Seventeen Jewish Leaders from Los Angeles Selected to Travel to Mexico and Learn from Advocates for Human Rights

Trip is part of new year-long Global Justice Fellowship launched in LA by American Jewish World Service

LOS ANGELES, CA — Today, the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) announced that 17 Jewish leaders from Los Angeles were selected to participate in the inaugural AJWS Global Justice Fellowship, a selective, year-long program designed to inspire, educate and train key opinion leaders in the American Jewish community to become advocates in support of U.S. policies that will help improve the lives of people in the developing world.

The Los Angeles fellows will deepen their knowledge of human rights through the fellowship, which will include a week of on-location study in Oaxaca, Mexico in November to learn from local residents who are advocating for their human rights. The Global Justice Fellows will spend the year pressing for social change with others in the greater Los Angeles area and across the United States through educational and advocacy campaigns organized by AJWS and others.

“As Americans Jews and global citizens, we advocate for the dignity and human rights of some of the poorest and most oppressed people in the developing world, including women and girls, LGBT people, and those who are defending their farmland and water supplies from massive development projects,” said Allison Lee, executive director of AJWS in Los Angeles. “We have selected 17 local Jewish leaders from Los Angles as our first Global Justice Fellows, and they will spend a year learning about human rights and persuading our government to do all it can to improve the lives of people in developing countries.”

The Global Justice Fellows from Los Angeles fellows are the very first to be selected and participate in this new national program created by AJWS, the leading international Jewish organization dedicated to realizing human rights and ending poverty in the developing world. The Los Angeles fellows were selected through a competitive process, range in age from 21 to 68 years old, and represent a diverse array of backgrounds, communities, professional experiences and networks. The fellows include:

  • Naomi Ackerman, founder/director of The Advot Project
  • Debbie Adler, founder of Debbie Adler Consulting
  • Joshua Avedon, co-founder and COO of Jumpstart
  • Melissa Balaban, founding president and executive director of IKAR-LA
  • Danielle Berrin, Hollywood writer for The Jewish Journal (LA)
  • Leili Davari, organizer at Parent Revolution
  • Janelle Eagle, executive assistant at FreemantleMedia North America
  • Asher Gellis, executive director of JQ International
  • Rabbi Miriyam Glazer, chair of the Literature, Communication & Media Department at American Jewish University
  • Rabbi Jonathan Klein, executive director for Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice-LA
  • Diane Levitt, director of corporate social responsibility for Belkin International, Inc.
  • Rabbi Michelle Missaghieh, associate rabbi at Temple Israel of Hollywood
  • Margalit Rosenthal, senior director of the Birthright Israel Experience at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles
  • Robyn Samuels, board member at Highland Hall Waldorf School
  • Flori Schutzer, program director of the Hunger Initiative and assistant director of resettlement at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles
  • Rachel Sumekh, executive director of Swipes for the Homeless
  • Jonathan Zasloff, professor of law at the UCLA School of Law

The Global Justice Fellowship includes a10-day trip to a developing country during which participants learn from local grassroots activists supported by AJWS who are working to overcome poverty and injustice. The trip will be preceded and followed by innovative trainings that will prepare participants to mobilize and organize their communities and networks in support of AJWS’s policy campaigns to improve the lives of people in the developing world and complementary efforts to promote global justice. The fellowship will build a strong core of leaders in the U.S. dedicated to advocating for human rights and ending poverty in the developing world.

“The launch of the national AJWS Global Justice Fellowship in Los Angeles marks our deep commitment to strengthening a new, diverse group of Jewish activists in Los Angeles and from across the country. We are deeply gratified to work with these Los Angeles leaders and their extensive networks to advocate for human rights and create lasting social change,” said Lee.

The launch of the national AJWS Global Justice Fellowship in Los Angeles signifies AJWS’s deep commitment to working with the Greater Los Angeles Jewish community. In addition to the fellowship, AJWS recently moved its Los Angeles office to the Capshaw-Spielberg Center for Arts and Educational Justice at New Roads School in Santa Monica. To support AJWS’s activism in Los Angeles, its local staff has grown with the promotion of Allison Lee to the position of executive director and the hiring of Emma Nesper Holm as its senior development officer and Jocelyn Berger as program officer. 

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