Team

Home / About / Team

We’re building a new model of Jewish belonging. Meet our dedicated clergy, educators, and professional staff.

Rabbi Deena Silverstone

Rabbi and Director of Jewish Life

What do you love about JCP?
Where to begin?! I love everything about JCP! This community is passionate, creative, warm, and engaged. I admire how our leadership and community members are deeply committed to both ancient Jewish tradition and 21st-century innovation.
What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
I love Simchat Torah, the holiday where we finish reading the Torah and then start all over again! When we celebrate and dance with the Torah, I am reminded of the power of our foundational, eternal story, from which we derive new wisdom each time we read it.
dsilverstone@jcpdowntown.org
601-348-5361

Rabbi Deena J. Silverstone is a native New Yorker and has served the JCP community for many years. She was a teacher in HSP, a Rabbinic Fellow, and now Associate Rabbi and Director of Jewish Life. Deena was ordained a rabbi in 2020 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Throughout her rabbinic training, Deena participated in a number of fellowships, including the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics, the NIF Froman Fellowship for Social Justice, the AIPAC Israel Leffell Fellowship, the Tisch Fellowship, and the Be Wise Fellowship. Deena lived in Jerusalem for a year, during which time she participated in the Rabbinical Student Seminar at the Hartman Institute and volunteered as an intern and teacher at Kehillat Kodesh V’Chol in Holon. Deena attended Yale University. She graduated cum laude in 2015 with a B.A. in cognitive science and religious studies with honors in both majors.

Cantor Galeet Dardashti

Musician in Residence

What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
It’s a tough one but I think my favorite Jewish holiday is Sukkot since we put up a sukkah every year. We usually have a big sukkah bash. One of the highlights is the annual art show we put up in our sukkah featuring the works of my nine year old!
What’s something true about you that sounds made up?
When I was a kid I performed music with my parents and two sisters all over North America. We were often billed as “A Dash of Dardashti!” We were like the Jewish Von-Trapps...
gdardashti@jcpdowntown.org
212-334-3522

Cantor, scholar, and vocalist/composer Galeet Dardashti has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative performers of Jewish music today beginning with her work as founder/leader of the renowned all-woman ensemble, Divahn and through her multi-disciplinary commissions, The Naming and Monajat. Time Out New York described Dardashti’s work as “urgent, heartfelt and hypnotic,” and The Huffington Post called it “heart-stopping.”

Dardashti holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology specializing in contemporary Israeli cultural politics and is currently writing a book on the Mizrahi piyyut (sacred song) phenomenon in Israel. Dardashti has held postdoctoral fellowships at NYU and Rutgers and most recently was Assistant Professor of Jewish Music/Musician in Residence at JTS. She will be an Affiliated Fellow at University of Pennsylvania’s Katz Center in 2020/21.

Since studying with her father, Hazzan Farid Dardashti, she has accumulated over twenty years of professional cantorial experience with Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and experimental communities.

Jacob Leizman

Student Rabbi

What random interest do you have?
I love playing chess — and I’m always looking for new people to play with online!
What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
Yom Kippur because it requires a lot of us physically and gives us a lot spiritually in return.
jleizman@jcpdowntown.org
212-334-3522

Jacob Leizman is thrilled to continue at JCP in a greater capacity this year as a Student Rabbi. He is a 3rd year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR, located right by Washington Square Park. In addition to tutoring at JCP last year, Jacob was a full-time educator at Central Synagogue prior to beginning HUC-JIR and has had a variety of teaching and prayer leadership experiences that have spanned from New York, to South Carolina, to Israel, and even a cross-country bus across the US. Jacob has spent most of his life around New York — he grew up New Rochelle and graduated from Hunter College in 2015 — and is excited to spend more time downtown in Tribeca. Jacob is passionate about making Judaism an accessible and authentic presence that can fulfill, ground, and inspire us. In his downtime, Jacob loves playing basketball and guitar, and spending time with friends and family.

Rachel Mintz

Director of Early Childhood Center

What’s one of your favorite places in the city?
I love the Union Square Greenmarket and Brooklyn Flea.
What’s something true about you that sounds made up?
I have four siblings but I'm also an only child, and I lived in Argentina for seven months.
rmintz@jcpdowntown.org
212-334-3522

Rachel Mintz is the director of JCP’s Early Childhood Center. Rachel is no stranger to our parents, children and staff, having served for the two years as our Child Development Specialist & Parent Educator. Prior to this role, she was a familiar face in our classrooms where she served as a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) for several years.

Raised in New York, Rachel received a master’s degree in social work at New York University and a master’s in early childhood general and special education from Hunter College. She began her work in early childhood education as a classroom teacher at Brooklyn Heights Synagogue Preschool. Rachel serves as an adjunct professor at Hunter College, teaching graduate level courses in curriculum development and early childhood education, and supervises student teachers in the field. She has also worked extensively advocating for young children through the New York City Department of Education.

Denise Kohn

Associate Director of Early Childhood Center

What’s one of your favorite things to do in the city?
I love to take runs and spend time in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
What’s something true about you that sounds made up?
I once did a 250 foot bungee jump into a gorge in Zimbabwe. I once hitchhiked on the back of a mango truck from the northern coast of Honduras to the southern coast, eating mangos the whole way.
denise@jcpdowntown.org
212-334-3522

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.

Marisa Goldsmith

Director of Admissions and Enrichment Programs Coordinator

What’s one of your favorite places in the city?
I've been a vegetarian my whole life and my favorite vegetarian restaurant that I have frequented for the last 20 years is Hangawi. I’m lucky to live near and work in the best city with many amazing vegetarian options.
What’s something true about you that sounds made up?
I love game shows! I've been on two and am in the process of trying out for another one.
mgoldsmith@jcpdowntown.org
212-334-3522

Marisa has worked as a teacher and administrator in both public and private schools in New York for the past seventeen years. After graduating with her M.S. Ed from Bank Street College, she worked at the Children’s Aid Society in Greenwich Village as the Director of Admissions and Education. On her free time, Marisa plays softball in a “momball” league out in Long Island, where she lives with her husband and two children.

Sarah Johnson

Administrative Director of the Early Childhood Center

What's one of your favorite things to do in the city?
I love watching movies at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Downtown Brooklyn.
What random interests do you have?
Singing has always been a great passion of mine, but I've also started to realize my dream of learning to play the electric guitar!
sarahj@jcpdowntown.org
212-334-3522

Sarah is a Texas native who moved to New York in 2012. 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 since 2010 in human resources and administrative positions in arts organizations. She enjoys concerts, movies, and her Brooklyn neighborhood.

Allison Kreisler

Child Development Specialist of Early Childhood Center

What’s one of your favorite things to do in the city?
NYC street fairs! I love to walk around a street fair on a beautiful spring or fall day in NYC.
What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
Hanukkah. It falls during a time of the year where you get to spend time with family and friends. I love to see the excitement in my children’s eyes as we light the candles each night.
akreisler@jcpdowntown.org
212-334-3522

Allison Kreisler received her Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education and Communicative Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After college, Allison came back to New York, where she was born and raised, to earn a Masters of Arts degree, in Speech Language Pathology, at NYU. Allison has worked with preschool and school age children for over twenty years. She has extensive experience collaborating with a wide range of teachers, doctors, and therapists of various disciplines, making her an expert in child development. Allison strongly believes that children are the most successful learners when there is a strong home-school connection. She understands the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach in which parent education, about all areas of development, plays an integral role in a child’s success in school. Allison has a private practice where she provides speech-language therapy in New York City and Long Island. Allison lives in Port Washington, NY with her husband and two children.

Roxana Reid

Ongoing Schools Specialist of Early Childhood Center

What’s one of your favorite places in the city?
I love my neighborhood, the Lower East Side, and having a wonderful meal outside under the twinkling lights of Avenue A is a favorite — not to mention the bagels from Kossair’s Bagels & Bialys.
What do you love about JCP?
I love the JCP’s community. It is engaged, energetic and always mission driven.
roxana@jcpdowntown.org
212-334-3522

Roxana Reid is JCP’s ongoing schools specialist, enhancing our ongoing school counseling services and adding to the care and attention of our families during the placement process. Roxana has more than twenty years of experience in counseling and helping to place families in ongoing schools.

Daphne Logan

Director of Hebrew School Project

What’s one of your favorite things to do in the city?
One of my favorite things to do in the city is to feed the turtles at Hernshead in Central Park.
What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
My favorite Jewish holiday is Hanukkah because of the memories I have of the joy that it would bring during winter exams in college.
dlogan@jcpdowntown.org
212-334-3522

Daphne brings to JCP a diverse range of experience working in the Jewish nonprofit world. She attended the Joint Program between Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, and graduated in 2019 with BAs in Urban Studies and in Talmud. She also spent a semester at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she was a Nachshon Project Fellow. Daphne is passionate about empowering Jews of all backgrounds to love and take ownership over their Jewish lives.

Jeffrey Alton

Director of Finance

What’s one of your favorite things to do in the city?
I enjoy strolling or running along the Hudson on the Upper West Side. It is the combination of the beauty of the river and at the same time feeling the bustle of the city that makes me love being a New Yorker.
What’s something true about you that sounds made up?
I grew up in Arkansas.
jalton@jcpdowntown.org
917-970-0153

Jeffrey Alton brings a broad financial background to JCP, including experience in non-profit finance, commercial banking and investments. He has worked both as a service provider and customer in many areas, sharpening his skills in budgeting, project analysis and retirement plans. His work experience includes positions of increasing responsibility at financial institutions including international banks and private investment firms. Jeffrey is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of the New York Society of Securities Analysts. He received a BBA from the University of Notre Dame. Jeffrey lives in New York City with his wife and three daughters.

Tasheva Gadson

Finance & HR Manager

What’s one of your favorite things to do in the city?
One of my favorite things to do is relax. I'm constantly busy on and off the job so when I can chill, I do it and as often as I can.
What’s something true about you that sounds made up?
I have five children. Everyone I tell I have children to, never believe me.
tgadson@jcpdowntown.org
718-530-3153

Tasheva Gadson has worked in an array of industries but there is just something so profound about nonprofit work she loves. Perhaps it’s the notion of human service parallel to it fitting her personality of her love and passion to help others. Although, for the last 15 years she has worked with general ledgers, policy, procedure development, human resources, payroll and budgets, Tasheva passionately loves working with organizations that serve a purpose for their communities, such as JCP. As long as she is a part of it, in some facet, she is happy. She is known for ability to effectuate change, revamp programs, streamline processes for efficiency and introduce automation that will cause growth. Her motif operandi is adversity is preparation for greatness and she feels JCP wears it snug like a glove.

Edward Kelly

Director of Facilities

What’s one of your favorite things to do in the city?
Have a beer and watch the Mets from Shea Bridge in Citi Field.
ekelly@jcpdowntown.org
212-334-3522

Edward Kelly is a Facilities Manager whose extensive experience has included years at the 42nd Street branch of NY Public Library, the three building Google campus and the Sherry Netherland hotel. Most recently, he served for a year as Correspondence Manager at National Debt Relief performing duties as varied as code writing and creating client introductory documents. He holds an undergraduate degree in Film Production from Hunter College.

Carly Siegler

Data Administrative Specialist

What’s one of your favorite places in the city?
My absolute favorite place in the city is Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park in Battery Park City. I previously worked for an incredible company called Battery Dance that hosts an annual festival at Wagner Park every August. Dancers from all over the globe perform on an outdoor stage. It's a small park that holds a lot of big memories for me and also has the most breathtaking views of the Hudson and the Statue of Liberty.
What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?
Passover. The story of Exodus is extremely powerful and so resonant in the face of a world that remains unjust and inequitable for so many. For me, Passover serves as a reminder that Jewish tradition instills a real responsibility to advocate for my fellow humans. I also happen to really love matzah.
csiegler@jcpdowntown.org

Carly Siegler was born and raised outside of Philadelphia. She is a 2013 graduate of Ursinus college, with a B.A. in Media and Communications Studies & Theater, and a Minor in French. Carly’s professional background is in the non-profit sector, and she has had the pleasure of serving various arts organizations in both Philadelphia and her adopted home of New York City, where she is currently pursuing a degree in public interest law.

Meet the Board

Team