American Jewish World Service (AJWS) Announces Four New Members of its Board of Trustees

Leading global Jewish human rights organization praises new members’ commitment to Jewish values and human rights at a time of a global pandemic and reckoning about justice


NEW YORK – American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading Jewish organization working to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world, welcomed four new members to its board: Elana Bildner, Julie Goldstein, Jayne Lipman and Gamal J. Palmer.

The new board members join AJWS’s leadership at a time when the organization is sharply focused on responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has created massive health and human rights challenges in each of the 19 countries in which AJWS works in Africa, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean. Moreover, rooted in its deeply held belief in the dignity of all people and its full commitment to human rights for all, AJWS is joining the Black American community as we honor George Floyd and all those before him who were killed without cause or reason. AJWS is unwavering in our support of others around the world who have been oppressed, abused or killed because of their race, ethnicity or beliefs.

“Both in the United States and around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding in individual societies and under a global order in which deep inequalities exist, and we are focused on supporting the most vulnerable communities worldwide, which have the least access to the resources they need to survive the pandemic and whose human rights are under attack by authoritarian regimes at this time of a historic health crisis,” said Robert Bank, President and CEO of AJWS.

Bank added, “At this time of global crisis, it is an honor for us to welcome Elana Bildner, Julie Goldstein, Jayne Lipman and Gamal J. Palmer to the AJWS board. Their dedication to the Jewish values of repairing the world and pursuing justice makes them ideal leaders of AJWS at this time of profound challenges around the world.”

Board Chairman Brad Abelow said, “At AJWS, we have created a community of Jewish global citizens fighting for a better world, and we are gratified that these new board members will help guide our work when it is so crucial.”

Here are profiles of the new board members:

Elana Bildner has experience as an attorney, ranging from the corporate sector—as a litigation associate at two law firms—to the non-profit sphere, where she has spent significant time working and volunteering. Currently, Elana is a civil rights lawyer with the ACLU of Connecticut.

Elana received a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. Before her legal career, Elana spent several years at anti-poverty organizations in New York, and she served as an editorial intern for Legal Affairs magazine, the Miami Herald and The Wall Street Journal.

Elana has been a strong supporter of AJWS since her senior year of college, when she took an AJWS alternative spring break trip to Muchucuxcah, Mexico.

Julie Goldstein began her career as a secondary and elementary school teacher and Outward Bound instructor, sparked by her own pivotal educational experiences in the classroom and wilderness settings. Over time, she transitioned into program work at a variety of educational non-profit organizations, and worked as a Community Organizer for the Manaus Fund in the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado. She has taught yoga to children and adults for many years.

Julie has two master’s degrees in education, the most recent being a Master’s in Contemplative Education from Naropa University in Boulder, CO. Julie also holds two advanced level certifications from her studies in spiritual psychology at the University of Santa Monica, and she is committed to working towards necessary systemic change in our world through the lens of spiritual psychology.

Julie has served on the boards of several family foundations and non-profit organizations and is actively engaged in multiple philanthropic efforts in the areas of education, the environment and social justice.

Julie has spent most of her life in Colorado and remains an avid outdoorswoman who is extremely passionate about protecting and preserving natural habitats, open spaces and our public lands. Julie is an engaged supporter of several climate change and climate justice advocacy organizations and initiatives, as well as a select number of human rights and social justice projects that are actively addressing equity issues in education.

Julie is an adoptive parent and resides in Boulder, CO. Her child, Ash, is from China.

Jayne Lipman is an active community volunteer and advocate for social justice. Jayne is currently an officer and board member of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), where she is the lay chair of Non-Sectarian Relief. She also serves on JDC’s Executive Committee and has traveled extensively with them for the past nine years. Jayne, who lives in Westchester, NY, helped create and serves on the Steering Committee for Social Justice at Larchmont Temple.

Her other volunteer work is divided among community organizing for local, state and national political campaigns, advocating for the Public Works and the Mobile Unit programs with the Public Theater in New York, and supporting initiatives at Cornell University for first generation college students. Jayne is a graduate of Cornell and holds an MBA from Columbia University. She and her husband, Bob Goodman, have three children.

Gamal J. Palmer is Senior Vice President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, where he oversees a myriad of leadership programs for board and lay leaders, and professional development for a 170-person workforce.

Palmer is also the founder and CEO of Global Eye Entrepreneurs, an organization helping gay, non-binary entrepreneurs of color and their allies gain skills, build infrastructure and launch sustainable businesses. In addition, Palmer leads his signature workshop, The Diversity Gym, for the public and private sectors, colleges and universities around the country.

Palmer earned an MFA and a Post-Graduate Associate from the Yale Schools of Drama and Management (SOM) in Business Organization & Leadership Development. While at Yale, Palmer co-created and lectured for the study-abroad course, Arts in Action: Theater and Public Health in Swaziland and South Africa and the graduate school program, The Quest for Social Justice Through Music Theater and Religion in Tanzania. In 2014, Palmer served as an AJWS Global Justice Fellow and delivered the TEDx Talk “Your Impact Artist Equation.” In addition, Palmer completed The (the Institute of Design) at Stanford University, The Landmark Team Management and Leadership Program and the Jewish Federation Innovation Leadership Lab.

Palmer was a committee member for the Culver Studios City Expansion Commission and LAMDA Legal Leadership and Culture Council, and is a previous board member for the Working Classroom. A 2018 International Career Advancement Fellow, he served on the 2019 faculty at the Aspen Institute and is currently a Schusterman Fellow and Springboard Fellow through the Durfee Foundation. A native of Philadelphia, Palmer is the youngest of nine children and was highly influenced by his activist parents.

About American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading Jewish organization working to fight poverty and pursue justice in the developing world. By supporting hundreds of social change organizations in 19 countries, we respond to the most pressing issues of our time—from disasters, genocide and hunger, to the persecution of women and minorities worldwide. With Jewish values and a global reach, AJWS is making a difference in millions of lives and bringing a more just and equitable world closer for all.

For More Information

If you are a member of the press and wish to obtain information about our work or speak to a member of our global team on deadline, please contact Tanyanika Davis, Director of Media Relations, at