comparative Education and a B.A. from the University of Arizona in International Relations and Latin America. She has led service learning programs in Brazil, Costa Rica and Ghana. Lilach is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew and Tetun.

Sunita Sharma

Country Representative – International Volunteer Programs (Delhi, India)
Sunita is the country representative for AJWS service programs in India. She has worked in the field of social development for more than 30 years, serving both national and international development organizations. Prior to her work with AJWS, Sunita worked as technical consultant with Plan International for its HIV/AIDS Awareness Package program. She also served as the country director of World Education India and the India country coordinator for the Institute of International Education. Sunita also worked for CARE India as the education sector's coordinator for six years. Sunita holds a B.A in Humanities and a Masters in Social Sciences. She currently resides in New Delhi with her husband and two children.

Matt St. John

Program Officer – International Volunteer Programs (NYC)
Matt is Program Officer for the Americas in the Service Department at AJWS. Prior to joining AJWS, he worked for five years for another faith-based NGO where he collaborated with local grassroots organizations and managed a diverse array of poverty alleviation and emergency programs that included food security, microcredit, health, water and sanitation, disaster response, and capacity building primarily in Central and South America, as well as Uganda and the Philippines. He has also worked for Human Rights Watch, USAID, and detoured to work at the Mayor’s Office of Operations of New York City. Prior to that, he served more than three years in the Peace Corps in Paraguay where he pioneered the expansion of the program into a new region of the country working with indigenous populations. He has worked in Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. He first visited Latin America more than 16 years ago while participating in an international education program conducting field research in Venezuela, as well as in Kenya, South Africa, India, and China. Matt holds an MPA with a focus in international management and policy from the Wagner School at NYU and a BA from Arizona State University. Matt is fluent in Spanish, speaks basic Guarani, and can order lunch in Haitian Creole. He enjoys drinking maté and playing basketball. He lives with his family in New Jersey.

Rachel Weinstein

Senior Program Officer – Domestic Programs (NYC)
Rachel works with AJWS volunteers to develop their activism when they return from their service-learning experience. Rachel builds skills and leadership within the Jewish community around human rights issues and currently serves on several task forces in the international volunteer and Jewish service-learning fields. She has thirteen years of experience in informal education; she has worked as a teacher, on the curatorial staff of The Museum of Jewish Heritage, and as the assistant to an editor at Harvard University Press. Rachel has also worked on a number of cross-cultural and community-building efforts, including youth empowerment, HIV/AIDS, and food sovereignty campaigns. Rachel received her B.A. from Vassar College and holds an M.A. from CUNY Graduate Center. She has been privileged to travel throughout North, Central and South America, India, Eastern and Southern Africa, the Middle East and Western Europe.

Samantha Wolthuis

Director of Service Programs (NYC)
Sam is the director of service, responsible for managing AJWS service programs. She previously held the position of associate director of service for individual service programs at AJWS. Prior to joining AJWS, Sam worked for Family & Children's Services in Tulsa, Oklahoma and with Princeton in Africa in Princeton, New Jersey. Sam did the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan and lived in Belgium, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore.

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