Class Correspondent

Melissa Beckmann, who taught math for 22 years, is now academic coordinator at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School, in Franklin, Massachusetts. She is married with three children: Nicole, a recent Drexel grad; Tyler, a sophomore at RPI; and Freddie, a high-school junior Melissa hopes will consider attending Brandeis. They family enjoys the Alumni Association’s annual Celtics outing. In June 2016, Israela Brill-Cass celebrated the one-year anniversary of her company, fixerrr. She has worked with organizations like the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Arabella Advisors, the Sisterhood at Temple Shir Tikva, the Society of Grownups, and a number of New England colleges and universities to give employees the tools they need to navigate challenging conversations and successfully negotiate. She continues to teach conflict and negotiation at Emerson College, and recently spoke at two leadership conferences in Boston. She was again named a Top Woman Attorney in Massachusetts and a New England Super Lawyer in alternative dispute resolution. Israela recently visited Brandeis with her daughter, a high-school senior, who loved the school. Renee Goldberg Edelman serves as rabbi for Temple Sha’arey Shalom in Springfield, New Jersey. She and her husband, Shane, live in Short Hills with their three children: Bailey (12), and Sophie and Jackson (both 10). “Sacred Choices: 40 Years of Women in the Rabbinate,” conceived and edited in part by Renee, was recently published. After 17 years at the University of Notre Dame, Alyssa (Turner) Dinega Gillespie was named chair of the Russian department at Bowdoin. She is excited to return to New England after so many years of living in the Midwest, and for her and her five sons to explore all that Maine’s Midcoast region offers. Alyssa is the author or editor of four books of Russian-literature scholarship and a prize-winning translator of Russian poetry. She is working on a new book, “Dangerous Verses: Alexander Pushkin and the Ethics of Inspiration.” Scott Gladstone, a business litigation and construction-law attorney in Brookline, Massachusetts, is president of Temple Emeth. He was re-elected to represent his precinct at Brookline Town Meeting. Drew University assistant professor Jonathan Golden was appointed director of the school’s Center on Religion Culture and Conflict, and was named Scholar/Mentor of the Year. He joined two other alumni — U.S.-Indonesia Society president David Merrill ’64, P’00, and Rabbi Simkha Weintraub ’75, rabbinic director of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services — at a New York City conference, “Challenging Religious Extremism in a Globalized World.” Jonathan and Simkha presented; David was a keynote speaker. Jonathan and his wife, Priscilla, had their first child, Lyla Sanches, on Nov. 19, 2015. Eva Lefkowitz was named department head and professor of human development and family studies at the University of Connecticut. Leni Marshall’s book “Age Becomes Us: Bodies and Gender in Time,” came out in paperback in summer 2016, arriving just as her twins, Mara and Sylvia, headed off to college. Debra Messing has starred in “Will and Grace” and “The Mysteries of Laura.” Yet, she told The New York Times, her father is more proud of her graduating summa cum laude from Brandeis than any of her acting accomplishments. Michael Meyers is a partner and head of investment banking at T.R. Winston & Co., a merchant banking firm specializing in health care, technology and energy. Michael serves on the boards of the UCLA Health System/Ronald Reagan Medical Center, University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts, and the JED Foundation, in addition to some for-profit boards. In 2012, Michael moved from New York City to Los Angeles with his wife, Melissa, and children Rachel (19) and Alex (16). Daniel Ramer writes, “We are excited that our eldest child, Talia, began her freshman year at Tulane. Our son Avi started the Diller Teen leadership program in fall 2016, and Oren is studying his Torah portion for his June bar mitzvah.” Wendy Shlensky completed her second year as VP of analyst and adviser relations at HGS, a customer-experience outsourcing company. For a once-in-a-lifetime personal experience, she traveled to Italy’s Lake Iseo to see “Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Floating Piers,” an art exhibition installed for just 16 days. After practicing as a solo freelance lawyer for 20 years, Lisa Karshen Solomon launched Now Counsel Network (NCN), a nationwide network of experienced freelance lawyers who provide project-based and temporary support to help solo practitioners and members of small law firms increase profits, decrease stress and get their lives back. She invites Brandeis alumni to contact her through NCN’s website. Grace Yung Watson is director of Next Steps, a Brookline (Massachusetts) Housing Authority program that helps low-income residents find employment, training and education opportunities via individualized coaching, referrals and direct job-search services. She also serves as a commissioner on the Brookline Commission for Women. Grace earned a master’s in counseling while raising her three children (born in 2002, 2004 and 2006). Her husband, Steve, is the senior pastor at Reservoir Church in Cambridge, where Grace is a vocalist on the music team, leads a women’s group and co-leads a family-friendly group with her husband.

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