JCP Staff Team
Jewish Community Project: 212-334-3522
Meet JCP’s Professional Staff
Rabbi Andrew Ergas
Bringing over twenty-five years of involvement in Jewish education and leadership, Andrew Ergas joined the team at JCP in May 2016. Prior to JCP, Andrew served for seven years as Head of School at Beit Rabban Day School on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. In the past, he has worked as the Executive Director of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, as a Director of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Youth Division, as a resident and day camp director, and as an organizational management consultant. A frequent lecturer and writer on Israel and Diaspora relations, Jewish history and effective change management within organizational life, Rabbi Ergas is recognized as a leading speaker and educator in the Jewish community and beyond. Andrew was ordained in Jerusalem by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, and holds graduate degrees in nonprofit management and in Hebrew literature. A graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education certificate program, Andrew is also a doctoral candidate in education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He lives in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. with his wife Jennifer and has three sons, Erez, Natan and Ari.
Sharon Shorofsky Mack
Director of Education and Early Childhood Center & Associate Director, JCP
Sharon Shorofsky Mack graduated from Barnard College and went on to earn a Masters Degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She was the Founding Director of the Brotherhood Synagogue Nursery School in Manhattan and the Director of Administration and Development at Torah Academy, a K-8 Jewish Day School, in Brookline, MA. Sharon has worked in the field of education since 1989. Sharon’s background also includes preschool teaching as well as admissions work in preschools, elementary schools and higher education. In March 2014 Sharon was awarded the JCP Leadership Award and in December 2014 she received The Blackboard Award for Outstanding School Leader, as one of three recipients city wide. Sharon and her husband Alex have three children and live in Manhattan.
Rabbi Jason Klein
Director, Center for Jewish Life
Rabbi Jason Klein grew up in Stuyvesant Town and Montclair, NJ before returning to the City for college at Columbia, where he majored in religion. After receiving rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2002, he became the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Emeth on the South Shore of Long Island. Rabbi Jason completed seven years of service as Executive Director with Hillel at UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) before coming to JCP and recently finished serving for two years as President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, a volunteer position. He lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Scott Hertz joined JCP in 2016. Previously, he spent 15 years at the Union for Reform Judaism where most recently he was Director of Communications for the network of 60 URJ Youth camps and programs. Scott grew up in Texas and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin where he studied Advertising and Digital Media. A lifelong Reform Jew, Scott is an alum of NFTY and has been a camper, staff member and faculty member at the URJ Greene Family Camp in Texas and URJ Kutz Camp in New York.
Senior Business and Finance Manager
Alex has a background in not-for-profit administration in the Jewish community. He graduated with a BA in Psychology and Economics from Hunter College. Among his many interests are travel, foreign languages, history, music, and writing.
Director, Hebrew School Project & Assistant Director, Early Childhood Center
Sima holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching and certification in Jewish Leadership through Teaching from Brandeis University. After teaching Middle School on Long Island and First Grade at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School, Sima taught in our Early Childhood Center for four years, became the curriculum coordinator for the Hebrew School Project and then expanded her responsibilities as the Associate Director of HSP. Sima’s leadership recently expanded to include joining the ECC administrative team. She enjoys running and biking in Central Park and along the West Side Highway Greenway.
Associate Director, Early Childhood Center
Wendy graduated from Hamilton College and earned her M.S. from Bank Street College of Education. With over twenty years of experience working with young children, Wendy’s most current positions include Director of the Park Slope Child Care Collective and Assistant Director of Beginnings Nursery School in Manhattan. Music is another passion of Wendy’s. As a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, she has produced three CDs for children and their families.
Assistant Director, Early Childhood Center
Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Denise Kohn received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University, and then went on to live and work in Honduras as a Peace Corps volunteer. She received a Master’s in Public Health degree from Columbia University and worked in the non-profit administrative world for many years. Denise made a career change and taught at Plymouth Church School while receiving her Master’s in Early Childhood Education degree from the Bank Street Graduate School of Education. She is also actively involved in the Jewish world, having most recently served as the Chair of the Beginning Jewish Families Task Force and as a Cabinet member of the Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal of the UJA-Federation of New York. Denise lives in Brooklyn with her husband Adam and her three children.
Education Department Coordinator
Lauran Pancoast, a native New Yorker, received her Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Studies from SUNY Purchase in 2004 and later went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education From Hunter College, where she also holds an Advanced Certification in Gifted and Talented Education. Prior to teaching, Lauran worked at Bellevue Hospital managing the Emergency Medicine Education Department where she also became a certified CPR and First Aid Instructor. Lauran taught in the JCP Early Childhood Center for many years prior to joining the Administrative team. She lives in Queens with her husband Michael and two children.
Office Manager, Early Childhood Center
Matti Bowen was a long time resident of upstate New York, where she attended Binghamton University and graduated with a BA in English Literature and Cinema Studies, before relocating to New York City and joining the JCP family. Her previous position was as an administrative assistant at a preschool that focused on special education services and education programs for the local low income community, where she discovered her passion for early childhood education. In her free time she enjoys exploring New York’s many diverse neighborhoods, attending concerts, film screenings and spending time with friends.
Associate Director, Annual Campaign
Liya Kahan was born in Israel but has spent much of her life abroad, having lived in Ethiopia, Swaziland, Burma and Italy. She considers herself truly a citizen of the world! Liya moved to the United States to attend Brandeis University, where she earned her B.A degree in International & Global Studies and Anthropology in 2012. Upon graduation, Liya moved to New York City where she began her career in the corporate world of sales, eventually making the shift to the Jewish non-profit sector and working in development and fundraising. Working in the New York Jewish community has been such an enriching and fulfilling experience for Liya.
Alaine Waldman Ashkenazi
Associate Director, Capital Campaign
Alaine comes to JCP from UJA-Federation of New York, where she served as Volunteer Manager for all donor engagement projects. In her role, she also oversaw large service days and volunteer recognition events. Prior to UJA-Federation, she worked in Campaign and Community Development at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, focusing on cultivating prospects in the Young Adult Division and Women’s Philanthropy Departments. Alaine received her masters in Social Work at Columbia and Jewish Studies at Jewish Theological Seminary. She lives in Forest Hills with her husband and 6-year-old son.
Originally from the Space Coast of Florida, Jenna moved to New York shortly after graduating from Florida State University in 2009 with a double major in Studio Art and Art History. Jenna has been involved with JCP since 2009 and offically joined the team in 2012. She is a resident of Brooklyn, and in her free time, she enjoys attending museums, photography, and traveling.
Business and Finance Associate
Before joining the staff at JCP, Shelby worked at a Manhattan CPA firm for two years. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from SUNY Geneseo and went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Accounting at SUNY Old Westbury. In her free time, Shelby loves to spend quality time with her friends and family.
Sarah is a Texas native who moved to New York three years ago. She holds a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. She also attended St. John’s College in New Mexico for its Great Books program. Sarah has worked for the past five years in human resources and administrative positions in arts organizations. She enjoys concerts, movies, and her Brooklyn neighborhood.
Danny has been with JCP from its very first days on White Street as our inaugural security guard. Danny was the Assistant Scout Master of Troup 304 in Harrison, NJ. He is the Past President of the Harrison Chapter Lions Club International. Danny grew up in New Jersey and has been a lifelong follower of classic rock.
Nick was born and raised in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. He enjoys traveling, has driven cross country, and has also been on safari in Africa. Nick values staying connected with friends and family. One of his favorite things to do is take long walks in all parts of the city.