JCP Staff Team

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Jewish Community Project: 212-334-3522

Meet JCP’s Professional Staff

Margo Amgott
Interim Executive Director

MargoMargo Amgott has served in leadership roles in state and local government, higher education and leading non-profit organizations. She heads Amgott Interim LLC, a consulting company that serves leading nonprofits providing transitional leadership and project management. Margo holds a master’s degree from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and a BA from Barnard College. Most recently, she served as interim chief operating officer at National Council of Jewish Women, interim vice president for public affairs at Montefiore Health System, interim associate provost at Hunter College and executive director of the NYU Child Study Center. She previously served as interim executive director at JCP Downtown in 2015-16. Margo directed the City’s Early Intervention Program for children with developmental delays and disabilities at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, serving as assistant commissioner, and spent more than 15 years at Columbia University overseeing numerous programs including student health and campus wellness programs.

Sharon Shorofsky Mack
Director of Education and Early Childhood Center & Associate Director, JCP

DSC_0122Sharon 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.

Scott Hertz
Director, Marketing and Communications

scott_hertz_100x100Scott 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.

Alex Kogan
Director, Finance and Administration

DSC_0118Alex 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.

Sima Green
Director, Hebrew School Project & Assistant Director, Early Childhood Center

simaSima 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.

Wendy Gelsanliter
Associate Director, Early Childhood Center

wendyforwebWendy 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.

Denise Kohn
Assistant Director, Early Childhood Center

Denise headshot for webOriginally 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.

Lauran Pancoast
Education Department Coordinator

newlauranwebphotoLauran 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.

Matti Bowen
Office Manager, Early Childhood Center

Matti Bowen HeadshotMatti 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.

Liya Kahan
Associate Director, Annual Campaign

Liya Photo2Liya 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.

Jenna Mulberry
Events Manager

jennaOriginally 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.

Danielle Zeldin
Program Coordinator, Center for Jewish Life

Danielle grew up in New Jersey before attending Manhattanville College where she majored Music Education. While in college, she was very involved in Jewish Student Association on campus and served as their president. Before coming to JCP, Danielle worked as Youth Program Coordinator aboard Holland America Line’s cruise ships engaging children from preschool to high school while traveling around the world. She lives in Queens and enjoys singing, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.

Shelby Weinberg
Business and Finance Associate

photo 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 Johnson
Office Administrator

sarah johnson picSarah 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.



Bajram Bicic
Facilities Manager

A native New Yorker, Bajram comes to JCP after spending 3 years at Yeshiva University, where he was the Facilities Manager at YU’s Brookdale campus. At YU, Bajram was in charge of all daily operations of the building, which include housekeeping, maintenance, and equipment management. Bajram has a strong passion for sports, attending sporting events, and enjoys learning about world history.


Nicholas Kappstatter

Nick photoNick 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.