Meet BJLI Fellows


Class of 2016


About BJLI

BJLI Info Sheet

BJLI Info Sheet


BJLI Curriculum

BJLI curriculum emphasizes core management and leadership skills in the context of the Jewish intellectual thought, as well as historical and contemporary issues of the Russian-speaking and American Jewish communities.
Learn more about the BJLI courses.


BJLI Schedule

The fellowship combines distance learning with residential seminars at Brandeis University and in New York City along with an overseas mission.
Learn more about the BJLI schedule.

BJLI faculty and staff



Harry Bloom

Harry BloomHarry Bloom is PEJE’s Strategy Manager for Day School Sustainability. He is an experienced marketing manager and strategist with Brand Management and Marketing Management experience at Procter & Gamble, General Electric, and McKinsey & Company. He has helped over 50 Jewish day schools strengthen their finances, recruitment and retention processes, and fundraising and has spoken at numerous conferences about the implementation of cutting edge Market Segmentation and Proactive Recruitment practices. Dr. Bloom’s goal is to help nonprofit organizations achieve their missions through the development and implementation of strategies to enhance their sustainability and governance capacity.


Sacha Litman

Sacha LitmanSacha Litman is the Founder, Managing Director, CEO, and Principal Consultant of Measuring Success, a strategy consulting firm dedicated to developing quantitative tools and models to enhance organizational effectiveness. Sacha holds an M.B.A. with highest distinction from Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University), an M.P.A. from Harvard’s Kennedy School and a B.S. in applied mathematics, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Yale University. He is a recipient of a Wexner Graduate fellowship, Dorot fellowship, and attended the Pardes Institute. Sacha has worked for McKinsey and Company and Credit Suisse, and was director of strategy and consulting for an international non-profit organization.


Deborah Riegel

Deborah RiegelDeborah Grayson Riegel is a communication and behavior expert who helps corporations, Jewish organizations, and individuals achieve personal, interpersonal and professional success. Her clients range from American Express to the JCC Association to Toyota and the United States Army.
Deborah was the Director of Education and Training for the Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence at the Jewish Federations of North America, where she developed innovative training programs for Federation professionals and lay-leaders, and co-authored an award-winning interactive solicitation training website. Deborah also worked at the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA) as the Director of the only program in North America that trains senior citizens to be lobbyists.
Deborah has served on the faculty for both the Wexner Heritage Program and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical school. She is a member of the National Speakers Association, the Jewish Communal Service Association, and a credentialed member of the International Coach Federation. Deborah also sits on the Advisory Board of the Harvard Business Review.
Deborah has been a contributor and featured expert in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Fast Company, Fox Business News, Bloomberg BusinessWeek and the New York Jewish Week, where her monthly column reaches over 160,000 readers. She is the author of “Oy Vey! Isn’t a Strategy: 25 Solutions for Personal and Professional Success.” (Behrman House, 2012) 


Jonathan Sarna

Jonathan SarnaJonathan Sarna is the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and Chief Historian of the new National Museum of American Jewish History. Dubbed by the Forward newspaper in 2004 as one of America's fifty most influential American Jews, he was Chief Historian for the 350th commemoration of the American Jewish community, and is recognized as a leading commentator on American Jewish history, religion and life.  In 2009, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Born in Philadelphia, and raised in New York and Boston, Dr. Sarna attended Brandeis University, the Boston Hebrew College, Merkaz HaRav Kook in Jerusalem, and Yale University, where he obtained his doctorate in 1979. Dr. Sarna now chairs the Academic Advisory and Editorial Board of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati.
Dr. Sarna has written, edited, or co-edited more than thirty books. He is best known for the acclaimed American Judaism: A History, winner of the Jewish Book Council's "Jewish Book of the Year Award" in 2004.


Daniel Smith

Dan SmithDan Smith is an Associate Professor at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Dr. Smith studies state government budgeting and financial management. His research focuses on the effects of state fiscal institutions, especially balanced budget requirements, and the implications of how states accumulate and use fund balances. His research appears in Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Journal of Public Administration Research and many others.  Dan is an author of a number of textbooks, encyclopedias and reviews and is a member of three journal editorial boards.
Professor Smith serves on the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council (GASAC), which is responsible for consulting with the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) on technical issues. In 2011, Dan Smith was voted "Professor of the Year" by NYU Wagner students. He holds a Ph.D. in public administration from the School of Public and International Affairs at The University of Georgia.


Ellen Smith

Ellen SmithEllen Smith serves as the Director of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis, and is an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. She also co-directs advanced training programs at Brandeis for Jewish professionals and organizations (including the Gralla Fellows Program for Religion Journalists that ran from 1998-2009).  Ellen is principal of Museumsmith, a firm specializing in museum exhibitions and historic site interpretations throughout the nation.
Trained as both an academic historian and a museum curator, Ellen is a well published author and a popular speaker locally and throughout the country.  Ellen sits on numerous academic and civic advisory boards, and is past president of Boston's Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center. She has won numerous honors and awards for her leadership in the Jewish community as both a volunteer and a professional.  At Brandeis, Ellen has developed a series of new courses in visual and material culture, and museum studies. 


David Wallen

DavidSince 2012, David Whalen has served as the Chief Development Officer for Partners in Health (PIH), an international health organization whose mission is to provide health care and promote social justice in some of the world's poorest countries  A leader in the global health movement, PIH operates in 12 countries and currently raises in excess of $160 million a year.  Mr. Whalen previously served as the Chief Development Officer at the Union of Concerned Scientists from 2002-2012, working with leadership there to triple the size of the organization in that time period.  Prior to that, he served as senior manager at both Catholic Charities and Project Bread in Boston. He consults frequently to human service organizations in the US and abroad on the effective management of development and philanthropy programs. For the past thirteen years, Mr. Whalen has been an Adjunct Lecturer at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, where he teaches courses in strategic mot for profit management and philanthropy. He has a B.A. from Georgetown University, an M.S. in Human Services from the University of Massachusetts/Boston and an M.B.A. from Brandeis University.


Victor Vitkin

Victor VitkinVictor Vitkin serves as the Executive Director of the Brandeis-Genesis Institute for Russian Jewry,an initiative that aims to galvanize the Russian-speaking Jewish community around the world by empowering young adults to actively engage in Jewish life, nurturing a cadre of effective communal professionals and strengthening the field of Russian Jewish studies.
Prior to joining Brandeis, he served as an emissary of the Jewish Agency for Israel to North America, where he developed and led educational programs, organized international missions and conducted leadership training.He also served as the executive director of One Plus One, a nonprofit organization serving new immigrants in Israel. Victor holds an M.A. in communications from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and an M.B.A. with focus in strategic management from Georgetown University.


Veronica Price

Veronica PriceVeronica Price serves as a BJLI Program Manager. In this capacity, she is responsible for the day-to-day success of the BJLI program. Veronica is a social entrepreneur, a small business consultant, a Russian-speaking Jewish communal professional, a photographer, and explorer. Originally from Ukraine, Veronica immigrated to the US in 1988, grew up in Brooklyn, and received a BS in neuro-biology from Binghamton University.
After years as a marketing and strategy specialist, training, educating and assisting start-ups with business planning and execution, she decided to focus on her own ventures. Veronica successfully expanded her family photography business, started a homemade play-dough brand, and created a variety of Jewish community projects, including historical scavenger hunts and all-day cultural festivals – first as a lay leader and eventually as a professional.
Currently Veronica directs programs at RJeneration, a NY grassroots organization for Russian-speaking Jews (born in the Soviet Union, made in America), designing and innovating opportunities for young adults and families to connect, learn, and grow together. Veronica serves on the boards of several tech and social startups. She lives in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, NY with her husband and young children, cultivating and connecting communities for herself and others.