Our Leadership

The success of The Jewish Federation depends largely on our leadership team of professionals and volunteers. This group works to meet the needs of our community by providing resources and raising support as needed.



Leslie E. Bider

Chairman of the Board

Leslie Bider

Leslie E. Bider is the Chief Executive Officer of PinnacleCare, a private health advisory firm. Prior to PinnacleCare, Les served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Warner/Chappell Music for almost three decades.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting at USC, he obtained his Master’s Degree at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Les went on to practice public accounting and was the Managing Partner of Bider & Montgomery, a local CPA firm.
Les serves on both the Board and Executive Committee of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). He is also an alumnus of the National Young Leadership Cabinet, is Treasurer and serves on the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, and is active in Stephen S. Wise Temple. He has been honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Recording Industry and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Les and his wife Lynn have two children, as well as two adorable grandchildren.

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Sharon L. Janks

Vice Chair of the Board

Sharon Janks

Sharon L. Janks has been a leader in Jewish Los Angeles since immigrating from Cape Town, South Africa in 1978.

Within our Federation, Sharon has served as General Campaign Chair, Sylvia Weisz Women’s Campaign Chair, Premier Philanthropy Chair, Major Gifts Chair, and as a member of the Executive Committee for the Israel & Overseas pillar. As a member of our Executive Board, she currently serves as a Vice Chair of our Federation.

An alumnus of the Wexner Heritage Program, Sharon has served as Campaign Chair of Annual Giving for Milken Community School. A past member of the National Young Leadership Cabinet, she has chaired six missions to Israel. She is a board member of Jewish Federations of North America, National Women's Philanthropy and the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Sharon is married to Leon Janks and is the mother of Jason, Stacey and Marc and their respective spouses Gayle and Eric, and fiancé Margot. Her proud family legacy of living life based on Jewish values continues.

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Albert Z. Praw

Vice Chair of the Board

Albert Praw

Albert Z. Praw is the Executive Vice President, Real Estate and Business Development, of KB Home, Inc., one of the largest homebuilders in the United States. Albert joined KB Home, Inc. over 25 years ago, and previous to that he was a partner of Sidley & Austin, a national law firm, specializing in real estate transactions and finance. 

Albert previously served as our Federation’s Chair of the Finance & Administration Committee, and was a member of the Budget Subcommittee. Albert is also a member of our Executive Committee. Albert’s other involvements in the community include serving as President of Stephen S. Wise Temple, a member of the Board of Directors of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters, a member of the Board of Directors of Shaare Zedek Hospital of Jerusalem, a member of the Board of Governors of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a graduate of the National Young Leadership Cabinet, and a member of the Urban Land Institute. 

Albert graduated with honors from University of California, Berkeley, and then received his law degree from UCLA Law School and graduated with Order of Coif honors.  Albert and his wife of 43 years, Heidi (a Lion of Judah), are the proud parents of Douglas (married to Dr. Stephanie Smooke Praw), Michael (married to Gantry Praw), Jonathan (married to Darcy Praw) and Dr. Rebecca Praw Share (married to Dr. Michael Share), and the proud grandparents of Maya, Alexandra, Andrew and Jackson. 

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S. Alan Rosen

Vice Chair of the Board

Alan Rosen

For almost 40 years Alan Rosen, a corporate/securities attorney, has specialized in the representation of banks and bank holding companies, including the corporate, securities, operational and administrative law aspects of such representation. He has been actively involved in mergers and acquisitions, bank formations, stock and debt offerings, both public and private, as well as the representation of underwriters in financial institution-related offerings. Alan also handles general corporate representation.

As a longtime supporter of our Federation since the mid-1980s, Alan has served in many leadership capacities, most recently as a Chair of the Valley Alliance from 2011-2013 and as Chair of the Budget Committee from 2010-2013.  He has also served as Vice Chair of Finance for the Valley Alliance, and as the Federation’s Chair of Planning & Allocations, Chair of the Legal Division and Campaign Vice Chair , Business & Professions Division.

Alan is currently a member of the Federation’s Board of Directors, as well as our Executive and Strategic Planning & Distribution Committees, and is Chair of the Finance & Administration Committee. Alan is, and has always been, an outstanding solicitor for the Federation’s Annual Campaign.

Alan and his wife, Judy, a Lion of Judah and member of the Valley Alliance Women’s Board, reside in Tarzana and have two children, Matt, who is married to Robin, and Rebecca, who is married to Laurent.  They currently have three grandchildren.

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Julie B. Platt

General Campaign Chair

Julie Platt

Julie Platt has held top leadership roles within our Federation’s Sylvia Weisz Women’s Campaign, including serving as Chair, and was honored with the Lion of Judah Ruby Award for her commitment to community service. Just prior to being named General Campaign Chair, she served as our Chair of our Federation’s Ensuring the Jewish Future Strategic Initiative.  Julie is a member of our Federation’s Executive Committee, as well as the Executive Committee of the Jewish Federations of North America. She also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Jewish Camp.

Julie’s lifelong connection with the Jewish community began at Camp Ramah in Ojai, and today she’s a driving force in raising funds to subsidize tuition for Jewish summer camps, allowing more families to afford this transformative experience for their children.

Outside of the Jewish world, Julie is actively involved with and an avid supporter of the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated and met her husband, Marc. She currently serves as Penn Alumni president.

Julie and Marc have five children, a son-in-law and two young grandchildren.

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Heidi Monkarsh

Sylvia Weisz Women's Philanthropy Chair

Heidi Monkarsh

Heidi Monkarsh was born and raised in Los Angeles where tzedakah was not only taught, but demonstrated by her family.

Heidi has been actively involved with our Federation for over 20 years.  In 2001, she received the Mildred Allenberg/Dorothy Handler Young Leadership Award, and in 2007 she was awarded the Doris Factor Young Leadership Award. She is a past member of National Young Leadership Cabinet. Today, Heidi serves on our Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Most recently, she chaired the Young Adult Engagement and Leadership Area of our Federation’s Ensuring the Jewish Future Strategic Initiative.

Additionally, Heidi is a board member of Camp Ramah in California, as she feels passionate about Jewish camping being an essential tool in teaching children the joy of living an active and fulfilling Jewish life.  Heidi serves on the board of Hillel at The Washington University, heading the parent campaign. She is an active member at Sinai Temple, The Zimmer Discovery Museum and Brentwood School.

Heidi graduated from UCLA with a degree in Fine Arts, majoring in Graphic Design. As a free-lance graphic designer, she uses her talents creating logos, brochures and invitations. Heidi and her husband Jon are the proud parents of Briana and Russell.

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Rochelle Cohen

Valley Alliance Chair

Rochelle Cohen

Rochelle Cohen grew up in what she describes as a “Federation household” and has been involved in The Jewish Federation for more than 20 years. Her parents, long-time Federation leaders Janet & Jake Farber, stressed the importance of involvement.  Rochelle participated in our Federation’s Super Sunday as a child and then, when she had a family of her own, she decided she had to get involved more directly and give back to the community. 

Rochelle serves on the Board and Executive Board of Directors of The Jewish Federation, and has held such important positions for the Valley Alliance as Vice Chair, President of the Women’s Department, and Women’s Campaign Chair. 

What touches Rochelle about her Federation involvement is the contact with people. Rochelle also cherishes her strong ties to Israel.  She lived there for four years and has been involved in the Federation’s Tel Aviv/Los Angeles Partnership Steering Committee because she believes the connection between Israel and L.A. is so critical.

Rochelle lives in Sherman Oaks with her husband, Freddy, and has three children, Maya, Karen and Yoni.

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Karmi Monsher

Valley Alliance Campaign Co-Chair

Karmi Monsher

Karmi Monsher has been an active member of the Los Angeles Jewish community for many years, and particularly with The Jewish Federation Valley Alliance.  Most recently, Karmi served as the Major Gifts Co-Chair on the Board of the Valley Alliance. She also co-chaired the Valley Alliance Women’s bus for our Federation's 2011 Centennial Mission to Israel, as well as the Valley Alliance Women’s Mission to Israel in 2013. Karmi was Women’s Campaign Chair from 2006-2007, and Women’s Department President from 2008-2009. She became a Lion of Judah in 2003. 

Karmi’s recognition for her work on behalf of our community includes receiving the Juliet Young Leadership Award from the Valley Alliance Women’s Department in 1994, the Women’s Campaign Award in 2002, the Rita Reznikoff Leadership Award in 2010, and the Sylvia Weisz Women’s Campaign Ruby Award in 2013.  Karmi is very active in her synagogue, Adat Ari El, and currently serves on its Board of Directors, as well as on the Board of the BJE. She also worked for Camp Ramah in Ojai from 2009 to 2013 as the Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator, doing her part to ensure a strong and vibrant Jewish future.

Karmi is married to Harold Monsher and they have two wonderful sons, Jesse and Jaime.

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Paul Pepperman

Valley Alliance Campaign Co-Chair

Paul Pepperman

Paul Pepperman is a Senior Vice President, Wealth Management Advisor at Merrill Lynch, and is the Senior Resident Director of its Encino office.  Paul began his career at Merrill Lynch in 1984 and is a Certified Financial Planner. He also holds the designations of Certified Investment Management Analyst and Certified Special Needs Advisor.

Paul has served on the Board of The Jewish Federation Valley Alliance since 2012, and has previously served as Co-Chair and Vice Chair for our Men’s Night Out events. He is active in the Valley Alliance’s Jewish Business Leaders Roundtable networking group, and has been a supporter and participant in our El Caballero Men’s Golf Tournament for many years. Paul has traveled on Valley Alliance Men’s Missions to New Orleans and New York, and he and his wife, Jackie, have joined The Jewish Federation for Missions to Israel, Morocco, Cuba and Poland.  An involved and concerned synagogue leader, Paul is a past President of his congregation, Adat Ari El.

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Ellen Silverman

Valley Alliance Women's Chair

Ellen Silverman

Ellen Silverman first became involved with The Jewish Federation more than 20 years ago when, after a discussion with Rochelle Cohen in the Adat Ari El Early Childhood Center kitchen, she was invited to participate in the Valley Alliance Women's Department Dor Chadash program. Soon after, impressed with the scope of the Federation's work assisting those in need, Ellen joined the Women's Department Board.
Since then, she has held numerous positions within the Valley Alliance Women's Department, including serving as Campaign Chair, Vice President of Community Development, Innovative Outreach and Lion of Judah. Ellen has been privileged to travel on all of the Women's Department missions to Israel since 1999, and feels that seeing the impact Federation dollars have made in Israel first-hand is an incomparable experience.
In addition to her work with the Federation, Ellen has served on the Board of the Jewish Home for the Aging and is a past chair of the Family Violence Project's Friends of the Shelter. She has served as both Sisterhood President as well as President of Adat Ari El.

Ellen resides in Encino and is the proud mother of two daughters, Jordan and Bailey.

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Kathy Guccione

Valley Alliance Women's Campaign Chair

Kathy Guccione

Kathy Guccione first joined the Board of the Valley Alliance Women’s Department in 2006.  Since that time, she has served our women’s campaign in a variety of positions.  Passionate about the work we do as a Federation, Kathy was honored with the Valley Alliance Women’s Department’s Campaign Award in 2011, given to an individual who has distinguished herself by showing an endless commitment to raising funds for The Jewish Federation.  Leading by example, she is a Lion of Judah at the Ruby level. 

Prior to her involvement with our Federation, Kathy was very active at Milken Community High School, Stephen S. Wise Temple and Women’s American ORT.  Kathy has participated in several Federation missions to Israel including women’s missions in 2007, 2008 and 2013, and on our Centennial Mission to Israel with her husband, Michael. 

Kathy and one of her daughters, Stephanie, recently started a business venture together – Pinot’s Palette in Valencia.  Kathy’s other daughter, Melissa, is a rabbi in New York.  She and Michael also have two sons, Jeremy and David.  

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Jay Sanderson

President & CEO

Jay Sanderson is President and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and is responsible for its tremendous transformation.  He has been professionally active in the Jewish community for twenty-seven years and offers a wealth of knowledge and experience in new and old media as well as evolving communications technologies.  Jay is recognized as one of America’s leading entrepreneurs and has over 30 years of experience transforming non-profit organizations, and was named to the Forward 50 list.

Formerly, Jay was the CEO and Executive Producer of Jewish Television Network (JTN). Sanderson created, produced and wrote over 700 hours of award-winning television programming.  Jay was the creator and Executive Producer of the PBS landmark series, The Jewish Americans, and of the epic genocide documentary, Worse Than War. In 2007, he led JTN’s broadband Initiative, JewishTVNetwork.com, the only fully Jewish video website on the internet, attracting over 1.75 million unique visitors and hosting the largest Kol Nidre service ever.

Jay lives in Encino, California, and is married to Laura Lampert Sanderson.  They have two children, Jonah and Isabelle. 

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Andrew Cushnir

Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer

Andrew is The Jewish Federation’s Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer. He assumed this role in January 2015. He is part of the executive management team and oversees the Federation’s annual campaign and strategic philanthropy efforts.

He previously served as the Chief Program Officer, overseeing the Federation’s programmatic and partnership activities in Los Angeles, Israel and internationally. He has also led the Federation’s community relations and social services teams, the Planning & Allocations Department, and he began his Federation career as Director of Business Divisions and New Business Initiatives.

Before becoming a full-time Jewish community professional, Andrew practiced law at Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips and in the in-house department of SunAmerica Inc. At SunAmerica, he also was the Director of Public Affairs. Prior to law school Andrew participated in the Coro Fellowship Program, was a Legislative Fellow with the California State Assembly, and served as an assistant director in the Anti-Defamation League’s Los Angeles office.

While practicing law, he was an active Jewish community and civic volunteer leader. He was involved in the design and implementation of The Jewish Federation’s Access young leadership program and later served as Chair of the Federation’s Leadership Development Council, which brought together all of the young leadership programs under the Federation’s banner. He was in the 1997-1999 Los Angeles class of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, as well as a member of the National Young Leadership Cabinet for the Jewish Federations of North America.

He has been active in Adat Shalom synagogue where he served as President and Chairman of the Board. Andrew has also served in a number of leadership capacities on the board of the environmental organization, TreePeople.

Andrew is married to Sharon Spira-Cushnir, a nonprofit executive. They live in West Los Angeles with their two children.

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Becky Sobelman-Stern

Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer

Becky Sobelman-Stern is The Jewish Federation’s Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer. In this capacity, she is part of the senior management team and oversees all of our Federation’s programmatic and allocations activities in Los Angeles, Israel and internationally.

Becky has spent much of her career working in the Federation system. She started at UJA-Federation of New York as the Director of the University Programs Department, and moved on to be a Regional Women's Division Director and then the Western Region Director. During this period, Becky traveled overseas on many missions with donors and Federation investors to convey the impact of their philanthropy.

Most recently, Becky served as Vice President of Consulting & Community Development at the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), where her leadership was fundamental in energizing 154 Jewish Federations to enhance community impact and Jewish identity programs, foster dynamic connections with Israel, and care for Jews in need.

A strong proponent of philanthropy, Becky also volunteers with Freedom School of the Children’s Defense Fund, a literacy program that empowers children to make a difference, both within their own families, and in the greater community.

Becky is married to Rabbi Ron Stern, a rabbi at Stephen Wise Temple. They are the proud parents of adult children Noah and Ellie, who are the product of our Los Angeles Jewish day school system, Jewish overnight camps, and Israel immersion programs.

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Carol Koransky

Executive Vice President and Executive Director Valley Alliance

Carol Koransky

Carol is Executive Vice President of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Executive Director of its Valley Alliance. In that capacity Carol is responsible for a region of Los Angeles whose Jewish population is burgeoning and which currently stands at approximately 250,000 Jews and an Annual Campaign of $9 million.

Prior to her current role, Carol was Senior Vice President for Policy, Planning and Community Development at the Federation, which had responsibility for local and international allocations and for the Jewish Community Relations Committee. Carol was also Planning & Allocations Director for 8 years. Carol has a Masters Degree in Business Administration from American Jewish University and she has served as Co-Chair of the American Jewish University’s Alumni Association. Carol has lectured on community organizational skills and the structure of the American Jewish community for the Ziegler School of Rabbinics, the American Jewish University’s MBA Program, and has served on the Hebrew Union College Field Faculty. She has served as Chair of the Jewish Federations of North America’s National Planner’s Group and as a Board member of the Jewish Communal Professionals of Southern California. Carol has also participated in the Jewish Federations of North America’s Executive Development Program conducted by the Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence.

American Jewish University awarded Carol its Management Alumni Award, the Jerry Greenberg Memorial Award for Community Service and the Mickey Weiss Alumni Award. Carol is also the recipient of the Alan J. Kassin Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement and the Mark Meltzer Award for Innovative Programs for her collaboration on the creation of The Safe Spot, given by the Jewish Communal Professionals Association of Southern California.

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Ivan Wolkind

Chief Operating and Financial Officer

With twenty years of experience in finance and operations, Wolkind’s goal is to help steer the Federation toward a sound financial future, allowing it to make an even greater impact in the local community, Israel and around the world. His experience in finance and operations within the for-profit sector, both domestically and internationally, provide the external perspective to help the Federation operate more efficiently.

Prior to the Federation, Wolkind has served as Chief Financial Officer and in other leadership positions with publically and privately held companies, primarily in the technology arena. Most recently he was CFO and COO at Cosmic Toast Studios, a content development company for film and television. Previously, he served as CFO at Destination Rx, Inc. – a firm that licenses software to the federal government, health insurance carriers and other clients. He’s also provided consulting services to financial investor groups.

Wolkind is a native of the United Kingdom, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Keele University in England, and then going on to earn the status of Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in London which is the equivalent of our CPA certification. In addition to Wolkind’s professional accomplishments, he is actively involved in the Jewish community. He is currently the voluntary Treasurer/CFO of Harkam Hillel Hebrew Academy in Beverly Hills. Past philanthropic roles include serving as an Executive Board member of B’nai David Judea Congregation in Los Angeles and Treasurer of Congregation Emek Beracha in Palo Alto.

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