Leadership Team

 

Professional Staff

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Cole Parke (they/them/theirs) is an experienced organizer, activist, researcher, and facilitator who is passionate about supporting faith communities in fulfilling the call to resist oppression and advance social justice. They are an expert trainer and practitioner in conflict transformation, and prior to relocating to Durham this summer, Cole spent the previous five years working for Political Research Associates, a Boston-based think tank dedicated to understanding and interrupting right-wing extremism, including white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism. Cole has worked with many faith communities, from the Episcopal Service Corps to Keshet, and they served as a co-founder and coordinating team member of Boston's SURJ chapter. Cole can be reached at cole@carolinajewsforjustice.org.

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Brandon Mond (he/him/his), a native Texan, has been involved in numerous Jewish organizing and social justice efforts. He started as a student at the University of Texas at Austin organizing other Hillel students around pre-k education access, gun safety, and homelessness. After that, he moved to Washington, D.C. where he was a resident community builder and later fundraiser for Moishe House as well as a retreat facilitator for GatherDC, helping peers find nontraditional ways of connecting to Judaism. Professionally, he has worked on the past three election cycles in various capacities, helping southern progressives seek political office. Brandon was also a founding member of IfNotNow Austin, where he worked on issues related to immigrant justice and anti-racism. Brandon can be reached at brandon@carolinajewsforjustice.org.

Board and Steering Committees

Carolina Jews for Justice is currently led by a volunteer Board of Directors from Jewish communities in Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Mebane, and Asheville. CJJ local chapters are led by volunteer chairs of local steering committees. 

Judy Leavitt, Board President

Judy (she/her/hers) started serving as president in 2018. She also serves as Chair of the steering committee of Carolina Jews for Justice West, which focuses on western North Carolina. Judy lives in Asheville, where she was chair of the social justice committee of Congregation Beth HaTephila for 10 years. She is a retired educator of nursing and health policy.

Julia Barnard, Board Member

Julia (she/her/hers) holds a B.A. with highest distinction in History from the University of Kansas and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from UNC. She works as a researcher at the Center for Responsible Lending focusing on student lending and debt collection, and also teaches at the Lerner School in Durham. She previously she served as a community organizer for Texas Hillel Foundation, and is currently helping CJJ's new youth chapter, NC Teens for Change, get off the ground. 

Meredith Cohen, Board Member

Meredith (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Hillsborough, NC and grew up attending Beth El Synagogue in Durham. After many years away from the area, which she spent attending college, teaching elementary school, and learning to farm, she is so happy to be back home, putting down roots near family and old friends. Just before moving back, Meredith spent 3 years living at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut, and working with amazing Jewish farmers at  the Adamah farm. She is excited to be back and building her Jewish community here in North Carolina, and finding ways to stand up for justice alongside her fellow Jews.

Emma Cohn, Board Member

Emma Cohn (she/her/hers) is originally from Asheville, but is now a first-year student at UNC Chapel Hill, studying political science and art history. Previously, she was the secretary and Social Action VP for her synagogue's NFTY chapter, served on Asheville's Jewish Community Relations Council, and was a fellow of the Jewish Women's Archive's Rising Voices Fellowship. Within CJJ, she manages social media for both statewide and the West chapter and writes for the blog.

Frank Goldsmith, Board Member

Frank (he/him/his) is a civil rights lawyer and mediator active in social justice issues since the 1960s. He is a member of the steering committee of Carolina Jews for Justice West and former chair of the Social Action Committee at Congregation Beth Israel in Asheville, NC.

Debbie Goldstein, Board Member

Debbie (she/her/hers) lives in Durham with her husband, Steve Prince, son Avery, and daughter Hannah. She serves in a leadership role at the Center for Responsible Lending, a national nonprofit based in Durham that advocates for fair and affordable financial services for low-income families, and also sits on the board of Durham Congregations in Action and Beth El congregation. Debbie is originally from the DC area, and has lived in Durham for over 15 years.

Jack Holtzman, Board Member

Jack (he/him/his) is an attorney at the NC Justice Center, with a focus on housing discrimination. He has been in NC since 1985 and has previously helped lead the Progressive Jewish Network/(Triangle chapter of New Jewish Agenda), the Triangle Childrens' Shule and the CRC of the Durham-Chapel Hill Jewish Federation. Jack’s wife Pam is a professor of public health and he has two grown daughters, Rachel and Danya.

Dove Kent, Board Member

Dove (she/her/hers) has over 15 years of experience in grassroots organizing, political education, and movement building. As the former executive director of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (2011 through 2016), Dove supported the organization to triple in size and win game-changing legislative victories for police accountability and worker’s rights through powerful local coalitions. Under Dove’s tenure, JFREJ grew into one of the strongest and most effective progressive Jewish organizations in the country, creating significant culture shifts within the Jewish community, New York and nationally. She has been published in many media outlets nation-wide. Dove teaches throughout the country and currently resides in Durham, North Carolina.

Mike Landes, Board Member

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Mike (he/him/his) moved to North Carolina for his Master's Degree at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy. He has worked for a wide array of political and nonprofit organizations, including a fellowship with the American Jewish World Service and a position on the New York Steering Committee of PresenTense, a Jewish social entrepreneurship incubator program. Mike currently serves as Director of Political Operations for NC REALTORS, the largest trade organization in the state, where he directs grassroots advocacy activities and initiatives all over North Carolina. Before working for NC REALTORS, Mike worked for a Democratic political consulting firm and was the lead consultant to campaigns ranging from County Clerk of Court to State House and Senate. He currently lives in Mebane with his wife Lisa.

Max Parish, Board Member

Max Parish (he/him/his) is a seasoned organizer with years of experience in issue and electoral campaigns on both municipal and state levels. He moved to Raleigh from Boston with his fiancée, Mira, in May of 2018, and is excited to contribute to community organizing in NC personally and professionally. Max works at Mothers Out Front, a national movement of mothers who are building power to secure a swift transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy to ensure a livable climate for all. There, he supports the organizing as a Database Administrator, ensuring members across the organization are equipped to use data and technology effectively to inform and enhance their organizing strategies and tactics.

Rochelle Sparko, Board Member

Rochelle (she/her/hers) grew up in western Massachusetts where she was an active member of her synagogue and USY. She received undergraduate degrees from Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary and spent her junior year abroad at Hebrew University. After three years in Washington, DC, where Rochelle attended law school, she moved to Hawaii. Rochelle practiced law at the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii and taught the b’nai mitzvah class at a Honolulu synagogue. Since moving to Durham in 2008, Rochelle had a five year stint practicing law at the NC Justice Center, and then served as the policy director for a sustainable agriculture non-profit from 2013-2019. Now she serves as the Director of NC Policy at the Center for Responsible Lending. She’s been missing Jewish community life, and looks forward to working hard with CJJ to advance her social justice values in the context of her Jewish identify.